Tuesday, September 7, 2010
The Jazz Lexicon of Expressive Grunts by Steve Provizer
So-Maybe our sexually permissive culture has cleared the way for greater freedom of The Gutteral Utterance. At least, women tennis players now feel free to let it rip. But jazz musicians have long had a lot to say that has nothing to do with lyrics or, for that matter, with any known language. Because it's hard to vocalize with a mouthpiece on your chops or a reed in your mouth, letting loose with vocal ejaculations has been pretty much limited to piano and guitar players. Today we'll stick to pianists. Monk has kind of a squeeky, small parallel inner voice; Jaki Byard intones a kind of sprechstimme; Bud provides simultaneous commentary in a different tempo; Keith Jarrett sounds like someone keeps moving tacks around on his piano bench; Cecil Taylor actually sometimes stops playing to make sure his hearty vocalisms have room to breathe. John Lewis is a lip purser and looks like he's working hard to control a slow leak. Lennie Tristano sounds like he's working on a degree in Esperanto. As far as the striders go: well-piano rolls could never tell the story about Lucky, Willie The Lion, James P., Eubie, because they only told half their story on the keyboard. The other half came out of their mouths; more or less garbled, depending on whether there was a stogie stuck in their mouth... It would be interesting to strip off the music and see if you could tell who was uncorking what. I'm liking the little band of miscreants who make this website hum...Who else ya got for me, boys?