(I don’t remember this but apparently I wrote it in 2017)
The massive, incredibly rare instrument is over 11 feet tall with a range so deep it goes lower than humans can hear.
Octobass Atlas Obscura
Notes not above but below our hearing. Groovy. It won’t make the dogs howl, but it might piss off the pachyderms. Indeed, Jimmy Garrison began A Love Supreme on the octobass and before Trane could blow a single three hour solo a herd of crazed elephants charged into the studio and pulverized Elvin’s kit into something like Rashied Ali. They were trumpeting and roaring and stomping and Ascension was recorded then and there. Remember hearing Jimmy Garrison’s side long bass solo? Of course you don’t, it was on the octobass. He later repeated John Cage’s favorite parts on a jazzed up 4’33. It was the only time in jazz history that the people at the bar shut up during the bass solo. No one could hear a thing from the bass but Moby Dick said he whaled.
Incredibly great photo of Elvin Jones. The photographer had quite an eye, and would have crouched low on the stage looking up and waiting for the exact moment when Elvin’s face appeared between tom and cymbal. This is instantly one of my favorite jazz photographs ever (is it off an LP jacket, have I seen it before?), and thanks to drummer Fritz Wise for passing it along.
I’ve always thought the best jazz shots–hell, the bet shots of any music–came when the photographer got in groove with the players, and for a moment it’s like the photographer is one with the band, snapping pictures in perfect time.
The great Elvin Jones, though that flat monosyllabic great doesn’t quite do the man justice. You need polysyllables in polyrhythmic meter to describe Elvin Jones, but that’s poetry, and this is a caption. No idea who took the shot, if anyone knows please pass it along so I can credit.
I had Plastic Bertrand going through my head all day yesterday, Someone said it was his birthday (I was never quite sure that there actually was a Plastic Bertrand…I thought it was Lou Deprijk) and shared a video which I watched nostalgically. Bad mistake. All day long I had Plastic Bertrand going through my head. Which is harmless enough–It could have been Bohemian Rhapsody or Free Bird or I Know What Boys Like–except that I would find myself saying aloud (in a French monotone) Ca Plane Pour Moi moi moi moi moi, Ca Plane Pour Moi. If I didn’t catch myself I’d do a couple choruses. This went on for hours. I ignored it. Last night I’d put on Joe Henderson’s Inner Urge. The title cut is one of my favorite jazz tunes ever. I can’t really express what it means to me, it’s beyond words. The lights were out and I sat in the dark and Joe was blowing and blowing and the tempo was crazy and McCoy Tyner’s left hand came down in crazy comps and Elvin Jones drop kicked and danced across the cymbals. Each soloed. Bob Cranshaw’s turn came and the bass was down, solid, grooving. Then expressive. Exploring. The music grew hushed. The room was silent. I closed my eyes and laid back awaiting Joe’s tenor return. It’s one of those jazz moments where space and silence means so much. It was just perfect. Everything silent except for the bass. And in that absolute quiet, that zen perfection, I heard another sound. It was a voice, my own voice. “Ca Plane Pour Moi” I sang, “Ca Plane Pour Moi moi moi moi moi….”