umum_cypher

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About umum_cypher

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  • Birthday 09/03/1976

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  1. A source for Giant Steps?

    I honestly can't see what the issue is here. Sure, a holistic process. Sure, long-standing interests. (I'm familiar with the scholarship). Yes, HYMMJ, and Slonimsky. It's all swimming around in a post-Romantic, tonal world that is deeply attractive to jazz musicians at that time, and still. I just don't think that precludes a meaningful encounter with the Fauré. Not 'to have something to go with it', no, although jazz tune-writing history is littered with people taking this or that bridge to go with this or that A section, as everyone knows. But imagine that Coltrane, or anyone else with an analytical mind like his, seizes on that Fauré object, sits at the piano and plays around with the thing that makes it unusual - it's hardly a stretch to see the mvt by thirds compacted into the single bar changes (BMaj7 D7 etc) and stretched out to form the two spans (the first coming to rest in B, the second in Eb / D sharp) that form the first 8 bars. By this time, the writing is not about Fauré at all, if it ever was, but a composerly mulling over of a kind of movement that is absolutely present in that Fauré object.
  2. A source for Giant Steps?

    I'd be inclined to see it the other way around. For me the Fauré lift sounds so primary, so obvious. It seems like the starting point. It's a snatch of music that sounds, moves, and (in its shape and urgency) even feels like the second half of Giant Steps. Slonimsky is a list of scales and intervals, and a systematic demonstration of the ways they can be manipulated. There certainly could be some Slonimskian ideas in the mix when it came to extrapolating the 3rds idea and doing something with it, turning it over, and making the rest of the tune. It's not a zero-sum game. But I think it's a leap to see the Slominsky as the basic source, when there is something to hand as striking as the Fauré. Yes, we know JC practised out of NS's thesaurus, but we also know Coltrane had form in lifting things from pleasingly lush composed music for his own composition. I will finish dying on this hill now.
  3. A source for Giant Steps?

    Fun indeed. I think Occam's razor is called for at some point though.
  4. A source for Giant Steps?

    He did not, but that's not the only similarity is it - the melodic line is almost the same too, as is the harmonic rhythm, and the use of sequence. Sure. I think this is likely to be 'a' source, but it's not the recipe for Coltrane's achievement, which is of course his own. That said, the opening section is easily seen as an extrapolation of the second half of the progression. The whole thing is 'about' movement in thirds, on local and larger scales.
  5. A source for Giant Steps?

    Congrats to Pietro! (We can't set any store by that QJ quote though, which is by turns general and meaningless - 'improvising in 12 tone?')
  6. A source for Giant Steps?

    I don't think I've heard anyone mention the finale from Fauré's sonata for cello and piano no. 1 as a source for Giant Steps, and I suppose we'll never know, but still ... The fun starts just after the 30-second mark and continues throughout. What do we think? This would be an unsurprising composer and piece for Coltrane to have been listening to, or maybe even playing (given the cello's register).
  7. Jacques Coursil (1938-2020)

    I was at the Baltimore event in November that Betrand attended. JC's set was magical. He had a projection behind him - it may have been history's first good PowerPoint presentation - that alternated rather beautiful textural images and fragments of Edouard Glissant's poems. Coursil declaimed these with drama and not a bit of wryness. In between those texts, he paced around the stage, muttering flugelhorn lines. It was about 25 minutes, I guess, and it was gripping. So glad to have caught him.
  8. Previously unknown Charlie Parker radio interview

    -Hello Hello again -Hello
  9. ambrose akinmusire

    That was one of the most engaging pieces of jazz criticism I have read in ages!
  10. Hank Mobley and Lee Morgan

    Every single second of Dippin'
  11. Happy Birthday umum_cypher!

