Webb City


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I'm still tucking in the frayed ends of daily life after extended duty in the trenches of extracurricular writing. Soon, there will be a new batch of Doug's Picks as the blogging routine returns to normal, whatever that is.

I am told that the first rule of survival in the weblog game is to keep the blog fresh. So—to give you useful information and avoid turning this into a mere video disc jockey operation—here is a cross-generational performance of Bud Powell's “Webb City." The older generation is represented by Phil Woods, the man in the hat, the younger by Grace Kelly, the woman in the magenta dress, and her band: Jason Palmer, trumpet; Doug Johnson, piano; Evan Gregor, bass; and Jordan Perison, drums. “Webb City" became famous in bebop circles because of a brilliant 1946 recording by Fats Navarro. Powell named the tune not after the southwest Missouri town of 10,000 but for Freddie Webster, one of the heros of pre-bop trumpet. Thanks to Ira Gitler, the fount of all bebop knowledge, for that nugget. There——wasn't that useful?

This performance took place recently at Sculler's, a jazz emporium in Boston, Massachusetts, a large city on the east coast of the United States.

“Webb City" is not on Ms. Kelly's new CD, Man With the Hat, but Mr. Woods is. Here's a sign of changing times in the record business and in earning prospects for musicians: the album sells on Amazon as a digital download for $6.93, as a CD for $24.72 plus shipping. There are still lots of diehard CD lovers, but remaining one is not getting easier.

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This story appears courtesy of Rifftides by Doug Ramsey.
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