Those of us who discovered Elvis Presley in the 1950s have often had difficulties to accept Elvis’ later repertoire. And his manager, Colonel Parker, is regarded as the “crook” who turned the rebel Elvis Presley into a much tidier entertainer. Elvis’ first movie had the taste of James Dean, but then the movies became romantic tales of dubious quality. The music also changed. Less rock & roll, and more of grand ballads.
Was Parker then the one to blame? For sure Parker had commercial success as his first priority, but did Elvis really become anything else than Elvis himself wanted? Sometimes I think that perhaps it was the short period with songs by Leiber/Stoller, Little Richard, Carl Perkins and others which was a detour from who Elvis really was. He was, after all, a true traditional American guy with traditional American values. And he had voice for the grand ballads that later became his trademark. Musically, Elvis perhaps became exactly what he wanted. Nevertheless, he did not become what I wanted.
How should I regard this fact? Was the standard of Elvis’ later albums lower than the standard of his earlier, or did he just develop in a direction that did not suit my taste? Or both? It is difficult to know, but if I ignore the possibility of lower quality and focus on the change of genres, the change can be looked upon as follows.
It is of course presumptuous to require that an artist should continue with his/hers break through genre or expression, just because it is a genre or an expression that I like. You cannot deny an artist the right to change and evolve in a different direction than mine. In addition, even my musical taste develops over time. (The clips below show this with emphasis.) Thus, it is not certain that an artist who continues to make similar albums may keep my appreciation. Instead of regretting the fact that the last album by a favourite artist was a disappointment, I might consider myself lucky that the artist and I, like two planets on different roads in a musical universe, still met somewhere in time and musical space. That it is completely natural that we only got a couple of albums in our common musical treasury before our journeys continued in different directions.
Later in the history of popular music one can argue the same way regarding the early fans’ disappointment when Bob Dylan turned from acoustic to electric instruments.
There are many examples of artists where I have had big expectations on the next album because I so much appreciated one or two of the earlier – and when the new was released I was disappointed. It may have been because the quality of the last album in fact was lower, but it can also be that our musical paths simply had split. And to be honest, it so happens that I can get a bit disappointed about the third album if it is too close to the previous two. A popular artist has many thousands, often millions, of such individual requests that his or her music relates to. It cannot be easy to be an artist if you make an effort to please. It is probably safer for the artist to follow his or her own developmental path.
It sometimes happens that paths cross again – that one of my favourite artists return to a previous expression after an excursion in different terrain. If my preferences then have remained at the previous expression we will meet again. Like when Diana Krall on her latest album swings her magic wand of interpretative genius over a number of pop ballads as she previously has done over a number of jazz standards and ballads in the American Songbook. During her excursions on a couple of albums with original songs and other genres/expressions my interest chilled down, but now I am enthusiastic again. But some critics appreciated the excursions, and now they are disappointed.
Planets that meet – and then go their separate ways.
Ana Catarina Grilo, Francisco Do Carmo and fellow musicians at Devagar Devagarinho, Lisbon
It is the 24th of October. We arrive at the old Grande Hotel de Paris in the centre of Porto after a flight from Sweden, a train ride from Lisbon Airport and a taxi drive from Campanha train station. It is our first visit in Portugal, and we have come to experience Fado – a new love in music since three years. After checking in I send a message to the Porto fadista who became a Facebook friend only two weeks ago. I tell her that we now are in Porto. I am lucky. Within seconds I can see her start to write an answer. It’s magic! She wishes us welcome and asks how long we will stay. I give her the answer – only a couple of days. A minute later we have received her recommendations of two Fado houses in Porto. The adventure starts.
The next night we go to Casa da Marinquinhas, the Fado house that the fadista recommended in the first place. It is not easy to find the place among the irregular small streets and alleys alongside central Porto. The houses are very old and there are not many people in the sparsely-lit streets. If we had not been recommended to go there we would probably had avoided that part of the city at night time. But once there we are warmly welcomed and invited to our booked table.
