Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Plant Kingdom: Don't Sit Under The Apple Tree

The Coleman Hawkins Quartet: Don’t Sit Under The Apple Tree

Swing.  A simple enough word; evocative, though perhaps overused.  Still, sometimes the obvious is the only appropriate destination and this track is a case in point.  Hawk and his band wind up and let loose with glee, turning a twee old Andrews Sisters ditty into something somehow other. And while apple trees are as far removed from smoky New Jersey studios as one could possibly imagine, the fit is natural: the tenor sax locates the lasciviousness of the missing lyric, winks knowingly and invites us to join it in the shade of the titular tree.

And of course there is a something so apropos in the tension between the urbanity of East Coast Jazz and the natural world.  It's what makes Swing and Hard Bop so perfect on a hot summer day, within the city or without.  Perhaps it's the joie de vivre, perhaps the sheer abandon of the improvisation, but this summer, when I sit under the apple tree, shut my eyes and allow the sea air to wash over me and clean away all the stress and knots of the year gone by, I know what the soundtrack will be.

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