Ladies and Gentlemen! An extra big Daylglo Salute, if you please for the first DJ for 2014; an old friend from deep in the last century, from the deep south, from deepest Dunedin! A man of profound (deep even) musical convictions and a comprehensive knowledge of music of all sorts. He is that very very rare thing these days -- a (vaguely) left wing economist. And that even rarer thing -- an economist that is an extraordinarily gifted musician. He is also that very very common thing -- an economist that is completely unable to dance. Nevertheless, not known as ‚ÄúNimbleknuckels‚Äù for nothing....wait, say that phrase out loud all of you, it's too good... Not Known as Nimbleknuckles for Nothing...thank you, thank you. Yes, Hazledine has always astonished us with his preternatural gifts on the piano. But he has been even more astounding when he stands up and becomes a rare voice of sweet reason, all these years -- these dark years of market driven idiocy and rampant greed....anyway, ahem, no politics here, it's paaatay time back in the old Dayglo, and here he is, a museo of impeccable taste, a DJ of rare distinction, a man whom we have seen and heard play Coltrane and Mingus and Oscar Peterson and Fats Waller and Ray Charles and just as memorably Joe Cocker or Jagger/Richards. Utterly unique, a good egg and a fine musician -- Ladies and Gentlemen, a big hand for Professor Tim Hazledine!
My earliest memory of the proprietor is going to his house in the school holidays, around 1964 or 65, listening to soul and R&B records, of which Sam was an early and prescient collector. I can't remember what tracks we spun, but they could have included this great funk blues with Maceo Parker's rhythm baritone sax and guitarist Jimmy Nolen's punctuating “scratch” rolls. B-side even better -- same song, more solos. To be played loud -- very loud.
Another fine guitarist is the Canadian “Famous Amos” Garrett. His gorgeously filigreed solo on this charming “art rock” 1974 hit by Maria Muldaur should be on every household's list of the ten top instrumental solos in rock music. Muldaur played Ronnie Scott's Club in 1975. Oasis was her only hit and was used as the closer for both sets. I was curious whether Famous Amos could play his own solo live -- first set: not quite; second set: even less quite. And checking out YouTube it seems that Maria found it too hard to sing, live! Never mind -- stay with the 1974 recording.
Also from the Canadian prairies is the truly great Joni Mitchell, who has absolutely no problem with live performance, as she shows on this 1974 live solo rendition, accompanying herself on a zithery thingy. If Graham Nash had done nothing else (and of course he has -- check out his chirpy autobiography Wild Tales) than break up with Joni to inspire this song, then his time on earth would have been well worthwhile. When Joni interpolates -- I know not why -- the first two words of her national anthem -- O Canada -- I get goose-bumps. Even now, when I don't live in Canada any more.
The recent movie Twenty Feet from Stardom, on female backing singers, has been doing well with its theme of talent unluckily thwarted from solo stardom. However, when you hear these splendid and skilful musicians sing solo you can understand why they couldn't track those extra twenty steps across the stage. As (I think) Sting says in the film: “The world's already got its blues-gospel screamer -- Aretha”. I found her Respect/Feelgood single remaindered in a Christchurch music store in 1969. The A-side is a screamer, and I've never really liked it much. But when I turned over and heard Aretha lay down that magnificent G7 chord on her Steinway -- well, I hardly dared breathe for the next two and a half minutes. I rushed back to the store and bought up all the copies -- about a dozen -- and distributed them to my friends, probably including Sam, who was at Canterbury Uni then.
No, I don't know who she is, either. But here's one for the backing singers, on this beautifully balanced Smokey Robinson song, recorded with the original “Funk Brothers” session musicians in the original tacky Detroit basement studio for the glorious film Standing in the Shadows of Motown. I've got the DVD of this, given to me by a grateful student (don't ask), and I play it loud, alone. Or on the phones, as you can -- there is so much wonder here, such as the bootin' baritone solo by the great Tom Scott on Heatwave, etc etc.
Who invented Rock 'n Roll? The proprietor's pioneering musicological investigations have deepened our knowledge here. When “resting” between acting gigs, he would compile cassettes of under-appreciated musicians -- old and new -- and distribute these to his buddies, under titles such as “Sam's Reprobate Music”. I was introduced to much good stuff this way, including the rollicking early R&B of the singer and alto saxophonist Louis Jordan -- forerunner of the Bill Haley school of Rock, if not Elvis.
Simply, perfect. No-one has ever sung better and no-one has ever played the piano better than Nina Simone in this recording from the 1960 Newport Jazz Festival. Bask in it.
Two years before Nina, the photographer Bert Stern filmed his much loved documentary of the 1958 Newport Festival, Jazz on a Summer's Day. YouTube it for the outrageously cool Jimmy Giuffre and Bob Brookmeyer (major influences on Fat Freddy's Drop), for the simply outrageous Anita O'Day, et al, but perhaps finish as the Festival and the movie did, with the Sunday midnight set by the great gospel singer and her totally phenomenal rocking pianist.
Jazz has produced two piano virtuosi -- the Canadian Oscar Peterson, and the blind American Art Tatum (ok, Bill Evans could play a bit). Tatum is the creative genius here, but Peterson, is very, very good. Because he repeats himself, you only need one Peterson album, and Night Train is it, especially for its interplay between piano and the impeccable bassist Ray Brown. Try the tender and majestic Hymn to Freedom; try Honeydripper… try it all.
All-time best pop/rock/R&B/Soul cut? This is my choice. You may differ. But we must agree that music -- popular music -- was the greatest achievement of the twentieth century, along with Keynesian economics, movies, and the perfection of the vintner's art, yes?
Sale of Liquor License Ref: OF129
Licence No. 67/OFF/30/2022
Expires 24th August 2025