Thursday, February 10, 2011

All-Star Game

On Super Bowl Sunday, Steve Provizer of the "Brilliant Corners" blog gave readers a brief respite from the day's football excess. He compiled a list of composers' sheet-music terms and selected a Jazz great to exemplify each word--for example, Andante character-ized Benny Carter and Prestissimo pointed to Bird. It was amusing but possibly mistimed--that is, Steve offered up a list that could run at any time, with absolutely no connection to football. Moreover, selecting each defining player in "speed" terms and nothing else didn't leave any room for argument. You could name some other musician as equally Moderato, but that wouldn't contest Steve's choice of Red Garland.

Then it occurred to me that one might take the positions available on a typical football roster and fill each with a familiar name "player" (of improvised music, that is), creating a team of Jazz All-Stars, with the placement of each musician definitely a matter subject to debate. Who would make the best Quarterback or the best Left Guard? (If I knew what a Nose Guard did, maybe I could think of a suitable candidate, other than Jimmy Durante!)

If this were a contest, the logical reasons for each placement might be important. But I'm frankly too lazy and too disconnected from the NFL today to mount those arguments. Instead, I'll just offer my roster and let anyone amused by the whole idea respond with his or her better choices or suggestions for more pertinent positions out on the gridiron. (Do football fans still use that word?) I looked at the Offense only, but I'll bet someone can offer persuasive reasons for choosing, say, Mighty Joe Young to take Mean Joe Greene's Defensive Tackle slot. (And who would be the Corner Backs of Jazz?)

Here's my half-fast selection:

Left End--"Lincolnesque" Lester Young

Left Tackle--Thelonious "The Mad" Monk

Left Guard--Max "Imum-Time" Roach

Center--"Sunshine" Ray Brown

Right Guard--Shelly "The Main" Manne

Right Tackle--Coleman "On-'Em-Like-a-Hawk" Hawkins

Right End--Bill "Plu-Perfect" Evans

Kicking Specialist--Count "ToeSwinger" Basie

Tailback (rotating plays in from bench)--Louis "Full Satchel" Armstrong/Clifford "The Kid" Brown

Halfback/Wide Receiver--Charles "High-Flying" Parker

Fullback/Tight End (rotating with Fullback/Blocking Back)--John "Nigh'Trane" Coltrane/ Charles "Fingers" Mingus

Quarterback--Dizzy "The Fox" Gillespie

Trainer--Adolphus "Take-Two-and-Call-Me-Doc" Cheatham

Offensive Coach--Art "Bop 'Em Harder" Blakey

Assistant Coach--"Indomitable" Dave Brubeck

Head Coach--Edward "Duke of Wails" Ellington

And holding down the Front Office, Stan "White Bred" Kenton (Acting General Manager) and Woody "New Math" Herman (Chief Accountant).

(But where are Miles, Getz, Rollins... all our other favorites?)

Okay, fine. Fantasy trades are encouraged.


Steve Provizer said...

Excellent and very funny. You took the post and, er, ran with it. I'm somewhat estranged from football at the moment (all those headaches), but actually had a post last spring comparing the Celtics with various jazzmen-

Next up: Jazz Stars of Curling.

I Witness said...

Would that be hair-curling? Tony Bennett, say? Dinah Washington's second-best wig? Gerald Wiggins? Lord Buckley mid-routine? Way Cool, I'm wigging already!