whittling eight down to four

the fans have shredded their vocal chords.  the pep band has blown its chops.  the oddsmakers in vegas are wringing their hands.  the pundits are backtracking like that guy from memento.  upset city, baby.  diaperdooo dunkarooo. jazzamatazz yourmomisaspazz.  the sweet sixteen has been set, and the road to the final four has begun.  see how the path unfolds.

the surprises in this region include some of the most recognizable names in jazz, but the easier picks.

i like sinatra.  he is a wonderful vocalist, whose musicianship holds its own with the likes of the basie band and jobim.  he sings important tunes and had a long career, but doesn't hold a candle to gil.  if jaco had stayed clean more frequently, his legacy would be more expansive (but, with that unfair caveat, it would also be nonexistent).  trane obviously moves on, and handles gil evans with not much effort.  tough draw for monk.  great compositions and a unique presence on a music that, at the time, was self-serving. getz's splash on the scene cements him as a fixture on society's jazz radar.  wynton tries too hard.  seriously - shut up and play.  miles, the overall #1 seed, wiggles past "the sound" and sets up an exciting semifinal matchup.

this is an interesting bracket.  i wouldn't have guessed some of these guys would show up here.  i smell an upset.

art tatum attracted the finest jazz players to his solo piano gigs, all in awe of his befuddling technique and broad harmonic palette.  nat cole could hold his own behind the keys and bastes hearts with that buttery voice.  of course charlie parker is the founding father of bebop, but his abbreviated career stops him short of any creative twists and development in his musicianship.  mingus is on those groundbreaking bebop records, and his leadership and compositional growth push him beyond bird and king cole into the next round.  paul motian's drum colors influenced a whole generation of percussionists. it's difficult to discern exactly which pieces in duke's massive library of tunes belong to him or strayhorn.  what he did as a bandleader and for strayhorn himself are not without acknowledgment, but i like motian here.  my love for ornette and his maverick status can't overshadow the fact that herbie can hang in ornette's world and has enough in his arsenal to swagger through all styles of music.  he moves on, and just might win this whole thing.

the stage is set.  miles vs. trane.  mingus vs. herbie - a fight to the finish.  scalp a ticket, put on your garb, paint your face, rustle up $9 for a hot dog, settle in for the big finish.  and quit doing that shocker hand sign.

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