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Everything posted by blajay

  1. Spinning this. Just bought it at Jazz Record Mart on a visit to Chicago. Wishing all Chicagoan, and other organissimo members, well. Heya, thanks for popping in. See you at one of those Grex shows I hope. Yes, definitely!
  2. Spinning this. Just bought it at Jazz Record Mart on a visit to Chicago. Wishing all Chicagoan, and other organissimo members, well.
  3. He discusses Pithecanthropus Erectus in "The Changing Same," not extensively, but as somewhat of an addendum meant to rectify having not included Mingus in earlier essays. For the purposes of your categorizing, he calls that album a "massive orchestral breakthrough" in the same breath with Ornette Coleman's Free Jazz, Sun Ra and Ellington.
  4. I like that collection because it is clearly organized in a way that historicizes well in my opinion Baraka's work from Beat (1957-1962) to Transitional (1963-1965), Black Nationalist (1965-1974), and finally to Third World Marxist (1974-). Judging from this thread, it seems to me important to keep in mind that people change and so, then, does the knowledge they produce, depending on the timing of its publication. That collection is pretty comprehensive, too, including for example his scarce short stories like "The Screamers" that has been cited on this board about a riot that is initiated at a Lynn Hope concert. Enjoy. For folks in NY, Baraka is speaking at the Left Forum next week in a panel called "Occupy Malcolm X: By Any Means Necessary." Here is the link.
  5. For help in sorting out this question of authenticity vis-à-vis anti-essentialism in Black American music and its sub-idioms, I recommend turning to Baraka's influential essay "The Changing Same" in Black Music, and then following that with Paul Gilroy's revisit of it below in which he elaborates on the idea that if Black music is a changing same, then it is neither a fixed essence nor a reified construction. Gilroy, Paul 1991 Sounds Authentic: Black Music, Ethnicity, and the Challenge of a "Changing" Same. Black Music Research Journal 11(2):111-136. [edit to correct the title of Gilroy's paper (I had only put the subtitle above previously); I wanted to add along these lines that I'd also recommend this piece by George Lewis available here]
  6. Lou Donaldson Quartet

    Tsuruga is the same organist I saw Donaldson with a few years ago at Yoshi's SF. If I recall correctly, Dr. Lonnie Smith mentored her. He's clearly a great teacher. I saw him perform on Saturday night at the Jazz Standard, actually. It was a great show, and afterward his adorable 8 or so year-old grandson who is apparently blind went up on stage and sat at the organ. He started to play and blew everyone away. Look out for that kid!
  7. Karl Evangelista/Grex Quintet on Kickstarter

