Seeing, Not Just Hearing, Jazz


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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