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The History of The Hip Joint Replacements Ensemble


The story of ensemble begins with the primordial event that physicists have taken to calling "The Big Bang." The ensemble had been assembling itself out of the matter of the universe for the past fourteen billion years. Every molecule of every person in the ensemble, whether real or imaginary, is star-stuff. This means there is a connection between the musician and the celestial music, the music of the spheres and the music of squirrels, badgers, marmosets and weasels. We are deeply committed, since 1972, and it's likely that we'll never ever get much past supervised visits with our families.

Seriously, though, the "conceptual focus" of the group goes back to around 1964, when I graduated from high school. I'd gotten interested in jazz music, which got me interested in learning to play jazz music, which got me lessons and a tenor saxophone.

There was a lot of good jazz music in Dayton, Ohio back then. Ace Davis bought a building & created a place where "the cats" could come and stretch out. It was a great learning Bill Davis & alto sax at Ace Davis' Jazz Lab ca 1965experience. I got to play my tenor with George McPherson, who played piano. There was Bill Davis, who one night handed me his alto and took my tenor to play some blues. And there were lots of kids my age who played and enjoyed jazz music. Rick Alexander, Gene O'Neil and Mike Schorr, among others, played drums, Greg Christie did a couple gigs on guitar, Phil Cool played piano & Dave Harlow sat in now and then on trumpet. Most of us were wet-behind-the-ears high school kids & first year college students. We played a couple home-spun jazz festivals at Wright State University, in Dayton, Ohio & then we just went off in different directions. It was the 60s, after all.

A year & some ago I picked up a cheap Taiwanese soprano and started playing again. I've been trying to relearn all the good stuff I knew and unlearn the bad habits that I'd collected like lint in a shirt pocket. The best part of having the chance to get back into music these days is the InterWeb. And unlike most kids who get into music these days, I can read music, which means that I can order huge books of music online & have the lead sheets collected on my computer. There's software to write, arrange, compose & transpose music that I never had access to as a kid. PDFs of early rag-time & dixieland . . .

Now if only I could find musicians to jam with as easily as I can get the Coltrane or Monk song books.

My "play-book" is an eclectic assemblage of tunes from the early days, rag-time & dixie, as well as some show tunes, love songs, boleros, sambas and mambos. And a handful of tunes by Thelonious Monk, Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker.

Up front, I'm fussy about musicians. I tend to avoid music by junkies. And I absolutely refuse to listen to music written by or played by Scientologists. Yeah, I'm a bigot. Audit me! However, but I have made certain concessions to artistry, such as it is, music written by people who should have had their heads far enough out of their butts to stay off drugs & not drink or smoke themselves to death. Or get shot on the bandstand by irate & jealous husbands or lovers.

If you want to learn about the members of the ensemble, click on the pointer . . .

Copyright 2005 Nils R. Bull Young