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Lazaro Vega

Top 10 2005

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I don't understand why it's an "either/or" thing for some. Meaning you either enjoy the old music or the new. There's enough music for me to discover in all eras (and genres) that I still feel like a kid in a candy shop. I just recently picked up both a Walter Bishop Black Lion disc, and a Keith Rowe on Erstwhile (I'm not sure I understood that one, but it's sparked my curiousity to explore further as time/$ permits). Why can't we as listeners enjoy it all? I'm not ignoring the Rosenwinkel releases or the recent Trane/Parker/Monk etc releases.

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I don't understand why it's an "either/or" thing for some. Meaning you either enjoy the old music or the new. There's enough music for me to discover in all eras (and genres) that I still feel like a kid in a candy shop. I just recently picked up both a Walter Bishop Black Lion disc, and a Keith Rowe on Erstwhile (I'm not sure I understood that one, but it's sparked my curiousity to explore further as time/$ permits). Why can't we as listeners enjoy it all?

Amen to that!

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I find that the music that results very rarely grabs me in the gut/heart in the way that a lot of the old dead guys do.

Jesus christ, Rosenwinkel, Turner and Mehldau are but a fraction of the jazz happening right now. Granted, if your radio station isn't playing it, you don't know that, but seriously, you need to make an effort to listen to some more UNDEAD guys. They can make you feel alive too. Doubtful, but you might be surprised. <_<

There are plenty of very alive players that really touch me. I was commenting only on that particular Rosen-Turner fraction. Easy does it...

Duke, Sorry, that was intended to be "general" not personal.

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This thread made me curious how many new jazz CDs by living artists I did purchase in 2005.

Only including recordings that say copyright 2005, my quick inventory indicates that I bought about two dozen or so such recordings. These purchases were either based on past tastes, live experiences, or things I read about here.

These are the ones that appealed to me the most:

Jason Moran--Same Mother

Greg Osby--Channel Three

Lonnie Smith--Too Damn Hot

Wayne Shorter--Beyond the Sound Barrier

James Blood Ulmer--Birthright

Melvin Sparks--This is It!

Larry Coryell--Electric

Jean Michel Pilc--Live at Iridium

Mingus Big Band--I Am Three

Charlie Haden--Liberation Music Orchestra--Not in Our Name

Rudresh Mahanthappa--Mother Tongue

Arvam Feffer and Bobby Few--Kindred Spirits

Eric Truffaz--Saloua

Mike Ladd--Negrophilia

Organissimo--This is the Place

Vijay Iyer--Reimagining

Bud Shank and Phil Woods--Bouncing with Bud and Phil

I don't know what the best of the year would be, but all of these would sound good, whatever year they were recorded in.

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Jesus christ, Rosenwinkel, Turner and Mehldau are but a fraction of the jazz happening right now.

Haven't heard Jesus' new side. How is it? I hear he thinks he's Brad Mehldau. :)

Sorry Ron, couldn't stop myself.

He's on the Bethlehem Label. Check it out. :cool:;)

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The "real stuff" still exists, definitely. But since it's so damn real, it son't look, smell, or sound too much like that of yore. It's free, it's electric, it's all sorts of stuff that makes "jazz purists" cringe, and rightfully so.

Exactly. If people are looking for the next New Thing in the trio/quartet/quintet format, they ain't gonna find it. Not in the way we normally think of those configurations, anyway... and whatever emerges will probably get there via signposts that were erected 20, 30, even 40 years ago, in one way or another. And yet it won't sound like the music of those times. I think it's already out there, though there are a number of folks here more familiar with it than I am at this point.

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:g

Jesus christ, Rosenwinkel, Turner and Mehldau are but a fraction of the jazz happening right now.

Haven't heard Jesus' new side. How is it? I hear he thinks he's Brad Mehldau. :)

Sorry Ron, couldn't stop myself.

He's on the Bethlehem Label. Check it out. :cool:;)

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2) ANY record with Craig Taborn is well worth your time; hard to believe all the passion for pretty boy Brad Mehldau when Craig is comparitively ignored & a beautiful, wide-ranging mutha' of a player (who surpasses quite handily his Blue Series patron, Matt Shipp too). anyone notice who Roscoe's pianist has been of late?

Yeah, I've been taken with Taborn since hearing him on James Carter's first records many, many moons ago. Hooked me enough to track down his trio DIW debut, which at the time was a bitch to find (probably still is). In many ways he's been a more interesting player to follow than JC.

Edited by ghost of miles

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There are plenty of very alive players that really touch me. I was commenting only on that particular Rosen-Turner fraction. Easy does it...

Duke, Sorry, that was intended to be "general" not personal.

