21 nov. 2007

Blahgging the Hahk

I've heard more this morning, somewhat distractedly as I was writing about something unrelated at the same time.

More thoughts:

Aside from sheer power and confidence, his playing has a kind of exuberance, even at a slow tempo. It's a "Here, let me show you what I can do" feeling. The virtuosity is not over the top in a showy way. A lot of it just having that big sound.

He has a particular rhythmic and harmonic vocabulary over which he has total control. He knows every note of every chord and will play it too. He doesn't need to strain for effects, just step slightly harder on the gas pedal when he needs to.

He plays his style. It's improvisation, yes, one of the first great examples of that in jazz history. But it's not Lee Konitz style improvisation in which there is an emphasis on the purity of the process, the avoidance of pre-established licks and formulas. It's very formulaic in fact. That's part of what gives it it's feeling of self-confident ease, maybe. (Feel free to disagree; I feel my insights are still incomplete here.)

He also has the quality of "tastiness" to which I'd like to devote a treatise. Kind of like umami for the ear. Harold Land has it too.

***

Coleman Hawkins preferred to have a guitar in the rhythm section for a "fatter" sound.