Monday, July 2, 2012

Victor, You're Okay

The source eludes us, but trust us that somebody, likely a musician, once said British jazz players tend to make up for a lack of soul with eagerness and enthusiasm.

Victor Feldman begs to differ. The multi-instrumentalist (started on drums, later switched to vibraphone and piano) is the type of musician who, once you learn a bit about them, prompts you to wonder how it is you got this far in life without knowing the joy of that performer's work.

Feldman's short tenure as the pianist for The Cannonball Adderly Quintet cemented his reputation as a generous sideman and afforded him opportunities to compose. Listen to the cosmopolitain swells he plays at the start of "Azule Serape" -- foam-crested notes that deliver the horns to the melody.

[courtesy of sbdante]

Prior to his time with Adderly's group, Feldman joined up with bassist Scotty LeFaro and drummer Stan Levey for the LP The Arrival of Victor Feldman. He plays vibes and piano on the record and on the tune "Bebop" the trio plays so fast it'll make technical metal players sob into their yerba matte.

Now contrast that brain-buster with his reading of "Summer Love" with tenor saxophonist Ronnie Scott. It's the kind of soft touch playing that many probably conjure in their heads when they see the word "jazz." But it lets you know just how versatile Feldman was. Never mind that he was in Steely Dan. What?

Yup. You've got some reading to do. More importantly, we've got some listening to do.