Jacky Terrasson's debut album for Blue Note
Born in 1966 in Germany to an American father and French mother, you can say Jacky Terrasson had options for citizenship. And though he has lived in New York and expressed great affection for its jazz scene, and attended the Berklee School of Music in Boston, his formative years were spent in France.
His debut album after winning the Thelonious Monk Piano competition in 1993 included Cole Porter’s I Love Paris — not a coincidence it was the first song on the album. And in 2001 he released A Paris, which includes a couple of Terrasson originals, Porter’s I Love Paris again, La Marseillaise and a dozen titles for which you’ll need a French-English dictionary unless you speak the language as well as he does.
From an interview with jazzweekly.com (link below): “To me, if you look at jazz standards, where do they come from? They come from old Broadway shows, from movies, from the street. What I decided to do with A Paris . . . is the same thing, but with a repertoire from where I grew up, with French songs.”
Jacky Terrasson interview with jazzweekly.com
Below is a link to Happy Man, from a 1998 live show in Nice, in the south of France:
Around the World next Monday: Spain
Arthur Blythe's Basic Blythe
There aren’t many streets in New York celebrated by Langston Hughes poems and jazz songs, but Harlem’s Lenox Avenue is. Hughes did it in more than one poem, and Arthur Blythe, a native Californian, did with his 1979 song Lenox Avenue Breakdown (live 2003 link below).
Hughes died in 1967, before Blythe moved to New York, before Hughes probably could have heard Blythe play the sax. And yet Hughes said, “The rhythm of life is a jazz rhythm” as if he had, in his poem Lenox Avenue: Midnight.
Twenty years after Hughes died, Malcolm X Boulevard was added to the name of Lenox Avenue. Blythe is 70 years old and has an extensive resume, including being one of The World Saxophone Quartet.
From Hughes’ poem “The Weary Blues:”
“Down on Lenox Avenue the other night
By the pale dull pallor of an old gas light
He did a lazy sway …
He did a lazy sway …
To the tune o’ those Weary Blues.”
From Khephra Burns’ liner notes to Basic Blythe: “Arthur Blythe has traveled and has explored numerous avenues of musical expression within the jazz genre.”
Remembering trumpet player Roy Eldridge on the day after his death in 1989.
Nicknamed “Little Jazz,” Eldridge stood only 5-foot-6, but there was a time in the 1940s when he couldn’t have been much bigger. In 1941, after apprenticing with Fletcher Henderson, Eldridge joined drummer Gene Krupa’s band, with singer Anita O’Day (link above). As the only black member of the band, Eldridge suffered from discrimination at the hotels and restaurants and the like which would serve the other members but not him; once, reportedly, Krupa once got into a fight on behalf of Eldridge and was fined.
When Krupa was arrested for marijuana in 1943, Eldridge eventually joined Artie Shaw’s band. In the 1950s he moved to Paris and enjoyed the attention there, played with Benny Goodman, moved back to New York. He suffered a stroke in 1980, and for the rest of his life he performed on other instruments.
He died in 1989 at age 78.
Eldridge is the subject of John Chilton’s book: Roy Eldridge: Little Jazz Giant.
Said trombonist Steve Turre to Pittsburghlive.com: ”. . . there only is one Roy, and that’s Roy Eldridge . . . He is the connection between Pops and Dizzy.”
Next: Around the World in Music Monday: Canada