C. Michael Bailey
Michael wants to know if Gene Harris is playing "Summertime" in Heaven with Ray Brown.
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I am convinced that music is a spiritual expression. It may be the
only appropriate way to communicate with Providence. It is certainly
Divinely Inspired (though I don’t know if anything else is).
I am a simple country druggist who fell into the world of clinical
quite by accident. Talk about a long, strange trip. So, by day I
clinical data analyst, mining the
statistical evidence that separates Advil from Aleve. 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
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 and
Art Pepper. My classical music interests are Renaissance and Baroque
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
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
The first song I learned all the words to was Elvis Presley's Return
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 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 A
Whole Lotta Love and “Heart Breaker. I was introduced to jazz and
classical music as an adult by two incredibly wise teachers and a
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 for the 2013-2014 term. I
hope they knew what they were doing.