A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.


Con Alma
Thursday, April 10, 2008

My On Line RAE (Real Academia Española) dictionary of the Spanish language defines alma as:

(Del lat. anĭma).

1. f. Principio que da forma y organiza el dinamismo vegetativo, sensitivo e intelectual de la vida.

Unlike soul (the equivalent in English) alma comes from the Latin anima so it has a slightly different flavour in both sound and meaning. Translating the above definition alma is defined as the principle that gives form and organizes the vegetative, sensitive and intelectual dynamism of life.

It is perhaps because of that askew meaning to alma with no side definitions associated with soul music (as an example) that I find Dizzy Gillespie's composition Con Alma so special. It is beautiful and the name, in Spanish, is icing on that cake.

When I take Rebecca to her ballet classes on Wednesdays I always insert a new CD with a track of my choice. She always wants to know what we are listening to. Her last "in-car-hit-parade" was Bach's Toccata in D minor for organ, ("That Dracula, piece,"in Rebecca's words). Her choice now is track 2 of Dizzy Gillespie Con Alma . This is a 9 minute 25 second version of Gillespie's classic.

The CD has no liner notes. No explanations are given and by the sound of the album I had nailed my Argentine countryman Lalo Schifrin on the piano. Rebecca thinks the song is lovely. I have a fondness for the constant maraca beat. At first Rebecca was confused when I told her Gillespie was playing the trumpet. She expected the open horn sound. In this tune Gillespie starts with a muted horn and only plays the open horn later on. The sax player (on tenor sax) is particulary good and I had guessed he was James Moody.

I was wrong on all counts. I woke up my friend alto saxophonist Gavin Walker today and we did some research on what he calls minutiae. The clincher was the 9 minute 25 second duration of Con Alma. He identified the sax player as Sonny Stitt and the piano player as Ray Bryant. Drummer Charlie Persip is perhaps the one with the maracas.

Before Gavin rang off he said, "Make sure you tell Rebecca that she has good taste." I would not want to confirm Walker's statement as that would mean that I have good taste, too! But Rebecca and I seem to agree. We both love listening to the many versions of Gerrry Mulligan playing My Funny Valentine. I will have to introduce her soon to that classic Brubeck composition The Duke (in honour of Duke Ellington)or my different versions of I Didn't Know What Time It Was particularly the one with Lester Young. And then there is Charlie Haden's (Quartet West- In Angel City) First Song (For Ruth). But then there is the Stan Getz (with Kenny Barron on piano) interpretation of First Song (For Ruth)... Will I be able to get all this into Rebecca before we are cut off at the path by her emerging teenagehood?


Previous Posts
Swirling That Material - Martha Graham, Judith Gar...

D' Artagnan's Girl Revisited

D'Artagnan's Girl

A Fit Tiko Kerr - A Young Boxer - An Older Little ...

Grand Master Guru Tim Bray & Charles Proteus Stein...

Il Fundamento - The Australian Bassoonist & Don Am...

Lois Anderson - The Woman

Daniel Arnold - The "Other" Woman

No Support From Blogger. An Unplanned Blog Vacatio...

Zanna Downes - Miss Moneypenny's Fishnets

January 2006

February 2006

March 2006

April 2006

May 2006

June 2006

July 2006

August 2006

September 2006

October 2006

November 2006

December 2006

January 2007

February 2007

March 2007

April 2007

May 2007

June 2007

July 2007

August 2007

September 2007

October 2007

November 2007

December 2007

January 2008

February 2008

March 2008

April 2008

May 2008

June 2008

July 2008

August 2008

September 2008

October 2008

November 2008

December 2008

January 2009

February 2009

March 2009

April 2009

May 2009

June 2009

July 2009

August 2009

September 2009

October 2009

November 2009

December 2009

January 2010

February 2010

March 2010