So here was a tendency: self-immersions, burials, entrapments, irritating provocations, projects with a built-in self-destruct button, all in the name of asking a better question. But whenever one proclaims a tendency in culture, one had better be prepared to find the opposite tendency at the same time. Sure enough, one could: plenty of joyous, communal, repetitive music, but similarly intense, and similarly resisting the concept of a leader, or a hero.
Jazz legend Dave Brubeck’s house has eight bedrooms, five and a half bathrooms, and at least four pianos. It’s not clear whether the latter, or the Nakashima furniture, is included in the $2.75 million price tag.
Dave and Iola Brubeck hired an unknown young architect, Beverly David Thorne, to design their first house, completed in 1954, in Oakland, California. When they moved east, Thorne also designed their Connecticut house. He “often slept outdoors on the property in a sleeping bag while designing the house to chart where the sun emerged in the sky each day so he could best position the structure for maximum sun exposure during season changes,” according to Brubeck. The house was completed around the same time Thorne designed Case Study House #26 in California.
Releasing this week: Ella: The Lost Berlin Tapes. Not to be confused with her legendary 1960 Berlin concert, or her other, formerly lost, 1961 Berlin concert, this is a never-before-heard-on-record 1962 live performance.
In her 1960 show, Ella Fitzgerald famously forgot some of the words to Mack the Knife and seamlessly improvised new lyrics. In 1962, those lines about Bobby Darin and Louis Armstrong are deliberately repeated, but there’s a different moment of “imperfect perfection” (or is it perfect imperfection?) as Giovanni Russonello describes in his New York Times review: “Ella: The Lost Berlin Tapes,” a newly unearthed 1962 performance. You can hear that song, and that moment, in the video below.
Finally finished Volume 2 of Gary Giddins’ masterful biography of Bing Crosby. To celebrate, here’s Bing singing It’s Been a Long, Long Time. Inspired by VE Day in 1945, Bing’s version, featuring Les Paul on guitar and not much else, hit #1 on the charts in December of that year. According to Giddins, “Bing saw immediately that the lyric worked equally well as the entreaty of Odysseus to Penelope or Penelope to Odysseus.”
Jazz provoked reactions ranging from devotion to abhorrence when the idea, and then the sound, of the music first entered the consciousness of the British public in the aftermath of the First World War. Visiting American groups such as the Original Dixieland Jazz Band and the Southern Syncopated Orchestra offered Britons their first chance to experience the music live.
The growing interest in jazz brought black and white musicians, artists and audiences together, and was crucial in influencing changes in British society, moving from stereotypes descended from the minstrel show to a more nuanced understanding of and interest in African American and black British culture.
The exhibition brings together painting, prints, cartoons, textiles and ceramics, moving film, instruments and the all-important jazz sound, to explicitly examine the influence of jazz on British art, design and wider society.