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Everything posted by AllenLowe

  1. Whooa - sorry I went away this weekend; still trying to absorb the threads of this thread - I will add a few things that I hope don't seem irrelevant - 1) Jazz may seem more "intellectual"these days than in certain past times, but that's an inevitable turn for any art form. But, to look more deeply than this - can we truly separate intellect and feeling? To me intellect is an aspect of feeling, feeling an aspect of the intellect. So maybe it's not that musicians are now more intellectual than in the past, but that they are intellectual (and emotional) in a much different way. And, anyway, who among us can truly separate those two elements, in any real why? They are both equal parts of the psyche; any dichotomy is, IMHO, false. 2) Martin Williams - interesting and important guy; I had a few encounters - he was a pain in the ass, but an accomodating and important pain in the ass, and truly one of the pioneers of jazz criticism. I know this has already been said, but it bears repeating. Reading the collection of his reviews is interesting, because his opinions have aged quite well (including some non-snobbish and acute observations about Elvis). He had technical issues, and made some mistakes this way. Dick Katz, who worked with him on a number of things, told me that Williams refused to acknowledge or admit to his technical limitations. 3) Frances Davis's book on the blues is one of the finest of the genreand, believe me, I've read just about all of them - and, by the way, Francis HAS done hillbilly, and well - his piece on Johnny Cash is brilliant, and he did another fine piece on Pee Wee King. So enough of that.
  2. I think Larry wants us to mail him the actual book so he can return it to the local Border's for credit -
  3. Jack Teagarden

    1930s, 1930s, 1930s, 1930s - did I mention that I like his work best from the 1930s?
  4. Jazz History Course

    I'm not sure it's simply a black vs white thing but maybe even a class thing, when it comes to recognition of soul or organ jazz - whites are, after all, sometimes ahead of the black community in recognition of black artists - Paul Bley was hip to Ornette Coleman at a time when having Ornette in his band got him fired from a black club; Sun Ra was probably championed by more whites than blacks. Organ trios and soul jazz are acquired tastes for many of us, as they tend to emphasize the non-intellectual side of jazz, the more visceral, communal experience of the music. You are absoultely right, this is a vital element of jazz history and easily ignored. It should also be rememebered that there's lots of BAD music in this area - think some of Lou Donaldson's things (Hot Dog) and a host of other laughably bad 1960s recordings that tried to jump on this bandwagon. On the other hand, I learned as much about jazz hanging out in New Haven clubs listening to great organists like Bobby Buster or Richie McCrae (Richie was from New Jersey) as I did from anything else - and, of course, there was plenty of bad music going on in these places as well, as lot of tired repetition of old things. Jazz demands newness, and for some critics this kind of music is a throwback. And let's not also forget organists like Jeff Palmer, who really took the instrument and put it into a new and different context -
  5. RIAA Settings

    Multi band EQ's are relatively cheap,and can radically transform speakers and system, not to mention the bad work of reissue engineers -
  6. I actually agree with his line about the importance of minstrelsy and Armstrong, though I haven't read Appel's book and don't know if I feel this way for the reasons that he does; I think minstrelsy is a complicated and multi-layered subject, but relates here most specifically as, musically, the intial source for multi-streams of American music and comedy. Virtually every type of popular music (incl. country, jazz, standard song) can be seen as having minstrelsy as a source. This goes as well for popular entertainment and comedy, for the development of archtypes and comic methods. Minstrelsy is very much a music of impersonation and alteration of identity, as is pop music, as is Armstrong's m.o. Add to this the documented fact that minstrelsy used early forms of vocal/background obligatto (meaning vocal accompanied by instrumental asides) and you have an interesting collision of forms and styles - also think of of the minstrel performer's characteristic distance from the material, his need to perform it and comment on it at the same time, the use of ironic distancing - Armstrong's persona was very much related to this -
  7. Prez' Horn

    Good idea - but it's probably on a tape somewhere - I'm sorry to say I never transcribed it - DOH!
  8. DUKE ELLINGTON's Production as a Composer

