Friday, January 13, 2012

Today...Listen to Donald Phillips

Donald Phillips captures the immediate post-World War II era perfectly in this swinging jazz concerto. Complete with a boogie-woogie section. No matter what happens to be going on during your day, it would be hard to stay blue listening to it. I suppose that is why I like it. The energy is all toward what is uplifting and joyous in life.

Of course you know my biases and how much I love George Gershwin, so those composers who take a bit of inspiration from his own are welcome to my ears.

All too often "serious" composers think that the mood has to be lugubrious or worse, that the sound to aim for is something akin to what I call "An Orchestra in Search of a Composition", or those Anacin commercials of my childhood with the incessant hammer and anvil. Really? Do you really suppose that the only way to be authentic is to capture the gloom, doom, stress, sourness and angst of the age? Well, I disagree. Such a composition is like sipping on vinegar all day long.

Somewhere along the way, and I suppose it was somewhere around 1960, serous music became so atonal and dissonant that it hurts the ears. Notice I am not mentioning anyone in particular but someone should tell that bunch that no one really wants to go home humming it after hearing it. They just want to go home, period.

The truth of the matter is this: Melodic lines are still what stir the heartstrings. And Donald Phillips' "Concerto in Jazz for Piano and Orchestra" does that, beautifully. Give a listen here:

Concerto in Jazz

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