Matthew

Peter Pullman-- Bud Powell Biography

239 posts in this topic

Matthew's really nailed it. I am the type of reader whose eyes glaze over at extensive musical notation/analysis, but getting the truth about Bud's life and career should make this one a keeper, especially if the author is such a talented writer, too.

Who knows, a book without the musical analysis might sell a little more and maybe that will encourage publishers to put out more of this type of jazz biography.

Actual music confuses many fans. :cool:

Technical discussion of music, yes.

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Matthew's really nailed it. I am the type of reader whose eyes glaze over at extensive musical notation/analysis, but getting the truth about Bud's life and career should make this one a keeper, especially if the author is such a talented writer, too.

Who knows, a book without the musical analysis might sell a little more and maybe that will encourage publishers to put out more of this type of jazz biography.

Actual music confuses many fans. :cool:

Technical discussion of music, yes.

In this instance, I would prefer a clear sense of the life of Powell, and a good sense of what his life was really like, then some of the fairy-tales that have accumulated around Powell's life can be corrected. It's rare that a writer can handle both music and biography, though Pullman could do both, and do a great job; however, a book like that could be well over 1,000 pages. Also, sad to say, I do not have the background to understand a lot of technical analysis regarding music. I can't bluff my way through that lacuna in my education.

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You just added a new word to my vocabulary, Matthew. I don't remember ever hearing nor seeing the word, "lacuna". Thank you. With some luck, it will at least remain in my passive vocabulary. I can't imagine ever using it in conversation.

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just wondering Larry, in a bit of a digression (though with some reason) whether Peter spent any time talking to Bill Triglia -

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A very good discussion of Powell's music can be found in the booklet for THE COMPLETE BUD POWELL ON VERVE--the conversation between Barry Harris and (current Organissimo poster) Michael Weiss. (The booklet was edited by Pullman, btw, and remains one of the best sources on Powell until Pullman's bio finally comes out.) Gary Giddins also did a good piece many, many years back for the Village Voice on how Powell fit into the evolution of jazz piano, but I'm not sure if it's ever been reprinted; I copied it from microfilm at the IU Library.

It's difficult, I think, for even talented writers who are also deeply knowledgeable about the music to write a balanced and accessible book about jazz artists. Lewis Porter did a fairly good job in his Coltrane bio, I thought--and I'm sure I'm not alone here in finding Larry Kart's writing to be illuminating about both musicians and their music. Though some rank Scott Deveaux's BIRTH OF BEBOP objectionable on certain grounds, it's a very good blend of biographical storytelling and musical analysis.

Count me among those excited about Peter's book finally reaching publication status. Bud's life-story has turned into a sort of mythology, and the new book should provide a good counterpart to that. I fell hard for Bud's sound (right around the time I was first getting into jazz) and he remains the jazz pianist I most love to listen to... and it's even better to know that Larry has played a part in this work's nearing completion.

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You forgot the part about how the radio program is archived online (or how you're going to reformat the show for an upcoming Night Lights).

Mike

Last time I discussed it with Peter, talk was of doing a two-part program... that's still the plan, for whenever the book comes out.

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just wondering Larry, in a bit of a digression (though with some reason) whether Peter spent any time talking to Bill Triglia -

Don't recall seeing Triglia's name in the text, but that doesn't necessarily mean that Pullman didn't talk to him.

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and it's even better to know that Larry has played a part in this work's nearing completion.

Please -- anyone and everyone -- don't exaggerate the part I played/am playing here. Pullman just wanted another eye to look at what he'd done (someone who already knew a fair bit about Powell's life and times, had a background in editing, and with whom he felt comfortable) before he sent the manuscript on to the publisher. I was happy to oblige and did offer some advice here and there, but that's all.

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Did not mean to exaggerate your role or imply that you were somehow "finishing" the work--just to say I'm glad it's you and not, say, the ghost of Leslie Gourse providing any fourth-quarter editorial assistance.

Edited by ghost of miles

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I've been playing something of an informal advisory-editorial role here. The book is completed and is IMO excellent -- everything one could wish for when it comes to nailing down facts, sorting out myth from reality, establishing social context, etc., etc. Pullman's labors here are almost awe-inspiring in their thoroughness, and no less important, their scrupulousness. In particular (and I think this was a very wise choice), Pullman doesn't presume to be able to read Powell's mind. Also the book is not, nor is it intended to be, a book in which Powell's music is analyzed. Pullman writes very well. The density of information is at a very high level when such information exists and can be dug up (and information of that density is what most people like us would want, I think), but the book certainly flows and has moments of high drama. The only problem now is bringing it into dock with the publisher. I don't know all the details there and probably wouldn't tell you if I did, but I expect docking maneuvers will be completed successfully and soon.

