CJ Shearn

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Posts posted by CJ Shearn


  1. On 3/10/2022 at 7:12 AM, Rooster_Ties said:

    I knew Bill through the board better than in person, though I saw him at a few jazz shows about 5 times total over 8 years.

    He was a nice and thoughtful guy, and very kind. Joe, my dearest friend in Kansas City, knew Bill quite a bit better than I did — and he introduced us in about 2004 (and Joe called me about Bill’s passing last night).

    Bill and his (then) wife had an adult son with developmental challenges (who required their constant supervision), and they made the brave decision not to institutionalize him. This kept Bill from going to very many live shows (maybe once a month, at most). And I think every time I saw Bill in person it was at The Blue Room in KC (and he always brought his son with him, which was usually challenging, and only enabled Bill to stay for one set, at most — and sometimes he had to leave early even from that one set).

    But I never saw Bill ever complain, or show anything but an infinite amount of patience with his son. A truly remarkable father.

    I also never had the opportunity to get to know Bill much in person — and knew him far better from his presence on the board (and also on the Steve Hoffman Forums).

    Bill always seemed like one of the nicest guys you could ever think of.

    Wow... Really shocking news to hear, RIP.  The fact he and his wife had a developmentally disabled child really, my heart goes out, my late mother ignored the advice of those to institutionalize me and here I am.


  2. On 3/5/2022 at 11:11 AM, Ken Dryden said:

    I'll probably pass on this release as well. The big mystery to me is Miles' Warner Bros. albums, as Marcus Miller's compositions bore the hell out of me. Too much vamping and the solos are uniinteresting.

    Gotta disagree Ken.  I reinvestigated the Warner Bros years and found a lot of great music there and live recordings show it was even better.  What I found boring if we discuss vamps is Derrick Hodge's last album.  I'm just not that into that strain of hip hop/R&B.  The influence is fine but the actually contemporary genre I'm not that into but I have friends who are so it's all good.


  3. Oh shit! Great news.  Ever since two different firms have handled ECM's digital promo distribution it's been harder to keep up.  Their former PR, Tina Pelikan was terrific, I got new release download links in my email without fail.  I still gotta listen to the new one with Vijay Iyer and Linda May Han Oh, Ayumi Tanaka Trio and Jorge Rossy Puerta


  4. On 12/20/2021 at 3:25 PM, JSngry said:

    I do remember a time when a label like Columbia, or Atlantic, or RCA would make room for a few releases that were not expected to sell big. Even if it was a bookkeeping gambit, to get the write-offs, they would at least put some records out there. They don't even do that anymore, really.

    Yes, the economics of the business ahs changed, but to use Bruce Lundvall as an example (again), if you want to find a way (and some hits to pay for it), a way is there.

    But this was dying already by the middle 70s, really. It's not like it happened all at once, but it was obvious what was happening, imo.

    Wow. Incredible article and one that offers

    a lot of food for thought

     

    Yeah I get what you mean how major labels would at least release some really cool stuff 


  5. On 12/17/2021 at 1:48 PM, JSngry said:

    I feel the draft, of course. But "Big Record Companies" had, by the late 1970s, ceased to be actual record companies - they were corporate holdings, damn near all of them. Cost centers dedicate, not to their honor/quality, but to their ability to deliver earnings up the chain.

    That Bruce Lundvall was able to throw some weight "our" way for a little while was cool, but definitely an outlier, and really who should be surprised by that? Why should anybody be surprised by that?

    Thinking that we were somehow "let down"...when will we ever learn? When will we ever stop begging? We are not now, nor will we ever be, a "common"music in a world where the majorities of the population want lifestyle accessories to go with their current trendfuns?

    Not that there's anything wrong with that, music as lifestyle accessory is totally appropriate, BUT - what lifestyle are you leading? Whose lifestyle is it anyway? And why should anybody think that everybody else should have it? This music came from the underground, and the moment it ceases to be connected to the underground is the day it ceases to be itself.

    In other words, if you can't handle the underground, get out of the music.

    What's changed? Nothing really, just a transition to streaming and labels still kind of neglecting stuff beyond the big sellers.


  6. 11 hours ago, Gheorghe said:

    I think in my youth there were people who dug Bob James but didn´t know about other "Jazz Artists". 

    I think they played a tune of him on Radio (Jazz Shop) "El Verano" and I liked it. This must have been around 1977.

    I hear Bob James on the "Chet Baker-Gerry Mulligan at Carnegie Hall 1974" and I like both the Fender and the acoustic. Thats really a good rhythm section with Bob James, Ron Carter and Harvey Mason.....

