All blues...

When I started to study ~ and then play ~ jazz in a serious way, I was knocked on my ass by Miles Davis' Kinda Blue album from 1959.  I love the whole freakin' thing but was especially drawn to the cut "All Blues."  The first time I played it with the Jazz Ambassadors I knew I knew this song ~ although I didn't really know the riff ~ and as we improvised on it I kept thinking, "This is like deja vu all over again..." except I didn't know exactly where I'd heard it.

To say that this song felt like it was a part of my soul would not be an exaggeration and over the past few years I've been listening for clues about where we first made contact.  My hunch begins with Tim Buckley and his "Strange Feelin'" off the Happy/Sad album from 1969 that I used to listen to incessantly.  Back in high school, this was one of my constant companions.

And then there is another favorite band, Pentangle, who worked up their take on this tune in something called, "I Got a Feeling" (which must not be confused with a Beatles' song with a similar title but very different groove.) I started listening to these cats in 1968 and have loved them for 44 years.  This song comes from their 1968 double album ~ Sweet Child ~ and the melody Jacquie McShee is singing is exactly what the horns are playing on the Miles recording ~ but it is still very, very sweet.  It includes the clear influence of Danny Thompson one of my favorite bass players who made this band swing in a unique Celtic way.

Once, after we returned from Turkey last summer, Vicki True, a local jazz master, joined us and had the band vamp on "All Blues" in a waaaay chill groove ~ and then she sang lyrics to it. It blew us ALL away.  In my subsequent research I've found that the civil rights artist, Oscar Brown, Jr., wrote the lyrics after being smitten by the sound of Miles' tune. (I hope we give it a try with the lyrics this Sunday in worship.)  Dig Ms. Ernestine Anderson's version and know that the blessings of this song keep moving from generation to generation.


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