    Yow - this is mind boggling - how do you guys keep track of this stuff? What happened to the good old days when a song was a song and a composer credit was a composer credit (like that Irving Mills, who wrote so many of our favorites) -
  9. Jack Teagarden

    I have to dissent somewhat - the later stuff is great but the best is from the 1930s, with small group, as leader, sideman - "I Ain't Lazy I'm Just Dreamin" has a collossal solo, and I think his playing in these years reached a peak; hear his work as sideman with Benny Goodman - or "Two Tix To Georgia" with Ben Pollack, 1933; with his own group: "Planation Moods," from 1933 - don't worry about recording quality, this is important music - advanced, soulful and timeless -
  10. Prez' Horn

    It's a funny thing about musicians and their attachments to horns - many years ago I was working on a book project and wrangled an interview with Sonny Rollins - Sonny is a nice guy, but it's sometimes difficult to get him to open up. Somehow the talk came around to the subject of differnt kinds of saxophones, Selmers, Conns, Buescher, King, et al - and Sonny lit up - fascinating conversation, if completely un-related to the topic I came to speak with him about, and completely un-useable for my book -
  11. Prez' Horn

    The Naked Lady Conn alto was sometimes known as the Charlie Parker model - Bird played one for a while - it had a tuning apparatus near the mouthpiece - best alto I ever played -
  12. Glad to hear Rudy Williams' name come up here - plays well on those Tad Dameron broadcasts, and I've heard some things from 1939 (When I Grow too Old to Dream) which definitely predict Bird - he also plays well on some Savoyy/Howard McGhee sides -
  13. Prez' Horn

    It's great to look at that horn. Conns have great sound, if difficult action. It's no exaggeration to say that the older horns sounded different - many required less pressure to blow, which is related to the older sound - other horns like Martins have much better action and a similar, dark sound - I love'em and will play nothing but. Yamahas sound like Kazoos -
  14. I'm not a big fan of Kelley's work - he really doesn't, from what I've seen, know or understand very much about jazz (anyone ever read his article about Miles as sartorial model for pimps?) He's a guy who has latched onto jazz as an aspect of "cultural studies," and made a career of it, who loves to talk about a lot of sociology, but who really has next to no knowledge of the actual music. Just my opinion -
  15. Where does one go to fine old radio broadcasts?

    there's actually an old Twilight Zone in which an old codger, whose mind lives in the past, turns on his radio and gets old big band broadcasts, like TOmmy Dorsey - the old guy was played by Dean Jagger, as I recall -
  16. "A somewhat complicated idea (with no sound evidence) for a book... " Not sure what this means - can you explain? My only other comment would be that if Robin DG Kelley liked his other book, than I'm already wary...
  17. Happy Birthday Barry Harris!

