Budd Johnson, that is! From the opening notes (just click above, podnah) you know you’re going on a deep tenor sax dive, which is what I did yesterday with Johnson on his Swingsville album, Let’s Swing, and indirectly on Etta Jones’ luxuriously blue Lonely & Blue, where Budd, with assistance from the equally great tenor man Gene Ammons, wraps the singer in thick, slow-swinging swaths of indigo.
Both LPs are simply classic. Both are rendered in Rudy Van Gelder’s stunning sound. Both feature a richness and depth of feeling you’ll have some difficulty finding in a new set today.
Funny: I just read an article on meditation written by Repa Dorje Odzer and published in tricycle, and I’d advise you to listen these in much the way the article advised me to sit:
1) Don’t think about past records you’ve heard.
2) Don’t judge what you’re hearing now (hear it arise and unfold).
3) Don’t imagine where the music will go.
4) Don’t try to figure the music out.
5) Don’t try think about how the music could be/should be different (resist controlling thoughts).
6) “Rest, like a bee stuck in honey,” and let the music wash over you.
Easier typed out than done, but Johnson’s and Jones’ (and Ammons’ and Van Gelder’s) work provides a perfect opportunity to try and merge meditation and fully present listening. I’m trying it in a bit.
Hailu Mergia: Tche Belew(Wow! Truly a master Ethiopian jazz-funk composer–I get the funk now.)
Harlem River Drive (all hail the Palmieri Brothers!)
Dennis Gonzalez’ Yells at Eels: In Quiet Waters (Wow! Truly a master free jazz composer!)
Jason Marsalis and the 21st Century Trad Band: Melody Reimagined, Book 1 (Doesn’t quite live up to the ambitions of the band name or album title, but it’s swinging and lilting and lively nonetheless. The leader’s on form.