Thursday, November 5, 2009
The metaphysics of jazz
It wouldn’t be right to let 2009 pass without a mention of the 50th anniversary of Miles Davis’s classic album Kind of Blue. Just beautiful. Give a listen to “Freddie Freeloader,” courtesy of YouTube. And since this is a philosophy blog written by a guy with a taste for the sauce, follow it up with Jon Hendricks’ absolutely delightful vocalese version of the song, from 1990. Like some of Hendricks’ other lyrics (e.g. the ones he wrote for the Manhattan Transfer’s vocalese take on Clifford Brown’s “Sing Joy Spring”) the words to “Freddie” evince a kind of strange Gnostic metaphysics of the soul – worked, in this case, into the story of a legendary bartender. (I kid you not.) Bad theology? Sure. But terrific jazz. Enjoy.