After four hours we have had a nice meal interfolded by at least six performances by different fadistas, male and female, and two guitarristas. The man who seems to run the place is strict in his design of the Fado experience. Food is ordered and served in sequences to fit in between the performances. Before every performance the lights in the small restaurant go down and only a couple of tiny spotlights light up a small spot in the centre of the place. There is no stage. The musicians are on the same level as us. It is totally quiet. No one continues to eat, and we are all focused on what is going to happen.
And then one of the most beautiful combinations of instruments – the Portuguese and the classical guitar – starts to colour the background of the Fado song. Soft, but nevertheless energetic. They do so with a delicate fabric of tones in which it is sometimes difficult to distinguish who is contributing which thread. Still, the different sounds of the two guitars are very distinct.
After a short and beautiful guitar introduction, often with a bittersweet colour, the fadista starts to sing. And the song is not less beautiful. The fadista tells the emotional story (most often a sad one) with closed eyes, and he/she does not open them until a storm of applause releases the tension of the fadista and the audience. There is never a second of silence between the song and the applause. It is as if the concentration of the strong emotions that the fadista and the musicians create gets its release when the last almost forceful tones of the guitars and the fadista are hit.
As the experienced visitor of Fado houses now realizes, this is not a description of what is going on only in Casa da Marinquinhas, but with variations in every Fado house. At its best the Fado experience is created in a close relation between fadistas, guitarristas and Fado house guests. Fadistas sometimes say that they need the community with the audience to create genuine and honest Fado. Guests are sometimes informed that “you and your silence are important parts of the Fado experience”. This message has two parts. It means that the guests of Fado houses are co-creators of the Fado experience – but also that the guests cannot be co-creators if they disturb the fadistas, themselves or other guests by talking, eating or just being focused on something else than the performance. Fado is serious business, and if you are not interested in participating on these terms you should probably do something else. It might sound a little bit too strict to some of you, but why not give it a try? You will be rewarded.
However, in the genre Fado Canção the fadista sometimes invites the guests to sing along. This is a special kind of Fado with verse and refrain, and the Fado house guests can be invited to gently join the fadista in the refrain. But make no mistake – it is the fadista who is in command.
What about us who do not speak or understand Portuguese? Can we participate on those terms? I think we can. We might not understand the story that is told, but communication has more channels than language. The expressions of Fado communicate strong emotions, and the beauty of the melodies, the voices and the instruments strongly relate to our emotions. For me it is enough if the singer understands the lyrics and that this understanding colours his/hers expression. Expression communicates with my emotions more effectively than words.
After the days in Porto we return to Lisbon, the capital not only of Portugal, but also of Fado. We spend the first night in a small Fado house in Alfama where the Lisbon fadista Ana Catarina Grilo performs. The connection with her is the result of a letter to a Portuguese association in Sweden asking for advice. Before we leave the Fado house that night Ana Catarina and the guitarrista Francisco Do Carmo invites us to come to another small Fado house the next day – Devagar Devagarinho. The experience at this small Fado house proves to be the best we have in Lisbon. The small group of about thirty guests, the four musicians and the fadistas share a small space that provides intimacy and a very dense atmosphere. As in Porto several of the fadistas also serve in the restaurant. Everything about the place and the experience is really “family like”, exactly like Francisco has told us.
In Lisbon we also visit a couple of big Fado houses, where some great and well known fadistas and musicians perform, not least at Clube de Fado. However, these places lack the intimacy and the feeling of a shared experience. The experience is neither the experience of a Fado concert, where the audience is fully concentrated on the musicians on stage, nor the experience of a small Fado house. At those bigger places there are unfortunately also guests that are not aware of the special setting that the Fado experience requires. This is natural since you probably will find more tourists from other countries at those places. The experience might be good enough, but it is not the best.
We have the last three years listened to a lot of Fado, and we have attended concerts with the marvellous fadistas Mariza, Carminho and Ana Moura. However, we have almost only listened to female fadistas. It might be that I have been selective in favour of listening to female fadistas, but actually I believe that outside Portugal female fadistas in general have been much more successful than male fadistas. I believe this situation is a matter of preference, not of quality.
