[As the date of the concert suggests, this should have been posted weeks ago.]
SECOND ESSAY ON JAZZ
Theater Basel, March 26, 2007
What makes jazz jazz is often unrecorded
or, if it gets recorded, undernoticed.
When Miller lays his left hand on his lap
to let his right hand play around alone
(Malone and Carter laying out for him),
before, beyond, his virtuosity—
the simplicity of melody!
And not Malone's dexterity—the speed
of breakneck runs that segue into octaves,
the complex lines atop his chordal solos—
instead his strumming for a half a chorus
of just one chord with half a melody
worked out within it by his middle finger
while Carter meddles with his walking bass
with dropped-in double stops each sliding down
a tone, a minor third, a major third,
without the slightest lessening of swing.
Arrangements, solos, comping, interplay—
but what makes great jazz great? The little things.