This week's videos feature keyboardist Les McCann and saxophonist Javon Jackson, who will be in St. Louis next week to perform Wednesday, October 22 through Saturday, October 25 at Jazz at the Bistro. Their team-up is billed as Swiss Movement Revisited," a reference to McCann's collaboration with the late saxophonist Eddie Harris and the famous live album the two recorded in 1969 at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland.
In part because their collaboration is relatively recent, there's not a whole lot of footage online showing Jackson and McCann playing together, but let's take a look at what is out there. First up is an excerpt from a recent performance at the Deer Valley Jazz Festival in Park City, Utah (also the home of the Sundance Film Festival). This clip apparently comes from some sort of promo for the Deer Valley fest, so there's also some interview footage with an audience member before the music starts.
The second clip features Jackson and McCann playing a tune called Fun Time", composed by bassist Kenny Davis, at a show in May at the Dakota Jazz Club in Minneapolis. The video quality is rough, as it's from a cellphone camera. The third clip was shot around the same time, and shows McCann and Jackson on a visit to the High School for the Performing Arts in St. Paul, MN, where they interact with and listen to some student performers and then play a bit themselves. And finally, as a reminder of the collaboration that helped inspire the McCann/Jackson pairing, the fourth video is a vintage clip showing McCann and Eddie Harris performing the most famous song they recorded together, Compared to What".
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone. Feet in the dirt, or barefoot on a stage with sequins--it's soul beats in my chest.
I was first exposed to jazz while others listened to surf music in the '50s and '60s, it was Monk, Miles, Satchmo and Ella, Rosemary Clooney and Julie London followed. Margaret Whiting, Les McCann, Willie Bobo, Andy Simpkins, Snooky Young, Bill Basie and Helen Humes. The first time I heard Topsy, Take 2, I about passed out at the age of ten.
I've hung with Les McCann who more than 30 years after our first meeting became my duet partner on my CD, Don't Go To Strangers. Karen Hernandez from the start, Jack Le Compte on drums, Lou Shoch on bass, Steve Rawlins as my arranger and pianist, Grant Geissman - guitar genius, Nolan Shaheed, Richard Simon, and more. The big boys. My Red Hot Papas. The best show I ever attended was...
I met Helen Humes first back in 1981 and helped turn one Playboy Jazz Festival night into her tribute, bring the Basie Band to stage, her joy boys. Before she took the stage for the last time to sing, If I could Be With You One Hour Tonight thousands of copies of the newspaper I wrote for carried her story. It was kismet, her being held by Joe Williams backstage. Soon in my life were the great Linda Hopkins who told me I sang the song she wrote better than her, which floored me of course, the energizing Barbara Morrison and the stellar Marilyn Maye who guided me professionally.
My advice to new listeners... let your backbone slip and feel your body stripping back the barriers that prevent us from being one with the music.
Remember none of us are strangers, we just haven't met yet.