My impression during our visit in Porto and Lisbon was that the proportions of male and female fadistas at the Fado houses are just about equal, and I feel that the emotional expression of the Fado fits both sexes equally well. As a matter of fact I find that the male Fado expression communicates a more sincere representation of genuine male emotions than the ones I have experienced in many other cultural expressions. I can in Fado find a home for my own emotions, not only as a “male guest” in the female representation of Fado, but also when members of my own sex interpret Fado.
In general, the strong emotions of Fado, and the common focus on the experience at the Fado houses, fit my personality and temperament very well. The emotions that the music creates are felt inside every Fado house guest, but those feelings are not expressed during the Fado song. We all know that we share the experience, but we do not devalue it by comments, chit chat or eating. But in the end of every Fado song we participate in an outburst of relief and joy – a joy we all feel, having played a part in the creation of the Fado experience.
Four years ago today Musik.pm was launched. On this day I would like to contemplate on a concept that has puzzled me over the years, especially when I have visited music shops to buy recorded music. The concept is World music.
The concept World music was launched by the American musicologist Robert E Brown in the 1960’s. It was a concept used in his theory about how understanding between different people and cultures could be built through experiencing music from other cultures. However, soon World music came to be used as a commercial concept, a brand used by the record companies to promote music that was not from the North American/North European culture sphere. Predominately folk music, traditional music, ethnic and indigenous music have been included, but the boundaries are not sharp. Sometimes a mix of traditional and modern Western music is included, but never mainstream Western music.
Using the label World music in this way is confusing. With such a meaning the label seems to refer rather to local music than to a group of genres jointly appreciated by the world community of music listeners. The latter use of the word “world” would have been logical. It would also make sense if the label referred to all genres in the world, or maybe to the music most spread in the world – in that case probably music from the North American/North European culture sphere.
To label music that does not emanate from the North American/North European culture sphere as World music might indeed mean that a large share of the total music being played in the world would be included – but why give such an immense variety of music one label?
I don’t think any specific genre or group of genres deserve the label World music. And, as a matter of fact, I hope there will never be one that does. The variety of genres, and the tension and exchange between genres, represent cultural richness and create development.
So why not stop using the label World music? It gives us almost no useable clue about what to find in such a category, whether used in a physical CD-shop, a web store, in books, in papers or in magazines. It is simply too broad. I might like a few of the genres in such a category, while I dislike or am indifferent to the rest. Such a broad concept also justifies that all the different genres in such a category will have to settle with sharing one small portion of the attention of music lovers and the music industry. That is to overstate the importance of music from the North American/North European culture sphere, and to understate the importance of music from other cultures.
Since basically every genre has its roots in a particular part of the world every genre can rightly be said to be local. Even the North American/North European music is local in that sense.
Released from the conceptual burden of the label World music we can happily look out in the world and find so many interesting genres. Even the North American/North European genres seem more interesting regarded as a local group of genres than as a kind of universal music that is supposed to fit everywhere.
World music or not – here is some of the music that Musik.pm has covered the first four years. Enjoy!
All around the world new generations of musicians emerge. Young people learn from earlier generations, from role models, from friends – and they also put a lot of effort themselves into developing their skills, of course.
A lot of good work is going on in schools on different levels, and today I want to shine the limelight on Sant Andreu Jazz Band in Barcelona, which is a project arising from a music class there. Conducted by Joan Chamorro, the big band brings together children between 6 and 18 years old, around a classic jazz repertoire with lots of swing.
Something exceptionally good has been going on with this band for quite some time, and I want you all to enjoy the fruits of their work. In fact they have a lot of good stuff on YouTube, which in itself is part of the success concept. They have made an effort of publishing a lot of clips with sound and picture of as high quality as the music itself.
In the band, students play together with teachers and other experienced and well-known musicians. This is a really good concept, and it mixes the educational side of playing together with having fun together. The latter goes for both students and experienced musicians, as you can see in the clips.
A very nice documentary about the band was made in 2012 by Ramón Tort. It is called Kids and Music, la Sant Andreu Jazz Band. I urge you to spend one hour to watch this film. You will enjoy a lot of good music, and what you see will make you very happy. Do not hesitate if you cannot understand the language. You will understand and appreciate the film anyway! The spoken word is not what is important. In 2013 the film was awarded best feature film at the Lights. Camera. Help.festival in Austin, Texas.