    Thanks v much folks. A bit of Jackie Mac with the birthday meal tonight I think.
  12. Fascinating new info about Louis Armstrong's childhood

    I see from one of the reproduced newspaper items that Louis was leading a band that included Louis Smith, Richard Williams and James Brown - trumpet-heavy maybe, but there's a line up for you. Richard Cook as 'flag boy' too, before he turned to writing.
  13. I interviewed Billy Harper a copule of times. He's great, really takes ideas for a walk. Some factoids from September 2001: BH: With Blakey, I asked him about sitting in. He said, yeah come down tonight or something, bring your suit. So I did, I played, and I had the gig, right away! (laughs) So that stands out in my mind. It was a right away kind of thing. … TP: Let’s go back to when you were first growing up. You led your first band when you were 14 or so? BH: A very long time back. Yeah, I had the idea of having my own band, and I guess I got the idea from listening to Blakey so much. I liked the idea of six people, three horns, so I often had three horns in my groups in Houston, sometimes a quintet, but a lot of times I would try for that trombone sound in there, and that idea came from hearing in my head Blakey’s sound. So I was always cued in on Blakey anyway. And when I got here it was so easy because it was already in my head! TP: At that time, where would you say you were in your playing, vocabulary-wise? BH: At 14? Nahh. I was very advanced in terms of hearing and ears. But I guess it was understanding and being able to express a real jazz concept that made a big thing down there. But I needed to learn a whole lot more, and I really got interested in really learning more when I finally got to college. But I was already doing so much because I had a great concept and ears, for that area. I was doing a certain amount, but I didn’t realise how much more I had to do of certain things, which had to do, not just with playing certain things, but mastering the horn first, so that I could eventually do whatever I wanted to do. I was pretty far along the way, but not ready for real professionalism in New York. But by the time I got to college, and going through college, that definitely got me ready for New York. College was just like New York for me. I was like at North Texas State University, and I had to really scuffle just to … it was 61-64, and the segregation thing was happening, so it was like a Jackie Robinson thing, you had to really be very good to ever make that no. 1 band, and I was the first black person to ever make it. So I worked very hard, not to make the band, but because there was a lot of competition there. I didn’t know it was going to be just like New York. It made me work harder, and I just got better and I did make the band. But that was not the goal.
  14. Well, the fade in begins with James Reese Europe, but a bit more than half of the first long chapter (which is on Panassié, the HCF, Bechet, the NO revival) is pre-WWII stuff. Agreed, without knowing in detail (even if not turtuous detail) about the music and criticism of the 30s, even some things happening in the late-60s wouldn't by fully comprehensible. The book really ends with Jack Lang's regime as culture minister, but the coda at the end extends the range up to c. 1990. Agreed re Panassié: seems to me he was right more often than is often said. Problem is that when he was right it was often for the wrong reasons ... No date for the paperback, but I imagine about 1 year I'm afraid.
  15. "1) What will the "post-war" focus be, i.e. how far does "post-war" go and is there a period that where there is a particular focus on? Or is the coverage spread evenly? (I for one, for example, find that French jazz (particularly modern jazz) up to, say, 1960, is often given short shrift in publications once you go beyond the typical St. German des Prés and existentialism settings)." - Begins in earnest around 1945, ends in earnest around 1980, though there's a fade in and out that of around 7-10 years at either end. "2) I've read the reviews that were linked and am wondering ... from the perspective of a reader interested in the music and its finer details but also the setting that the music flourished in (but still concentrating on the music), what is the balance between the music and societal, sociological, political and other aspects, i.e. where is the "scholarly" focus?" - Hmmm ... I've tried to mix all those things together. There's more of what you might call music criticism than you would normally find in this kind of book - lots of describing what music's being made, how, why, and what it sounds like. "Example: I found "New Orleans sur Seine" by Ludovic Tournès very interesting but honestly, that in-depth coverage of the HCF, the schism between Panassié and Delaunay, the structure of radio covering jazz, tour promoters and whatnot really crowded out the MUSIC and the MUSICIANS to a very large extent, concentrating a bit too heavily on the organisational framework that jazz was presented to the public in. Interesting but far from the whole (or a balanced) picture and the subtitle of the book certainly is misleading." - NOSS is great, but yes, not very music-centred. Mine has got all that stuff in it as well (and is indebted to Tournès), but it's by a music historian rather than a historian historian. There are denser sections that linger on various critical issues, though. "Finally, the paperback will be identical in contents, right? Not abridged or so?" Yes, identical. Thanks for the interest! T