Remember that show? Man, I was so into that show, but I never saw Bill Frisell on it. Damn!
You know, for all that the 80s were a sad, embarrassing joke of a decade, you couldn’t have a TV show like Night Music anymore… when it’s all just about having music shows on TV. Of course, you shouldn’t need it in a vibrant culture — there’d be interesting live music everywhere — but living in Saskatchewan, and being into this kind of stuff, being crazy about saxophone and creative music — different music! — and never getting to hear much of it live, except once a year at what used to be a great jazz festival, Night Music was a kind of lifeline. Even if I never liked Sanborn’s way with the saxophone much, he had a lot of good stuff on. It was the only way to see my (musical) hero Miles Davis live. Even if he was in that early-90s collapsing pop-fusion stage of his, it was a gift.
Is that Kenny Garret playing with him? (It’s such an old video I’m not sure, but it looks like him to me.) I think so! He was playing some badass stuff there, man. Very, “Oh yeah, Mister Sanborn? Watch this!” And rightfully so — he was playing badder than Sanborn all the way through.
And check it out: the Kronos quartet! Woah. Yeah, I think you could never see string quartets with actual talent — and no sexy outfits and big hair and tons of plastic surgery — rocking out on TV today.
Artists, even if what they were doing for TV was a little scrunched and dumbed down. Even so, it was real artists on TV, not Paris Hilton, not Bob freaking Saget. Another cool cache on Youtube, even if it’s also a reminder of how depraved pop culture’s become since then.