2010 has been a hard year on musicians. We have lost quite a few notables this year. It pains me that we have lost yet another this year.
I believe I first became aware of Dr. Billy Taylor when he did a weekly bit on the CBS Sunday morning news show in his role as the self appointed chief educator for jazz. The passing years don't allow me to recall the content of his shows but I know that it was oriented toward teaching us to understand the music. At the time I thought he was just some guy that played piano. It was only as the years and decades passed that I became aware of the high regard in which he was held by musicians who create this music.
As I sit here I cannot think of a single recording released by Dr. Taylor but I know from his stories that he was around as the art form that is jazz was molded into the force it is today. I will be forever grateful to Dr. Taylor for his efforts in helping me, as well as the many others who encountered him, in this our journey to understand this thing they call jazz.
God speed Dr. Taylor, they won't forget your name again, RIP.
New York city Mayor Michael Bloomberg is appealing for the city to remain patient while they attempt to rescue enough of their snow plows from the very snow that they are supposed to clear away in order to attend to the city's snowbound streets. Meanwhile, snow babies are being birthed at home because EMS response time declined from an unbearable 4 hours to a completely useless maybe we'll get to you tomorrow sometime.
And the rest of the nation's air travel system attempts to recover from a complete 24 hour shutdown of all New York area airports . It is expected to take a week or more to return the system to normal.
Meanwhile, Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell is unhappy that the NFL canceled the local soccer match, ostensibly so the fans wouldn't kill themselves or each other driving to a ballgame in what has to be one of the worst blizzards in a generation.
Apparently, canceling the game is a clear indication of the loss of the American pioneer spirit as well as the draining of our vitality as a nation and portends nothing less than the end of western civilization as we know it.
No word yet on Governor Rendell's position on seat belts, water wings, bicycle helmets, training wheels or men who drink their alcohol mixed with ice and soft drinks but we'll keep you updated should he decide to issue forth with a proclamation.
Every year we are bombarded with holiday specials that purport to herald the spirit of the holiday season. And while there is absolutely nothing wrong many of these holiday specials, I call upon the television and pop culture gods to consider adding another program to the existing annual line up.
Programs such as Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, A Charlie Brown Christmas, A Christmas Story, Its a Wonderful Life, etc., have come to dominate the holidays for most of our generation. But if you have seen these programs once you have seen them a million times too many.
There is, however, an alternative, a movie that has disappeared from the airwaves. While not exactly a holiday special per se, it is set during the holiday season and is a wonderful reminder of what the holidays should really be, your own particular religious or philosophical leanings not withstanding.
I think I have said everything that I want to say about this movie in this post.
So without further ado, courtesy of Youtube poster JTClarion, I present to you J.T. the movie, aka I want me this cat I found.
We would be remiss if we did not note the recent passing of jazz giant Mr. James Moody.
It is no secret that Dizzy Gillespie was a grade A clown and all around general purpose asshole . But Diz did not clown solo, his sometime sidekick and musical collaborator, James Moody, was a talented but lesser known second banana and sometime straight man to Diz's outrageous buffoonery.
Please note Moody's relatively restrained response to Diz's completely straight faced introduction of him as the Brazilian female singer Flora Purim.
Not to be completely outdone, Moody changes the words of the song at 1:50 from "in the mood for love" to the improvised "in the nude for love." As he switches to falsetto for the female part of the vocalese standard Moody's Mood For Love, Moody the straight man becomes Moody the clown as he takes on the extreme affectations of a female performer.
Despite the hollering and yodeling throughout, Moody delivers as fine a rendition of his classic namesake as you are likely to hear.
James Moody, we not only thank you for bringing us a lifetime of joy through your beautiful music but also for having the courage to make us laugh at world that was not always funny.
James Moody RIP March 26, 1925 - December 9th 2010