The World According to Keitho

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Archive for December, 2017

How is this possible? Art Tatum

Posted by keithosaunders on December 15, 2017

Art Tatum was, arguably, not only the greatest jazz pianist of all time, but the greatest pianist period.  He is responsible for influencing Charlie Parker, who took a job as a dishwasher at a restaurant that Tatum was appearing at merely to be close to the man. Tatum also had a profound effect on Bud Powell, hence every single subsequent jazz pianist.

Tatum, born October 13th 1909 in Toledo, Ohio, came of age in the swing era, a good ten years before the be-bop revolution.  Though he emerged in an earlier era,  his harmonic sense – his voicings, as well as re-harmonization of songs –  is as modern, if not more so than that of anyone who proceeded him.  His technique is flawless and he sounds just as comfortable at breakneck tempos (see Liza) as he does when he plays a ballad.

There are two facets of his playing that have always astounded me.  One is his impeccable time.  No matter how complicated and ornate a run he plays he never drops a beat.  His sense of pulse is a thing of wonder.

Then there is his gift of harmony.  It’s easy to be hypnotized by his Olympian technique, but listen a little closer and you will hear intricate re-harmonizations – chords that flow into one another with deft ease, sometimes on every beat. They are beautiful to behold, but difficult for the laymen (read 99.99 % of us) to grasp, and hence nearly impossible to assimilate.

Listen to Moon Song.  At 3:11 you’ll hear Tatum launch into one of his impossible runs, his right hand a whirling dervish, while his left hand stride solidly holds down the time.  He doesn’t complete the run until 3:18 at which point the audience breaks into spontaneous laughter.  They can’t believe he has stuck the landing!


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Get Keiller!

Posted by keithosaunders on December 5, 2017

I hated A Prairie Home Companion,  Garrison Keillor’s long running Minnesota Public Radio show.  The sound of his voice was like nails on a chalkboard to me.  He was one of those guys who thought he was funny but wasn’t.  I am incensed, however, that the fact that he put his hands on a woman’s bare back (several years ago!) led to his firing.

Alleged improper behavior, read the headline.  We have now reached the point where the crime doesn’t even have to be cited.  This reminds of the Twilight Zone in which a mob in a small mid-American town runs around in a panic accusing people of being aliens.

For far too long people in power have gotten away with murder.  People such as Harvey Weinstein, Roy Moore or Kevin Spacey should lose their jobs and possibly serve prison time.  But I’m not about to put Al Franken, Keillor, or even Louis C.K  in their class.  In Keillor’s case the punishment most certainly does not fit the crime.  Until the orangutan in the Oval office has to answer to his *proven* improper behavior I don’t want to hear about the Keillors or the Frankens.

If we must have mob rule why can’t George Steinbrenner be alive now? And how is Rudy Giuliani getting off scott free?

I’ll be looking forward to tomorrow’s allegations against Tom Hanks. It will take my mind off of my impending tax increase.

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