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Jean Shepherd's 'Night People' Attend Jazz Concert at a Theatre in 'Village'
Original Article

The "night people" who follow the radio broadcasts of Jean Shepherd assembled Saturday at midnight at Lowe's Sheridan Theatre to hear a jazz concert presided over by their leader. Mr. Shepherd's program included two of the more provocative current jazz groups, the Charles Mingus Jazz Workshop and the Jazz Modes, as well as a singer, Anita O'Day, who appears to have reached solid ground in her determined efforts to achieve a comback. The special forte of Mr. Mingus is carefully organized chaos, an effort he achieves by piling up staccato trombone blurbs and saxaphone squawks which are accented by his own hortatory falsetto cries and relieved occasionally by short instrumental solos. Both his "Haitian Fight Song" and "Tiajuana Table Dance" were developed in this manner; while there is no denying that Mr. Mingus makes compelling use of it, repetition soon dulls its effectiveness. The mellow quality of the Jazz Modes was in striking contrast to Mr. Mingus' work. The joint leaders of the Modes are Julius Watkins, French horn, and Charlie Rouse, tenor saxophone. The blending of their instruments gives the group's playing an unusual sound. They made particularly good use of the subtle tonal colorings open to them in "Moods in Motion," a selection that managed to combine a haunting, blues-tinged feeling with a strongly pulsant beat. Mis O'Day had to contend with a tempermental microphone but even this could not dim her increasing stature as an entertainer. This is what she must be judged as today, for her singing is reduced to little more than a very mannered device for breaking down a set of lyrics to a series of shattered syllables. But her manner of projecting these broken syllables with practically no voice and often at extremely fast tempos, is calculatedly amusing and full of a spirited sense of the dramatic. The program also included Don Elliot's Quartet, Sonny Rollin's Trio, saxaphonist Zoot Sims and trumpeter Chet Baker.

Copyright: 1957 New York Times


December 09,1957
New York Times

Courtesy: Pete Delaney

3149 (19571209A)