    And the CBS All Stars in 1977, Both Bob James and George Duke on pianos/keyboards with all star horns. Stan Getz doing Night Crawler.....

    Yeah, that one is great.  Very upset I lost both Montreux Summit CD volumes in the fire.  Looked up prices on discogs today, ridiculous.  Will just have to stream those in the meantime.


  7. 3 hours ago, Shrdlu said:

    "Straight Life" is not a terribly exciting album. Two tracks cook a bit: "Stuffy" and "Jimmy's Blues". I wouldn't rush to buy this.

    The title track too.  I'm a Jimmy Smith Blue Note completist so I'll go for it again.  I had before the fire his entire Blue Note output on CD, including the three Japanese albums.  Started collecting JOS on CD at age 13 so that was a bit of a huge blow.

    On 12/18/2021 at 1:42 AM, bertrand said:

    Did Quentin Warren ever take solos with Jimmy Smith?

    Yes, the below posted videos, a few on Crazy! Baby (his best solos), Bucket!, one on Prayer Meetin' the Salle Pleyel, Mai 28 1965 discs, and I think a few solos on Bashin, the trio material.  Was he the greatest guitarist ever? No when you look at who JOS had as guitarists, especially Burrell, Benson and Wes.  Eddie McFadden was a better soloist IMO in regards to Jimmy's "regular" guitarists.  Quentin? he was there to provide a buffer for Jimmy to cook, and when you view it at that angle, he's not half bad.


  8. On 12/18/2021 at 10:47 PM, Ken Dryden said:

    CTI was never a label I explored in any depth, the dominant music on the label just didn't interest me. I have never been a big fan of electric piano, in most cases, I feel like it is a poor substitute for a grand piano. Bob James' electric piano in the Mulligan/Baker Carnegie Hall Reunion is a major disappointment for me. But there are times where the softer sound of an electric piano fits the song or arrangement better.

    But then again, when I started reviewing jazz, I didn't review CTI stuff, even if some CD reissues were sent to me.

    I always thought of a review as something to help me decide whether or not I wanted to check out the recording, nothing more. I am not expecting somebody to write 1500 words to describe a single disc, though I used to get a laugh out of those worthless one incomplete sentence AMG reviews by their first jazz editor ("Trio recording live at the Village Vanguard") that were worthless.

    Norman Granz quoted Freddie Hubbard in a conversation they had at an English jazz festival where the trumpeter mentioned that he wanted to record with Oscar Peterson, "To get back to playing some real jazz and not this shit I'm into now," as it appears in the liner notes to the Pablo albums Trumpet Summit and Alternate Blues, all music from a session on March 10, 1980. The rest of the musicians included Dizzy Gillespie, Clark Terry, Joe Pass, Ray Brown and Bobby Durham. 

    Yes! That's right.  I had both those albums pre fire.

    On 12/18/2021 at 1:21 AM, danasgoodstuff said:

    Thanks for the link.  different perspective from mine, but one that it'll probably do me some good to consider.  Yanow is a hack.

    You are welcome.  Kind of surprised it brought forth quite a bit of discussion.


  9. 1 hour ago, Teasing the Korean said:

    But many of those CTI albums were not smooth jazz.  Especially the ones with two long tracks per side that featured introspective, hallucinogenic, delirious grooves.  

    1 hour ago, Teasing the Korean said:

    I didn't listen to any CTI in the 1980s.  I started buying them at a buck a throw in the 1990s.  They fit in well with the turn-of-the-millennium vibe.

    1 hour ago, Teasing the Korean said:

    But many of those CTI albums were not smooth jazz.  Especially the ones with two long tracks per side that featured introspective, hallucinogenic, delirious grooves.  

    7 hours ago, HutchFan said:

    CJ,

    I completely agree with your point that the "received wisdom" about what constitutes valid jazz often has been woefully narrow.

    However, I think that sort of perspective is far less tenable now than it has been in the past.  Of course, there are still traditionalists and there are still avant-gardists -- and everything in between. But the either/or clashes seem to have given way to something that's more open-ended and less rigid. ... Or maybe it's just that jazz has moved so far into the margins of culture -- and it's economic power is so diminished -- that no one has the impetus or desire to argue about it any more.

    Either way, those old narratives seem to be breaking down.  Or at least I think they are.

    There's room enough for many, many different perspectives at the table.  And there's no need for any one person or group to "own" the narrative.  

    That's my take.

