Larry Kart

Larry Kart's jazz book

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Larry, if you wanted to automate the process, there are tools. Whenever I review a deposition transcript these days, it comes with an index that's computer-generated. It includes every word, and the corresponding page number(s). Clearly someone tells it (or the software automatically does this) to remove words like "a", "and", "the", etc.; but that might be a place to start if you can get Yale to let you have access to the electronic version of the galleys...

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I never knew that books could cause bowel problems... ;)

Quite the contrary! I've been known to order double (or even triple!) jalapenos on my nachos when I've gottten into a good book. A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do, and in this house, getting quality reading time necessitates serious hang time in the Fartress of Soilitude.

For THIS book, I've ordered a bushel basket of habaneros, and plan on popping them like so many after-dinner mints.

In Texas, we don't NEED no stinkin' Swiss Kriss! :g:g:g

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This is an amazing collection. I read many of the pieces at the time but the way they are arranged gave me a new perspective.

I've known LK since 1967/8 when he phoned me to talk about a recording I made.

Any music "fan" wishing to have their understanding challenged needs this book.

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Thanks, Chuck -- coming from you that means a lot. I've forgotten about that phone call, though, I guess because once you've known someone for a long time it's hard to remember when you didn't. Did I call about "Sound" or "Congliptious" or something else? Don't remember when and how I met John (Litweiler) or Terry (Martin) either, except that it was around that time and it had to do with AACM doings. I do remember, though, how startling it was to discover that John was about my age. I'd read some of his record reviews in Kulchur, the literary magazine that Le Roi Jones and his then-wife Hettie Cohen, put out, and kind of assumed (because their tone was so relaxed and authoritative) that they must have been written by some scholarly, middle-aged gent who was sitting in his book-lined study in front of a crackling fire with an Irish setter at his side. Oh, right -- that was John McDonough.

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Larry, you called about "Numbers".

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Right! Now I remember. The thing just took my head off.

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Right! Now I remember. The thing just took my head off.

So THAT'S why you always looked so "funny" to me. :lol::lol:

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Just ordered this from Barnes & Noble. Can't wait for it!!

Congrats Larry!! :)

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Just finished reading the 1981 Lee Konitz piece.

Five paragraphs of perfection and absolute truth. The opening paragraph alone would be worth the price of the book. And the lines about "styles" perfectly sum up a lot of the everythings I love and hate about various jazzes.

This is the type of writing that grows in insight, depth, and meaning the more you know about the music. Most music writing does just the opposite.

Buy this book if you're into jazz for keeps. It'll be good for the duration.

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Just finished reading the 1981 Lee Konitz piece.

Five paragraphs of perfection and absolute truth. The opening paragraph alone would be worth the price of the book. And the lines about "styles" perfectly sum up a lot of the everythings I love and hate about various jazzes.

This is the type of writing that grows in insight, depth, and meaning the more you know about the music. Most music writing does just the opposite.

Buy this book if you're into jazz for keeps. It'll be good for the duration.

Thanks for the review, Jim. I know this will be under the tree for me. I'm in it for keeps also. :tup

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Larry:

Do let us know if you have any other local signings, since I couldn't make it to Jazz Record Mart. I did have one idea (sorry if already mentioned) that might cut down on shipping costs. You could buy front plates or bookplates or whatever they are called (the squares of paper library books have in the front if they were part of a collection or donated by someone with money). Sign those and mail them off, rather than wait for the book to show up and then return it (with two opportuties for it to get lost in transit).

Eric

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I think Larry wants us to mail him the actual book so he can return it to the local Border's for credit -

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Missed it myself, but I'm told that on "Fresh Air" today Kevin Whitehead said that it was one of the two best jazz books of the year and read a juicy excerpt from the Oscar Peterson piece to Terry Gross, who reportedly approved.

Also, I took a copy to our local Upscale Mail store yesterday to send to a friend. The clerk took the book and the addressed padded envelope I'd just bought there and held the former out at arm's length with a kind of speculative look on his face. I explained that I was the author; he said that he was interested in the subject and wanted to buy a copy. So today I took one over there. Probably should travel around with crate of them in the trunk of my car and a sign on the roof, like the guys who deliver for Pizza Hut or Dominos.

