Moving along the ‘j’ shelf of my jazz collection we come to the Jazz Crusaders. I have as stand alones: at the Light House, Chile Con Soul, Old Socks New Shoes. On a nearly 7 hours Mp3 collection: Les McCann & the Jazz Crusaders: Jazz Waltz, & Way Back Home 4 cd set. plus; The Modern Jazz Quartet: Plastic Dreams, Bluesology, In Memoriam 1974. These groups represent opposite ends of the jazz spectrum.
One of my co-workers when I lived in Sydney was a major jazz fan. He loaned me many amazing lps by musicians, such a Hampton Hawes, whom I still love today. One lp was Tough Talk by the Jazz Crusaders. At the time I didn’t realize it was a best of compilation. I was taken by the use of harpsichord almost as a percussion instrument. I heard it often in pop by groups like the Left Banke, Procol Harum.
At that time I made an lp to cassette copy of many of the lps I borrowed from him & eventually replaced them with cds, then mp3. I never did find Tough Talk 😦 But did come across a 4 cd collection of the Crusaders & then some stand alones of stuff not in the collection. The group’s sound was rooted in hard bop, but with a slant towards R&B and soul music; a jazzier version of Booker T & the MG’s. The sort of music that shows up in movie scenes set in hipster night clubs.
The Modern Jazz Quartet as their name indicates a ‘serious’ quartet playing more traditional jazz – not quite chamber music but very controlled & harmonious – not freeform experimental like say, Coltrane. Piano, vibes, upright bass, quiet drums. No jazz-rock-fusion here.
I bought Plastic Dreams because of the amazing cover art. I had never heard of them before so wasn’t prepared for what I did hear. Jazzed up Christmas carols, jazzed up classical music & originals. Not as bouncy as Brubeck but similar. Tasteful, controlled like a dry martini – whereas The Crusaders are funky, nearly juke-joint sloppy like a Singapore Sling. I enjoy them both.
On The Exams
She was the first person I had met who had suffered the loss of an elbow. I had so many questions I wanted to ask but knew here in class wouldn’t be the right time or place. I had to know how did it happen. The nub was so smooth. Almost as if there had never been anything beyond it. Did she feel anything when it happened. Did she wake up in this morning and her elbow was gone.
A couple of the students had gone to the office to get the vice-principal. It felt like we were telling on her but something had to be done and we students didn’t know what to do.
Mr Jackson took her by the shoulders and gently lead her out of the room. “You boys behave. Someone will be with you directly.”
We did behave. We sat still, silent looking at the scattered smudge she had put on the blackboard. A few of us tried to copy it as exactly as we could. One never knew what was going to be on the exams