     

    Definitely many perspectives should be considered

    7 hours ago, HutchFan said:

    CJ,

    I completely agree with your point that the "received wisdom" about what constitutes valid jazz often has been woefully narrow.

    However, I think that sort of perspective is far less tenable now than it has been in the past.  Of course, there are still traditionalists and there are still avant-gardists -- and everything in between. But the either/or clashes seem to have given way to something that's more open-ended and less rigid. ... Or maybe it's just that jazz has moved so far into the margins of culture -- and it's economic power is so diminished -- that no one has the impetus or desire to argue about it any more.

    Either way, those old narratives seem to be breaking down.  Or at least I think they are.

    There's room enough for many, many different perspectives at the table.  And there's no need for any one person or group to "own" the narrative.  

    That's my take.


     

    Yes... many of those CTI'S are not smooth in the least. Now once we get to David Matthews as arranger, that's where things get SUPER generic. There was an interview I read with Marcus Miller once, he said at first he thought Bob James was Black without seeing his picture which was really funny and quite a compliment. His arrangement of "Don't Mess With Mr. T" then using the same material for Grover's Soul Box is masterful IMO


  10. 3 hours ago, HutchFan said:

    I don't particularly like those records either.  :P   But CJ's larger point still stands.

    IMO, it's 100% right-on for a critic (or anyone else) to say, "I don't like that music because reason X, Y, or Z." Because that statement acknowledges the personal and the subjective that's part-and-parcel of the assessment.

    It's different when a critic (or anyone else) says, "That's bad music because reason X, Y, or Z."  Because that's a statement about power.  That is, "I get to decide what's good."  Critcs -- and others who are trying to be "gatekeepers" -- act as if they have some sort of authority that they don't possess.  And, as often as not, the critic is making judgments based on criteria that don't align with the artist's goals and desires.

    Ellington made this same point when he said that critics often forget that it's not their job to tell the artist what to do; it's their job to describe what the artist has done.

     

    That thing about "power": Yanow's review, much less a review than a statement (common with him) he seems to already have an agenda against James at the outset, so it's already flawed.  Just like statements in various reviews for Bobby Hutcherson's Knucklebean about "it's a relief to hear Hubbard playing jazz again" (I mean, the fuck? Did he actually ever stop? Yes the Columbia's were super commercial, but videos from that area say otherwise) or things he said about Herbie and Chick "returning" to acoustic piano... I mean I have listened to Herbie's Columbia's since I have that set, many times and the acoustic piano still has prominence, even on the funky stuff.  Those statements are more about "I don't like it" than actually about music.  My writing, if people like it, cool, if you don't that's cool too.  My writing is about the music, less about "me".  Yanow is very much a gatekeeper to an inflexible narrative, and the way he jetted from this place many years proves that.  I ignore his writing, it's just I curiously searched the AMG review.  Someone gave me a copy of his book Bebop, I skimmed it,  but it just collects dust, I'll probably donate it to my local library.


  11. 1 hour ago, HutchFan said:

    CJ,

    I completely agree with your point that the "received wisdom" about what constitutes valid jazz often has been woefully narrow.

    However, I think that sort of perspective is far less tenable now than it has been in the past.  Of course, there are still traditionalists and there are still avant-gardists -- and everything in between. But the either/or clashes seem to have given way to something that's more open-ended and less rigid. ... Or maybe it's just that jazz has moved so far into the margins of culture -- and it's economic power is so diminished -- that no one has the impetus or desire to argue about it any more.

    Either way, those old narratives seem to be breaking down.  Or at least I think they are.

    There's room enough for many, many different perspectives at the table.  And there's no need for any one person or group to "own" the narrative.  

    That's my take.

     

    Definitely many perspectives should be considered

    1 hour ago, HutchFan said:

    CJ,

    I completely agree with your point that the "received wisdom" about what constitutes valid jazz often has been woefully narrow.

    However, I think that sort of perspective is far less tenable now than it has been in the past.  Of course, there are still traditionalists and there are still avant-gardists -- and everything in between. But the either/or clashes seem to have given way to something that's more open-ended and less rigid. ... Or maybe it's just that jazz has moved so far into the margins of culture -- and it's economic power is so diminished -- that no one has the impetus or desire to argue about it any more.

    Either way, those old narratives seem to be breaking down.  Or at least I think they are.

    There's room enough for many, many different perspectives at the table.  And there's no need for any one person or group to "own" the narrative.  

    That's my take.