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Eric: I'll be doing a signing/reading Jan. 6 at the Highland Park Library, in conjunction with two sets by a trio of young Chicago musicians I like -- cornetist John Berman, guitarist Matt Schneider, and bassist Joel Root. It will last from 7 until 8:30 p.m., it's free of course, and I'm planning that it will be light on the reading (maybe 10 minutes worth) and long on the music, while I listen and quietly sell and sign copies (should it come to that) in the back of the room. Highland Park is where I live, so it's a short trip for me; hope others can make it. The library is close to the center of town, at 494 Laurel Ave., corner of Laurel and St. Johns.

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Yes!

Larry's Jazz Go-Kart is hitting the road!

Folks have been saying for years that jazz has to get down there in the trenches, bands have to pile into vans and tour like the underground rock bands do - y'know, look at Medeski, Martin & Wood, etc.

Same deal with jazz authors - guerrilla hit-and-run booksignings on the street corner, flyers stapled to telephone poles, "five books for five bucks" public readings, etc.

Just imagine.......

Mike

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Probably should travel around with crate of them in the trunk of my car and a sign on the roof, like the guys who deliver for Pizza Hut or Dominos.

Dude - get an ice cream truck for the gig. Built-in attention getter.

Just change the music. :g:g:g

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Missed it myself, but I'm told that on "Fresh Air" today Kevin Whitehead said that it was one of the two best jazz books of the year and read a juicy excerpt from the Oscar Peterson piece to Terry Gross, who reportedly approved.

You can hear the review at npr.org. The review starts 18' into the stream. :)

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Some random thoughts after reading the introductory chapter and skipping ahead to some later chapters.

First, it's hard to believe that writing this perceptive and thoughtful ever graced the pages of downbeat. The magazine is apparently a shadow of its former self...to quote a quote from the first chapter: "The question it frames in all but words/Is what to make of a diminished thing." Fortunately, message boards like this, characterized by intelligence, spontaniety, and community (like jazz itself), have filled the void.

Expression in jazz is autobiographical, but not self-centered (or exhibitionist)... I like this distinction in the first chapter--"self-enactment should not be confused with self-exposure". I really don't want to hear jazz where the only goal seems to be for the 'artist' to provoke me to admire his technical skill.

OTH, the avant garde strikes me as exhibitionistic in this sense. It occurs to me while reading this introductory chapter that avant garde is parasitic upon the mainstream because to violate linguistic rules (as the avant garde does, as a rule) presupposes the presence of a set of rules (the mainstream).... violate grammatical rules and what you get is an exhibition--"Bill bed sara's angrily in slept" where the end is simply 'look at me, i'm saying something new by going beyond any sense of linguistic order'. Honor the rules, "Bill slept angrily in Sara's bed" and you have the beginning of a story-a story or a drama.

I think a lot of contemporary players are capable of telling compelling stories using the language, linguistic rules, developed in the first 50 years of jazz.

Edited by montg

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Also, I took a copy to our local Upscale Mail store yesterday to send to a friend. The clerk took the book and the addressed padded envelope I'd just bought there and held the former out at arm's length with a kind of speculative look on his face. I explained that I was the author; he said that he was interested in the subject and wanted to buy a copy. So today I took one over there. Probably should travel around with crate of them in the trunk of my car and a sign on the roof, like the guys who deliver for Pizza Hut or Dominos.

A small self-effacing anecdote .... One bright sunny day in 1995, (I remember the year because I was living on the top floor of the Holiday Inn in Burbank that year while doing research at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences), I was in the venerable Larry Edmunds bookshop in L.A. checking out some older books on film. While I was chatting to the guy at the check out counter, lo and behold someone turned up with a copy of one of my books (Film: The Democratic Art, 1976) under his arm. Totally elated and full of hubris, I introduced myself as the author of his acquisition and offered to sign it. He looked at me and said, with a perfectly straight face... "Hell, no! I don't want any writing in my book!" .... I guess there really isn't more I can say .. right? I have never offered to sign a book since ... I entertain requests to do so, but I never volunteer!