    Just gave a modest pledge for this very exciting sounding project! Good luck, Karl!
  8. Looks like for Lynn Hope it was related to practicing Islam as part of the Nation of Islam. Might it be that Lonnie Smith is neither Sikh nor wearing his turban in a secular way, but is simply a Black Muslim?
  9. Does anyone have this release of Chuck Willis recordings? Apparently its booklet contains "the secret behind his turban".
  10. You sure it wasn't from during the above-mentioned performance with Lou Donaldson? haha, Chris you should write fiction! But I am very curious if someone could confirm whether his wearing of the turban is a secular or religious practice. Which is not to say unsoulful! And what about Lynn Hope or Chuck Willis? I know Sun Ra has his own "Astro-Black Mythology" and Horace Silver is I assume doing it for the cover art there, but is there something consistent in the former three at least (Smith, Hope, and Willis) related to Black American culture or religion or is it simply an aesthetic choice?
  11. I guess Sun Ra could be included for wearing a turban, among other kinds of head coverings.
  12. This thread has stuck in my mind for ages. I'm curious if there are further examples of this apparent tradition of combining turban + hammond/jazz/exotica. Or is it just a coincidental series? If a tradition, how did it come to be?
  13. I mentioned in the “Which Mosaic Are You Enjoying Right Now?” thread that Art Hodes’ book Selections from the Gutter: Portraits from the Jazz Record makes a great accompaniment to his music. I found it especially fascinating in his descriptions of the early Chicago scene with Wingy Manone, venues like the Liberty Inn, and forgotten legends like saxophonist Bennie Moylan and boogie-woogie pianists Cow Cow Davenport and Montana Taylor. However, when I got to the Bessie Smith section, I inevitably ran into Carl Van Vechten’s ‘Memories of Bessie Smith.’ I’ve unfortunately read this same account of Bessie Smith’s 1925 performance from the lens of the particular rich white patron in three books now. I previously came across it in Chris Albertson’s Bessie and in Angela Davis’ Blues Legacies and Black Feminism. Chris, first of all I’d like to thank you for your work on the biography Bessie. One could not have asked for someone more dedicated to preserving the legacy of the important blues woman. Your knack for detail left no stone unturned. It is clear that you forged an honest, personal bond with Ruby and Maude, and it was wise to feature their touching accounts so prominently. Well done! Also, I should say that I truly benefited from your accurate accounts of Bessie Smith’s interactions with the KKK and the other racial terrorists in Texas, so please don’t take any of the following questions as implications that you ever glazed over Bessie’s experience as an oppressed Black woman. Regarding Van Vechten’s account, you correctly note its seemingly ‘anachronistic’ impression, as it was not written until 1947. I understand you wanted to cover Van Vechten’s role in the development of Smith’s career, but were you at all reluctant to include this account of her live performance? It doesn’t make me feel as if I have a first-person account of the show; it clouds any image I’d previously envisioned under a racist, exoticizing veil. I’d understand including it only for the purpose of disclosing the absurd stereotypes even the most dedicated white blues fan espoused, but you seem to use it in order to provide an example of what it could have been like to be in the audience at the time. Could you share your thoughts on this? Reading this little story again inspired me to grab Angela Davis’ book again. I had the honor of meeting Angela Davis about five years ago in Boston, where she spoke about the prison-industrial complex. Chris, have you met her, or did you have any interaction with her for her book? As I’m sure you all know (and if you don’t, read her autobiography), Davis has led a famous life as a student of Marcuse in Frankfurt, a member of the Communist Party, a leader in the Black Power movement, legal advisor to George Jackson and the Soledad Brothers, underground fugitive, political prisoner, professor of social theory, feminist, and prison rights advocate. Her aforementioned book on blues women is great not only for its critical look at the “aesthetic dimension’s” effect on the respective political agencies of Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, and Billie Holiday, but it also includes the lyrics to every tune recorded by Rainey and Smith! In her book, Davis quotes Van Vechten’s account only because “its significance lies in the way it reveals the racist assumptions behind Van Vechten’s and other powerful whites’ appreciation of black cultural forms.” Again, that is all I got from it, anyway. Chris, since you are a member here on the board, I thought I’d also get your reaction to a couple of Davis’ other related assertions. RE: The reason for Bessie Smith’s uncharacteristic recording of popular tune "Muddy Water," and its Southern nostalgia for the "Dixie Way" Davis (BL&BF p. 88): "Why would Bessie Smith record such a song? Chris Albertson challenges critics’ explanation for the recording session during which this song was produced—which consisted exclusively of popular songs, including ‘Alexander’s Ragtime Band’ by Irving Berlin—as an attempt to revitalize her popularity by recording ‘commercial’ material. [Edward] Brooks is probably right in pointing to her lack of control over this material. Albertson notes that during the time this session took place, Smith was appearing at the Lincoln Theater in Harlem in a show that was advertised as ‘Bessie Smith and Her Yellow Girl Revue.’ Albertson suggests that she probably had nothing to do with the production and billing of the show, because ‘she had always expressed monumental disdain for light-complexioned women.’ What Albertson fails to indicate here is that it would not have been merely a question of prejudice on Smith’s part. In fact, during that period, light-skinned showgirls were the only ones given work in most of Harlem’s clubs and theaters.” (Davis then gives Chris credit for pointing out Joe Smith’s significant role as trumpeter on the takes of the tune.) Chris, do you have any response to this? RE: Bessie Smith’s understanding of race relations as well as class relations Davis (BL&BF p. 96): “ ‘Poor Man’s Blues’ was composed by Bessie Smith and recorded in 1928. Chris Albertson calls it ‘a poignant song of social protest’ and designates it as ‘Black Man’s Blues.’ As critics would later define Billie Holiday as ‘apolitical,’ Albertson implies that Smith ‘had no interest in politics,’ that, in other words, she was not capable of thinking about class relations—lines of demarcation between rich and poor—but only about race relations—those between white and black. However, the words of ‘Poor Man’s Blues’ refute this narrative of Smith’s political apathy. Mister rich man, rich man, open up your heart and mind Mister rich man, rich man, open up your heart and mind Give the poor man a chance, help stop these hard, hard times While you’re livin’ in your mansion, you don’t know what hard times means While you’re livin’ in your mansion, you don’t know what hard times means Poor working man’s wife is starvin’, your wife’s livin’ like a queen Please, listen to my pleading, ‘cause I can’t stand these hard times long Oh, listen to my pleading, can’t stand these hard times long They’ll make an honest man do things that you know is wrong Poor man fought all the battles, poor man would fight again today Poor man fought all the battles, poor man would fight again today He would do anything you ask him in the name of the U.S.A. Now the war is over, poor man must live the same as you Now the war is over, poor man must live the same as you If it wasn’t for the poor man, mister rich man, what would you do?” Davis then expands on the complex economic circumstances that black people found themselves in at the time and how Bessie Smith’s lyrics grasp the social roots of those circumstances. Chris, I know from my brief visits to the political topics on this message board that you come from a left perspective, perhaps not as radical as Angela Davis. Do you believe Bessie Smith was apathetic? Or was economic liberation an intention in her music? --Jay
  14. Mal Waldron, a musician's musician