Some of the students have been put forward as soloists in other contexts than the big band. The charismatic founder and leader of Sant Andreu Jazz Band, Joan Chamorro, also runs the Joan Chamorro Quintet. The Quintet and the famous saxophone player Scott Hamilton play together with some of the featured students (or former students) in some of the clips below.
I love to see the way students pop up in different roles in the music. Sometimes you are the solo vocalist, like Rita Payés, Andrea Motis and Alba Armengou, sometimes you are in the background backing up your fellow musicians.
Thank you Sant Andreu Jazz Band, Joan Chamorro Quintet, all students, all teachers and professional musicians and – of course – Joan Chamorro!
Enough of words. Enjoy the clips and the film below!
Who is Keren Ann? This question probably means different things to different people. For people in France, where Keren Ann for many is a well-known and loved singer-songwriter, the question might imply a wish to know who she really is. What personal traits can you find behind the public image of her? Maybe followed up by a wish to know how her background has formed her personality and her work as an artist.
To people in my country the question probably has a much more basic meaning, because Keren Ann is not a person most people have heard about at all. When I discovered Keren Ann on the Internet a couple of months ago she was new to me, and I could not find much written about her in Swedish press. There are a few Swedish reviews of albums to be found on the Internet, but the albums and the reviews have not got much attention – although the reviews are very positive.
Some facts for those of us who do not know Keren Ann well: She was born 1974 in Israel to a Russian-Israeli father and a Dutch-Javanese mother. When Keren Ann was eleven the family moved to France, where she grew up. As a professional musician she has divided her time between Paris and New York.
Keren Ann has from 2000 to 2016 released seven albums as a solo artist. In the beginning she wrote her lyrics in French, but later she turned to English. She has written and co-produced songs for other artists, and a couple of Keren Ann’s songs have been featured in films and TV series. Some of her songs have been covered by well-known artists. She has also cooperated with the Icelandic musician and composer Bardi Johannsson. They called their act Lady & Bird, made two albums, performed together and co-wrote the opera Red Waters.
So Karen Ann has quite a selection of merits in her musical CV. She is a truly international and cosmopolitan artist, although her reputation is unevenly spread over the world. Her music is hard to pin-point and label in terms of genre, time and geography – which probably has been standing in her way for the big break-through. But since her music is of such high quality I believe that the personal character of her songs will secure that they will live for a very long time – regardless of tradition. And we who have found Keren Ann will spread the word about her music to those who have not yet found her. This is what this text is about.
My first impression of Keren Ann’s music was that it combined delicacy and fragility – and unconsciously I transferred those characteristics to her personality. However, the accomplishments of her career tell another story. Her artistic width and productivity rather indicate a personality with professional strength and determination. This is also the character I see in an interview in The Guardian 2011 – Keren Ann: happy to be melancholy.
The biography presented on Keren Ann’s current website starts with chapter 7, referring to her seventh album. This is not where I am in terms of listening. I have briefly listened to all seven albums and have found many beautiful songs, but I keep coming back to “chapter 2” and “chapter 3” – the second and the third album – La Disparition (2002) and Not Going Anywhere (2003). On these albums Keren Ann’s musical expression of soft melancholy and intimacy is like a refuge, a sanctuary I do not want to leave for a long time. And when I listen to one of the two I listen from start to end. The songs on each album build the atmosphere together.
It feels a little strange to get to know an artist through her old albums when you know she has moved on and now tells other stories with other expressions. It is like we are on different ends of a time machine. I wonder how Keren Ann would feel if she thought about that?
Eventually I will move on and listen more thoroughly to the later “chapters” of Keren Ann’s musical life. We will see if I then catch up with her, or if she by then has moved on to new musical horizons and chapters. Because I have no doubt that this woman in a year or two will write “chapter eight” of her musical story.
I go to a lot of concerts. But among the concerts I treasure most there are three that I did not attend. I have watched and listened to them many times on DVD or YouTube, but I was not there. Every time I watch them I say to myself – it must have been a wonderful experience to be in the audience. These are the three.
