Cell Phones and Jazz

“The fourth song was a solo showcase for the trumpeter, who, I could now see, was indeed Wynton Marsalis, but who no more sounded than looked like what I expected. He played a ballad, ‘I Don’t Stand a Ghost of a Chance With You,’ unaccompanied. Written by Victor Young, a film-score composer, for a 1930s romance, the piece can bring out the sadness in any scene, and Marsalis appeared deeply attuned to its melancholy. He performed the song in murmurs and sighs, at points nearly talking the words in notes. It was a wrenching act of creative expression. When he reached the climax, Marsalis played the final phrase, the title statement, in declarative tones, allowing each successive note to linger in the air a bit longer. ‘I don’t stand … a ghost … of … a … chance …’ The room was silent until, at the most dramatic point, someone’s cell phone went off, blaring a rapid singsong melody in electronic bleeps. People started giggling and picking up their drinks. The moment—the whole performance—unraveled. Marsalis paused for a beat, motionless, and his eyebrows arched. I scrawled on a sheet of notepaper, MAGIC, RUINED. The cell-phone offender scooted into the hall as the chatter in the room grew louder. Still frozen at the microphone, Marsalis replayed the silly cell-phone melody note for note. Then he repeated it, and began improvising variations on the tune. The audience slowly came back to him. In a few minutes he resolved the improvisation—which had changed keys once or twice and throttled down to a ballad tempo—and ended up exactly where he had left off: ‘with … you …’ The ovation was tremendous.”
– David Hadju, “Wynton’s Blues,” The Atlantic, March 2003

“What I remember most was that while Monk was playing with his quartet a small plane flew over the fair grounds and its motor turned in a rhythm that Monk picked up and played with until tenor saxophonist Charlie Rouse heard it and then drummer Ben Riley.”
– Stanley Crouch, Considering Genius

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2 Responses to Cell Phones and Jazz

  1. Pingback: Nobility and Noise | Billy and Dad's Music Emporium

  2. Mary says:

    I have a list of names, all of them better than Thelonious Monk. P.S Why haven’t you gotten anything up for the holidays. Have you heard the dreidel version of Dynamite? Usually I don’t listen to that kind of stuff, but I heard it during a holiday party.

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