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Posts posted by AllenLowe

  1. 18 hours ago, sgcim said:

    He probably did play it. He's listed as the only guitarist in the film score in the book, "Jazz in Film", and Kessel, could play any type of pop music (he was considered to be part of the Wrecking Crew). I was amazed to find out he also played guitar on the David Raksin Western film "Will Penny", when I bought the soundtrack album.

    I always found it ironic that the first jazz guitar I bought was a used Gibson Barney Kessel Custom (because I wanted to sound like my hero), but Kessel barely used it when he played jazz. He preferred the sound of his ES-350 with CC pickups to the Humbuckers that came with the Gibson Barney Kessel model. In the end, I was better off with the BK model, because it was a much more versatile guitar that I could use on the R&B gigs I did with Melba Moore and Sister Sledge, and still a serviceable jazz guitar, though nowhere as good as the ES-350. Kessel hated the BK model, but it was a very popular guitar, and he received a percentage of every sale.

    people don't mention enough that the reason the older jazz guitarists sound so much better in purely sonic terms is the use of tube amps, which really breath, give a fatness to the sound and also reflect more of the string sound. Plus the CC's have a nice compressed sound to them that swells when pushed.

  2. I don't know if anyone has mentioned it, but I believe Kessel (whose sound and playing I love; had a lot to do with those Charlie Christian pickups) played the screaming "rock" guitar solo in the Orson Wells movie Touch of Evil.

  3. as a fixed income social security recipient who had some good teaching/playing gigs scheduled for the spring, this thing has caused some financial difficulty, though it's been pretty much manageable. Actually, sales from the new book and historical cds were substantial and helped me put enough aside to pay my property taxes.

    the good news is that Lincoln Center expects to have classes in the Spring  and wants my blues-history course. We will see how that develops. I am cautiously pessimistic.

    on the other side of things, my niece's father in law, mid-60s and a doctor, living in Texas, died of Covid last week. Was a wonderful man from all accounts.


  4. I would like to see the book, but it sounds from the blurb like the same-old-same-old. I'd prefer to see Cafe Bohemia and places like that, clubs in Brooklyn like the one Max worked with Duke Jordan, also that Cleveland club that had a great photographer in residence. Maybe they'll surprise me. I'm just disappointed they didn't interview Grace Kelly. Now she would have insights on the old days.

  5. no guys, you are missing the point - Moran is a fine musician and nice guy but he has no place in a book like this. I have no place in a book like this, and I at least  knew a LOT of musicians who were extremely active on the scene in the 1950s. But it makes no historical sense, none at all, to have Moran as a part of this project. 20 years on the scene puts him at 40+ years too late for this book.  It's offensive when there are a number of living jazz musicians who would have been perfect for this, and a few who died recently (like Annie Ross). This is just a crap way to do it and an insult to a lot of great jazz people.  Who's going to talk about Teddy Charles and Hall Overton, and Bill Triglia (house pianist at Birdland for a time in that decade), Jimmy Knepper, Al Haig, etc etc? Not to mention that our own Larry Kart, who came of age in that decade,  would have been perfect - and  Chuck Nessa. It is an incredible lost opportunity of the kind that re-enforces my sense that nobody really gives a damn any more about the depth of jazz history. Ah.....

  6. I think Miles with Stitt was beneficial to both. Stitt couldn't coast and probably was making more $$$ than usual,  and Miles was still Miles. And this is an excellent Stitt solo (though his solos on some of these concerts do go on too long, as though he was having trouble figuring out where to stop):


  7. we have about 3 days left in the Fund Raiser. Remember all the small children whose prickly heat will harm their lives without your contribution.

    I thought the following, my entry on Cecil Taylor, might be of help:

    You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To Cecil Taylor 1956
    Though I feel certain that, were he still alive, Cecil Taylor would scorn me for saying so, his desire and ability to stick to musical principal in his early professional years, in the face of repeated rejection and some downright nastiness, took great courage. To say he was ahead of his time is to put it way too mildly. He was just one of those artists who understood, who constructed a personal musical methodology out of an unorthodox sensibility and intense - maybe too intense - self awareness. This was, I would guess, his way of tapping into the labyrinth of his own mind for the sake of real-time translation and transference of some little-known (at least for the jazz world) musical truths. I do have a feeling that, like Thelonious Monk, he had no real personal choice but to do so, and was in some ways trapped by the kind of stubborn individuality that sometimes masquerades as principle. So he is like an example to us all, a portrait of the artist who does as he does simply because he knows of no other way to do it.

