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Night Lights Classic Jazz

Where’s The Rhythm?

A variant on the old "Where's the melody" saw, circa 1959.

Jimmy Giuffre

Photo: Album cover art.

New swing standards: the Jimmy Giuffre 3.

One of the delights of researching Night Lights shows is what I find while paging through bound volumes of vintage jazz journals at Indiana University’s William and Gayle Cook Music Library. While working on the recent Scott LaFaro program, I came across this unsigned anecdote in a 1959 issue of Downbeat:

If You Gotta Ask….

Mort Sahl tells a story about the Jimmy Giuffre 3 performing at a concert for high school students on the West Coast. As Giuffre’s ultra-quiet program unfolded, with clarinet, guitar and bass pursuing their understated roles, the student audience grew perceptibly restless. Finally, one crew-cut, sweatered youth rose in his seat during a number and yelled, ‘Where’s the rhythm?’

Giuffre stopped playing, quietly walked to the mike and gravely replied, ‘It’s understood.’

Watch the Jimmy Giuffre Trio (introduced by Norman Granz in Italian) in Rome in 1959:

  • Johhnyhodges

    Here’s your pizza!
    Hey, there’s no cheese.
    It’s understood.

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