Chet Baker – Jazz Around Midnight; in my jazz collection a set of his Big Band sides; on mp3 collection Plays & Sings the Great Ballads; plus a set with Miles Davis. Plays & Sings was my introduction to Baker, a cheap import with a dozen or so tracks, vocal & instrumental. His voice is vulnerable, a bit fragile in timbre but sweet. A song stylist as opposed to a ‘belter.’
His trumpet playing is fine. His sound is more emotional than, say, Davis. The Big Band sides are on Pacific Jazz – a major label in ‘cool’ in its day. His life is tragic – junkie, bad relationships. As a result of a drug deal gone bad he was beaten & had his teeth kicked out. I can’t imagine how a horn player would deal with that but he survived.. He sang more for one thing, but keep recording right up to his death. He died a junkie.
Also on the mp3 collection: George Shearing & Mel Torme – an Evening with; A Vintage Year; Mel alone: Swingin’ On The Moon. Mel is the opposite of Chet – not ‘cool’ by any means yet that guy could swing. On The Moon is a lp with every song being about the moon. His work with Shearing is the epitome of smooth.
To round out the mp3 collection is Cleo Laine, Ray Charles – Porgy & Bess: There was a trend at one time to do these complete recordings of Porgy & Bess. I have Miles doing it, even Fitzgerald & Armstrong tackled it. This version is a bit more soul than jazz and great work out of both of Cleo & Ray.
Capping the mp3 collection is one of that spate of Bobby’s in the late 50’s/early 60’s: Curtola, Rydell and this one is Bobby Darin. Beyond the Sea is an extensive best of collection – rock, pop & swing – he had image problems but lots of talent. He recorded some great stuff but never got free of the Hollywood image machine to develop an identity. Fine stuff though & a pleasant voice that deserved better material than it often got saddled with.
The song Beyond The Sea is one of my favorites but the Americanized version of the French hit, La Mer, always leaves me a bit disappointed. More about it when I get to ‘t’ & La Mer’s composer Charles Trenent.
Seeds of Paradise
The sparrow flew from the eaves of one house to the next. Several others followed it in quick succession. They skittered along the edge, eyes on the bird-feeder in the back yard. Eyes on the seeds. Eyes on the squirrels that were after the bigger seeds, the sunflower seeds. Once the squirrels were done the sparrows descended.
Two alit first and pushed the seed casings around, another two joined them, one of the first two flew off and a new fourth joined them. The other sparrows lined up along the fence waiting their turn.
The squirrels had leaped off the feeder and to a near by tree. Two of them that would grunt and chase each other through to the next yards and to the next feeder. Or cross the damp grass to stop abruptly and start to dig for something. It appeared they didn’t know what or where they had hidden that something. Holes would appear scattered over the yard, in flower beds, even flower pots, as they searched for that something.
The cycle would repeat and repeat endless. Every two or three hours it would start. Birds, squirrels, digging, fluttering. The only breaks would be a crouching cat in search of mice – mice that were also attracted by the seeds. The birds would flutter away but the squirrels would go on, one eye on the cat and the other on their search.
Occasionally the cat would leap on the fence and across to the garage roof and gradually make its way to the bird feeder. Though after sitting patiently in wait there after an hour or so with no action it would stretch and work its way back to the ground.
The cat, the birds, the squirrels would all dart away when human foot was set in their paradise. Though if one sat silently long enough the birds would gather again, the cat may come forward for patting while the squirrels would sit high in the fir tree grunting and squawking with frustration.
To sit for a time would be rewarded with the approach of blue birds. Birds unafraid of the squirrels for that matter. They have been seen shooing the squirrels away with repeated darting and pecking. No dogs disturb the kingdom. Only the intrusive comings and goings of the humans who would fill the bird feeder, scatter pop corn or spend far too long doing their own digging in the soil for plants.