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Monday, November 19, 2012

Conference of the Birds

Yesterday afternoon I attended an excellent jazz concert at the University of Maryland which featured performances by two of the professors in their jazz program within the music department. The concert was appropriately titled "The Jazz Professors" and was as educational as it was entertaining.

Before each number, one of the professors would give a short talk about the piece, the composer, and the significance to the history of the music. The pieces were performed in more or less chronological sequence beginning with Jelly Roll Morton's "Dead Man Blues", a song probably about a hundred years old.

One of the last songs on the program was composed by bassist Dave Holland in 1972, and I listened to that album often in those years. Although until yesterday I probably haven't heard it in 30 years, I always found the melody of "Conference of the Birds" so haunting I can summon it into my mind's ear anytime. It was a real treat to hear it live.

Link to listen to the original.


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