Appreciation. Music of the 60’s.
First of all, thank you to my great friends: had a wonderful gig last night, at my musical home, the Black Dog Café. A Nonet! 3 saxophones, one each of trumpet, guitar, bass, percussion, drums, and me on piano. Had my tunes organized: People listened to each other, and we had a deep time. My last day of double nickel.
In these weeks before my birthday, I have done a ton of reflection: having this medical leave has made me really introspective. Re read “ Demian” by Herman Hesse. More on that later. While my Gemini mind is usually racing, it is going full speed now. At the same time, I am more grounded than ever. Thank you, healers, for the medications and counseling, and guidance.
Here goes, what is current with me right now.
The Music of the 60’s. What was important to me?
While this phrase “ music of the 60’s” has special weight, a social connotation with the rise of rock and roll, the hippie culture, rebellion, etc, upon reflection, that is not the picture of what was going on with me.
I was born May 24, 1958, the same day as Bob Dylan, ( and Archie Shepp)… the day before Miles Davis. My brothers were 10 and 12 years older than me, and through them, I got my taste of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Jefferson Airplane, Dylan, The Beatles, the Stones, Joni Mitchell, Bruce Cockburn. I still like much of those musics. But who stands out to me now?
Burt Bacharach. My exposure and understanding of what was happening in the world was limited; filtered. I did not have my own radio until about 1972. But I remember the songs, at that time. “ Raindrops keep falling my head” “ This guy’s in love with you”; “ walk on by” ;“ say a little Prayer”;” What the world needs now”; “ Do you know the way to San Jose” “ the look of love…. And so many, many more!
These were songs that everyone listened to: my parents, your grandparents, the youth. They were popular, and yet had substance. They will still have weight, substance. Mr. Bacharach has a penchant for singable melodies, with meaningful harmonic structure ( the use of suspended 4th chords!!!) that so many others can play.
Example: “ the look of love” by Sergio Mendes. Another: “ Say a little Prayer” by Rahsaan Roland Kirk…. He dedicated it to Martin Luther King… a powerful gospel, R &b extension . Hear it! It’s on the You tube.
And… “walk on by” one of the theme songs on “ Radio Pocho” , a great show on KFAI radio, hosted by Miguel Vargas. ( 90.3 fm…stream on line)
These tunes are going to last. I am figuring them out, by ear, and transcribing some. These tunes are rooted, an example of the rich Taurus musicality. ( Other musical Taurus… Stevie Wonder. Carla Bley. Charles Mingus. Duke Ellington. My good friend, saxophonist Nathan Hanson…. And probably a whole bunch more! So thank you!