Archive for September 19, 2018

When The Saints Go Marching In

Posted in Music with tags , , on September 19, 2018 by telescoper

As a bit of a change from Open Journal of Astrophysics stuff I thought I’d post this very hot Gospel number featuring the very wonderful Mahalia Jackson, whose many claims to fame include the fact that she gave singing lessons to Aretha Franklin. If you think her voice sounds powerful in this recording, then it’s even more impressive when you see that in this live performance at the Newport Jazz Festival she was standing way back from the microphone! She wasn’t called `The World’s Greatest Gospel Singer’ for nothing.

Anyway, if you look at the title of this piece and think `Oh no, not that old one again’ because it has been done to death by Trad Jazz bands then please give it a listen because I think this version really rocks. The tune When The Saints Go Marching In is an old spiritual and, as such, was composed by the person who wrote all the best music: `Trad’.

One of the things about Gospel music is that it’s usually played in a very distinctive 4/4 which makes it very difficult to resist clapping. But why do so many people -even at Jazz festivals – find it so hard to clap on the right beat? It only works if you clap on an off beat (i.e. beats 2 and 4). If you clap on all the beats or just on the on beats it just kills the rhythm. On this track you’ll hear that Ms Jackson has to deliver clapping instructions not once but twice to an audience that seems to insist to clap on every beat of the bar (and on some beats that don’t correlate with the actual rhythm in any way). I guess “All God’s Children Got Rhythm” might not actually be a true statement.