Does the Jazz man have an attitude?
Daniel Moses Barker seemed to be quite welcome at the cross-roads. His living straddled many boundaries. Keen he was to those changes that naturally took place during most of the developments in American music of 20th century. Beyond music “Historian” as the model, Danny Barker functioned as “Griot” – a keeper of memory – of the American legacy of Africa. He knew, and was not afraid to look boldly at the history of the descendants of slaves, and slave masters. To Danny, “This jazz music is... serious business.” Music as a means of survival.
Forward motion is your only option. Timing is imperative. Focus is critical. True, this degree of awareness can be daunting; the evil just may be closer at hand than you would think. Danny himself seemed to be caught off guard a little. Once on a night in 1949, he was leading a band that had been booked for a private dance in Selma, Alabama – where was the custom that, he would be using the rear entrance... up the fire escape... to the 2nd floor. Fortunately, in the band was one of Danny's earliest mentors as to the life in Jazz – his uncle, drummer Paul Barbarin. Uncle Paul's advice when the situation could be – maybe – life or death: “Play it cool, all the way. Play it cool.”
Peace & Pops,
Maison Musique, New Orleans
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Cool is power.