I discovered a couple of things last night. One of them is that artists have sensibilities that I may or may not share. I first saw Marc Seales playing with Ernie Watts at the Earshot Jazz Festival this fall and I loved his playing. I loved his playing tonight too, but his compositions didn’t match my mood. I think that’s it. It’s not that they weren’t good or that I didn’t like them. They just didn’t really resonate.
Jazz is like that. You have to experience it, always with hope. You have to be open to the possibility that magic will happen (because it so often does!). But then you need to sit back, relax, listen—let reality set in. And recognize that everything isn’t everything, at least for everybody, and certainly not all at the same time.
OTOH, the quintet played a song that I loved. I told my wife it reminded me of “Superfly” and sounded, vaguely, like something Curtis Mayfield might have written. It didn’t sound like that song (and how would I know not having heard it, maybe, decades). It evoked “Superfly, called it to mind, suggested that it might, possibly, be it.
So the song is over and Marc announces they’ve just played, ahem, “Superfly!” Can you dig it? I knew that you would!! I know I wasn’t the only person in the room that called that one (the brother at the table behind me and I exchanged a couple of “knowing glances.” But man!!
One of the ideas I’ve been enamored with is turning songs from my youth, from the last $%^&&*( years into jazz standards. A few musicians, notably Herbie Hancock, have tried that. I never would have thought it, but “Superfly” deserves to be indelibly etched in that pantheon! The New & Improved American Songbook.
Hell, let’s make it a New World Songbook, as jazz has certainly escaped our shores…