[Dixielandjazz] Emily

Charlie Hooks charliehooks@earthlink.net
Sat, 17 Aug 2002 15:40:23 -0500

on 8/13/02 4:04 AM, Dick Sleeman at d.sleeman@hccnet.nl wrote:

> Maybe most of you wouldn't reckon it ("Emily") among "jazz" or even OKOM. But
to me it is certainly MKON!

    May I butt in to say that, IMHO, "Emily" is one of the most moving, most
playable, enhanceable, most endearing of tunes.  Any player of OKOM who does
not yet know this tune should learn it immediately.  Hard to think of a
better jazz waltz.

    Let's face it: Mandel and Mercer!  What a combination!  Mandel is always
so simple and so graceful, so "right"; and Mercer!  Oh, Mercer!  John
Mercer, the perfect lyricist: taking Shakespeare's advice to the players,
"speak the speech trippingly on the tongue..." and illustrating it in every
lyric he wrote: nothing ever that would tie the tongue, nothing ever that
would give pause in any way to the easy enjoyment of syllables musically
aligned with sense.

    Check me out here: spot a Mercer lyric, any of them for all those years,
that presents the slightest difficulty.  He's close to perfect, this guy is!

    A Southern boy, living in New York only because that's where things were
happening, all his feelings--how he thinks, how he talks--are marks of a
well-bred Southerner become Very Hip, a very talented musician.  Mercer's
lyrics are not merely easy to pronounce; they will actually help you to
swing the tune if you listen and feel them.