DCZards wrote:Clifford Brown, pif. We could hang out. I'm currently learning to play the classic "I Remember Clifford" on piano. It was written by Benny Golson in honor of Brown, who died in a car accident when he was in his 20s.
My favorite version of "I Remember Clifford" is the one sung by Dinah Washington.
Well, young man, I first heard Dinah live in 1960 (she & Ray Charles sang a duet which provided me with my only pre-drugs out-of-body experience): https://soul-concerts.fandom.com/wiki/March_25,_1960_Civic_Opera_House,_Chicago,_IL
As a teenager, I was a regular at the Sutherland Lounge (google it if you don't know it) where I was called "Junior". I heard... well...everybody. Monk, Ornette on his first tour of clubs, Miles many times (with Coltrane of course), Blakey & the Jazz Messengers. I bought Miles Davis a drink there when I was 15. You probably know who Rahsaan Roland Kirk was, but I'm going to bet that you never sat about 8 feet from him as he played 3 saxophones simultaneously.
I heard the Jazz Messengers play "I Remember Clifford" at another club in Chicago some time in 1958, & it's mostly Lee Morgan's trumpet I associate with the tune. Benny Golson was the saxophonist & musical director at the time. Lee Morgan didn't really sound much like Clifford. Not a criticism: nobody did. Morgan came right out of Dizzy. He'd played in his band when he was no more than 19. He was a good player. Here they are doing the tune around that time:
When Benny Golson & Art Farmer formed their own group, the Jazztet (whom I also heard live a couple of times -- at the Modern Jazz Room, just North of downtown Chicago), I Remember Clifford became one of their staples. Art Farmer was never one of my favorites, but his tone was more Clifford-like (tho... in fact I think he plays it on flugelhorn, which brings the sound a little closer to Clifford's fat, Armstrong-like tone):
The closest thing to this tune that Clifford himself ever played was "Time," off that same album at Basin Street:
It's a beautiful composition by Richie Powell, Bud's young brother & the pianist in the Roach/Brown quintet. Richie died in the same accident that claimed Clifford. He was a couple of months from turning 25. There are few who remember him, but... I do.
When I think about these guys, or any who die young, I also think of the great Romantic poet John Keats, who died at 25. In the weeks & months after his death, Shelley wrote a memorial ode for him, called Adonais. It ends with these 2 stanzas:
That Light whose smile kindles the Universe,
That Beauty in which all things work and move,
That Benediction which the eclipsing Curse
Of birth can quench not, that sustaining Love
Which through the web of being blindly wove
By man and beast and earth and air and sea,
Burns bright or dim, as each are mirrors of
The fire for which all thirst, now beams on me,
Consuming the last clouds of cold mortality.
The breath whose might I have invoked in song
Descends on me; my spirit's bark is driven
Far from the shore, far from the trembling throng
Whose sails were never to the tempest given;
The massy earth and sphered skies are riven!
I am borne darkly, fearfully, afar;
Whilst, burning through the inmost veil of Heaven,
The soul of Adonais, like a star,
Beacons from the abode where the Eternal are.
Some months later Shelley himself died, sailing in a storm. He was 29. I'll leave it there.
Remember -- if you don't like the post above: blame Doc not me.