Miles Davis and that bilateral either/or thing


The Ken Price tribute gig last night at LACMA was terrific. Got there towards the end of Brian Swartz’s Chet set. He did that stuff so beautifully. He had a helluva cold, turned out, which made for even more effective vocals…just the right touch of feeble. He used the rhythmic trio of the LA Jazz Quartet..Larry Koonse on guitar, Darek Oles on bass and filling in very ably once again for Mark Ferber was Kendall Kaye on the drums. Koonse has to be the piano player’s nightmare…I mean he does what he does so well you never notice that there’s no piano player. And he’s so much nicer than a piano player. Swartz, though, was the star….I’d never heard him play like that, like Chet Baker, that purer than pure tone, the elongated notes, the light swing like the airiest be bop you ever heard. Those LAJQ guys, man, they know how to lay it on without ever laying it on too much. Continue reading

Jazz writer

There was that time at LACMA a couple years ago, one of their Friday jazz nights, and I’m chatting with some people. A guy just cuts right in and snarls Hey, is your name really Brick Wahl?   Uh, yeah, it is. Well, how the hell did you get a stupid name like that?

I politely explained. My name is Phil, my wife’s name is Phyll…so I got the nickname, etc etc. He didn’t understand what the hell was wrong with two people having the same goddam name. I said oh well. He said I’m a jazz writer, too. Can you get me a job?  I told him to contact the paper. He thanked me and split.