Squelched,

Garth.

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OTH, the avant garde strikes me as exhibitionistic in this sense.  It occurs to me while reading this introductory chapter that avant garde is parasitic upon the mainstream because to violate linguistic rules (as the avant garde does, as a rule) presupposes the presence of a set of rules (the mainstream)....  violate grammatical rules and what you get is an exhibition--"Bill bed sara's angrily in slept" where the end is simply 'look at me, i'm saying something new by going beyond any sense of linguistic order'.  Honor the rules, "Bill slept angrily in Sara's bed" and you have the beginning of a story-a story or a drama. 

I think a lot of contemporary players are capable of telling compelling stories using the language, linguistic rules, developed in the first 50 years of jazz.

Eeehh, I never really like this model of the avantgarde as just trying to mess with expectations/"rules"/whatever. That's one thing that the avantgarde can do but it's not the whole story: I'm not sure things are usually that programmatic or wilful: it's about proposing & defending (often highly personal) ways of seeing/thinking/hearing rather than just being pointlessly "different". -- The analogy to language just seems strained because (1) music is not a symbolic system communicating a paraphrasable message; (2) whereas English as a language has centuries of history, millions of speakers, & arguably many aspects of syntax are hardwired into the human brain, jazz as a genre has a comparatively short history & a relatively small number of serious parcipants (in terms of both musicians & listeners), so the idea of "rules" seems odd given that any putative rules are so new & not all that consensual. In many ways jazz as a genre, a mere century or so after its birth, is still malleable/up for grabs, which is why arguments about what it is & what are the significant musicians & movements still seem important.

Did you deliberately allude to Chomsky there by the way ("slept angrily")? I'm not sure this would help your argument since Chomsky's point was that you could generate a perfectly grammatical (rule-obeying) sentence that was perfect nonsense.

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I'm with Nate on this - one problem, of course, is that to say "avant garde" is to refer to so many different players and styles that it's difficult to generalize in an accurate way - but Nate's analysis is perfect. I would add that avant gardists, like modernists in any form (literature, theater, film) are trying to replace outmoded gestures and worn out forms, to substitute the new for the easily identifiable and thus predictable cadences of an older way of creating. Audiences tend to prefer that with which they are already familiar. But forms like music will die if they are not constantly renewed - the other thing to realize is that even much more conservative jazz musicians are positively efected by the avant garde, borrowing its techniques and certain means of its expression for their own much more conventional purposes.

Edited by AllenLowe

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Just want to say that I'm with (or would prefer to be with) Nate and Allen here. The phrase in the introductory chapter that Montg might have been reacting to in part -- the one that refers to the sense of "language upheaval" in much avant garde art that curiously, so some feel (including me), does not go away with the passage of time -- doesn't mean that I buy into ... well, I agree completely with what Nate says about the differences between spoken or written language and music as a language. In any case, I pretty much borrowed the lasting sense of "language upheaval" notion (with attribution, and because it struck me out of the blue as novel and true) from the late German musicologist Carl Dahlhaus' essay "'New Music' as Historical Category," which can be found in his terrific book "Schoenberg and the New Music" (Cambridge U. Press). The passage I quoted from Dahlhaus appears on p. 13 of that book. He was something else. His "Nineteenth Century Music" (U. of California Press) is a particular treasure trove. What a smart guy.

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Missed it myself, but I'm told that on "Fresh Air" today Kevin Whitehead said that it was one of the two best jazz books of the year

Congratulations, Larry. What was the other one that he named--the Morgenstern?

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No it wasn't Dan's book but Ned Sublette's "Cuba and Its Music: From the First Drums to the Mambo."

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Jeez, so much agreement :) . Thanks for the reference Larry! I'm kind of fascinated by the way that the modernist rupture has set in place, so that Schoenberg & Gertrude Stein (e.g.) still sound/read as weird & "difficult" even now. Though in some ways I find it even more enigmatic how pre-modernist music has become less strange with the passage of time, rather than more so.

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