Larry Kart

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About Larry Kart

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  • Birthday 05/16/1942

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  • Gender Male
  • Location Highland Park, Il.

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  1. Phil Woods

    I took particular note of what he said about his time in the mid '50s Neal Hefti band. I used to have a Hefti LP -- I think it was "Hefti, Hot and Hearty" on Epic-- and Phil was in exuberant form on it. Find the album on You Tube and check out "Little Pony."
  2. What Classical Music Are You Listening To?

    I dunno. Maybe ASCAP the familiar organization issued/licensed a few records under its name. Certainly this one was not going to be a big seller.
  3. Phil Woods

    Interesting excerpt from his unpublished autobiography "My Life in E Flat."
  4. What Classical Music Are You Listening To?

    Yes -- The Steinberg download of Protee can be found here: It's the only recording AFAIK that does the work justice, though it would be nice to have a performance of Protee that's this good and that was in top-flight modern sound. Though the Steinberg's sound is OK for its time (it's a live performance BTW), the work is, as some record label used to say, a "sonic spectacular." There may be a modern recording around somewhere, but I don't know of it. BTW the Pittsburgh Symphony in 1952 was quite a band.
  5. What Classical Music Are You Listening To?

    A download of William Steinberg and the Pittsburgh Symphony playing in 1952 Darius Milhaud's remarkable 20-minute suite Protee (1917). Far more radical than anything else by Milhaud, it's like a cross between Le Sacre and Varese, and this to my knowledge is its best recording. I also have one on EMI by Abravanel (somewhat bland) and one from 1945 with Monteux and the San Francisco Symphony (I had high hopes, but it's rather dimly recorded and rushed). A highlight is the movement where the seals that disport around Neptune (Protee) are evoked by a choir of blaring, moaning tubas, a sound that once heard will not be forgotten. When the work was premiered in Paris in 1921, it provoked a riot that was said to have eclipsed the one that the premiere of Le Sacre set off. Sadly, there is no in-print modern recording AFAIK. Protee was originally conceived as the score for a ballet of that name conceived by Milhaud and his friend the poet-diplomat Paul Claudel when both men were living in Brazil, but the ballet was never staged and Milhaud drew his suite from it.
  6. What music did you buy today?

    With KV, the dedication process, which I obviously find irksome, is both a matter of degree (i.e how much of this there is) and, at times (or so it seems to me), the pretentious of the choices. Is there anyone on the scene who rivals KV along those lines? To answer a previous question, while I don't have as much Joe McPhee as I would like to have and probably should have, I do like what I have and was definitely impressed by him in live performance. In any case, I've been thinking again about the roots of my obviously intense irritation with KV. As I said in a previous post, part of it goes back to the achievements of Hal Russell and the fate of those achievements and/or his legacy in the Chicago scene and in general. Can't expect many (or any) other people to feel that way (perhaps Chuck does, given his crucial/fruitful relationship to Hal and his music), but I can't erase my feelings there, however twisted and unfair they might seem to others. One wants the course of aesthetic history to play out in real time in such a way that that which is valued highly by and large is in fact highly valuable. When that doesn't happen, and one thinks one knows how things should have gone, one can get more than a little pissy. By the same token, I think of Roscoe Mitchell's long career, which hasn't always been smooth but has been one where achievements and rewards have matched up over time, or so it seems to me. I've also mentioned -- and this doesn't seem unfair to me -- my quite spontaneous and genuine negative response to KV's playing back in the day, versus the playing of his sidemen and other comparable figures on the Chicago scene. One has to trust one's judgment, and when I felt that gap, it bothered me -- I felt that the jazz scene in which I was most directly involved was at once flourishing in terms of creativity and somewhat out of whack in terms of what might be called collective public response re: KV. Are such matters anyone's business? I felt they were mine. Finally, there were all the times I heard a KV ensemble -- brightened by sterling contributions from Rempis, Jeb Bishop, Aram Shelton, et al -- and in the course of the performance I more or less had to mentally leave the room while KV took a solo. Addenum: It's hard to quantify this without citing specific recorded solos, and that I won't take the trouble to do, but (and again this may be just me) there is something peculiarly enervating and disturbing, especially in the midst of a piece where KV's solos are flanked as I've described above, about being subjected to (yes, that phrase is tendentious and perhaps a sign of nuttiness on my part, but that's how it felt to me) an extended swatch of music that was IMO that much out of whack. One wants, one expects, in, say, an Ellington band performance a certain high degree of homogeneity on the part of the soloists, a coherence of quality and, in effect, collective musical storytelling. Were that not the case -- if, say, Ellington's own frequently vital pianistic contributions to the piece were instead delivered in the style of Carmen Cavallero or Crazy Otto --one might begin to feel that a good part of the musical universe were sliding off a cliff and taking you the listener with it. Why do I take things so personally, you ask? Don't know; I just do. But if, say, I didn't feel the presence of the person Lester Young or the person Sonny Rollins in their playing, I don't know why I would or should even bother.
  7. What music did you buy today?

