Mark Stryker

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Everything posted by Mark Stryker

  2. Ernie Andrews (early years)

    The Tom Lord Discography lists a lot of Ernie Andrews 78s (or maybe in some cases 45s) on a variety of labels including King, Sparks, London, Trend, Aladdin, Gem -- that appear not to have ever been reissued in any form. Anybody know if that's true? Secondarily, what are good sources on LP or CD for early Andrews sides and any special recommendations?
  3. Ernie Andrews (early years)

    Thanks. Like many jazz folks, I only knew him from the live date with Cannonball and perhaps a couple of his later recordings,and I heard him live at the Detroit Jazz Festival maybe a decade ago. But I had never really check him out deeply and was unaware until relatively recently how far back his career actually stretched. Soulful cat.
  4. Unreleased Lorez Alexandria session

    By no means have I heard everything by Alexandria, but this might be the best single track by her that I know -- the most focused and swinging, the melody embellished in a way that elevates the expression rather than detracting from the narrative of the song. You can really hear the Sarah Vaughan influence in the second bridge. Great diction too. Having said all that that, the breath she takes at the end before the final "life" is a drag. Best moment for me is that final bridge and the ascending key change going into the last A section. Also, Wynton Kelly really knew what the fuck he was doing behind singers.
  5. Branford slams Miles

    Because "changing your mind" has two different meanings. In one sense, it means to flip one's opinion from pro to con (or vice verse) but in an even more important sense it means to "enlarge your understanding." THAT is the whole point of, well, everything, including art. It's not about winning an argument; it's about elevating your consciousness. You elevate yours; I elevate mine; those folks over there elevate theirs and, well, pretty soon we might have a chance at fixing the messes all around us. Failing that, we might live more fulfilling lives. Nothing wrong with that. Besides, if you're going to mattresses over a particular musician -- even if you are fighting for him rather than against him -- then it's your duty to listen to the fucking music -- a truly representative sample, and that means sometime current. The only way these debates push the boulder forward is if everybody is arguing from the most informed point of view that they can. Also, for those of us staying on the sidelines, it makes for better and more instructive theater. Pass the popcorn, please ...
  6. Branford slams Miles

    I just looked at Amazon to see what the cost is on "Warriors" and find that it's $10 for a CD, $20 for an LP but only $2.67 for an MP3 download -- just three long tracks at 89 cents each. Don't they usually charge more for longer tracks to keep some kind of parity on pricing?
  7. Branford slams Miles

    Thanks for this. I don't know the record. BTW -- Bobby Battle is a Detroiter. He makes a cameo in my book as part of a hilarious anecdote that sheds some light on the racial politics of the late '60s.
  8. Branford slams Miles

    I have been sitting out the substantive debate here over Branford and will continue to do so. But I do feel compelled to say that whether you are fer'em or agin'em (or somewhere in between 'em), you really can't make an honest judgement about the state of his music today unless you take the time to listen to something recent. I see references earlier in this thread from Branford's friends and enemies to records from 2004 and 2006 and some that go back to the late '80s -- that's a LONG time ago. Branford's current band has mostly been together for nearly 20 years, and if the last record you heard was something from more than a decade ago, that's not where the band is at today (and doesn't include the current drummer, Justin Faulkner). I think Branford sounds different than he used to, and so does the band. Some may think the music sounds better, some may think it sounds worse. Some may hear the differences as nothing more than re-arranging deck chairs on the Titantic. But it is different. At this point, I'm not talking about the meta debate about whether the Marsalises are/were good or bad for jazz, or the debate over innovation vs. conservatism, or the neo-liberalism critique of the jazz business, or whether Branford's latest remarks about Miles are ignorant or insightful. I'm just talking about the music itself and what it does or does not have to offer. At the same time, I also wonder whether folks who have been so invested for 25 or 30 years in either the pro-Marsalis or anti-Marsalis camp -- for any reason be it musical, personal, sociological, capricious or the result of a carefully considered aesthetic or political worldview -- can at this point even listen objectively enough to change their pre-existing opinions. I'm certainly not immune to this reality with certain musicians. There are neuron pathways in my brain that by now have been locked into place for so long that anything I hear by some players tends to result in confirmation bias one way or the other. Dammit -- why are we all so, um, human? Anyway, here's Branford's latest record. Listen (or not). Comment (or not).
  9. West Coast Connection

