It is always a challenge to decide how Rifftides should celebrate the anniversary of the independence of The United States Of America. In 2017, we are observing it with pieces by artists whose careers began on the west coast of the US before their names and their music became familiar around the world. Both works are short traditional songs that express feelings of profound importance to millions of Americans.
The first piece, “America The Beautiful,” is from Clare Fischer’s 1967 album Songs For Rainy Day Lovers. Published in 1910, the song had a lyric by Katharine Lee Bates. Fischer’s elegant writing combines strings and his piano in a classic version of a song that has become, for many jazz musicians, a standard part of the repertoire.
Using the music from the abolitionist song “John Brown’s Body,” in 1861 Julia Ward Howe wrote “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” which became strongly identified with the Union cause in the American Civil War. Cal Tjader’s 1956 recording captures the spirit of the piece. I’ve always been impressed by his vibes work here, and intrigued by the combination of sensitivity, strength and harmonic wisdom in Gerald Wiggins’s short piano solo. The YouTube audio may not be pristine and you may need to tweak it, but the video has the advantage of showing the original Fantasy red vinyl LP. Eugene Wright is the bassist, Bill Douglass the drummer.
The Fischer and Tjader recordings are difficult to find but—happily—are available. Click on the names at the beginning of the previous sentence.
Enjoy Three Days on the Beach with Snarky Puppy, Brian Blade & The Fellowship Band, Lettuce, Cecile McLorin Salvant, Lila Downs, Michael McDonald Acoustic Quartet, Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, Flor de Toloache and more—February 14-16, 2020 at the North Beach Bandshell in Miami, FL.
The winner receives a 3-day pass for two. Excludes travel or lodging.
Acclaimed by the New York Times as one of the “Top 10 Definitive Moments of the Decade in Jazz Music,” GroundUP goes beyond the typical festival experience, breaking down the barriers between audience and artists...
We sent a confirmation message to . Look for it, then click the link to activate your account. If you don’t see the email in your inbox, check your spam, bulk or promotions folder.
Thanks for joining the All About Jazz community!
Find All About Jazz articles, news, musician pages, and more!