    I say "charlatan" ("a person falsely claiming knowledge or skill" says my dictionary) because, as I said or implied in a prior post, I find it hard to believe that KV, given all the listening to other players he almost certainly has done over the years, does not know that there is a significant gap between his own musical efforts and those of a host of other stylistically comparable players, including many on the Chicago scene -- his own sidemen in particular, whom of course he has heard night after night. Yes, it's possible that KV doesn't hear the difference between his own playing and that of others, but I think that's unlikely, in part because KV doesn't seem to be person with a big ego. I think the underlying problem here -- and/or the key to the situation -- has to do with the early (late '90s) days of the current Chicago scene. I wasn't there from the very first, but my memory is that things began/started to coalesce at the Empty Bottle, a venue on Western Ave. near Division St. that featured local edgy rock acts and drew a young audience of counter-culture coloration (though I don't think "counter-culture" was a term being used at the time. My son often was in the audience at the Bottle and later on played there in his "Math Rock" band Crush Kill Destroy.) Savvy, hip promoter John Corbett, who had a connection with KV and with the people who ran/booked the Bottle, got them to devote (IIRC) one night a week to a KV-led ensemble, and "mirable dictu" that music, which initially could be taken as having some overlap in mood, tone, and gesture with Heavy Metal etc., soon came to be accepted by much of the Bottle's already existing audience as a novel homegrown extension of things they already liked. Further, the idea that such a socio-musical transmutation was occurring, as in fact it was, was in itself quite titillating to those who had become anxious about the fate re: contemporary audiences of any jazz-related music, let along jazz with an avant-garde coloration. Important too to some of us (guess I mean people like myself) was the fact so many of KV's sidemen were or soon would become among the brightest lights on the burgeoning Chicago avant-garde scene (e.g. Rempis, altoist Aram Shelton, trombonist Jeb Bishop, cornetist Josh Berman, along with still young veterans like bassist Kent Kessler and drummer Tim Mulveena) and many more) though in the initial flush of this titillating transformation it did bother some of us (again, I guess I mean people like myself) that the actual leading figure, KV, was not only not at all up to the musical level of his sidemen but also understandably regarded as THE leading figure in this phenomenon. Then, and I'm not sure of the timeline here, came KV's being awarded the 1999 $265,000 MacArthur fellowship. As I've said above, KV deserves much credit for spreading a good deal of that MacArthur fellowship largesse around to support other players on the scene. But as over time KV put out lots of CDs and became in effect the international face of the Chicago scene, some of us (people like myself) began to wonder about the disparity as we saw it between KV's relative eminence and his actual musical merit. Also, as titillating as the Empty Bottle-based socio-musical transmutation/seeming conversion of a young rock audience into fans of the avant garde, that began to fade way I believe as KV began to tour a good deal and as the Bottle crowd began to find his music rather same-y upon regular exposure. As for the "charlatan" label, given KV's relative eminence, I suppose it comes down to 1) does KV, relatively speaking, significantly lack musical skills?; and 2) does he in some sense know this? If the answer to both those question is "yes," I think we have at least the making of a "charlatan"-like situation. BTW lurking in the back of the minds of some of us is the relationship between the KV phenomenon in its early days and the music of Hal Russell's NRG Ensemble. Unless I'm mistaken KV played some some with the NRG Ensemble, whose regular reedmen -- Russell himself, Chuck Burdelik, and Mars Williams -- were in my IMO far superior players. And one can't help but wonder what would have happened if Russell, who died in 1992, could have brought his explosive, shaggy, brilliant music to the same sort of audience that KV brought his music to a half a decade later. Sour grapes on my part you might say, but if history belongs to the winners in one sense, each of us has to/gets to decide what winning finally means and who really did so.
  8. Now reading...

    Dawn Powell is terrific and unique.
  9. What music did you buy today?

    I'm pretty sure I know whose idea they were, but I don't want to say here.
  10. What music did you buy today?

    The dedications, I venture to say without proof are or were someone else's idea, not KV's. As for KV's playing, I like David Ayers' term "blower." I say charlatan because IMO his cachet in some/many quarters far exceeds his accomplishment, and I wouldn't be surprised if KV kind of knows this. In detail, while changes mean little or nothing to him, which is certainly the case with many vital figures of recent times, he also doesn't seem to me to be a (or much of a) "free" player -- here Rempis is a both good and a fair point of comparison I think. Rempis is by and large a truly "free" player (of a specific type that I won't try to define right now), a creator of striking individual/novel formally interactive shapes, while KV's shapes are, thanks again to David Ayers, fairly well reminiscent of those of bar walkers and honkers but without the grease and with roughed up with avant-gardish trimmings. As for his riff-based playing (Steve Reynolds' point), in my experience those riffs don't swing (and perhaps that's not the goal) but rather just chug. And chug-chug-chug is not a rhythmic flavor I have much taste for.
  11. What music did you buy today?

    Yes, his compositions are IMO less objectionable/inept than his solo work, but for me they also are rather faceless, at time bordering on a kind of willed industrial ugliness, as though ugliness were in itself a sign of authenticity. And that endless string of upscale arty dedications -- to the likes of Samuel Beckett, Michel Foucault, et al., with, unless I'm recalling incorrectly, an occasional doff of the cap to someone like Charlie Patton. I'm guessing that in KV headquarters there's a wheel that he spins, a la Vanna White, to come with the name du jour.
  12. What music did you buy today?

    OTOH, I can't stand Vandermark; musically, I think he's close to a charlatan, although he did play a significant role in getting the Chicago scene on its feet by (I believe) pouring a good deal of his MacArthur Award money into supporting others.
  13. What music did you buy today?

    Now that I think of it, I've been following Rempis for almost 20 years now. There's a consists "right thereness" to his playing that is very satisfying. Also, he's just a damn good player of the saxophone(s) -- power, projection, intonation, you name it. And a very nice guy to boot. There's a lot of them on the Chicago scene.
  14. No value?

    I don't get to Skokie as often as I get to the one in Bannockburn, I think it is. That store gives you almost nada; Skokie is better, but I think that my somewhat better experiences in Skokie may be because one of the buyers there knows me from the now closed Highland Park store as a writer on jazz and seems inclined to give me a break, perhaps for that reason. He smiles, and says "hello, Larry." I also find that the stock at the Bannockburn store is almost static. About the only reason I go there anymore is that it's close to the Costco store where I shop for all sorts of things fairly often.