From the Wall Street Journal: “This Lick Is Like a 1956 Cadillac”

The Wall Street Journal has become one of the best sources for great writing on the subject of Jazz. Here is the latest great piece from today’s paper.

This is copyright protected, so just a riff.


” ‘What’s jazz? That’s a whole ‘nother bag,’ says Kurt Elling, the award-winning singer from Chicago. Nominally based in New York, he spends more than two-thirds of the year on the road and is giving a series of concerts in Britain over the next four days. ‘That’s a netful of questions, brother.’

Kurt Elling

Tommy Smith, the saxophonist who directs the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra, with which Mr. Elling is performing, advances another theory. The roots of jazz, he suggests, may lie in part in the call-and-response Gaelic Psalms of the Scottish Hebrides. ‘It was the Highland Clearances and the exodus from Ireland that sent that music to America. That’s not my idea,’ he adds. ‘It’s from Willie Ruff, who was Miles Davis’s bassist. He went to Lewis and recorded all this stuff and when he took it home to black Gospel churches, they thought it was their music.’

Tommy Smith

Read the full article here.