    Thanks! Tuning in.
  15. I'm unfortunately on the East Coast now, so I'll miss this show (but maybe see you at the NY concert, 7/4!). If you're in the Bay Area, I highly recommend for anyone to go to this show, if not for Frith's band, for our friend ep1str0phy (Karl Evangelista). If you think his contributions to this forum have been thoughtful and well-informed, his guitar playing is likewise and very exciting live! I've seen him perform a number of times over the past couple of years ever since he generously gave me a ride to a Roscoe Mitchell/Muhal Richard Abrams concert at Mills College without having ever met in person; we got in touch through this board. It is always a thrill to go to one of his shows. I encourage everyone to check it out, and look out for that name: Karl Evangelista (sometimes in a trio) and Grex! Hope you don't mind the side spam, Karl.
  16. Mal Waldron

    I just stumbled upon this film on Mal Waldron, and so far it seems really good (I've only watched the first chunk so far). Anybody have more information on this or have the DVD which also has a short piece on Barry Harris? I'd be interested to hear about it.
  17. Sam Jones

    Been awhile, but hello, friends. I'm just revisiting Barry Harris' great album At The Jazz Workshop and Sam Jones' solo on the first track "Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Baby" really grabs me. I couldn't find a topic specifically on Jones, and I know he was mostly a sideman with Louis Hayes like on this record. I was curious if you folks have similarly resonant favorite performances by him as a sideman on record that you could recommend, but I also don't have any of his albums as a leader and would be curious about both the 60s stuff on Riverside but also the later 70s stuff on a variety of other labels. Thanks! Jay
  18. Sam Jones

    These recommendations are exactly what I was looking for. Many thanks!
  19. Thanks for the update. I'm excited about the Lunceford box, too!
  20. Marion Brown

    Thanks, Clifford! That's amazing.
  21. RIP - Tom Madden

    I moved from SF to NY for graduate school last summer, and I was so distracted with readings and paper-writing that I did not notice this thread (I tried to keep reading, but I have missed the discussion with you all, by the way, and I am glad to have a nice break to engage myself again). Even though I didn't catch this news, yesterday I got confirmation mid-conversation with Fred Cohen at the Jazz Record Center that Tom passed away last year. I had been afraid of the news ever since I heard that his store closed down shortly after I moved away. I lived just a few doors down from the Jazz Quarter, so Tom and I became pretty close in his unique way. I knew he had health problems. I spent countless hours in Tom's store trying to understand the discographical constellations he articulated out of an unbelievably expansive knowledge in an environment cluttered with multiple simultaneous sensations: towers of LPs, books, and cds; a record--that he knew I didn't know but that I would like--playing at a loud volume; a live baseball game on his tiny television; intermittent sips from his giant cup of Pepsi; and Irving Pizza crumbs projected from his mouth in every direction (not to mention some of the old jazzbros in these below videos). I'll never forget my first time in the shop. I'm relatively young and new to the idiom compared to many of you. When I walked in there, I was overwhelmed by media. I chose the right question to garner his eccentric sort of indirect affection, though, when I asked him where to start with Lester Young! Each new visit to the store he'd play something that built on a recording I'd bought during the visit before. That would then initiate the conversation, and it would go on all day. There was never any small talk. My participation in the conversation was aided by independent "research" through involvement in this forum. So in a way, many of you participated, too. Anyway, he was one of a kind, and I'll miss him dearly. Here are some links to videos recorded of him at his best below:
  22. Saxophonist Ted Brown on the radio ... and link

    Even if you accept the notion that Tristano-ite music lacks the "African diasporic rhythmic element," the assumed logic is curious through which white musicians like Iverson--who ostensibly appropriates African-American cultural forms in his own musical production--discourage other white musicians from continuing to cultivate Tristano's "cold" forms, or at least help to portray Tristano in a positive light. I haven't read Shim's book, but is it possible that either consciously or unconsciously Tristano simply opted for strategies of desegregation that didn't adhere to the more common paternalistic understanding of integration? In other words, what is the emancipatory potential of "deciding to play with 'others,'" in the first place? The assumption is that the white musician is the subjective actor; he is the one making the choice. And who benefits from that choice? Is it that Tristano created an exclusive group of white musicians or that he respected the autonomy of African-American bebop musicians and developed something else parallel to their formation of bebop? It seems to me that Iverson may suffer from what Anthony Braxton diagnoses as the “spectacle diversion syndrome,” best exemplified in “the reality of the ‘sweating brow’ as a signifier of musical realness (Lock 1988:114).”
  23. Ron Burton

    I heard this album Cosmic Twins--Waterbearers on Strata-East recently, and it blew me away. It's always a pleasure to see these overlapping knowledges here. I actually thought it was Don Pullen when I heard it, so it makes plenty of sense to me that he performed with George Adams.
  24. re- Herbie/Fat Albert Rotunda- Van Gelder stampers

    Mine is also a white-label promo and has the stamp.