Diana Krall Live in Paris
One day in the beginning of the new millennium I heard a Burt Bacharach song in an interpretation that was new to me. I heard it on radio, but did not catch the name of the female singer. She had a deep and sensual voice, and she sang slowly with a serious and sincere expression. In some parts of the song her voice had a sharp tone, but there were also other and softer facets. And there was also a delicate and restrained piano in the background. Important but not intrusive. I was like struck by lightning. I just had to know who the singer was.
It took me a day to identify her through the Internet. It proved to be Diana Krall and the song was of course The Look of Love. However, it was not until I bought my first Diana Krall album that I realised that the singer and the piano player was the same person. Since then I have bought every album and DVD with Diana Krall, and I have seen her many times on different stages in Europe. Actually Diana became the gateway for me to start listening actively to music again after a couple of decades with other interests. In a way you can say she is the origin of Musik.pm.
Diana Krall is still around, touring and making new wonderful records. But a mile stone in Diana’s career is definitely the concert at l’Olympia in Paris 2001, recorded both on CD and DVD. The concert is magnificent. Sophisticated – but still with feelings of the heart. I held it for a long time as the best recorded concert I have seen and heard. Diana and her fellow musicians deliver a long line of very fine interpretations of jazz classics in a masterly concert production. On stage together with Diana is among others her close music partners Andrew Wilson, Jeff Hamilton and John Clayton – but also beautiful strings from the European Symphony Orchestra. It doesn’t get much better. Please enjoy what I have enjoyed so many times.
You can find some of the numbers on this YouTube playlist, but I recommend you to buy the DVD with the full concert. It will be one of your best investments!
Concert for George
Second we will return to the 1960’s and 70’s with the help of George Harrison’s old friends and music companions. In 2002, one year after George Harrison’s death, they came to Albert Hall in London to participate in Concert for George. (Yes, Paul and Ringo were there.) The joy of watching and listening to this concert has many dimensions. You discover the intrinsic quality of George Harrison’s songs as they show up in this very special setting, you see all these famous and skilled musicians having fun and creating something beautiful together, you are part of this Albert Hall party for George etc. Well, find out for yourself what makes you happy by watching this concert, because I am sure you will be.
There have been many events where famous artists from different bands and solo careers have come to jam together, but I haven’t seen any event as professional and well produced – and still warm – as this one. The music and the expression that shines from the stage is just plain beautiful. George Harrison’s old friend Eric Clapton was the musical director and he held the concert together on stage. Jeff Lynne was the concert audio producer. I’m sure these tasks couldn’t have been placed in better hands.
In the excerpt below the Indian part of the concert and the Monty Python contribution is not included. If you want see the full concert you will find it here.
Mariza: Concerto em Lisboa
And last my new love in music – the Portuguese fado. Actually I discovered the fado through listening to Brazilian music. The internet associations, sensitive to cultural context, forwarded me to Portugal. I am thankful for that. The last two years I have discovered a new world of music, emotions and expressions through the fado. The voice and the expression of the fadista might be what you first take notice of when you meet the fado for the first time, but soon you realize that the combination of the singer and the three guitars in the traditional fado group forms a strong musical and emotional unit.
Today you can see and hear fadistas accompanied also by other instruments, and this is the case in my third concert. The fadista is Mariza, often said to be the successor of the legendary Amália Rodrigues as the queen of fado. I have seen Mariza twice – in Hamburg and in my home town Gothenburg. Both concerts were exquisite, but there is one that is even closer to my heart – the outdoor concert in Lisbon 2006. By then I did not know of Mariza. I had not even started listening to fado, but it doesn’t stop me from regretting that I was not there – in Lisbon.
In this concert Mariza is accompanied by a traditional guitar group, but also by a small symphony orchestra – Sinfonietta Lisboa. Together they form a magnificent whole. Mariza’s song, emotional expression and charisma is something of the most beautiful I have seen on a stage. You cannot separate her personal warmth and beauty from her musical accomplishment. They form a unity of music and drama. And the love between Mariza and her audience, especially in the last song Gente Da Minha Terra, is breath-taking. Award yourself with Mariza’s concert in Lisbon 2006 on DVD. The full concert cannot be found on YouTube, but here is Gente Da Minha Terra.
