Thursday, October 4, 2012

David Hazeltine, William Claxton and “Cry Me A River”

© -Steven Cerra, copyright protected; all rights reserved.

Written in 1953, Arthur Hamilton’s Cry Me a River is usually associated with vocalists such as Ella Fitzgerald, Barbara Streisand, Joe Cocker and Michael Bublé. Julie London sang it as a torch song and made it into a million-selling record in 1955.

Why in the world pianist David Hazeltine’s version of it evoked the images of Memphis, New Orleans and the greater Mississippi Delta taken by the great photographer William Claxton during his 1960 trek across the U.S.A. is beyond me.

But as you can see from the following video montage – they did.

Maybe it was the way in which David arranged the tune with its additional chords formed into a rolling vamp that gave rise in my mind to the image of the Mississippi’s steady flow to the sea.

Or maybe it was his use of a loping bossa nova beat as emphasized by bassist Dwayne Burno and drummer Joe Farnsworth that conjured up Clax’s down-home and beautifully honest photographs of life and music in the place where Jazz began.

Perhaps the relationship had something to do with tenor saxophonist’s Eric Alexander’s inventions and virtuosity as he spins out some foot-stomping and blues-drenched choruses over the tune’s insistent beat.

Whatever the subconscious associations, the editorial staff at JazzProfiles had fun coupling some poster art from past New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festivals with Clax’s images and making them into a video using the David’s rendition of Cry Me A River from David Hazeltine’s Blues Quartet Vol. 1 Criss Cross CD [1188] as the audio track.

Clax’s great art is enhanced by viewing the video at full screen which you can do by clicking on the directional arrows in the lower right hand corner of the control bar.