Thursday, November 09, 2006


When I heard the exhibit "Milt Hinton: All That Jazz" was coming to The Stax Museum here in Memphis, I immediately wanted to go. But it doesn't open until next week, so I'll have to wait. I then thought of taking a child with me to see it. Not all of them, mind you, I'm not fully insane yet. But which one? C is the obvious choice, he's the oldest and would better comprehend what he was seeing and possibly even remember it when he's grown. S is another choice because we've been having some problems lately with her not getting enough attention, having once been the baby of the family and, suddenly, as if without warning, becoming a big sister. So I thought it would be a nice afternoon for S and her Daddy to stroll through the museum reading about the various images we would see. JP was never really an option. If it doesn't have an ON and OFF button or chocolate on it, then he's just going to spend the time asking when we can get back to the ON and OFF button or the chocolate whatever. GK isn't yet ready to spend that much time alone with me and no lactation.

I want my kids to learn about Jazz because that's what I love and because they're mine, I made them. Or, I helped to make them. And one of the reasons I helped to make four kids is because of a lack of birth control. The other reason is so I could impose my interests on them for as long as possible. And at the forefront of the list of interests is Jazz. The first tune C ever heard was Monk's Straight, No Chaser and when he was just a newborn, Ken Burns came through Memphis to give a lecture on his excellent documentary about the genre. Afterwards, I had him inscribe the accompanying book I'd just overpayed for to C. S's calming music as a baby was Django Reinhardt and GK seems taken with Chet Baker. When I listen to music at home or in the car, I like to tell them who's playing on any given track. I know they're not remembering it, but I'm hoping it somehow sinks in, through osmosis, I suppose. I want the good stuff to take hold in their minds - Armstrong, Holiday, Coltrane, Davis and Hinton himself - before some psychopath gets hold of them and tries to convince them that Spyro Gyra or Kenny G is Jazz. It's my job to teach these kids both the things they'll need to survive in this world and the things they'll need to enjoy this world. And for the latter, we might as well take a field trip. Hinton's photographs at Soulsville U.S.A. sounds like as good a place as any.

The following excerpt was shamelessly copied and pasted directly from Stax's website:

Vicksburg, Mississippi, native Milt Hinton was regarded as the Dean of Jazz bass players and played with thousands of the world’s greatest jazz artists during his esteemed career. But Hinton also was a shutterbug and documented his colleagues for decades until his collection grew to more than 60,000 images.

"Milt Hinton: All That Jazz" will feature some 50 images of many of the world’s greatest jazz artists in various stages of their careers, including Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday during her last recording session; Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn, and Pearl Bailey on stage together; and other magical moments that helped skyrocket some of the greatest talents of all time.