10-19a: Son House 1941-1942 Library of Congress - Jacqueline Du Pré : Elgar | Delius | Saint-Saëns 1

1758 – Johan Helmich Roman (Swedish composer, the "Father of Swedish Music")
1786 – Pietro Alessandro Pavona (Italian organist, composer & church music director)
1932 – Arthur Friedheim [Артур Фридхайм] (Russian pianist, conductor & composer, active in Britain, the United States & Canada, pupil of Liszt)
1956 – Isham Jones (American jazz bandleader, saxophonist, bassist & songwriter, "It Had To Be You")
1959 – Stanley Bate (English composer & pianist)
1960 – Günter Raphael (German composer & music editor)
1961 – John Fernström (Swedish composer, conductor, teacher, violinist, poet & author)
1987 – Jacqueline du Pré (English cellist, spouse of Daniel Barenboim)
1988 – Son House (American blues singer, guitarist & songwriter)
1992 – Maurice le Roux (French conductor & composer, pupil of Messiaen, known for soundtracks)
1995 – Don Cherry (American jazz pocket trumpeter, cornetist, pianist & composer)
1997 – Glen Buxton (American rock guitarist & songwriter, Alice Cooper)
2000 – Hortense Ellis (Jamaican reggae singer, younger sister of Alton)
2005 – Dallas Cook (American ska-punk trombonist, Suburban Legends)

Jacqueline du Pré, Son House, and Don Cherry. There are three names that likely wouldn't be mentioned in the same book, much less in the same phrase, if it weren't for October the 19th. But they do have one other thing in common, which is that all of these musicians were at the absolute top of the heap within their respective genres - namely, classical violoncello, Delta blues, and avant-garde jazz. Let's examine the three of them chronologically, but according to year of birth, rather than year of death, as above.

Son House was not from that very first generation of Delta bluesman who were born in the 1880s and 90s, and which was occupied by the original himself, Mr. Charlie Patton. However, with a birthdate of 1902 he lay, along with Skip James, in a middle-ground between Patton's generation and that second generation of Delta bluesman, represented most famously by Robert Johnson (b. 1911). But any way you wanna slice it, it cannot be denied that with Son House's passing in 1988, it really was the end of an era, because it meant that the very last of the old-time Delta bluesman who'd made their first commercial recordings in the 1920s was now gone.

And what a great bluesman he was. Often using a slide on his National steel guitar, House infused his fervent vocal performances with a rare amount of borrowings from the style of 19th-century black spirituals, and the hypnotic repetitiousness of plantation work songs. It may represent as close a performance style as many 20th-century performers ever got to the proto-blues of those years before recording technology existed, or before people who had access to such technology thought music of this sort was worth using it for.

Don Cherry, player of both the tiny pocket trumpet and the normal-sized cornet, was one of the pivotal figures in some of the most exciting developments in avant-garde jazz in the 1960s thru 80s. He's most associated with the free jazz of Ornette Coleman, nine of whose albums he played on between the late 50s and early 70s. He also appeared with Charlie Haden's Liberation Music Orchestra, and was one of many players to appear on Carla Bley's avant-garde jazz opera Escalator Over The Hill.

But Cherry also led a couple dozen visionary sessions of his own, in which his musical explorations led him to what would become known as "global fusion," a style which signaled jazz finally dissolving into the larger world of music, incorporating not just jazz and rock but potentially all music of all peoples into its improvisational framework. In the hands of Cherry, and similarly-minded individuals, jazz was now becoming not just the music of African-Americans, and of hip and educated European-Americans, but of the whole planet.

(more on Jackie later...)


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