TDMB posted yesterday on Leonard Bernstein. In a subsequent conversation on Facebook, I pointed out that he seemed to really like rock and roll. During various video talks posted on YouTube, Bernstein illustrated points using The Beatles, The Kinks and even The Association (“Along Came Mary”).
My cousin Ellen, an oboist who played in an orchestra conducted by Bernstein (who everyone apparently called “Lenny”) said he had love for all sorts of music beyond classical.
That idea – that barriers between musical genres sound be minimized and where possible eliminated – is powerful and reminded me of the clip above of T-Bone Walker playing “Goin’ to Chicago.” The notes say that it was a Jazz at the Philharmonic performance recorded in London in November of 1966.
The relavant point is that the list of background players is a who’s who of jazz of the day. According to the notes, T-Bone is accompanied by Dizzy Gillespie, Teddy Wilson, Louis Bellson, Clark Terry, Coleman Hawkins, Zoot Sims, Jimmy Moody, Benny Carter and Bob Cranshaw. The jazz influence is obvious in the second half of the song. It sounds great.
The other point on this clip is Walker’s obvious enjoyment. It’s fun to watch. Aaron Thibeaux (T-Bone) Walker, who was inducted in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1987 as an early influencer, grew up in Dallas. He started playing publicly with his step father as a young boy and was a “lead boy” – likely an assistant – to Blind Lemon Jefferson, an even earlier influencer of American music.
The bio at the hall of fame webesite starts with a quote from B.B. King, who said that he was inspired by Walker and “Story Monday.” That’s quite a testimonial. The last paragraph of the piece sums it up nicely:
T-Bone Walker’s single-string solos influenced blues players like B.B. King and such rockers as Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughan. As Pete Welding wrote: “T-Bone Walker is the fundamental source of the modern urban style of playing and singing the blues. The blues was different before he came onto the scene, and it hasn’t been the same since.”
Walker died in 1975. Above is “Don’t Throw Your Love on Me So Strong” and below is “Stormy Monday.”