MAY 23 IS INTERNATIONAL JAZZ DAY

Although it is tempting to sum up the classic jazz era of 1917-32 with a few major names (Louis Armstrong, King Oliver, Jelly Roll Morton, James P. Johnson, Earl Hines, Duke Ellington, etc.), there were many other important contributors. The classic jazz era was one of dizzying innovation and breakthrough. –Scott Yanow, jazz writer

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I am a classic jazz lover, pure and simple — which does not mean I love classic jazz exclusively. On the contrary, I’ve enjoyed the best of various types of music over the decades. But, considering the noisome state of what has been popular of late, I’m glad I was born early enough to appreciate the difference between music and noise. Thus, these poems on this day:

COUNTERFEIT NOTES

The things that pass
for music these days.

OUTDATED

I could tell you what it
was like in those days,
but you had to live it
to appreciate it, and why
should you give a damn?
I wasn’t born yesterday.

The destiny of every
generation is to become
irrelevant to the next.
You may save its music for
your collection of coming
tomorrows, its sounds
long died in the past, but
when you go, so too
goes the living ghost
of the world you knew.

WHEN JAZZ WAS JAZZ

Listen —
You can’t get
there from here.

May 23 also happens to be the birthday of all-time great clarinetist ARTIE SHAW, who was born in 1910 and played with many jazz/dance bands beginning in 1926. In 1936, he formed his own group, which evolved into one of the leading bands of the swing era. He also composed a number of fine songs, including LOVE OF MY LIFE (lyrics by Johnny Mercer) and ANY OLD TIME (which his band recorded in July 1938 with Billie Holiday as vocalist). That same recording session produced his biggest hit:

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10 comments on “MAY 23 IS INTERNATIONAL JAZZ DAY

  1. arekhill1 says:

    Hope you enjoyed Jazz Day by playing your favorites, Sr. Muse.

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  2. mistermuse says:

    Gracias, Ricardo. Artie Shaw’s rendition of “Begin the Beguine” IS one of my favorites, and I played it several times.

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    • My husband and I may not be of your generation, mistermuse. However, we both enjoy listening to jazz and swing songs. Why? We were born just after World War II and we watched those movies on the television. “Begin the Beguine” with Artie Shaw is one of my favorites. too. Nothing can compare to the music of Glenn Miller and Louis Armstrong to name a few. I have some CDs with some of these great songs on them. I play them when I am “In The Mood.”

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  3. mistermuse says:

    Having been born in 1936, swing was the music I grew up listening to. Even though it went out of fashion by the late 1940s, it – and the classic jazz era it came from – remain unsurpassed….which is not to say there hasn’t been “a whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on” since then.

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  4. Mél@nie says:

    it was celebrated in France, too… btw, have you ever been to New Orleans=Nouvelle Orléans?… 🙂 we went there several times while in Houston, TX for 5 years… oh, speakin’ of ARTIE SHAW, the French would read it “artichaut” = artichoke… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. mistermuse says:

    I’ve been to New Orleans as a child on one of my parent’s many trips, but I was too young to remember it. Unfortunately, I’ve never returned.

    Artie Shaw’s greatest clarinet rival back in the day was Benny Goodman, which I assume the French would read as Benny Bonhomme. 😦

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  6. Don Frankel says:

    Just remember Muse only the great stuff endures. If you listened to everything from any era there would be a lot of junk.

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  7. mistermuse says:

    Well, when it comes to classic jazz of 80-90 years ago, a lot of the great stuff only endures to a relative few of us, and some of it was never recorded and endures only in the witness of those who heard it at the time and testified to it. But I agree that every era produces its share of junk.

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