To me the lyrics of a song usually are less important than the melody, the harmony and the expression of the singer. Even more so – the lyrics can disturb my emotional experience of a song, and it is not necessarily because of bad lyrics. Even when the lyrics are poetic the words and the language can bring a sense of rationality that block my emotions. Melody, harmony and dramatic expression do not.
This does not mean that instrumental music is the best key to my emotions. When there is a human voice with a true dramatic expression in an ensemble, the voice is usually the emotional center of that ensemble. However, often it is enough for me if the singer understands the lyrics, and that this understanding colours his/hers expression. It is usually the colour of the expression that speaks to me, not the words.
This is probably an important key to my love of Fado. I understand a few words of Portuguese, but not enough to understand the Fado lyrics. This means that I can concentrate on the beautiful melodies and the expressions of the fadista and the instrumentalists. I have a deep affection for the Fado expression and its strong and sincere emotions. This expression gives free passage for my feelings of happiness, love, grief and melancholy – all in a merciful blend.
So far Mariza’s performance of Ó Gente Da Minha Terra in the Lisbon concert 2006 is the best key to these emotions.
Thank you for a wonderful concert at l’Olympia in Paris last Wednesday! Being a long-time fan I sometimes wonder how long the fire can keep on burning – your fire and mine. But this concert was reassuring. You have found a new attractive way to bring your music to us. A new format and new fellow musicians.
To introduce a fiddler, Stuart Duncan, in the band proved to be ingenious. Well, he was new to me. Maybe he has played with you for a long time? Anyhow, what a fiddler he was! Sometimes enhancing the swing touch, sometimes enhancing melancholy and sometimes even creating a bit of Country feeling. Everything in line with a new sound that matched your songs perfectly. Keyboards, played by Patrick Warren, brought new atmosphere by introducing harmonica and other sounds. And you played a bit of electric piano!
Everyone was excellent. Your old companion Anthony Wilson seemed to enjoy his new musical friends and was super. Your voice and expression was, as always, beautiful. The intimate part, where you brought us some of your old songs on your own, was exquisite. You took a chance, and were totally successful. But I am not surprised. Many of your songs are intimate in character.
However, I was after the concert surprised that there were so few songs from your new album Wallflower. You could have played some more, but I did not miss them during the concert. But if you on the upcoming concerts will play, for instance, Paul McCartney’s If I Take You Home Tonight I believe it will be much appreciated.
I have enjoyed your magnificent concert 2001, recorded on the DVD Live in Paris, many, many times – and I have always regretted that I could not be at that particular concert, at l’Olympia. But now I have been to a ”Diana Krall live in Paris” that was as good as the one I have on DVD. Pity this one was not recorded. But I am happy that I was there this time. Live at l’Olympia!
Fadon har två traditioner, Den sorgesamma, längtande, klagofyllda som härstammar främst från Lissabon och den sprittande och mer gladlynta med rötter i Coimbra. Man kan fråga sig varför två så skilda stämningslägen kan rymmas under en gemensam genrebeteckning, men hör man exempel på de två känns intuitivt en koppling. Fadosångare brukar också framföra båda sorter, om än med dominans för den sorgesamma varianten. Det är nog också så vi utanför den portugisiska kulturkretsen främst känner fadon – som ofta karaktäriseras som den portugisiska formen av blues.
Maria do Carmo Carvalho Rebelo de Andrade är en ung (född 1984) fadosångerska som antagit artistnamnet Carminho. Även hennes mor Teresa Siqueira var en berömd fadista. Carminho slog igenom med sitt första soloabum Fado (2009), och har därefter spelat in två ytterligare – Alma (2012) och Canto (2014). Hon räknas nu bland de främsta i genren.
Carminho har ett brett register. Hon sjunger givetvis båda formerna av fado, men är också en fin uttolkare av annan slags musik. Inte minst har hon gjort ett antal fina duetter med sångare av andra slag. Flera andra namnkunniga fadistor försöker sig på jazz och andra genrer, men inte alltid med lyckat resultat. De finner inte rätt sammansmätning av sin fadokaraktär och den andra genren. Carminho tycks klockren i vad hon än prövar på. Hennes röst och personlighet lånar sig lätt till olika stilarter, men fadorösten finns hela tiden med som en viktig ingrediens.
