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Everything posted by fasstrack

  1. Any composers out there?

    Yeah. Complete picture first, dig that. That reminds me of the stories you always hear about the great classical masters being able to improvise fully realized cadenzas and such. You just figure they had to 'see' the whole thing first---not that they didn't improvise and add on the fly. Your comment also reminds me of something Mozart was quoted as saying, about how he gets the germ of an idea first and then it cooks in his head til he sees the whole thing. Then he'd write it down. So what better validation do you need? I've heard Jim Hall talk about 'seeing' the outline of a solo as he plays it. He's such a compositional thinker and a good composer that the proof's in the playing. The purpose and forethought comes out, but he's still spontaneous, and that's one reason it's jazz. Forethought is also why a lot of people are graceful players, at least some of the time. But you still have to be in the moment, playing or writing. The difference between us and classical guys (including the heavyweight composers) is they don't interact and bounce off each other like we do. So even when we bring our reflection and compositional expertise to a (jazz) gig, we still have to be able to listen, respond, turn on a dime. Good food for thought. Thanks. Joel

    Well, Chris----some of your points are well taken, but I'm a jazz professional (player, not broadcaster) and I do respect Phil. I've known him for years (22 or 23) as well. Granted he talks so much sometimes I want to reach inside the radio and gag him. (Er, wait a minute, man, someone's trying to tell me something. One minute, OK?......Eh? Whazzat? You mean there aren't little people talking inside the radio? Damn, if I'd known that!) Now where was I? (Up at 4:22 frigging AM and bored to tears, that's where!) Yeah, Phil. I admit personal bias as he announces my gigs, and listens respectfully to my comments after Birdflight. Plus Phil actually was instrumental in getting my early career going by inviting me up to play at the West End during a KCR benefit----thus beginning a magical part of my life where I got to meet, play, and learn from the elders on the NY scene. Again, on a personal, purely emotional level, I saw Phil stand over George Kelly's body (George's Jazz Sultans was my first high-visibility professional gig in NY) grieving deeply. Came all the way to Bed-Stuy to do it, too. You can't fake the look of mourning I saw on the man's face that day. I sent him a letter saying as much. He was moved and grateful. I have to say objectively, though, that many musicians have expressed appreciation repeatedly for his work, sincerity, and dedication. I remember talking to Tardo Hammer (a terrific pianist here in NY) about this and him saying how great it is to have someone play Charlie Parker every day here. If we lost that a major cultural tradition/institution would bite the dust. Also, as I alluded to before, the many archived hours of oral lore from various and sundry players alone makes Schaap's work important. In the course of his sometimes annoying line of questioning he teases out real gems from cats. Gotta give him props there, like his interview style (or his level of insight) or not. Regarding revisionism or fudging things I won't defend him there. I've heard one other person say that, that he 'makes things up'. If he does, t'aint a good thing. But I don't know that he does. it's not like I listen to KCR every waking minute. My own bone of contention, over which which I admit not a little consternation, is that Phil often doesn't hear as well as I'd like. I've heard him misidentify musicians and players like myself and others familiar with the aggrieved guy's style have had to take him to task on that. But I can say without fear of contradictation that his sincerity, dogged efforts to preserve the musical and oral lore of jazz, personal efforts to help the careers of many deserving musicians, pulling of the community's coat to the ill health of guys-----and, yes, his nonpareil mouth, which actually grows on you after a while, (it's not like you have any choice!) all make Phil irreplaceable. I'll go on record as saying I love the guy.
  3. John Gilmore

    Yes, he was an interesting, gutsy player. I liked what I heard. He seemed not bothered to be himself----a relatively rare attribute in art (and life) despite lip service to the contrary. Do people here also know Pat Patrick's playing? He was good, too. Mostly known for bari, but a solid tenor player----good sound and swing. Chicago guy, too, I think. I ran into Pat in the early 80s at Barry Harris's Jazz Cultural Theater. We became friendly. Great guy. He hit on me to work a duo gig, then ran into Eddie Diehl and used him instead. That was cool, Eddie's a great player---and a mentor of mine at the time ('82 or thereabouts). I wound up sitting in with them a bunch on that gig on the Upper Left Side. Pat left us way too early. Sorry to get off topic, but I wanted too remind people about him. And it's not too off topic, since he and Gilmore were section mates with Ra.
  4. criss cross label

    Seen who live? Richard or Pete? I know both for years, so the answer would be yes. NY is a small town when it comes to jazz.
  5. Any composers out there?

    Thanks. Actually, it's more like a closed, debilitating poop. But we won't get into that now.
  6. criss cross label

    It's gratifying that people have mentioned Jimmy Raney. Someone mentioned Wisteria (with Tommy Flanagan and George Mraz). To that I'll simply add: there's also The Master. He's in great form on that: warm, loose, digging in. Raney '81 is good, too. I also want to mention a few recordings by Richard Wyands on the label. I think jazz fans in the know aware of recordings of the last 40+ years might agree he's very underrated. He hasn't pursued a solo career and is the most self-effacing of men (and one of the sweetest). But he has the goods and these recordings are a good place to make his acquaintence. He has a well-deserved reputation among players (and singers) for swinging his behind off and being one of the best accompanists in the biz. I think his ideas and flow as a soloist are top drawer, too. (I've worked with him going back 19 years and part of this plug is based on what my own ears have heard on the bandstand). I think one CD is called Reunited. Can't recall the other title but it has Ellington's Lady of the Lavender Mist on it. Lisle Atkinson on bass seems to ring a bell. Maybe the recordings can be had through Amazon.com. Think I've seen them there. But you can't go wrong with Richard.
  7. Any composers out there?

    No tricks other than waiting it out. I put the sucker away unfinished and look again when I'm less 'involved'. I had one case with a ballad waltz where it didn't feel right so i put it on my piano and forgot it for about 8 years, then rediscovered it and said 'wait a minute, this is pretty good'. I changed some things right then and there and the tune was good. When I'm writing for myself without a deadline I can afford to do that. But I'm also an insane perfectionist---I'm sure many can relate. Since I got into writing lyrics recently (largely out of frustration in not being able to find a professional lyricist of quality and availability) the first lyric I wrote drove me nuts----and got pilloried by people I took it to that critique lyrics. (It helped, though. I needed to hear what they had to say). The first singer I sent it to hated my lyric--and was right (the diva bitch!). But, again after leaving it alone for some time, I rewrote it twice, recorded it then changed the verse (melody included). Now I mostly like it, and want to send it into the world and to a home with good singers. But to finish it? Damn! But generally with melodies things usually go pretty smoothly, thank God. When they don't, see above. Hope any of that helped. This s#@* don't come easy.

    Chris: Funny joke, but Phil's a great guy. Sincere as they come. I personally saw him stand over George Kelly's body at his wake in 1998, looking like he lost a friend. Yeah, he can talk his ass off and I'd prefer more music. But he also gets a lot of musicians to talk and open up and his archived interviews are a treasure trove. Gotta take the good with the bad. NY wouldn't be the same to me without Schaap. You just have to know him. Phil may run his mouth a bit long, but he's one of the best friends jazz ever had.