    Maxine Gordon’s new biography of Dexter Gordon informs me that the Los Angeles production of Jack Gelber’s play “The Connection” in 1960 —in which Dexter acted and played tenor and wrote the score — also included these two actors: Gavin MacLeod (the captain of the “Love Boat” & Murray on the “Mary Tyler Moore Show”) and Robert Blake (“Baretta”). It’s not clear what parts either played. I find it amusing that both were in the play, but not sure what to think of this clip that I found of both actors singing on “The Dinah Shore Show.”
  10. Branford slams Miles

    I don't disagree with any of this -- I think "band leading" is among the least understood and most mysterious of all things in jazz. It's an art, and Miles was as great at it as anyone ever has been.
  11. Branford slams Miles

    I had a line in my original post that I deleted for some reason but it speaks to your first point re: Fille de Kilimanjaro: By 1968 certainly Miles was comfortable with whatever the band threw at him. To be clear: Miles figured that shit out. Also, Filles is 100% a Miles Davis record.
  12. Branford slams Miles

    Yes, you can trust Ron Carter on this. Herbie has said the same thing to me -- which is not at all the same thing as him saying Miles gave them nothing, I don't think there's any doubt that rhythm section and Wayne were driving the innovations in terms of the details of harmony, the elasticity of form, rhythmic complexity and layers of interaction, Miles WAS scrambling to keep up with the specifics of what they were doing. BUT it was his band. He was still driving the bus, shaping all of these ideas in the presentation AND influencing how the rest of the group manifested their ideas on the bandstand by the choices he as making in terms of his improvising, tune selection, tempos, segues between numbers, his overall attitude and history and his creating a space in which the band could experiment on the bandstand -- you know, he was being a fucking brilliant bandleader. Also -- and this is where those revelatory session tapes from "Miles Smiles" are so instructive -- Miles could also be extremely hands on and detailed when he felt had to. Listen to way he shapes "Freedom Jazz Dance" by telling Tony and Ron what to play. Moreover, Miles edited the compositions of everybody in the band -- except for Wayne, whose music was so perfect he didn't touch it. But with everyone else, he often thinned out the harmony and played with the forms. So to me, there were different kinds of information and influences going back and forth (and sideways) in the band. Having said all that, I would add that when I read Branford's remarks in context -- "He didn't teach them anything, Nothing. Because he didn't know it" -- I came away thinking he was focusing narrowly on the technical shit as in the abstracted harmony and approach to form -embodied by Wayne, Herbie and Tony's innovations. That's what I interpreted Branford meant by "it" when he says "He didn't know it." I thought he was saying more or less what Ron meant by his remarks and what Herbie meant. YMMV. Carry on ...
  13. Don Costa

    Good points from both Jim and RiddleMay -- and that is a hell of a performance and chart on "All My Tomorrows." Thanks all around. BTW -- the original 1958 version with Riddle is in the key of G, but by 1969, Sinatra and Costa take it down a step to F -- except for the climatic last A section, where the chart modulates back up to G and the clouds part and out comes the sun. Those motherfuckers were pros.
  14. Don Costa

    I must have two dozen vocal records with arrangements by Don Costa and all of the charts just kind of lay there. They don’t sound bad — just professional and rather dull. I hear facile echoes of lots of other writers, but nothing distinctive. Does anyone know of any work by Costa that sounds truly inspired and individual? Maybe the best i know is “Sinatra & Strings” — but that would’ve been a better record with Gordon Jenkins.
  15. Don Costa

    Do we know if it was Sinatra or Costa’s idea to just use the verse of “Stardust”? THAT was inspired.
  16. June 19 BN Japanese Reissues - uncommon titles

