Big Beat Steve

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About Big Beat Steve

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    Dr. Funkenstein

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  1. Jazz Monthly

    I can understand that too but IMO there remains a huge problem because 1) far from all "good music" gets reviewed so nobody knows for sure what kind of indicator a non-review actually is, and 2) if only treacherously good or near-good reviews are published this in the long run is likely to reek of "do not offend the advertisers and/or freebie CD providers" courtesy reviews at least to part of the readership. Which might backfire against those who publish them (at least with some readers) ...
  2. Jazz Monthly

    Strangely enough, this seems to be true for other areas of specialist music journalism too today. I've noticed this in certain rock and Metal magazines (that I once or twice glanced at in my son's room). And a friend of mine runs a very "home-made" fanzine for today's rockabilly (and closely related musical styles) subculture, and although far from all is gold that glitters in record releases even within this subculture I found that he seems to shy away from voicing his dislikes in print. I know him well emough to know he has strong opinions (that usually do have a valid point), but his record revies are nowhere near this level. I once asked him and to my surprise he was sort of evasive, stating that he simply does not review what he doesn't like. So I guess his reviews to the tune of "not really my cuppa but to each his own" must be considered a one-star tear-up and write-down. And this although his fanzine does not have commercial considerations with powerful advertisers. But loyalty with anyone who gets something going within the subculture (even in the case of those of their items that - fairly objectively speaking - are turds) seems to be the thing to do throughout. Pity ...
  3. Jazz Monthly

    The latter is one name that can easily be confused with another one among scribes from that era: Steve Race. From what I have seen by and particularly about him and regardless of what he apprently did himself later from the 60s onwards, he was a consistent pain in the butt for many on the trad/skiffle/rock side of the British music business once R'n'R started to gain a foothold there in the 50s.
  4. Make Improvised music Dumb Again (MIDA)

    I see your point. I was just figuring on the "multiplier" factor of the 60s Soul subculture within their own environment (they don't all live in a subcultural bubble of their own in their everyday lives, you know ).
  5. Jazz Monthly

    It would be interesting to find out. I have quite a batch from the mid-50s to the early 60s but not a full run. At one point I stopped perusing ebay.co.uk for them due to skyrocketing shipping costs but in the end of course on online source just for reading woud do fine. BTW, while we're at it, anyone know of an online source for old volumes of "Jazz Journal"?
  6. "Internet Archive", that's which site exactly? archive.org? I wasn't able to find it in the "Periodicals" section of that site. Did I miss something? Thanks from me too. This one seems to use the same files as archive.org. It will be interesting to see which site is better or speedier for pdf downloads.
  7. Health report

    Hoping for a really speedy recovery and keeping my fingers crossed.
  8. Amazing! Thanks very much for that useful link. I have a fair share of the 1954 and 1955 issues of DB; so now I can check out (or even download) the missing ones too. (Better postpone it to the winter months, though, when spare time is more plentiful )
  9. Make Improvised music Dumb Again (MIDA)

    It depends on the audience/dancing crowd or subculture you are catering to. I'd have my doubts about this kind of danceable jazz being the right choice to really attract those never exposed to anything even vaguely reminiscent or those only weaned on the currect chart hits. But with those who are into 60s Soul music and the subculture of retro "Northern Soul" (to the extent this is still happening in Britain?) I can well imagine that some jazzier sounds won't frighten them away at all but rather expand the musical horizons of at least some of them. The entire field of Soul Jazz should provide a lot of musical options too. (Paging MG - where are you? )
  10. Make Improvised music Dumb Again (MIDA)

    Re- the Soho Scene - Jazz Goes Mod reissue series, check them (and their track listings) out here, for example: https://www.discogs.com/label/1218176-Soho-Scene
  11. Tell Us How Much You Love Ernie Henry

