Lester Bowie:

‘I Only Have Eyes For You’

(Lester Bowie, trumpet; Stanton Davis, trumpet, flugelhorn; Malachi Thompson, trumpet; Bruce Purse, trumpet; Craig Harris, trombone; Steve Turre, trombone; Vincent Chancey, french horn; Bob Stewart, tuba; Phillip Wilson, drums)

I Only Have Eyes For You, Lester Bowie's Brass Fantasy, 1985

IC: Lester Bowie? I thought it was Lester Bowie because of the growling and the slurring of the notes, the half-valve choked effects. This really comes from Rex Stewart out of the Ellington band, who was a master of this sort of thing. He could do something which I've never heard anybody else do, do an entire conversation on the half-valve, like two people talking - arguing with each other over the fence. Lester Bowie invests a lot of theatricality in his music, and I think that the sound that he was doing was tongue-in- cheek. The only excuse for it would be that it was done with a sardonic intent, because it's threadbare musically; there are two chords in there, and nothing much happening. I find that - as a general rule in this music - the more theatricality you have, the more threadbare the music. It also happens in avant-garde groups, say the Globe Unity Orchestra. They all say they're satirising the medium, doing a cod blues or whatever, but really it's because they don't know what else to do. This kind of satirical commentary his a fairly limited place in jazz; I like Lester Bowie though, he's a good player.