    I don't think anyone's mentioned it here, and I was reminded by "sidewinder," but Barry has said that he wrote the riff upon which Lee Morgan's big hit Sidewinder was based - and never got credit or any dough. I believe him as 1) Barry is not the kind of guy to brag about stuff he didn't do and 2) it actually sounds like one of his phrases; he's a great writer with a knack for catchy little riffs -
  18. Francis's recent things for the Voice have been hampered by a lack of space, but that's something that, unfortunately, he does not have control of. No one's an an expert on everything, but Francis has an impressive range. He just, to me, knows how to get to the essence of music and its effects, and is a terrific WRITER as well. His book on the history of the blues was quite good, filled with his typically astute observations, and an ability to contextualize in a way that's decidedly and thankfully un-academic. Now, Gary's not my favorite person, and I think he's slept through much of the last 20 tears, musically speaking, but some of his writings (collected in Rhythming and Riding on a Blues Note, Face in the Crowd, plus this new one) can stand the test of time; good writing, keen observations, a true and deep understanding of the music (though he does occasionally try to show off, and than makes musical/technical mistakes). I don't like him, and he's vindictive and unforgiving, but that's his problem, not mine.
  19. Oh, what the hell, I'll tell theGiddins story - when my book American Pop came out Giddins gave it a lukewarm review, which of course I didn't enjoy reading, but that's life - what bothered me, however, is that he was clearly basing his book review not on the book but the liner notes, which were a distillation of the book, but which contained about two thirds of what was in the book. So he made some comments/crticisms in his review which indicated that I hadn't mentioned this, and I hadn't mentioned that - things which, however, were in the book but not the liner notes. In one of these he said that, in discussing James Reese Europe, I failed to note the Reid Badger bio of Europe. Well, the Badger book was mentioned in my bibliography and in a foot note (and we're talking about a passage, in my book, of approximately 200 words). He also said I had no discography. Well, I did have a discography, it was just not as detailed as he might have liked, but that's also life. He also said I was "typical" in that I related everything in the book to the origin of rock and roll, which, as anyone who has actually read the book knows, is utter nonsense.So I wrote a letter to the Village Voice pointing these things out. Giddins response, vis a ve the Europe credit, was that this was typical of me and Amercan Pop: taking the works of others and passing them off as my own. He basically called me a plagiarist, which make me livid, as I have NEVER taken the credit for anyone else's work. I honestly considered suing the SOB (or, actually, the Voice), but of course that never came to anything. The only revenge I had was that Giddins, in the meantime, had become good friends with my brother-in-law. My brother-in-law happened to mention our relationship, and Giddins was, from what I heard, quite embarassed -
  20. Just per some other comments here: Giiddins and Frances Davis don't need me to defend them but the two of them have written some of the best jazz criticism of the 20th century (for full disclosure: Frances is a friend of mine; Giddins doesn't like me at all). Of the two I think Frances has the edge for depth and breadth, but I've learned a lot from both. The only other (jazz) critics I know who are in their league are Larry Kart, Dan Morgenstern, and Larry Gushee, and I am not exaggerating, over-stating or under-stating (when it comes to jazz criticism I have, almost quite literally, read it all). Lou Reed is a mixed thing for me; post-1970 he is a well of medicorty; pre-1970 he did some of the most interesting and revolutionary work in rock and roll (and no, that's not a contradiction in terms).
  21. Per Larry's post, there may be a bit of passive-aggessiveness to his Times review, some payback, as I know that Dan has expressed reservations about Appel's book - I don't know for certain, however, if Appel is aware of this -
  22. Lewis is a friend of mine, so let that be a disclaimer to objectivity, but I've found his work to be consistently first rate. Mike Fitgerald know about how often I've railed agains academics on the Jazz Resarch line - Lew is to me what an academic SHOULD be - knowledgeable about the subject in a technical, research, and real- life way - and his work reflects this, particularly his book on Coltrane. the Lester Young reader is a great book as well -
  23. Some of my best friends are lesbians - but I wouldn't want my sister to marry one - (didn't Dick Cheney's OTHER daughter say that?)
  24. AOW Week - December 11

    Per Dan, let's not forget that Benny Carter payed trumpet as well - and personally I have to admit I like his trumpet playing better than his alto playing. But that''s another thread... just to add a little bit to this discussion, there seems to be a sense of Pepper as somewhat detached from what he is playing - and to me, this is one of the things that makes him great, no irony intended. There is a certain modernist perspective that I call the "impersonal I" - it has to do with first person representations of the self that go deeper than the typical literary realist approach - without getting too literary here (Larry knows this stuff much beter than I do anyway) I think such an approach has more depth and feeling than the typical heart-on-sleeve style of creation. This, to me, is one of the things that makes the earlier Pepper so incredible to listen to. It is, as has been indicated, as though he is standing to one side and watching himself play. This makes his playing, bith technically and emotionally, extremely fresh to me. In his comeback years he is too aware iof himself, calls himself a genius, and seems to be acting as though he has missed some jazz developments. I find his attempts to "catch up" as largely self defeating and pointless -
  25. Wait - Dizzy was gay? What did I miss here? Well, as long as he stayed away from goats...