No problem. I just listened to about half of Rosenwinkel "The Next Step". It's good. As I said before, those guys have tons of chops, and some nice ideas. As a writer, I'd be thrilled to have some ideas like that come out. As a saxophonist, I certainly envy Mark Turner's command of the instrument. But I would say it still doesn't get in me the way, say Kenny Garrett and Tain do. Even Chris Potter (with ridiculous chops like Turner's) gets to me (see the live record, "Lift"). So, what am I hearing with those guys? I guess with Garrett/Tain it's somewhat related to a Trane/Elvin kind of energy. With Chris Potter I think that underpinning the more modern, technical stuff is the experience he had playing with Red Rodney, and playing in a more traditional, swinging setting.

So I guess maybe I am living in the past. Go figure... :D

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That leaves only the listener that thinks that jazz stopped in 1965 or so, you know, with the exception of Wynton Marsalis.

I am but one of some people who think that the advent of Mr. Marsailis is precisely when "jazz" began to die.

Jim, I think you give too much weight to Mr. Marsalis. I do not consider WM either the "saviour" or the "destroyer" of jazz. At that particular juncture in jazz history, say 20 years after Coltrane's death, and probably 100 years after the misty beginnings of jazz, someone like Marsalis coming along and digging into jazz's history was was probably inevitable. After all, lots of young players were doing it before WM and lots did it after, and lots will continue to do it. The only difference was the WM had a fairly high public profile. But how exactly did the advent of this one man cause jazz to die? He didn't actually STOP anyone from playing or recording or listening to more cutting edge jazz. There was still lots of it out there. You think it was selling lots and getting lots of airplay before WM came along? If jazz began to die, it was the author of its own demise.

Now I'm no great defender of WM, but it seems to me that if you're going to do some cutting edge jazz or "move it forward" (whatever that means), you'd better have a pretty good understanding of its past.

One of the things that gives credibilty for me to a lot of Coltrane's 65-'67 music, and at least causes me to give it a good listen, is that you know this guy was rooted, and man, could he play the blues (one of the greatest blues players in the history of jazz, IMHO). Don't know much about Turner or Rosenwinkel, but from what's I've heard of Chris Potter, I think he's pretty solidly rooted. Joe Lovano, too, who I think is a good model for a creative jazz musician in this time - rooted in what's come before and not afraid to go there, but also not afraid to push the envelope sometimes, either.

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Too true, too true! I heard someone use the description of the Rosenwinkel/Turner, etc. camp as being "heady" music. While I admire thier technique, and to a certain extent, thier thoughtful approach; and while I don't doubt thier sincerity for a moment, I find that the music that results very rarely grabs me in the gut/heart in the way that a lot of the old dead guys do.

Because of their reputations I purchased "Dharma Days".

Sorry.

Hey Chuck--yeah, that's a completely tedious, airless album, but don't give up on Turner -- I liked the first (self-titled) Warner disc, & told the Criss Crosses are excellent (Yam Yam in particular). I haven't heard anything of his recently that I liked at all though I don't know the Fly disc on Savoy. There's also a rather weird encounter with Konitz on Chesky which is worth a listen, though I like the half of the album that Turner sits out much better.

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That leaves only the listener that thinks that jazz stopped in 1965 or so, you know, with the exception of Wynton Marsalis.

I am but one of some people who think that the advent of Mr. Marsailis is precisely when "jazz" began to die.

Jim, I think you give too much weight to Mr. Marsalis. I do not consider WM either the "saviour" or the "destroyer" of jazz. At that particular juncture in jazz history, say 20 years after Coltrane's death, and probably 100 years after the misty beginnings of jazz, someone like Marsalis coming along and digging into jazz's history was was probably inevitable. After all, lots of young players were doing it before WM and lots did it after, and lots will continue to do it. The only difference was the WM had a fairly high public profile. But how exactly did the advent of this one man cause jazz to die? He didn't actually STOP anyone from playing or recording or listening to more cutting edge jazz. There was still lots of it out there. You think it was selling lots and getting lots of airplay before WM came along? If jazz began to die, it was the author of its own demise.

Now I'm no great defender of WM, but it seems to me that if you're going to do some cutting edge jazz or "move it forward" (whatever that means), you'd better have a pretty good understanding of its past.

One of the things that gives credibilty for me to a lot of Coltrane's 65-'67 music, and at least causes me to give it a good listen, is that you know this guy was rooted, and man, could he play the blues (one of the greatest blues players in the history of jazz, IMHO). Don't know much about Turner or Rosenwinkel, but from what's I've heard of Chris Potter, I think he's pretty solidly rooted. Joe Lovano, too, who I think is a good model for a creative jazz musician in this time - rooted in what's come before and not afraid to go there, but also not afraid to push the envelope sometimes, either.