I de inspelningar som länkarna nedan leder till visar hon prov på smärta, rörelse, värme, musikantisk vänskap, glädje och spontanitet. Hon växlar snabbt över känsloregistret, och allt känns äkta. Däri ligger hennes charm, som tillsammans med hennes lätt hesa fadoröst och musikalitet gör henne oemotståndlig. För min del särskilt när hon sjunger glädjefylld fado. Kanske är det trots allt det uttrycket som bäst återspeglar hennes personlighet.
De som upptäckte Elvis Presley på 1950-talet har ofta svårt att förlika sig med Elvis senare repertoar. Och hans manager, den förhatlige Colonel Parker, ses som den skurk som förvandlade rebellen Elvis till en betydligt mer städad entertainer. Elvis första film hade smak av James Dean, men sedan blev det romantiska berättelser av tvivelaktig kvalitet. Musiken förändrades också, om än inte över lag. Det svängde fortfarande om en del av låtarna, men det var definitivt en annan slags musik.
Var då Parker en kulturskurk? Det var nog så att Parker hade kommersiell framgång som första prioritet, men blev Elvis verkligen något annat än det Elvis själv ville? Ibland kan jag tänka tanken att det kanske var den korta perioden med låtar av Leiber/Stoller, Little Richard, Carl Perkins med flera som var en utflykt från det som egentligen var Elvis. Han var ju trots allt en rätt traditionell amerikansk kille med traditionella amerikanska värderingar. Och han hade ju röst för de storslagna ballader som senare blev hans signum. Musikaliskt blev kanske Elvis precis det han ville. Likväl blev han inte det jag ville.
Hur ska man betrakta detta faktum? Blev han sämre eller blev han bara något som inte passade mina musikaliska behov? Eller båda? Det är svårt att veta, men om vi bortser från möjligheten av kvalitetsförsämring och tar fasta på genreförändringen kan man tänka på följande sätt.
Det är givetvis övermaga att kräva att en artist ska fortsätta med den genre eller det uttryck han slog igenom med bara för att det är en genre eller ett uttryck som jag gillar – att förneka artisten ”rätten” att förändras och utvecklas i annan riktning än min. Dessutom förändras ju även min musiksmak över tid. (De tre klippen nedan visar det med eftertryck.) Därmed är det inte säkert att en artist som fortsätter göra liknande plattor får behålla mitt gillande. Istället för att gräma mig över att nästa album med en favoritartist blev en besvikelse ska jag kanske skatta mig lycklig över att artisten och jag, som två planeter på väg i var sin bana i ett musikaliskt universum, ändå möttes någonstans i tid och musikaliskt rum. Att det är fullständigt naturligt att vi bara fick ett par plattor i vår gemensamma musikskatt innan vi färdades vidare åt olika håll.
Det finns många exempel på artister där jag byggt upp förväntningar på nästa platta eftersom jag så mycket uppskattat en eller två tidigare – men sedan blivit besviken. Det kan bero på att kvaliteten är lägre, men det kan också bero på att våra musikaliska utvecklingsvägar helt enkelt skiljts åt. Ska sanningen fram så händer det också att jag kan bli lite besviken om den tredje plattan ligger alltför nära de två tidigare. Och en populär artist har många tusen, ofta miljoner, sådana individuella önskemål som artistens musik ska förhålla sig till. Det kan inte vara lätt att vara artist om man anstränger sig att behaga. Säkrare då för artisten att följa en egen utvecklingsbana.
Det händer ibland att banor korsas igen – att en av mina favoritartister återvänder till ett tidigare uttryck efter en utflykt i annan terräng. Finns jag då kvar vid det tidigare uttrycket möts vi igen. Som när Diana Krall på sitt senaste album svingar samma magiska tolkande trollspö över ett antal popballader som hon tidigare förädlat ett antal jazzklassiker och ballader i the American Song Book med. Under hennes utflykter på ett par album med egna låtar och andra genrer/uttryck svalnade mitt intresse, men nu är jag med på noterna igen. Men några musikkritiker uppskattade utflykterna, och är nu istället besvikna.