Along Came Tootie


(Albert Heath behind David King's Ellis drums at soundcheck.)

Tonight: Ben Street, Tootie Heath, and me broadcast from the Village Vanguard for NPR's The Checkout. Matt Wilson will be the MC, foreshadowing The Checkout next month with  Matt's Arts and Crafts.

Although we are playing better now, 2009 Smalls recordings of  "Good Bait" and "A Flower Is a Lovesome Thing" can be heard at an older Destination: OUT! post

Tootie's DTM interview is here.


Last night we played ten tunes a set, as if it was 1960 again.

Set one

South Hampton (my blues for Hawes)
Nice Work If You Can Get It (Gershwin)
How Insensitive (Jobim)
No Moe (Rollins)
Shiny Stockings (Foster)
The Charleston (Johnson)
Memories of You (Blake)
Fire Waltz (Waldron)
Along Came Betty (Golson)
It Should've Happened A Long Time Ago (Motian)

Set two

The Intimacy of the Blues (Strayhorn)
The Best Thing For You (Berlin)
Violets For Your Furs (Dennis)
Stompin' At The Savoy (Sampson)
Song for My Father (Silver)
Con Alma (Gillespie)
Hot House (Dameron)
How Long Has This Been Going On (Gershwin)
Reets 'n I (Harris)
It Should've Happened A Long Time Ago (Motian)

Ben and I definitely have an opinion and a private language about this material, but there's no doubt the star is the drummer. Just hearing how Tootie plays the heads is extraordinary. He uses a second-line for "The Charleston," a deep slow samba for "Con Alma," and African mallet patterns for "It Should've Happened A Long Time Ago." At least that's what he did last night; tonight he may do something different.

"Violets For Your Furs" is relatively new to my repertoire. When I asked Marcus Belgrave to play a duo ballad with me at a Stanford Jazz workshop faculty concert last year, he suggested this late 40's Matt Dennis/Tom Adair torch song. I hastily learned it from Sinatra and Coltrane. The latter is from Coltrane's first record as a leader with teenager Tootie Heath on drums.

We will be at the club through Sunday.


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