Tuesday, January 25, 2011

BLOWING SESSION


"Where’ve you been, man”?” I asked my friend Cory the barber. In the background, I heard saxophonist Cliff Jordan’s album “Cliff Craft” playing. This was the first time I talked to Cory since Christmas. I called to find out if he was okay.
“I’ve been dealing with some stuff. Be bop’s mother got a new job in Atlanta, which starts next month, and she planning to uproot my daughter.
“Atlanta is not a bad place to start over, and I hear they have a pretty good public school system.”
“Be bop, is all that I got in the world, man. I’m not going to allow her mom to take her away. I fought too hard to get partial custody“.
“I remember what you went through. I know you don’t want to relive that.”
“I’ll fight to keep my daughter here,” Cory said.
“You have to think about what’s best for her”.
“That’s easy for you to say. You don’t have kids”.
“That’s true but…”
“Look man, you didn’t call to hear me bitching and moaning about my personal problems”.
“You can’t keep that kind of stuff all bottled up inside you, man. It will drive you nuts”.
“I hear you. Change the subject. What have you been listening to”?
“All kinds of good stuff. Some of James Carter’s earlier recordings, the new album by the Yellow Jackets, and a date co-led by Phil Woods and Grace Kelly, a young alto saxophonist. She’s pretty good to only be 18-year-old”.
“Didn’t she make her first album when she was 12-year-old”?
“I believe so, but don’t quote me on it”. Her playing is still remedial. She’s a really good singer. She worth following. By the time, she hits her thirties, she’s going to be a household name. Is that Cliff Jordan you’re playing”?
“Yeah. I’ve been listening to it for a few days”.
“I’ve also been listening to Johnny Griffin’s album ‘A Blowing Session’ that I picked up at Borders.
“I have that album. The sidemen are Art Blakey, Wynton Kelly, Lee Morgan, John Coltrane and Hank Mobley.”
“That right”.
“But I thought given the talent pool on the album would’ve been more powerful like a cutting contest”.
“Now that I think about it the album wasn’t really a powerhouse”.
“Maybe because all the guys save for Art Blakey were still wet behind the ears at the time. They were outstanding players, but neither had really cemented their reputations. Coltrane was on the cusp, and Morgan was still sort of honing his sound”
“The album was still worthwhile. I think although it was pretty straight forward”.
“The albums Griffin made with Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis was better”.
“Those two cats were blowing their butts off, man.”
“That’s the kind of energy missing from ‘A Blowing Session’. Hold on for a second I have another call coming through.
The cell phones went dead. A few minutes later Cory came back online.
“It’s my daughter on the other line. I have to call you back later. I really need to talk to her. It was good talking to you. I was in the dumps, but I feel much better now”.
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