A Guided Tour… Through Jazz and Blues -Fall 2018

by: John Stanton

Charley Walters wants me to listen to the guitar solo on “Eight Miles High,” by the Byrds. Then he wants me to listen to a Charlie Parker tune called “India” off his live album “Impressions.” He wants me to notice how the rock solo was taken directly from the jazz.

And so I do. And there it is.

Charley Walters in his record store, Musicall, which closed its doors in 2006. It was the last record store on the island.

“I vaguely remember hearing something like jazz when I was 15 or so,” Walters said. “I was crazy about the British bands and some of them had begun experimenting with jazz lines. The Byrds, which was an American band, were doing it.”

There is the echo of Coltrane’s tenor sax in Roger McGuinn’s 12-string guitar solo. You can hear the essence of those nights in New York’s Village Vanguard, when the kings of jazz held court. There is the song that marked the beginning of psychedelic rock. There is a moment where you can see musical influences unfolding.

“It’s a quote from the solo in ‘Impressions,’ but I didn’t realize it at the time,” Walters said. “I just knew the Byrds were going on and on about who Coltrane was and I couldn’t figure out what they were talking about.”

It is just a little music story. It may not seem like much to you. Unless you happen to have once been the kind of kid who haunted used record stores, flipping through bins of music and studying the album covers and liner notes, as if they might reveal some greater awakening.

If you are that person, if the connections that run like a current throughout all music fuel your appreciation of it, you might be Walters’ audience for his weekly radio show, “Island Blue Notes.”

The show can be heard Sunday morning from 7-9 on 89.5, WNCK-FM, and again on Sunday evening from 9-11, on 97.7, WACK-FM. Podcasts of the show can be found on nantucketnpr.org.

It is a show about jazz and blues and the way music is connected across the decades. On a simpler level, it can just be a couple of hours to hear your favorites as well as a chance to walk down new avenues where the music is played.

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