Saturday, August 8, 2009

Have You Ever Had Your Heart Broken?

If not, maybe you don't know what love is. I had my heart broken, twice. Fortunately, both were a very long time ago. But part of you never stops hurting. Maybe that pain is part of the dues you pay to enjoy certain exquisite pleasures. Maybe a person who has never known that pain is like a half-inflated balloon.

All this romantic philosophy was generated by my most recent Booker Ervin acquisition: Heavy! Booker has been my bookie for a long time now. I have blogged about him frequently, most recently last February. His Texas Tenor glows at the heart of all passion. Well, I didn't have Heavy!, though I have most of Ervin's recordings (at least the ones I know about). It got only three stars in the Penguin Guide, so I put it off. Boy was that a mistake.

By some electronic glitch, I didn't get the first song downloaded the first time, and so the first piece I heard was 'You Don't Know What Love Is.' From the first notes I was back in Jonesboro, Arkansas, fifteen years old, walking through a rain-soaked yard and kicking the shit out of a bunch of clover. Jan, my first love, had left me all alone. I am telling you that all that is in the first few notes!

This guy is no ordinary mortal. His horn is no ordinary brass. Booker Ervin's Heavy! is worth its weight in gold. Here's the All Music Guide:
The set matches Ervin with a remarkable rhythm section (pianist Jaki Byard, bassist Richard Davis, and drummer Alan Dawson), plus trumpeter Jimmy Owens and trombonist Garnett Brown (who sometimes takes co-honors). The music is quite moody, soulful, and explorative yet not forbidding.
And here is the proof of all that I have said:
Booker Ervin/You Don't Know What Love Is/Heavy!
Find me something as good as that that isn't jazz. The whole thing is worth more than your car.


  1. Good to see someone write so passionately about music. Keep up the good work Ken, this is fantastic music.


  2. Thanks, André! Like Steely Dan's Deacon Blues, I write just what I feel. Booker Ervin has got that feelin'.