       At the time Taylor recorded  Cole Porter’s You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To we might say he was in his ur-harmonic period, still concerned with explaining, in artistic terms, the fragmentary way the mind approaches the wholeness of certain visible yet pliant forms, from painting to language - though in Taylor’s case what he was confronting were songs and song form, the piano, and jazz soloing. James Joyce once argued that the way he wrote, the way he drew out the essence of experience and consciousness and reordered them, was much more “realistic” than than the ways of more socially “accurate” writers, much truer to the reality of life as actually lived. Taylor might have argued that the way in which he exposed song elements - their bits and bites of harmony, with pieces of their melody in harmonic relief - was much more faithful than more “ordered” ways of jazz performance, much more akin to lived, artistic experience, and so to the truest ideals of jazz improvisation. No one in jazz except, perhaps, Lennie Tristano and Bud Powell, had, in 1956, any equivalent sense of the kind of intuitive artistry that sends one down the potential rabbit hole of instinct and consciousness. Playing standards that year with “standard” harmony, Taylor seemed to be starting and finishing at the same time. He was visiting “the tradition” at the same time that he was rejecting it, not exploring it so much as trying to see how much of it might still be of musical use to him. In the long term - though here he shows a surprisingly keen grasp of the possibilities of improvised line - the answer was “not much.” He never seems bored, but instead appears restless on the edge of disdainful, for all that such songs required of him. In the year before Ornette Coleman completely revealed himself to delegates of the jazz profession Cecil Taylor chose to take the first steps toward exiting that world, preparing to go so far inside himself that succeeding performances and recordings would seem less like self-introduction than professional withdrawal (assuming, of course, in a way that Taylor would not, that the profession we are referring to was Jazz Musician). And yes, that was a brave thing for him to do in that place and at that time. No one in jazz, in 1956, on any side of the artistic fence, was near-ready for that kind of self-exposure.



  8. 1 hour ago, Ken Dryden said:

    I just finished Phil Woods' autobiograhy Life In E-Flat. There are a lot of great stories that he shared in interviews and his Phil In The Gap column for the Al Cohn Memorial Newsletter, plus additional material about his personal life that isn't as widely known. Woods discusses his own shortcomings with candor, while Ted Panken, who edited the book, wrote an excellent introduction and Brian Lynch shared his thoughts about working and talking witht he late jazz master. 



    I'm also reading the book, and though I haven't liked any of Woods playing since, maybe, the early 1960s, he is an interesting and important figure. One thing I am very disturbed about is that they would use the same title that Chan used in her autobiography. It's clearly done, in my opinion, because Woods was pissed off at her negative portrayal of him. This is really unethical and should not have been done.

  9. when I was doing a lot of transfers for clients and record companies I owned that thing with the fluids and the turntable - can't think of what it was called but it was considered high end at the time  - and I rarely heard a difference with the average, medium-dusty LP. So I don't do it that often.

    But I often shower myself first, just to make sure none of that old-age dust gets on the vinyl.

  10. as some of you know, my current project,

    Turn Me Loose White Man: Or Appropriating Culture: How To Listen to American Music 1900-1960

    has expanded; the book is now 2 Volumes, and I expect Vol. 2 to be out Spring of 2021 (working on it as this posts).

    I say, immodestly, that this is the best thing of its kind around. We cover everything from minstrel song to ragtime, blues, jazz, gospel, country, hillbilly, soul, folk, rock and rockabilly, etc. There is commentary, context, expert musical analysis, and the music itself.

    We have had a lot of raves for the project, which comes with, as I said, 2 books, plus a 30 CD set of all the music. There are intros by Greil Marcus and Greg Tate and a nice blurb by Robin D.G. Kelley. I have to admit, though it won't bankrupt me, going to the second volume has cost me an extra bit of cash and has been particularly difficult in the time of Covid, as my extra earnings, never particularly high, have slowed considerably.

    I need to raise some more cash to get the rest of this out. Here's what I propose: Volume 1 is already in ebook form, and Volume 2 will be available as same (as well as hard copy) in the Spring. For a very limited time (limited to 20 sets) I can offer E book versions of Volume 1 and 2, plus the actual 30 CDs, for $100 plus shipping ($5 media in the USA, $25 to Europe). I can send you the Ebook as either Kindle compatible or for Ibooks/Ipad/Iphone, volume 1 now and volume 2 in the spring. I apologize to all who have already spent a bit more for this, but I have always had to do these projects without institutional support and/or any external grants. It's just the way it is. But I think I can say that with Turn Me Loose we have broken some new ground, critically and historically.

    My paypal is My email is same.

    thanks -

  11. they will bury me face down with as many LP's as will fit inserted into my butt crack, vertically, facing into the sky.This is

    a re-creation of an old collector's ritual (or maybe it has to do with virgin sacrifice. I don't really remember).