All that Jazz

02 Oct 2009
Posted by timecurve

Since in my last post I swung the pendulum all the way over to 12-tone music and my love of Anton Webern, I thought it might be a good idea to let it swing back in the opposite direction toward jazz, another of my loves since childhood. And thanks to Twitter, I've begun following a fabulous bass player named Jon Burr, so I thought I'd shine the spotlight on him for a moment. I actually met Jon once in the mid 90's at Birdland when he was playing a gig with my friend, pianist Jim Balagurchik. But that was only a chance meeting and he would have no reason to remember it. What called Jon to my attention again was a video he recently posted on YouTube and announced on Twitter, a duo with singer Lynn Stein on Never My Love. Now you might think that a vocal and string bass duo would sound a bit thin, but let me assure you, it's not at all. This is one of the most musical renditions I've come across in years and I've found myself, not only returning to it time and time again, but also recommending it to friends. It's beautiful. What a delight! And because I got interested in the duo, I started checking out Jon at his website and looking for other performances of his on YouTube. I discovered, for instance, that Jon, who grew up in the New York area, sat in with Charles Mingus at the Village Vanguard when he was sixteen, that Chet Baker and Stan Getz played his music, and that he accompanied Tony Bennett and Eartha Kitt among many others. Today, he leads the Jon Burr Band and if you get a chance to hear them, take it. But what I plan to do as soon as I get back to New York is find out where Jon and Lynn are playing and go hear them live. In the meantime, if you'd like to listen to my favorites of what I've found on YouTube, here's Jon playing a solo version of Making Whoopee, and here he is playing I'll Remember April with Tony Bennett and Buddy Rich. It all looks so effortless, but you know it's not. What a talent. What a breath of fresh air.