Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Yes, You Like Jazz, #3: "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat"

I would estimate that the jazz canon is half to two thirds made up of titles from what is called The Great American Songbook, with the rest being standards composed by jazz musicians for performance with their groups. "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat" by Charles Mingus falls in the latter category. One of the great melodies in any genre of 20th century music, the piece is an elegy for the great tenor sax innovator Lester Young, whose signature sartorial item was the hat of the song's title. This performance is at once limpid and, on occasion, slightly dissonant. The opening of the sax solo has never failed to move me. Perfection. Incidentally, the cover by S. Neil Fujita is one of my very favorites.

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