Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Dinosaur in Training

In my 8th grade Jazz History Class, we’re listening to an impressive list of hit Rock 'n' Roll songs based on the 12-bar Blues. The list of recording artists who owe at least part of their livelihood to the blues guys is striking— Elvis Presley, Bill Haley, Chuck Berry, Beach Boys, James Brown, Bob Dylan, Rolling Stones, Beatles, Janis Joplin, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, to name but a few. Without  Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf in one genre, Bessie Smith, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington in another,  we wouldn't be Rocking around the Clock with Johnny B. Goode and his Hound Dog at the Crossroads of Highway 61 and Route 66. 

When playing Jimi Hendrix, I mentioned his electric, in all senses of that word, performance of The Star Spangled Banner at Woodstock. This was an opportune moment to impress the 8th graders with my cool factor— an essential ingredient for teacher success. So I told them:

"So just to let you know, I was at Woodstock. (This is true). You can line up for autographs after class.”

One girl jumped up and said, “Wow! That’s so cool! My grandma was there too!!!!”

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