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Feeling The Senior Jazz Vibe

AN UNQUENCHABLE THIRST FOR SHARPS AND FLATS” (DUKE ELLINGTON)

FIREFLY loves jazz. Inside his cozy retro apartment, Sarah Vaughan’s Funny Valentine, Chet Baker’s Thrill is Gone, and John Coltrane’s Giant Steps are often part of the ambiance, and his collection of jazz CDs fills a whole wall.

Last night FIREFLY and I went to a downtown club to see and hear jazz pianist / composer McCoy Tyner.  Talk about pleasant, skillful, interesting senior men!  The 71-year old Tyner is a legend as much for his modest, disarming presence as for his sophisticated chords and rhythmic influences.  When he sits down to play, the piano and the man are one entity.  But he gives the happy impression that he’s in the world, not soaring above it, as some lesser musicians often do. 

McCoy Tyner

FIREFLY responds to jazz, as he does to movies, in a participatory way.  He bobs his head ever so slightly, and he is so into the tempo and the tone and the phrasing that he sometimes laughs out loud with delight. Dating this senior man is sometimes like being at the zoo with a wide-eyed four year old.   FIREFLY says hearing Tyner reminds him of Eddie Condon’s wonderful tale about Bix Beiderbecke. “He put his coronet to his lips and blew a phrase. The sound came out like a girl saying ‘yes.'”

We sip our drinks sparingly – for real drinking something in, there is the music.  You’d like it, too. Try THE REAL McCOY, arguably the best of Tyner’s 80 albums.

FIREFLY knows just about everyone, it seems, in the room, and he is greeted warmly by several nubile young females. This suggests that I may not be the only one who hears Ellington, Vaughan, Coltrane, and Tyner on a regular basis.

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