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Everything posted by johnblitweiler

  1. The best article that Rex Stewart wrote was his long piece about racism in jazz during the swing era etc. It was in Playboy in the Jazz Poll issue in, I think, the year he died - the would make it about the Feb. 1967 issue. It was not reprinted in Stewart's book "Jazz Masters of the Thirties" because Playboy would not give him the rights to reprint it. I'd love to see that article again. Do any Organissimo folks collect 1967 Playboys? Jim, put on your glasses
  2. Now reading...

    In America Amiri Baraka and Jayne Cortez were "public poets" into the 21st century. And nowadays Billy Collins and others.
  3. Name Three People...

    The Hilltoppers Rudy Vallee Timothy Bottoms
  4. Terrifying Mike Reed story

    Dear God. Do Afro-Europeans, Jews, Muslims, refugees from Syria get this every day now?
  5. Name Three People...

    Mama's Little Baby Daddy's Little Girl lonely boy
  6. Name Three People...

    Casey, Crime Photographer Martin Kane, Private Eye Joe the Plumber
  7. Name Three People...

    Jimmy Ponder The Thinker Jukes and Kallikaks
  8. Now reading...

    A happy surprise - long ago I'd read an early Lethem novel, had no feeling for it, then dismissed him when I saw an interview in which he seemed to believe he wrote better than Philip K. Dick or J.G. Ballard. But this one works. A few stock characters but mostly original characters, an especially vivid narrator-protagonist (sensitive, smart, funny), a hard-boiled detective story with the idiom's virtues amplified - mean-streets atmosphere, suspense - and so far, not many of the idiom's cliches. Far less sentimental than genre writers like Lehane, Burke. Recently, I read Yasmina Khadra's "The African Equation." The story grabs you. He is such a strong writer, in translation, that it's easy to overlook or miss entirely how conventional his conclusions are or what black-white (in literal and metaphoric senses) cliches he presents (a terrorist who is also a sensitive poet, yet). In fact, as much as I liked "the Swallows of Kabul, "The Attack," and (despite its dishonest ending) "The Sirens of Baghdad," maybe rereading them would reveal flaws.
  9. Name Three People...

    Len Frig (formerly of Chicago Blackhawks) Ford Frick Pontiac
  10. Name Three People...

    Bunk Monk St. John of the Cross
  11. Sublime Lester Young (probably new to many of us)

    The Columbia version is another masterpiece, including the same Basie solo and Young's parody of the theme.
  12. Name Three People...

    William Penn The Prisoner Jug
  13. Controversy Over Rachmaninoff's Grave

    Those bastards. Rachmaninoff never wanted to move back there during his lifetime, so they now want his remains. Let's compromise. Ayn Rand, buried at the same cemetery, was born in Russia, wasn't she? So send her grave back there instead.
  14. Album covers showing the Eiffel Tower

    this makes me say "Uhhh..."
  15. is something missing in the previous post? Has anyone here read Ekkehard Jost's book about European jazz? He wrote it after he wrote Free Jazz and he has certainly been knowledgeable about European jazz (I heard him lecture years ago).
  16. Name Three People...

    Speedoo Slowpoke Pee Wee Hunt
  17. Henry Threadgill

    I'll interview Henry Threadgill next Monday, Sept. 14, on WHPK 88.5 FM Chicago and - the show starts 6:30 pm and lasts til 9 pm Chicago time (6 hours later Universal Time).
  18. Chicago Jazz Fest

    Agreed, Al. I do know a woman who attends both festivals annually.
  19. Chicago Jazz Fest

    This was my last year working on the festival. We were sort of morally bound to emphasize AACM musicians since this is the 50th anniversary, and the rest of the fest was plotted with that in mind. Monday lead-in at Pianoforte: Paul Asaro, piano, and Kim Cusack, clarinet, swung through mostly songs by pianists: Waller, Hines, James P. Johnson. Often you hear a set at the beginning that makes you think, 'Oh, yes, we're going to have a real festival now.' This was the set. 1st night: Marquis Hill, Young Lion trumpeter, and band played hot hard bop. Then a crazy set of Henry Butler veering from Cecil Taylor runs and tone clusters to New Orleans rock, accompanied by Steve Bernstein's Hot 9 and including 'Wolverine Blues.' Cheerful - the whole affair reminded some folks of Sun Fa. 2nd day: heard enough of Craig Taborn Trio to last me awhile. Art Davis played some fine melodic trumpet in a Clark Terry tribute. Chico Freeman, in his lyrical mood, and his uncle George Freeman, the combination Monk-Basie of the guitar, played a colorful set. The Strayhorn tribute was somewhat disappointing, the Steven Bernstein arrangement (forget which song 'twas) was the commission that really stood out. Fred Hersh played the first 'Lonely Woman' I heard this weekend, also a nice arrangement of 'Forerunner' and an elaborate lead-in that I liked to a Monk song. Jose James repeated licks over and over and over etc. etc. etc. and was the second-worst singer I ever heard at a Chicago Jazz Festival (Dianne Schuur, many years ago, was worst). After the fest, heard a set of chaos at Constellation, Kidd Jordan drowned out by many other horn players. 3rd day: Edward Wilkerson played a hell of a lot of tenor in Trio WAZ. Jason Roebke's Octet was one of the 2 or 3 high points of the festival. Roebke had composed provocative, sort of Dolphylike themes, and now it seems to me he's become a more expansive composer and he still has solid interpreters like Josh Berman, Keefe Jackson, Greg Ward. Kidd finally became audible in Douglas Ewart's group, which played the second 'Lonely Woman' as a reggae piece. Kurt Elling was a good actor reading some Kenneth Patchen poems, including one old favorite. Heard the last 20 minutes or so of Mark Turner and felt nothing, then Dee Dee Bridgewater hurt my eardrums so I left. 4th day: Kidd, Jason Adasiewicz, Frank Rosaly, and Josh Abrams played an hour at Fred Anderson Park - quirkyl, just the way I like it. Ewart's 'Red Hills' was the conduction that Larry mentioned and I felt the same as he did about the Kenwood high school band and about Parker and Bunnett-Maqueque. I quite enjoyed the half-hour of Cyrille Aimee's French-gypsyish jazz that I heard, including a wow of a guitar solo. Abrams' Experimental Band left the whole festival with a glow. The 3 saxophonists, Threadgill, Mitchell, McMillan, especially shared a feeling for space and altered sound (I almost said 'distorted sound') and line. But everybody sounded gret to me. I forget who played the 3rd 'Lonely Woman' of the festival. Nobody got all the notes right. Today I see e-mails from people who hated the Experimental Band and the 'Black Lives Matter' rap in Ewart's set, but forget those people.
  20. Name Three People...

    Mona Lisa Whistler's Mother Nude Descending a Staircase
  21. Overlooked pianists

    +1 +2
  22. The #1 Song on the Day You Were Born

    I'll Never Smile Again by Tommy Dorsey on my navel birthday Shadow Dancing by Andy Gibb on my other birthday - don't know if I ever heard that one, actually
  23. Name Three People...

    The Charioteers The Mormon Tabernacle Choir The Fugs
  24. Alex Hoffman: "Why I think Wayne Shorter Sucks"

    Gee, isn't this forum social media? Who among us is unsociable? But anyone who doesn't play piano like Monk is wrong.
  25. Overlooked Saxophonists

    "Humility in the Light of the Creator" (this is the correct title) is an especially beautiful song as he plays it. Rather than listen to it on Youtube, hear the whole album.