Seeing, Not Just Hearing, Jazz

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It’s one thing to listen to scratchy old recordings of your favorite jazz artist, but seeing filmed live footage of greats like Ella Fitzgerald or Clifford Brown ripping it is a completely different kind of treat for the real fan.

For the devotee, it’s all in the details: Until I saw late ’50s television footage of Dizzy Gillespie playing, I had no idea that the cheeks he was so famous for puffing out while playing could sometimes push his black, horn-rimmed glasses slightly out of position on his face. Until watching footage of Miles Davis playing “So What” with the Gil Evans orchestra, I didn’t know that Davis would often lick the inside of his mouthpiece before putting the horn to his mouth for a solo.

The full blog post, on London’s Jazz in June festival, is at the NEW YORK TIMES.

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