    If I had to pick just one Elvin record as a leader to live with for the rest of my life, it would be "Merry-Go-Round" -- it's got a little bit of everything and nothing sounds compromised; it's all on a high level. FWIW, my two favorite Elvin records as a leader are "Merry-Go-Round" and "Elvin Jones is on the Mountain." No. 3 is a tie between "Puttin it Together" and "Earth Jones" -- but several of the other Blue Notes are right in there and I might slide one of them in on another day.
  17. Not silly at all. Very different books in terms of period covered, style and content. "Before Motown" covers 1900 to 1960 and the focus is the development of jazz in Detroit with emphasis on who played with whom, the progression of clubs, names, dates etc My book chronicles Detroit's pivotal role in shaping the wider course of modern and contemporary jazz from the 1940s until the present day. The core of the book is comprised of more than two dozen in-depth profiles of key Detroit-bred musicians -- among them Gerald Wilson, Yusef, Burrell, Byrd, Fuller, Barry Harris, Hank, Thad, Elvin, JoeHen, Ron Carter, Charles McPherson, Belgrave, Geri Allen, Kenny Garrett, Gerald Cleaver, Karriem Riggins etc -- but it also includes thematic chapters that connect the dots between musicians, eras, Detroit's rise and fall as an industrial power and self-determination efforts like Tribe and Strata. The book identifies traits that define a Detroit approach the music and shows how the city became a jazz juggernaut at mid-century and then how it sustained its influence as a jazz power, even as the city lost economic power and population.
  18. Thanks for everybody's interest. Yes, I'm doing a presentation on "Jazz from Detroit" at Newport on Friday, Aug. 2. In the original ad/graphic the billing was Mark Stryker: "Jazz from Detroit," so you could tell that it probably wasn't a musical act. But in this new Jazz Times/Downbeat ad, it just gives my name along with everyone else so it looks like I'm on the bill as a musician. Amusing -- definitely one for the scrapbook. The book will be up for pre-order soon. I'll keep everyone posted when the details come into focus. Stand by.
  19. Jazz on jukeboxes

    I know, but it's all on the 45.
  20. Grasso Brothers

    The Interlude that happens at the 2:35 mark is actually an orchestration of Barry Harris' pre-intro intro on this recording of "Round Midnight."
  21. RIP, John Oddo

    Man, that's a helluva great performance -- she really did get better and better with age. RIP to both John and Rosemary, and thanks for posting.
  22. What Are You Watching

    "... plus unusually strong female drives."
  23. Jazz on jukeboxes

    Good question. I'm sure some people thought that, but I never overheard anyone saying it.
  24. Jazz on jukeboxes

    In Urbana in the 1980s when I was in school, there was jukebox at this restaurant hang/out called Treno's that included a few jazz singles that we played to death. One was the radio;jukebox edit of Groove Holme's "Misty." One night was must have played it 10 times in row, and finally the manager came out and yelled: "Enought!" and pulled the plug on the juke box. The other song we played all the time was Horace Silver's "Song for My Father," which was in two parts, and to save quarters we usually just played Part 2 so we could get Joe Henderson's solo. Good times. I second Jim's endorsement of how hot these singles sound. I've bought a few in recent years for giggles -- just a few bucks or less a pop and I've given some away to record junkie friends. Very plentiful in the used stores here. I love how on the some of the Blue Notes, there's RVG or Van Gelder etched into the dead wax -- just like on the big boys. When I was a kid in the '70s, I had a 45 single of Herbie's "Chameleon." I'm sure that was on a zillion jukeboxes in that era. Coda: I have an Arthur Blythe 45 rpm single on Columbia -- "Miss Nancy/Illusions." Can't recall without looking, but I think they're full tracks as on the album, not edited.
  25. Allison Miller's Boom Tic Boom - Glitter Wolf

    Just bouncing off Allen's initial comments about certain free-oriented players lacking certain kinds of musical development when they dip into other styles. I hear variations of this a lot today -- contemporary players that live in the world of even 8th note music so when they try to play in the tradition it sounds like they're "playing at swing" rather than actually swinging. Or players that get around their instruments really well and have a lot of harmony under their command but lack melodic or rhythmic depth. There's a lot of superficial eclecticism out there -- playing at "funk," playing at "free," playing at swing, playing at post-modern several steps removed from the source. etc.