I am a working class girl, child  of the fifties. The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Mersey sound was my teenage era and shaped my musical taste. Not till I met Michael, my husband did I even consider jazz as music.  Like classical music it was considered “arty farty” where I came from.   Michael slowly converted me. First to swing, Frank Sinatra et al  then Ella Fitzgerald became my  favourite singer, her pure tones reduce me to tears, “Everytime I say goodbye” is my all time favourite.  I would like to have it played at my funeral, but the sentiment perhaps would reduce everybody else to tears also.LOL!

 Then to more hard core stuff. Wynton Marsalis, Chet Baker, Bud Powell, Cleo Lane, Diana Krall, Nina simone and of course the sad soulful sounds of tragic Billie Holiday.  There was  still stuff I dismissed as “doodly do” improvised jazz . But I never really understood jazz till I went to an exhbiition of Miles Davies a few years ago, at the Cité de la musique in Paris. http://www.travelsignposts.com/Paris/paris_museum-musique.php

THEN in an Epiphany moment I got it!

The whole exhibition was warm and womb like, Miles Davies music playing all the time, and I found myself jigging along and enjoying the most diddly do music you could imagine and I realised that it appealed to the most primordial part of me. Like the rhythm and  noises you hear in the womb. It touched my soul.

On Saturday night we attended a concert at a local theatre Bury Met, of a jazz singer/pianist called Ian Shaw. Whos versatile voice and emotional singing also touched my soul. His rendition of Joni Mitchell’s “Both sides now” is the best I have ever heard  bringing new meaning to the lyrics I had forgotten. Not only is he a talented musician and vocalist but a stand up comedian, so we laughed a lot as well.
I had never heard of him before but when I googled him and spoke to a jazz musician friend of ours, I found he is an internationally acclaimed jazz musician, well known in the jazz fraternity.
The pianist Phil Webb is also worth a mention as he was excellent.  Really we got two for the price of one.
What on earth was Ian Shaw doing giving a concert in front of around 50 people in a backwater theatre in Bury? For sadly in the North of England, young people are not into jazz. Most audiences for jazz are over 50 and often over 60. here. Yet we have a  renowned Wigan Jazz festival every year locally,  with world famous headliners..It is almost as if jazz is underground. However recently Jackie Dankworth has appeared in Bury and Stacey Kent is to give a concert soon.
Every summer, Michael and I go to Paris for the Jazz festival. Whole weekends of open air concerts in the beautiful parc Floral, surrounded by picnicking French families of all ages, listening to the wonderful music that fills the air., Gypsy jazz, Turkish jazz, American jazz, Swing. African music. French families are obvoiusly introduced to jazz at an early age and it is a pleasure to see young people enjoying it as I do.
 Fantastic! We will be there again this July. From June 30th to July 11th.  Two whole weekends of pure pleasure.

love from Bolton

This song appears on the album 'Clouds'This song appears on the album 'Miles of Aisles'
This song appears on the album 'Hits'
This song appears on the album 'Both Sides Now'
This song appears on the album 'Dreamland'

Both Sides Now

by Joni Mitchell   Printer-friendly version of this lyric

Rows and flows of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere
I’ve looked at clouds * that way

But now they only block the sun
They rain and snow on everyone
So many things I would have done
But clouds got in my way
I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now

From up and down, and still somehow
It’s cloud illusions I recall
I really don’t know clouds at all

Moons and Junes and Ferris wheels
The dizzy dancing way you feel
As ev’ry fairy tale comes real
I’ve looked at love that way

But now it’s just another show
You leave ’em laughing when you go
And if you care, don’t let them know
Don’t give yourself away

I’ve looked at love from both sides now
From give and take, and still somehow
It’s love’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know love at all

Tears and fears and feeling proud
To say “I love you” right out loud
Dreams and schemes and circus crowds
I’ve looked at life that way

But now old friends are acting strange
They shake their heads, they say I’ve changed
Well something’s lost, but something’s gained
In living every day

I’ve looked at life from both sides now
From win and lose and still somehow
It’s life’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know life at all
I’ve looked at life from both sides now
From up and down, and still somehow
It’s life’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know life at all

© 1969; Siquomb Publishing Company 


5 thoughts on “

  1. Thanks to you, I know where I'll be spending my weekends in July, Denise! Hanging out at the parc Floral listening to music. I wish that I would have gone to the Miles Davis exhibition because I've got to admit that I still don't get jazz, probably because I don't listen to enough of it. Thanks for linking to the website with info about CIte de la Musique. It's another place for me to explore!


  2. I'm not overly keen on jazz as a rule, but Ella Fitzgerald is something else. 35+ years ago I used to frequent a pub with Every time we say goodbye on the jukebox – it was the landlord's favourite song and reduced me to tears every time I heard it! And I haven't heard Both Sides Now for years either – probably my favourite Joni song!


  3. Hi, Denise. It's Ilia (nycgirl) from TA. Good to "see" you again! I saw your posts on Out and About in Paris and Mary Kay told me you had a blog.I'm not very knowledgeable about jazz, besides knowing a few classics, but I love a good live performance. I should look for jazz places in my city, since New York has a huge jazz scene. You've inspired me to do some exploring.Your trip to Paris sounds like it's going to be so much fun. I can't go this year, so I'm going to be living vicariously through you. 🙂


  4. Hi Ilia, nice to hear from you. Sorry for the delay in answering, my computer hibernated and wouldn't wake up! Can't post on my iphone for some reason.I see your name occasionally. Glad you are still around and still interested in Paris.We once went to Birdland in NYC. a Very famous jazz hangout in Manhatten on west 44th street.Hope to meet you again one day.Love Denise


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