     

    Yes, all of that is true there is much more open mindedness now then before but it seems like social media always is regurgitating a critic like Gary Giddins or Ashley Kahn or Howard Mandel (who I lost all respect for when he claimed ECM wasn't jazz) they are all part of the old guard. As a writer definitely I was influenced early on by Leonard Feather and Ira Gitler but really to me it still represents an old way of thinking.  Hopefully I can turn more people of my generation and younger. I'm even gonna go outside of jazz 


  12. https://jazzviewswithcj.tumblr.com/post/670821728528875520/shizukas-mind-bob-james-one-ctitappan-zee

    Something utterly random I wrote after listening to the SACD of BJ One earlier which I got myself as a Christmas present.  I think some of the points I make are valid in terms of closed mindedness when it comes to critics and this kind of music, and that it has a resonance for folks generations after the fact.  And of course, I've never considered Scott Yanow, Thom Jurek or any AMG writer to be a barometer for music relevance.  Enjoy.


  13. 1 hour ago, Shrdlu said:

    Prompted by Dan's remark, I dug out "Plays Pretty, Just For You". It has only appeared on CD in Japan (TOCJ-1553 and a few later ones). There wasn't enough room on the LP for "Somebody Loves Me", which Michael Cuscuna put on the "Cherokee" CD (again, Japan only, TOCJ-1612). I made up a CD with everything in session order.

    The audio is good, of course. This album is a bit less polite than the Waller one. It has a few guitar segments. "Somebody Loves Me" cooks a bit, but the rest of the session is chilled out, and easy listening.

    Definitely not the best of Jimmy Smith for the jazz enthusiast. I won't be spinning this often.

    That one I need to rebuy as well 


  14. 14 hours ago, bresna said:

    Great to find out that there are technical reasons why I just don't like this date. :) :)

    Now if you could just do the same for Green's "Am I Blue".

    Jimmy's squabbling setting is what Shrdlu refers to as the "belch" it's the first and last five drawbars pulled out with the tremolo on... it's a really cool sound, and Jimmy's technique was the old school way really stretching his hand to play octaves and other intervals. I love this album honestly, always have since I first got it as a crappy Applause pressing at a flea market when I was 6.  It's just a nice, chill, mellow album for late at night. The Jimmy session I find (though I'll still get it to complete my Jimmy Smith collection rebuild eventually that should have stayed in the can) was Straight Life. That session just doesn't really work, especially coming off something as hot as Crazy! Baby


  15. 10 hours ago, Guy Berger said:

    The OP is not a fan of ideas introduced into straightahead jazz after 1960

    Taste is taste but it's a shame because there's so much great music after 1960 in jazz/BAM. As much as I love hard bop these days, the more electronics integrated in stuff is what I gravitate towards now especially as I started to get into MIDI study theory and start creating music 


  16. 8 hours ago, JSngry said:

    Really, I don't know that it's really new technology at all...didn't Zawinul have Wayne sampled into his rig post-Weather Report? That's really all this sounds like, a more evolved sampling, with a more refined set of parameters to play with.

    Right. Pat Metheny sampled Pedro Aznar's panflute with the Synclavier and used that long after Aznar left the band.  On the Secret Story tour Lyle Mays' infamous "Prophet" sound was sampled into Jim Beard's Kurzweil K2000 to play on "Are You Going With Me?" (Kinda weird honestly) and Chick Corea sampled his old synths on the RTF Returns tour in '08 but that's more of what you were implying with Joe Z.  What Kenny's doing to recreate Stan, who the hell cares unless it interferes with say if this gets a new Getz fan and they can't enjoy the man himself. Move on to the next thing 


  17. 54 minutes ago, Lyin' Wolf said:

    Enjoyed the article.  Thanks for posting it.

    Confession time - I have both of the Blue Note Live at the Roxy CDs as well as the Blue Note meets the LA Philharmonic CD.  I also have Mind Transplant, Natural Illusions, In A Special Way, and Tone Tantrum, The Man Incognito, Pressure Sensitive, and Fever - which were mentioned in the article and all on CD.

    Is that too much information?   :huh:

    Not really.  It's just important we acknowledge the era.  In A Special Way I've streamed several times and don't connect with.  Ditto The Man Incognito.  I've tried to listen to all the records I mentioned there as honestly as possible, and welp, just didn't connect.  In terms of my collection rebuild, I got a bevy of discs from a professor, Dr. Bill Banfield, which included titles from across the spectrum, as far as "smooth jazz", I love Stanley Clarke's East River Drive, the title track just creates this great vibe.