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Sound Ideas #24 - Straight Talk
Welcome to an hour of straight talking jazz. Thanks for checking us out.
Artist Track Album
John Pizzarelli Rhythm is our Business Our Love Is Here to Stay
Louis Prima Banana Split Capitol Collectors Series
Dave Frishberg Slapping the Cakes on Me Dave Frishberg Classics
Giacomo Gates The Blues Are out of Town Luminosity
Jimmy Smith Fungi Mama Retrospective
Ken Nordine My Baby Word Jazz
Nicholas Payton Li'l Duke's Strut Payton's Place
Joe Henderson Without a Song The Kicker
Regina Carter Beau Regard Regina Carter
Mose Allison Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone Takes to the Hills
Wayne Shorter Infant Eyes Speak No Evil
John Pizzarelli Just a Skosh New Standards

Straight talking has a couple of meaning and variants; it can be akin to V. S .O. P. (a mark of purity) or it can manifest as kidding on the square (joking around with serious intent). Straight talking jazz can occur at the lyrical level or at the harmonic and chord progression level. In either case, it doesn't take long for the listener to realize that he/she is hearing some straight talk.

John Pizzarelli while technically very proficient has an honesty in his playing that is never lost even during pyrotechnic displays of virtuousity. In our first set he is teamed with a hard driving big band, courtesy of Don Sebesky.

Our second set features three songs whose on the surface telling differs from the true message beneath. Perhaps the most effective way of putting one down is through sweetness and innocence, and Louis, Dave, and GIacomo illustrate just how that is done with a subtle swinging style.

Jimmy Smith and Nicolas Payton deliver some instrumental straight talk, with the kind of tunes that you know from the downbeat you are not going to hear any BS and stories being told will an deliver honest impact on your emotions. Ken Nordine also slips in another word play where what you assume to be the topic at hand, is in fact, something complete different.

Joe Henderson plays a standard, fairly straight, from an album that is not as well known as some others from that era but which maintains the intensity of exactly who Joe Henderson was. Regina Carter speaks straight from the bow and Wayne Shorter delivers a quiet ballad that can fill the expanse of any the room, dripping with emotional beauty. Rounding out the hour, John gives us one more tune, this time sans vocal, and it's a nice simple direct execution of swinging genius.

The jazz musician is a story teller. Some stories are more obvious through vocal work; others come from the sounds emanating from the instruments. But as with much in life, you can generally tell if you are being told the truth, given a line, or receiving a complete fabrication. Straight talk, while sometimes words that we don't want to hear, is generally what we need to hear. In the case of music, straight talking jazz is probably the best account of the human condition being told.