You may be right. All I know is the way the "job market" for jazz changed (and it defintely did change) after, say, 1984 or so. And as the nature of the gigs made available changed, so did the nature of the players who were called upon to play them. "Up front" was no longer desirable, "The Tradition" was, no matter how lamely or half-assed it was rendered (of course, the fact that that type of spirit is in direct contradiction to "the tradition" was lost on the participants...). I know from experience that more than a few no-playin' (literally as well as relatively) fools got a "name" in several cities just because they put on a suit and played all-acoustic sets consisting of "jazz standards" (tired jazz standards at that). That became what jazz "was", and that's what got the gigs - image and attitude, not music. You may say that that's always been the case, and you'd be right to an extent, but we're talking about totally closing off outlets that had heretofore been tenuous yet viable. That sort of thing does take its toll, especially over the long haul...

It wasn't Marsalis' music that did it, it was the half-baked (yet fully swallowed) dogma that he so zealously promoted. I've blathered on about this many times in the past, so I'll spare everybody another go 'round. Bottom line though - things changed dramatically, and the chill still lingers, although a thaw definitely seems to be underway, thank god.

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Taborn's hook up with Tom Rainey on Drew Gress's album "7 Black Butterfies" is solid. He's also on the Roscoe Mitchell recording in the original top 10 list at the head of the thread.

The job of jazz radio is to, as a friend once explained to me, engage the audience. That's it.

Speaking of living musicians, we'll have the Bronx Bossa Nova Trio playing live in our studio tomorrow night, and Cuong Vu in February.

Edited by Lazaro Vega

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From the Catching Up With Segment of All About Jazz.com, Gregg Osby replies to a query about Chris Potter:

"I have heard Chris Potter. I'd much rather listen to Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, Coleman Hawkins, Don Byas, Lester Young, Eddie Harris, Ben Webster, Von Freeman, Stan Getz, Shorter, Rollins, Coltrane, etc. play tenor. Dig? There are legions of other bad young cats out there whom I feel are saying just as much or more in their playing and music in general. Different Strokes...."

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Just thought I'd write, partially at least to put in a word for a fellow radio person.

Top 10 lists, across the board, are put together with "political," "fairness," or "balance" considerations in mind. Not to mention "public image" sort of considerations.

In terms of aesthetic pleasure or intellectual stimulation, does the Coltrane/Monk cd deserve to be on the top of so many lists? I doubt it. It's a good set of music, but frankly, I don't think it's all that and I doubt a lot of the people who have listed it on Top 10s think so, either. They list it for its "historic" importance and to declare allegience to this newly discovered piece from the classic era of jazz. (We'll leave the other Coltrane record to the side because I am no judge of its merits.)

Similarly, if your radio station plays a fair deal of swing music, you look to put some on your Top 10. Just one of the many "outside" consderations that come into play in all Top 10s.

So, looking for a swing disc to add isn't any shame.

On Lorraine Feather in particular: I personally didn't like the record as much as her Waller one. Waller's music, I think, suited her partiular methods pretty well. Not so Ellington, I thought.

"Rape" and "colonialism," though, are words that speak of a lack of appreciation for scale. Lorraine Feather can't rape Ellington, any more than a rat can rape a blue whale. And people who dredge up words like "colonialism" "racism" and "imperialism" to put an exclamation point on their judgements of taste are really practicing the same sort of aesthetic absolutism Wynton Marsalis is always accused of practicing.

There's a name for the sort of shameless and promiscuos borrowing and combining: it's called culture, not "colonialism." It's always been going on, and it'll always be going on and it often pays little attention to "understanding" the source, just using it. In fact, a lot of times the borrowing is based on ridiculous & lazy misunderstandings of the source. And it's not all bad, at that. Welcome to the Human Race.

I was thinking about the musician job market, and it'd seem to me that "image and attitude" were exactly what people were always buying when people hired musicians--even before 1985. That's why the transition could be made so easily to some new "image and attitude"--it was just a change in fashion, and few recognized the decline in musical quality because hardly anyone ever gave a damn about it anyway. Musicians who thought otherwise critically misjudged their market.

On the other hand, I'm sure there are plenty of older old-timers who were complaining in 1980 (or 1970 or 1960) that a lot of the working musicians were unqualified and were hired exclsuively for their, rather different, "image and attitude."

