Manoir de Mes Reves July 29, 2011Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Jazz, music, New Orelans, The Narrative.
Tags: K. Balewa, Leigh Kamman, MPR, The Jazz Image
Do you have any Gerry Mulligan? my son asked. His school band leader asked him to pick it up last year because he wanted one in his orchestra, and it took. He’s going to have to give Franklin’s back (which he was allowed to keep all summer) and you don’t want to know what a barri costs. I said I only had one song, and it’s one I’ve had for a very long time. (I now own a couple of records through the magic of the Internet and he has copies of both).
Through all my years in Fargo Leigh Kamman’s The Jazz Image on Saturday nights was a lifeline to a larger world, a window into the past of jazz, an education it would be hard to duplicate anywhere else. He always opened his show with this song, and all of Saturday’s chores and the long week’s labors would melt away in Gerry Mulligan’s soaring baritone. The closest you can come to approximating the tone color and cadance of the voice of the now retired Kamman, the small hours of morning club cool, is to listen to K. Balewa’s Morning Set Wednesdays on WWOZ. Balewa’s voice is a raspy brushed snare and Kamman’s was all horns, the baritone in the lead, the sound of the opening choruses of this song. They are both the Old Age of the Cool, and when Balewa gives up the microphone there will be a great gap in the world of jazz, like the passing of the great ones of the era their voices represent.