C. Michael Bailey
I'm Sanctified and Southern Fried / Mama tried and daddy cried / I tell the truth 'cept when I've lied / And like my huevos on the side.
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I am convinced that music is a spiritual expression. It is the
highest representation and realization of human thought and
I am a simple country druggist who fell into the world of medical
research quite by accident. Talk about a long,
strange trip. By day I am a clinical research professional,
helping keep medical research between the regulatory ditches a
local academic medical center. By night, I am an intrepid music
writer and cultural critic trying to figure it all out. I grew up
in the late '60s and early '70s when the greatest popular music
was being recorded and discovered the blues, that subatomic music
that cannot be divided first hearing “You Shook Me” from Led
Zeppelin (Atlantic, 1969). It took several more years to discover
where the blues really came from.
My jazz interests are in post-World War II acoustic small ensemble
jazz, both from the East and West Coast, specifically Miles Davis
Art Pepper. My classical music interests are Renaissance and
Choral Music, all 18th-Century music (specifically music for the
clarinet), and Opera, primarily the Baroque operas of Vivaldi and
Handel, the classical operas of Haydn and Mozart, and the Romantic
Operas of Puccini, Verdi, and Wagner.
Through no fault of my own, my editors believe me some kind of
authority on jazz vocals. I devote the majority of my writing
time to jazz vocals for which I have found an abundance of fine
players and recordings. It is a tough crowd to break into and I
have respect for all who try.
The first song I learned all the words to was Elvis Presley's
to Sender in 1964 (on which one young Bobby Keys played baritone
saxophone and who would change my life forever on The Rolling
Stones' Brown Sugar). I sold my soul to the rock n' roll Devil
at the crossroads of Biscayne and Evergreen in Little Rock,
Arkansas when I heard the monolithic slab o' rock Mississippi
Queen, during the blistering hot Summer of 1969, not long after
hearing two other great cowbell songs: Honky Tonk Women and
“Time Has Come Today.”
I have never recovered from the stark terror of Gimme Shelter or
the languid Summer groove of Green River, or the sonic crunch of
Whole Lotta Love and “Heart Breaker. I was introduced to jazz
classical music as an adult by two incredibly wise teachers and a
great deal of reading, studying, and listening.
I have been writing for All About Jazz since 1997 and was recently
honored to have been appointed a director on the Board
of the Arkansas Jazz Heritage Foundation since 2013. I
hope they knew what they were doing.
- Moanin' - Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers.
- Blue Train - John Coltrane.
- Kind of Blue - Miles Davis.
- The Complete Ellington at Newport - Duke Ellington.
- Lady in Satin - Billie Holiday.
- Our Man in Paris - Dexter Gordon.
- The Blues and the Abstract Truth - Oliver Nelson.
- The Complete Charlie Parker on Dial - Charlie Parker.
- Art Pepper + Eleven Play Modern Jazz Classics - Art Pepper
- The Trio - Oscar Peterson, Joe Pass, and Neils Pedersen.
- Live at Maybeck Hall - Gene Harris