Friday, November 03, 2006

All That Jazz

An otherwise sensible blogger (whom I'll not name) adores Miles Davis. He (the blogger) says, "If you listen to nothing else by Miles Davis, buy and listen to Relaxin’. I absolutely guarantee you will not hate it, and you are very likely to love it."

Well, I refreshed my memory of the Davis oeuvre by listening to a few cuts from Relaxin' via Amazon.com. I absolutely hate it; it's pablum for the ears. It reminds me of the background music for Peanuts films. Maybe it is the background music for Peanuts films.

Wherever jazz went after the late 1930s, it wasn't a good place. Davis's stuff is better than the dithering, discordant offerings of other post-war jazz "artists" whose names will not (dis)grace this blog. But that's like saying a bowlful of sugar is better for you than a bowlful of arsenic. It is, but why eat either when the jazz pantry is stocked with the nutritious, flavorful pre-war offerings of Louis Armstrong, Sidney Bechet, Bix Beiderbecke, Benny Goodman, Fletcher Henderson, Jimmie Lunceford, Jelly Roll Morton, King Oliver, Kid Ory (heard here with his post-war group but in pre-war form), the Quintette of the Hot Club of France (featuring Django Reinhardt and St├ęphane Grappelli), Fats Waller, and the "smooth" but always listenable Paul Whiteman. They are among the many greats to be found at The Red Hot Jazz Archive. Go there. It's a toe-tapping, foot-stomping treat.