Drums and Bass Part 2



I heard Dave Young play in Winnipeg if memory serves with Lenny Breau in the early seventies at the WAG Richardson Auditorium. He’s been back to Winnipeg, if not as often as I would like. The most recent album of his that I am enjoying now is One Way Up (feat. Renee Rosnes), with Young’s quintet released in 2016. The first albums I collected where still on vinyl – an excellent series of duets (recorded under his name for Justin Time) with some of the best pianists active during the 1990s. He played with Oscar Peterson, releasing a tribute album Aspects of Oscar, considered the best tribute album in jazz in a very long time in 2011; its category in reviews is usually, “Classical – Straight ahead,” partly because of several Peterson’s re-imagined Bach suites played here, and because of his influences, which seemed on the conservative side until he released Mainly Mingus in 2005.

Young does more experimental work in big band settings – or would it be better to call an octet a medium band setting.  His recording with the Terry Promane Octet is a great studio recording and it does feature another Mingus standard “Better get hit in your soul.” Drummer Terry Clarke is everywhere in Toronto jazz recordings it seems, but he plays most often with Dave Young and it’s a formidable pairing. Kevin Turcotte, on trumpet is another mainstay of most of Young’s recordings.

I lucked in one night checking out the Rex, one of the foremost jazz clubs in Toronto. Young was there with an octet playing most of the material from this album. It was a tight squeeze on the bandstand, and they were tight musically, but with soloists having plenty of room for improvisations and solos. This is still my favourite jazz show of all time. The record is almost as good, a CBC recording “From the Top of the Senator, with a quintet. My favourite song from this set is Mingus’s “Goodbye Porkpie Hat” a tribute he wrote to honour Lester Young. Jazz honours its visionaries, acknowledging its creators, visionaries, leaders, and stellar performers, which is very cool. It’s common to classical music and from more recent experience the Indigenous community, at least in literary presentations. Here is Young with Robi Botos on piano and channeling  Night Train, the title song of an iconic jazz Oscar Peterson record standing up well against others like Miles’s Kind of Blue.

Mingus smokinMingus is where my passion for bass performers, composers and band-leaders started when I was in University. I bought a triple album called Passions of a Man: the Complete Atlantic Recordings (1956-1961), which I still own, but has only a few tracks left that are listenable. One remarkable listening experience was at an after party of a party at my Riverview Mansions apartment with George Morisette and Goerge Amabile falling into a sleepover as the record finished and I went to bed. I am hard on things, that’s all, it’s not because of its inventiveness and experimentation. Mingus had a strong political side expressed in his composition like “Fables of Faubus” and “Free Cell Block F, Tis Nazi U.S.A.” This appealed to me in the seventies, and right now, as I identified as “an agent of social change,” rather than a journalist, a road not taken. Mingus was prone to clinical depression. He tended to have brief periods of extreme creative activity, intermixed with fairly long periods of greatly decreased output. He was know for his temper that didn’t spare band-mates or audiences. One famous story about a noisy bar date included him smashing his $20,000 bass and admonishing the audience saying “Issac Stern doesn’t have to put up with this shit!” Listen to the entire album AH UM here, or just the first smoking tune!

Part Three will start with Charlie Haden. Seems 500 words a day is a good day’s work. And I just can’t stop talkin.

This entry was posted in Listening, Music for Men Over Fifty, Music for Men Over Fifty: Poems of Love and Surgery, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.

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