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Ella Fitzgerald. My musical upbringing was slim; I could play "Hot Cross Buns" on the recorder, because it only took three fingers on one hand. My parents also had three Ella Fitzgerald records. I grew up on Ella with Duke, doing "Take the A Train," "Satin Doll," "I Got It Bad, (And That Ain't Good)," and others. Ella with Duke, Ella with Basie, Ella with Blue Oyster Cult, shoot, I can listen to her anytime. Whether she's playing with, or in front of The World's Greatest Jazz Band I'm not sure, but I'm told she still has her stuff, in spite of some years and some eye problems. Her recent work is primarily interpretive, owing to a decline in big bands, but she can interpret Lennon-McCartney as well as anyone, and an evening with TWGJB ought to prod her into a few standards. Somehow, no one should miss this.
J. Geils Band. Nothing really need be said about J. Geils any longer; this band may be the best pure rock and roll band on the planet. Their newest, Bloodshot, is getting nowhere near the recognition it deserves, even though it moves them from an R 'N' B based rut they've been in from the start, and is the near masterpiece that we've been expecting from them. The only drawback is probably that Boston no longer sees as much of this outfit as the city collectively deserves. This is to be their only summer appearance around here. It'd probably be well worth anybody's while to brave the Schaeffer atmosphere to see them. Just get there early, take a few bottles of Bali Hai or something, and cop a frisbee.
Go out to Lenox and see The Mahavishnu Orchestra. Don't ask questions, just do it. Ella, with The World's Greatest Jazz Band, at Suffolk Downs, for the Sunset Series, July 23. $3.
J. Geils, with The Mahavishnu Orchestra, at Schaeffer Stadium, July 23. $5 or $6. (You can see Mahavishnu out at Lenox.)
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