"From Django Reinhardt in 1953 to Dave Liebman in 2020, Martial Solal has met them all. He represents the history of jazz on his own and gives it a recognizable personal touch."Jazzhalo, 07-4-2021
Coming Yesterday is the recording of what turns out to be Martial's last concert, he decided to stop playing piano after that show:
"When I walked onto the stage on January 23, 2019, I did not yet know that I would decide not to play piano anymore after this concert, more than seventy years after my debut. To maintain a certain level, this instrument requires your daily attention; it requires delicacy, brutality, and especially energy. I have lived with these demands all my life, with the joy of seeing the progress, the technical and musical advances, the rhythmic and harmonic enrichments that we acquire over time. Of course, everything goes very fast at first. As long as you are gifted, if you spend a little time on it, if you listen to what was done before you, if you choose a path, everything may seem easy. Progress is rapid, illusions are immense, and then walls arise, walls that you want to reach and overcome. Seventy years to achieve this is a minimum... When energy is no longer available, it is better to stop.
I had the impression on January 23 of having reached the beginning of a path that I would have liked to continue, after so many years of improvisation, of creation, based on what are called standards, which I call pretexts, challenges, essay topics that you can develop in a thousand and one ways according to the evolutions that arise in your mind or in your circle of musicians. The standards have gone out of fashion, replaced by other themes that most of the time may not have the qualities to become standards, the so-called “originals”. All musicians considered themselves composers, free jazz burst onto the scene and swept away old themes, eliminating the difficult rules of stability of tempo, harmony and melody. Some standards have survived, and those you will discover can be described as indestructible. They are always only pretexts for expressing ideas, but with relaxed rules, the rubato being entitled to be cited as well as accelerations, atonality or the absence of a continuous tempo.
That is what I was thinking on January 23. Part of this concert seems to reflect my knowledge to this date. For me, jazz remains that of the twentieth century, the one that saw the birth of New Orleans, middle jazz, be-bop, and free jazz. The first three of these jazz eras were built on ternary rhythms. Charlie Parker may have been the first to use sixteenth notes on a medium tempo, abolishing the necessity of this permanent balancing called swing that has disappeared in this form with the emergence of binary rhythms and phrasings. This style of rhythm no longer corresponds to what I considered essential. I preferred a greater freedom, playing on the melting of keys, rhythms, duration, style, rather than on the forced slavery of the “new” ones. Great freedom requires a lot of work. I’ve done my share. I want to thank those who helped me, who helped me progress thanks to their encouragement or criticism, to those who were kind enough to play alongside me, for me, who often played my compositions for years. Too bad for all those who have missed out what I have tried to offer them. Progress is a very selfish happiness. I feel as if I have sown a blade of grass during this concert, showing a direction that I would like to see continue. In some places, this grass has already grown enough to be considered a musical testament… improvised''
Duke Ellington influenced millions of people both around the world and at home. He gave American music its own sound for the first time. In his fifty year career, he played over 20,000 performances in Europe, Latin America, the Middle East as well as Asia.
Simply put, Ellington transcends boundaries and fills the world with a treasure trove of music that renews itself through every generation of fans and music-lovers. His legacy continues to live onand will endure for generations to come. Winton Marsalis said it best when he said "His music sounds like America." Because of the unmatched artistic heights to which he soared, no one deserved the phrase “beyond category” more than Ellington, for it aptly describes his life as well. He was most certainly one of a kind that maintained a llifestyle with universal appeal which transcended countless boundaries.
Duke Ellington is best remembered for the over 3000 songs that he composed during his lifetime. His best known titles include; "It Don't Mean a Thing if It Ain't Got That Swing", "Sophisticated Lady", "Mood Indigo", “Solitude", "In a Mellotone",and "Satin Doll". The most amazing part about Ellington was the most creative while he was on the road. It was during this time when he wrote his most famous piece, "Mood Indigo"which brought him world wide fame.
When asked what inspired him to write, Ellington replied, "My men and my race are the inspiration of my work. I try to catch the character and mood and feeling of my people".
Duke Ellington's popular compositions set the bar for generations of brilliant jazz, pop, theatre and soundtrack composers to come. While these compositions guarantee his greatness, whatmakes Duke an iconoclastic genius, and an unparalleled visionary, what has granted him immortality are his extended suites. From 1943's Black, Brown and Beige to 1972's The Uwis Suite, Duke used the suite format to give his jazz songs a far more empowering meaning, resonance and purpose: to exalt, mythologize and re-contextualize the African-American experience on a grand scale.
Duke Ellington was partial to giving brief verbal accounts of the moods his songs captured. Reading those accounts is like looking deep into the background of an old photo of New York and noticing the lost and almost unaccountable details that gave the city its character during Ellington's heyday, which began in 1927 when his band made the Cotton Club its home.''The memory of things gone,'' Ellington once said, ''is important to a jazz musician,'' and the stories he sometimes told about his songs are the record of those things gone. But what is gone returns, its pulse kicking, when Ellington's music plays, and never mind what past it is, for the music itself still carries us forward today.
Duke Ellington was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1966. He was later awarded several other prizes, the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1969, and the Legion of Honor by France in 1973, the highest civilian honors in each country. He died of lung cancer and pneumonia on May 24, 1974, a month after his 75th birthday, and is buried in theBronx, in New York City. At his funeral attendedby over 12,000 people at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, Ella Fitzgerald summed up the occasion, "It's a very sad day...A genius has passed."
From Django Reinhardt in 1953 to Dave Liebman in 2020, Martial Solal has met them all. He represents the history of jazz on his own and gives it a recognizable personal touch.
But this concert, fortunately recorded by Radio France, has something special since it is a kind of farewell to the public : "When I walked into the stage on January 23, 2019, I did not know that I would decide not to play piano anymore after this concert.