Thursday, December 22, 2005

Really classic blues

Jazz that incorporates other forms of music, beyond those traditionally melded with it, such as ragtime and the blues, intrigues me. It's a reason I like soul jazz, which, let's face it, more than a few jazz snobs look down their noses at (dumb if you ask me). It's why I liked Jenny Scheinman's "Shalagaster" earlier this year, Dino Saluzzi's "Senderos" and most recently David Murray's "Waltz Again", which make use of European folk, tango and classical elements, among other things.

Little wonder then that after I heard Chicago blues legend Corky Siegel talking on NPR Saturday about mixing the blues and chamber music, I went out and bought his CD "Corky Siegel's Traveling Chamber Blues Show."

I think a lot of people would, like me, be surprised how well this works, except maybe for "Train," which tries to happily marry vocal, as well as instrumental, blues with classical strings. It feels more like a shotgun wedding than true love. Still, overall the CD reminds me a lot of the three jazz disks I mention above. It's mostly intricate, sophisticated, interesting music and pretty jazzy as well. If you ever wondered how a harmonica might go with a Mozart quartet, "Opus 4(1/2 of Opus 8)" is your answer.

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