People have always gazed at the moon and let their imaginations soar. We see the man in the moon and blue moons and we guess that the moon is made of cheese. The moon is heavily featured in folk tales, creation stories, sacred scripture and myths from every culture in the world. And we all enjoy the simple pleasure of gazing at our nearest neighbor in the solar system, and wondering what it would be like to be up there looking down, instead of up.
From “It's Only a Paper Moon” to “Blue Moon" to “Moonglow,” the lunar landscape as seen from planet earth has provided loads of inspiration for jazz musicians and composers.
This week, Riverwalk Jazz celebrates the Harvest Moon as vocalists Topsy Chapman and Rebecca Kilgore, saxophonist Harry Allen and piano legend Dick Hyman join The Jim Cullum Jazz Band for a concert of jazz for a moonlight stroll on a late summer night.
New Orleans vocalist Topsy Chapman offers two songs made famous by Billie Holiday, "What a Little Moonlight Can Do" and "I Wished on the Moon." The 1920s' novelty tune "Get Out and Get Under the Moon" gets a rousing treatment by the piano duo of John Sheridan and Dick Hyman. And Arbors recording artist Rebecca Kilgore sings the steamy, minor-keyed Artie Shaw hit "Moon Ray."
The moon is notorious for inspiring even the most cynical minds with thoughts of romance and love. Maybe it's because Luna, the wife of Zeus and the goddess said to govern the moon, had some 50 children.
The Jim Cullum Jazz Band and their guests provide a set of romantic jazz standards. A 1930s' collaboration between Django Reinhardt and American trumpeter Bill Coleman is the inspiration for the band's rendition of the well-known Fields and McHugh standard "I'm In the Mood for Love" performed here with Bay Area guitarist and Django-phile Paul Mehling. And New Jersey-based saxophonist Harry Allen shows us the romantic, breath-y, understated approach sometimes called 'fu-fu tenor' on "These Foolish Things."
Rounding out this Riverwalk Jazz Harvest Moon Concert, clarinetist Ron Hockett takes center stage on the Harry Warren/Mack Gordon composition, "I Had the Craziest Dream," and piano legend Dick Hyman presents his solo piano interpretation of the jazz standard "How High the Moon."
Photo credit for Home Page: "Get Out and Get Under the Moon" sheet music. Image courtesy flickr.
Text based on Riverwalk Jazz script by Margaret Moos Pick ©2005