    At a time in the 90s when I bought a huge batch of OJC reissues through a channel that carried them at a good price (and with me figuring that was the time to stock up on vinyl before everything shifted to CDs), I also picked up the "Presenting Ernie Henry" and "Last Chorus" LPs. As I recall, when first listening to them, I found his playing somewhat raggedy here and there but -superficially speaking - not totally out of keeping with what happened in recorded jazz of the latter 50s. Then, several years later, I became aware of reviews of these records (through the Down Beat Record Reviews books), with Nat Hentoff commenting on "Presenting ... " (3 1/2 stars) like this: "Henry, deeply molded by Bird, plays with passionate force, but his voice is not yet a wholly distinctive one. His tone could advantageously lose some of its frequent stridency and he would be a bigger musician if he were to blend more lyricism with this cragginess. He is, as the notes indicate, a man strong in the blues. ... The five Henry originals are attractive." The year after, Martin Williams, however had this to say in his DB review of "Last Chorus" (2 stars) and on Ernie Henry, in particular: "What is one to say about a man who did so much work - even in recording studios and even when men like Monk and Golson might have spoken up - so out of tune? And a man whose lines suffer so often from faulty execution (the solos on "Someone" and "Things" are obvious but hardly isolated cases) and bad fingering - a man whose work suffers so constantly from an apparent lack of the dexterity and musicianship to play both the style and the very runs he chose to try to play? And about the frustration of hearing an occasionally fresh idea or individual way of using a less fresh idea (especially and appropriately on the several blues here) breaking through phrases and motifs that almost anyone uses and executes better? Many profess ot hear a kind of passionate and personal beauty in Henry's playing. I confess I hear strain and incompletenes, the strain and incompleteness of a man who was not translating his feeling into music but straining at the act of playing itself." FWIW, John A. Tynan's 2-star DB recview of "Seven Standards and the Blues" was even less merciful: "If this album must be considered a legacy of Ernie Henry ... then it is most unfortunate. Were it not for the fine, all-around performances of his rhythm section men (hence the rating), one would be compelled to write off the record as almost a total loss. Throughout, Henry's playing verges on the childish (indeed there must be many high school child musicians - at Farmingdale anyway - who acquit themselves in much better style any day of the week). Kicking off the album, Henry, instrument is horribly out of tune. Then there is a constant painful straining perceptibly felt in his wholly uncultured tone and the frequent lack of necessary technique to express facilely the ideas he reaches for. The few stimulating moments, as in the blues, "Gravity", unfortunately fail to compensate for an otherwise pretty pathetic performance." Relistening after this (and as always trying not to let my listening be overly colored by reviews but just trying to take them as added impressions and food for thought) I nevertheless did see how one would conceivably arrive at such an impression of "Last Chorus". Of course tastes vary - and isn't it always a matter of taste how any music is perceived? One man's meat is another man's poison, and the benefit (or plight?) of today's knows-it-all hindsight in dismissing any such period reviews outright as "the reviewer missed the point anyway" is a highly debatable stance IMO. Not every recording matures with time or is understood only generations after and (beyond all personal preferences) later generations of listeners or scibes don't automatically or in each and every case know better. But it does make me wonder how to take such music. Was Ernie Henry's out-of-tune playing and his raggediness a personal quirk of someone who really knew what he was doing or was it really (or rather) a sign of him overstretching his abilities (even when discounting any period judgment yardsticks such as, for example, George T. Simon's obsessiveness with "tasteful playing" and "playing in tune")? Or are are there others out there now who (again in hindsight) would see these recordings as an early example of someone venturing onto the "anything goes" direction of free playing where playing in tune certainly is no criterion anymore? It IS odd ...
  12. Make Improvised music Dumb Again (MIDA)

    @Rabshakeh: I realize "overplayed" is a relatively vague term (depending on one's familiarity with or exposure to this or that style of bebop and post-bebop era jazz), but did you check out the "Soho Scene ... - Jazz Goes Mod" CD reissue series on the (UK) R&B Records label that covers (year by year - from the late 50s to sometime in the 60s) a wide range of US and UK recortdings that should hold quite a few bits that are right what you are looking for. I have only a scant few of them but find a lot of these tunes should have a groove even for those with a 60s music vibe but who claim they are not "into jazz".
  13. Time to listen to his "Down In the Basement" compilation again now, I guess. With sort of fresh ears. BTW, did anyone ever attempt a comparison of the collections of Joe Bussard and John Tefteller (in those areas where their periods of interest match)?
  14. Leafing once again through my archive of the Swedish ORKESTER JOURNALEN jazz magazine, the other day I came across an item (in the "Reports from the USA" column) in the February, 1956 issue that made me take note: "Fantasy Records seems to be run by gentlemen with a sense of humor. When they mail their new jazz releases they also take the trouble to include funny accompanying letters not even strictly related to the items in question. The other day we received a promo letter where Fantasy announced that in order to compete with RCA Victor they had now set up a subsidiary under the name of RCA Irving. Which of course was a joke, as the hilarious list of the titles of the initial batch of LP releases clearly indicated ...: > IRV 1 (three 12" LPs): "The Toscanini Story": - Toscanini Plays Pretty - Tosacanini at Oberlin - Toscanini with Strings > IRV2 "The Definitive Debussy" by Big Jay McNeely > IRV7 "Tristan and Isolde" featuring Chet Baker and Edith Piaf > IRV8 "German Lieder" by Dinah Washington >IRV9 "Music to Listen to LPs By" >IRV10 "Kostelanetz Plays Brubeck" >IRV11 - "Our Best" - including a.o.: "The Chase" by Gregor Piatagorsky and Pablo Casals "Four Brothers" by The Budapest String Quartet "Moody's Mood for Love" by Ezio Pinza >IRV14 "Stan Kenton Plays Music" >IRV16 "The Original Score From Up In Dodo's Room" by La Scala Opera Co. " Quite hilarious - and fun to imagine what these recordings would actually have sounded like ... The obvious question now: Has anyone ever seen this promo leaflet or a similar item from Fantasy from that era FOR REAL? It might be amusing to see how this looked in complete form, typeset and all, or what else there was from them in the same vein ...
  15. Improvising freely

    Keeping my fingers crossed that things will improve for you and you will be on the up very soon and over this ordeal of treatment (half-witnessed this kind of treatment three times in my family through the decades - not nice ...). All the best and hang in there - beyond from your playing, your writing ON music is still being needed a lot as well! (I am writing this as I am continuing - part-time - with vol. 2 of your Turn Me Loose White Man)!