Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Wednesday Wonderments and a Musical Memory

Well, February is almost over.


Also, one year ago tomorrow is when the Floydmobile met its untimely end. *sigh* I can't believe a whole year has gone by on this deal...if this event was a baby, it'd be teething and maybe crawling/pulling itself up but not walking yet. Isn't it weird how time slips like that?

Another timely event happened approximately 23 years ago today.

My sister somehow "appropriated" the record album "Getz Meets Mulligan in Hi-Fi". She was a music major at Ellsworth Community College and she checked out this album for her listening pleasure.

Whoops...when school got out, she "forgot" to return it. So I cabbaged on to it.

BTW, "cabbaged" is a Dawsonian term for "swiped" or "appropriated". "Appropriated" is a term we use for gently removing something from someone else's possession. It's not "stealing", per se, because if the missing item is discovered, it's cheerfully returned with a giggle...that is, if one remembers to do so. If not, I guess them's the berries, eh? Thank you...the back to the show.
So anyway, the reason I cabbaged onto this piece o' vinyl is because of the baritone sax. If you look at the picture on the left, it's the saxophone that the fellow with shades and crew-cut is playing. Out of all the saxophones in the woodwind family, the bari is hands down my favorite.

My sister played the bari sax in high school. ("Bari" is the affectionate name for this horn, for those who are unschooled in the ways of the sax...) She went on to play it in college a bit, and then real life got in the way and she turned to other pursuits. As siblings are prone to doing, I followed suit, beginning in my sophomore year and continuing until graduation.

The novelty of this album, too, is that on one side, Mulligan and Getz play their "given" horns (Mulligan on Bari, Getz on Tenor). On the other side, they swap. The differences are quite interesting, and kind of subtle.

When Mulligan plays bari, it seems to me that he likes to explore the upper ranges of that instrument more than Getz does. Getz's playing on tenor is quite mellow at times, but he can bop like the rest of 'em too. They keep up with each other on this recording...they seem to challenge each other as well.

Unfortunately, this album did spoil me a bit. I enjoyed playing bari sax in my high school jazz band and went to jazz camp at Northeast Missouri State U (now Truman State) twice. I was hoping for a similar challenge with the first tenor of our jazz band, Katie G. wasn't quite to be. I'm not sure what she thought of me as a player beyond a vague disdain. We had known each other since grade school and went through the "best friend" thing until I was unceremoniously dumped for someone more acceptable or whatever. By the time we hit high school, I figured we could have some kind of rapport musically.


As smart as she was, my opinion was - in terms of music - she didn't have much soul. Soul is hard to get when you're in high school because you're just as concerned about not looking like an idiot while expressing your individuality. I felt I played soulfully even if I missed a few notes here and there, and when she and I traded off "fours and fours" (four measure solos each...a "one up" contest kind of thing) I felt like she was going through the motions. I was, by no means, a perfect player, but I guess I didn't understand why she couldn't let go and enjoy the back and forth of it.

I felt she was SCARED of feeling as strongly as I did.

I wanted to grab her by the shoulders, shake her, and say, "Quit being so WHITE, god damn it!"

Now that I'm a grown up, I understand the hesitation, but I wish it hadn't existed for both our sakes.

Oh well...dem's da berries.

But getting back to the album, Mulligan and Getz stole my heart (musically speaking). I don't want it back either. That recording instilled a springboard in me...fearlessness in playing and going outside the norms of what you USUALLY do. That's important, in music and in life.

Both those players are gone now. Getz, I believe, had a heart attack, and Mulligan died about ten years ago or so from some illness.

The anxious teenager in me misses them. But she is also thankful for their gift.