:) Looking Forward to a good read, thanks for the update

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just wondering about Triglia because Bill told me a story about Powell coming over to this house some time in the 1950s to get away from the drug dealers et al; he went to sleep for two days and Triglia's wife was freaking out because she was afraid Bud had died.

Triglia's story in general is interesting because he told me how he and Al Haig, quite literally, followed Powell everywhere to as many gigs as they could get to, night and day. His story just epitomizes that time and place; I gave Peter the contact info, but I gues he never got to it - oh well -

my favorite Triglia story (sorry so OT): he was working with Lester Young and there was another guy on the gig that, as the night progressed, Prez was becoming more and more dissatisfied with. Between sets everybody was talking and this guy says to Young: "Hey Prez, when was the last time we worked together?"

Lester Young answers: "Tonight."

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so Larry, the book was basically written by you, and you're letting Peter put his name on it? I'm writing this here, so when someone googles it, they'll catch this post and than Pullman will sue you -

well, you know that old song - "I don't Stand a Chance with A Ghost Like You " -

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I knew I should have kept my mouth shut. <_<

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just wondering about Triglia because Bill told me a story about Powell coming over to this house some time in the 1950s to get away from the drug dealers et al; he went to sleep for two days and Triglia's wife was freaking out because she was afraid Bud had died.

Triglia's story in general is interesting because he told me how he and Al Haig, quite literally, followed Powell everywhere to as many gigs as they could get to, night and day. His story just epitomizes that time and place; I gave Peter the contact info, but I gues he never got to it - oh well -

my favorite Triglia story (sorry so OT): he was working with Lester Young and there was another guy on the gig that, as the night progressed, Prez was becoming more and more dissatisfied with. Between sets everybody was talking and this guy says to Young: "Hey Prez, when was the last time we worked together?"

Lester Young answers: "Tonight."

:D

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Anyone know what happened with Peter Pullman's Powell biography? I've been eagerly waiting for this for years.

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Was just thinking the same thing the other day.

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I'll try to check and report back.

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Looks like it may have gotten as far as being assigned an ISBN. Amazon.com link

That link is way out of date. Pullman severed all ties with FSG many years ago and is now (fingers crossed) with another publisher (the one I pointed him to).

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This'll come out about the same time as Chambers book on Twardzik (Bouncin' With Bartok).

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Yes. Most recent news is good news. It will take time for the book to emerge, but all barriers other than the practical ones that stand in the way of production of all books, and academic press books in particular, have been removed. The book itself is better than most of us would have dared hope.

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Yes. Most recent news is good news. It will take time for the book to emerge, but all barriers other than the practical ones that stand in the way of production of all books, and academic press books in particular, have been removed. The book itself is better than most of us would have dared hope.

Thanks Larry. Now my curosity is really peaked! Can you give us a clue as to what is included? Does it read like a biography? More like an academic analysis of the music? What's Pullman's approach?

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Yes. Most recent news is good news. It will take time for the book to emerge, but all barriers other than the practical ones that stand in the way of production of all books, and academic press books in particular, have been removed. The book itself is better than most of us would have dared hope.

Thanks Larry. Now my curosity is really peaked! Can you give us a clue as to what is included? Does it read like a biography? More like an academic analysis of the music? What's Pullman's approach?

Post of mine from May 2007 on this thread:

I've been playing something of an informal advisory-editorial role here. The book is completed and is IMO excellent -- everything one could wish for when it comes to nailing down facts, sorting out myth from reality, establishing social context, etc., etc. Pullman's labors here are almost awe-inspiring in their thoroughness, and no less important, their scrupulousness. In particular (and I think this was a very wise choice), Pullman doesn't presume to be able to read Powell's mind. Also the book is not, nor is it intended to be, a book in which Powell's music is analyzed. Pullman writes very well. The density of information is at a very high level when such information exists and can be dug up (and information of that density is what most people like us would want, I think), but the book certainly flows and has moments of high drama.

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