Wednesday, December 28, 2011

...Never in my wordland...

Duotone crow profile, Ellicott City Historic District.
From time to time, I veer off  the local historic district path...Ellicott City shops, galleries, our historical museum, take flight, so to speak. This commercially crazy, but spiritually quiet, interlude before the New Year (2012) strikes, I am doing just that. 

BIRDS:  This blog feature contains birds, both literal and figurative. Since I am in love with words--and birds--as you know, the title "Never in my wordland" is one line from a jazz piece I grew up with, and played on the piano: LULLABY OF BIRDLAND.

Connecting the Dots.   The photos of birds from Ellicott City, Maryland; Rehoboth Beach, Delaware; Olympia, Washington; and Chacala Beach, Mexico, don't need explanation. 

Crows in a tree, Olympia, Washington.
If you know me, you know I love to watch and photograph clouds and birds...So over and over again, I seek them out--on wires, on lamp posts, soaring, sitting, talking to each other...they delight me.  Connect that to my love of jazz and musical background growing up near Hollywood with frequent trips to Hermosa Beach to hear Shorty Rogers, I remembered the LULLABY and, in turn, that led me to the jazz club called Birdland in New York City.

Vulture "ornaments" on Church Road, EC.
History.  Birdland was a jazz club started in New York City on December 15, 1949. It was located  at 1678 Broadway, just north of West 52nd Street in Manhattan. Closed in 1965 due to increased rents, it re-opened for one night in 1979. A revival began in 1986. The original Birdland was named by its owners after alto saxophonist Charlie Parker, nicknamed "Bird", who served as the headliner for the club…A neon sign at the front of the club said "Birdland. The Jazz Corner of the World". The club seated 400 people and had space for a full orchestra. The name was carried through into the feature of caged finches inside the club. (Surprise to me).

George Shearing's classic jazz song "Lullaby of Birdland" (1952) was named in the club's honor.   Lyrics follow:

"Oh, lullaby of birdland
That's what I always hear,
When you sigh,
Never in my wordland could there be ways to reveal
in a phrase how I feel

Have you ever heard two turtle doves

Bill and coo, when they love?
That's the kind of magic music we make with our lips...when we kiss

And there's a weepy old willow
He really knows how to cry,
That's how I'd cry in my pillow
If you should tell me farewell and goodbye...
Huddled birds at Mar de Jade, Chacala Beach, Mexico.
LYRICS (continued)

Lullaby of birdland whisper low

Kiss me sweet, and we'll go
Flying high in birdland, high in the sky up above
All because were in love

Ooo Ooo Ooo

Have you ever heard two turtle doves

Bill and coo, when they love?
That's the kind of magic music we make with our lips
When we kiss

And there's a weepy old willow  

He really knows how to cry
That's how I'd cry in my pillow
If you should tell me farewell and goodbye

Lullaby of birdland whisper low

Kiss me sweet, and we'll go
Flying high in birdland, high in the sky up above
All because were in love"
NOW:  Denee Barr's wonderful rendition of the jazz classic of the same name, Lullaby of Birdland, is featured here. She was not familiar with it, so quckly learned the tune, the lyrics, and recorded it for all of us. Denee is, in a word, "amazing."


Birdland's Notable performers over time included:  CHARLIE PARKER (BIRD), George Shearing, Chet Baker, Count Basie, Art Blakey, Dave Brubeck, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, John Coltrane, Blossom Dearie, Maynard Ferguson, Stan Getz, Dizzy Gillespie, Billie Holiday, Thelonious Monk, Quincy Jones, Ramsey Lewis, Diana Krall, Oscar Peterson, Bud Powell, Horace Silver, Clark Terry, McCoy Tyner, Sarah Vaughan, Dinah Washington...and many many more.

                                                              Bird plate in blogger control.

Blog feature, photos: Kay Weeks
Jazz stylist: Denee Barr.

12.28.11    On the cusp of change.


Denee Barr Art News and More said...

Jazz, history, birds...
Classic, Timeless and Fun!

GinMuse said...

Beautiful post! Happy to find you!

GinMuse said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...


Sally Bright
Cambridge, MD

Anonymous said...

Fascinating blend of birds & jazz. You were lucky to have those jazz contacts in your youth. Also like the bird on a plate. A number of ours have birds depicted on them.

Anne Hilary Sanderson

Anonymous said...

hi kaydi... loved this post which i forwarded to both a__ and m___ lots of history in "lullaby of birdland". it especially hit me because of my love of birds which currently are installed in various rooms of my house. though not alive, their images are powerful.

lora in Seattle

Anonymous said...

Marvelous photos.

Margaret Scott
Washington DC

Caroline Gill said...

A fascinating post, Kay. Love those birds . . .

Anonymous said...

Great choice, the black and white photos. I too love birds and jazz. Closing the year by "taking flight" with birds and music --what could be better? Mary B

Anonymous said...

...this brought back so many memories. My birding experiences with Dr. Mayhew for field zoology both positive and negative. You remember what a state your "outdoors lover" roomie would be in after some of these trips. Then other times, I'd be elated.

Then the music, of course, was all positive. Remember the evening when we were at the gym early to be sure all was well for the Stan Kenton concert and he came in, walked up to you, and said. Hi Kay!? It blew me away. There were so many great musical experiences least of which was Kaydi's bongo playing. I could go on but you get the idea. I loved your e-mail presentation because it brought it all back.

Happy, Happy all year long.


Anonymous said...

I have had many computer problems the past few weeks while daughter Jenny has been in Vietnam and just read your latest blog. How delightful. From all the responses I see I am not alone. " The Bird " was from Kansas City along with many other jazz greats not all known outside of KC. My favorite was Duke Ellington and his classic " Mood Indigo " topped them all. " You ain't been blue. no, no ,no, till you've had that mood indigo. That feelin goes down to my shoes. Now I sit and cry, go long blues."

Harve in Hanoi