You know music has a terroir - a sense of space, an environment of conception that, like the finest wine, is hopefully evident in its expression and enjoyment. Think of New Orleans music. Or any number of musical meccas like New York for example, that imprinted its hectic and collective energy on a number of genres. Notably jazz, with a hectic mid-century 52nd street crystallizing in the codification of be-bop.
Contrasting the Bop of the East Coast, coming later in the ‘50s and ‘60s was a movement referred to as West Coast - with a terroir of the crashing surf of Carmel and wide open deserts like Copeland. But I always think of Gerry Mulligan and Chet Baker and their “piano-less quartet” and the jazz classic Bernie’s Tune - I have a compilation that has the 1952 Pacific Jazz version with Bobby Whitlock on Bass and Chico Hamilton on Drums. Brilliant.
But yea, even though these recordings were criticized at the time for lacking piano, you don’t always need a chordal instrument. In fact I once heard contemporary reedman Jerry Bergonzi, when asked by a wayward ivory tickler, (who surely would’ve loved the gig) inquired in the same manner and he just replied, “because on a clear day you can see for ever.” Indeed, and with the blessings of our Idols mentioned herein, pray, that’s where we will find ourselves tonight, down at the Loon Neighborhood Bar.
I’m putting together a few ideas - adding a couple of songs to the set - even though I know I’m just scratching the surface it’s fun to dig the west coast angle, since that’s our line-up tonight.
Here’s what we’re going with for a set tonight:
Ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much for your kind attention. We’re the Jim Prescott Trio plus One, West Coast edition, featuring Jon Roberts there on the Trumpet.
That was Israel by John Carisi. As this song was featured on Birth of the Cool the seminal Miles Davis record that provided the framework for the west coast sound.
But the true liberation of the sound came when Gerry Mulligan and Chet Baker formed their piano less quartet in the early fifties - freed from the chordal harmony the cool style manifested vibe rich pseudo baroque feeling that our front line will be demonstrating with interweaving lines and harmonic interplay.
We’re going to play a head called Bernie’s Tune which is a prime example of the sound.
On A Misty Night
Softly As In a Morning Sunrise (backbeat thing)
Bud In Paris
Thanks for listening. We’ll be back in a few minutes.
Ladies and genltemen, thank you very much. We are accepting donations to offset some of the costs for us to be here. Thanks very much for you kind contributions in the jar right there.
Now I could go on and on about the west coast sound and the meditarain climate in relations to Sketchs of Spain, but lets just do another classic make famous buy Gerry and Chet, this is -
Line for Lyons
Mysterioso (Monk - I’ll bring a chart)
Seven Step to Heaven
We can also do any of the Wayne Shorter stuff.
Set 3 (with maybe some jams;)
Night In Tunisia
My Funny Valentine (associated with Gerry and Chet)
Portland, OR, Sunny and beautiful.