Tim Roberts

Jazzin'
By Tim Roberts

Okay, gang, let's see how many cliches we can cram into a single paragraph. It's that time of year again. Where has the year gone? Time to bring loved ones near. Uncle Jordy's dunked his head into the wassail again. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus and he saw you rip off that bottle of Obsession from the perfume counter at Sears. No, I swear, egg nog can be used as window putty. So what can we do with those hundred-pound bags of beans we've got stored in our Y2K shelter?

True, it was a trick question. Some of those weren't clichés. I'll let you decide which ones were and which ones were actually said during a family Christmas party.

But if there's one cliché you can count on year after year in this column, it's the year-end wrap-up. The time when we take a squinty look at what happened in Louisville jazz this past year and either reminisce or be thankful we don't have to repeat it again.

The year 2000 began with the two wildest weeks that Louisville radio hasn't seen in awhile. WFPK brought us the "1000 Best Albums of the Millenium Countdown," and jazz was well represented throughout. More than 2000 listeners sent in their top 10 personal choices of best albums of the millennium. Combined with lists from music professionals around town, the station complied the list of 1000. During a marathon broadcast, the station played one or two cuts from albums 1000 to 21. They then played the top 20, each in its entirety.

And what bizarre segues did that create? You heard Ella Fitzgerald followed by AC/DC. Mel Torme followed by Nirvana. Dizzy Gillespie followed by Bill Monroe. The Count Basie Orchestra followed by The Police. Miles Davis's Kind of Blue was honored with a slot at number 10 in the countdown.

As the countdown showed (and as you will no doubt see in the Ken Burns mega- documentary Jazz, to air next month on PBS), jazz is an essential part of the culture of the century gone by. It also showed that, as small as it is, the jazz community in this town can make itself heard.

In other big news this past year, 2000 saw the most CD releases from local jazz performers. The Java Men graced the year's opening with Orbituary, followed by Only Voice, Only Guitar, Only Love from Walker & Kays. Splatch stretched out with Instrumental Peoples Music, Dick Sisto slicked up with End of Time, and The Jeff Sherman Trio came through with Some Other Time.

The biggest news concerning a local jazz performer was when Dick Sisto's son Jeremy played the lead role in the CBS miniseries Jesus. I understand that Dick has to be reminded that he is only the father of the actor who played the Son of God, not the father of the Son of God.

What else is there to say at this point but thanks for parking your eyes here for a few minutes over the past eleven months. I hope you'll be back here throughout 2001. In the meantime, here's wishing you Happy Holidays and the Best for the New Year.

See you next Millennium.

"Jazzin'" columnist Tim Roberts had Miles Davis's Kind of Blue as his second favorite album of the millennium. It followed behind his number one choice: Sebastian Cabot, Actor/Bob Dylan, Poet, where Cabot growls his overdramatic readings of Dylan's lyrics backed by a simpy orchestra. He insists such a recording does exist and still invites you to send your jazz-related dispatches to tim@troberts.win.net, or to his attention to the editorial offices of Louisville Music News.