Rafi Zabor’s Updoc, Fri 9/25 & Tues 9/29

BookGarn 2

Booker Ervin never blinked. At least that’s the memory I have of him: unmoving body, statuary face with two-pronged moustache, fingers racing but minimal, a high-cry sear of intensity pouring out his horn and his eyes steely and unvariable as two firmly chambered bullets. When I started doing these shows on taintradio.org—8PM Fridays and noon the Tuesday after, Greenwich Village jam session time—I could barely get through a show without playing a piece of him, but it’s been a while; which may help explain why, when I started off this week with some present-day young trumpeters like Josh Evans and Ambrose Akinmusire, then cycled through peak-period Freddie Hubbard and Woody Shaw—the link was Larry Young’s organ on The Moontrane—I ended up with Ervin playing with the way-too-unremembered organist Don Patterson on Johnny Comes Marching Home. From there it was a short step to Ervin’s Day to Mourn and his turn on Mingus’ Prayer for Passive Resistance. Also encountered en route: Bill Barron’s big-shouldered tenor work and, as summer into autumn slips, Branford Marsalis’s gorgeous ballad of the same name. After that? How can one not celebrate the expanded reissue of Erroll Garner’s Concert by the Sea, then relapse into the balm-from-better-than-Gilead of Mozart’s A-major piano concerto in a fluent performance by Richard Goode and the responsive, unconducted Orpheus chamber orchestra? You could do worse than drop by for a couple of hours of this, I bet.

3 Responses to “Rafi Zabor’s Updoc, Fri 9/25 & Tues 9/29”

  1. Ah balls, I was late! Got here midway thru “Johnny Comes Marching Home.”

    I do remember an earlier show when you played something from ‘The Freedom Book’ which I did not already have and purchased shortly thereafter.

    According to Randy Weston, when they played “Portrait of Vivian” (Monterey ’66), Ervin was so moved after his solo that there were tears in his eyes.

  2. The Freedom Book’s a classic, front to back and all included, and I’m moved to hear that story about Booker Ervin at Monterey. Makes me wish it had been recorded, of course; but I was always moved to the core by what he played. Thanks for the memory

  3. Mr. Z, Monterey ’66 was indeed recorded — no longer in print, but not as expensive as it was for a while, either: amzn.com/B0000046QO