Anyhow, I was looking over some of my favorites from last year or so (below). This is a raw list derived from spins, so there are things here I would exclude from a Top 10 because they don't make me look sophisticated enough (or whatever cheap motive) and other stuff I'd dig up that were more private pleasures (that I din't spin on the radio much). But I look at this list, and I feel pretty good about jazz. Maybe that's my own inability to appreciate scale, but I think there's some pretty good music here.

Historic? maybe not, but maybe all the better not.

modern traditions ensemble new old music adventure

hornheads fat lip bone 2 b wild

tim ries the rolling stones project concord/cmg

frank & joe show 66 2/3 hyena

ebony & ivory red hot gilpin publishing

bebo valdes bebo de cuba calle 54

Ted Nash: La Espada de la Noche

BUJO Kevin Jones: Tenth World

Ron Blake - Sonic Tonic

Javon Jackson - Have You Heard

jazz jamaica all-stars massive dune

omar sosa mulatos

lonnie smith too damn hot

mike frost nothing smooth about it

tom collier mallet jazz

trio mundo rides again

organissimo this is the place

scott robinson jazz ambassador

psalmthing blue third inversion

micahel wolff dangerous vision

lea delaria double standards

skaesho we want you to say . . .

mozayik haitian creole jazz

dave weckl multiplicity

mingus big band, etc. I am three

will calhoun: native lands

beth custer ensemble: respect as a religion

myanna: one never knows

oregon prime

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This has been an intersting thread and I'm wary of voicing my own opinion on the matter (although it is probably well known by now). I will say that I have consciously tried to temper any re-issue buying with purchasing two new discs for every re-issue. I failed at Stereojack's place (along with Kevin B) simply because I had not yet picked up the recent re-issues of Turning Point by Lonnie Smith (nice), Mothership by Larry Young (sweet), or The Sounds of Jimmy Smith (holy crap!).

On a side note, that is one of the Top 10 Re-Issues of 2005 for me. Jimmy Smith recorded in 1957 with something to prove to the world. Smith has his boxing gloves on and is not taking any prisoners whatsoever. And has Eddie McFadden ever played better?

Just a thought, but I find it hard to believe that Wynton weilds such power as to influence the jazz gig scene in Texas, especially in the mid-80s. It seems to me that it might've been just another instance of nostalgia creeping into pop culture. Kind of how there is a big "I Love The 80's" nostalgia going on now. But what do I know?

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Just a thought, but I find it hard to believe that Wynton weilds such power as to influence the jazz gig scene in Texas, especially in the mid-80s. It seems to me that it might've been just another instance of nostalgia creeping into pop culture. Kind of how there is a big "I Love The 80's" nostalgia going on now. But what do I know?

You know a lot, but in this case, believe me when I tell you that he had a dramatic impact. Again, not his music per se, but his dogma. There were plenty of people (many/most of them musically under-qualified) waiting to "reclaim the tradition" or some such rot, and with all the hype generated by Wynton, they carpe-diemed like a big dog. They were also assisted by like-minded non-musicians who played any number of "cards" to gain positions of authority in the local festival/concert arena. Bebop was it, no matter how poorly it was played, and everything (and everybody) else found themselves shut out of the action.

As much as I agree with the jist of many of the Marsalis/Crouch pronouncements about "ownership" of the music and stuff like that, the rub is that not everybody who wants to play that game has the requiste depth of knowledge/perspective/whatever to play it with what I would consider respect-commanding aplomb (there were no Muhals or Horace Tapscotts in this bunch, dig?). But the "beauty" of thier various "arguments" is that if you disagree with them, you're branded with whatever convenient disparaging labels are available, and as is usal with mob-rule, there's no room for reason, much less objectivity. So it's really a no-win thing unless you take it all underground and play it like that, which is what a lot of us did, and have continued to do.

Given Dallas' incredibly constipated social dynamic over the last million years or so, this was perhaps inevitable. But all my friend in other cities told similar tales of differing scope. Believe it or not.

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"Rape" and "colonialism," though, are words that speak of a lack of appreciation for scale. Lorraine Feather can't rape Ellington, any more than a rat can rape a blue whale. And people who dredge up words like "colonialism" "racism" and "imperialism" to put an exclamation point on their judgements of taste are really practicing the same sort of aesthetic absolutism Wynton Marsalis is always accused of practicing.

There's a name for the sort of shameless and promiscuos borrowing and combining: it's called culture, not "colonialism." It's always been going on, and it'll always be going on and it often pays little attention to "understanding" the source, just using it. In fact, a lot of times the borrowing is based on ridiculous & lazy misunderstandings of the source. And it's not all bad, at that. Welcome to the Human Race.

Well, of course you're right, but if you don't see what difference it makes (or why it might matter that it does make a difference), then you're also clueless.

So go on ahead and be right! :tup:tup:tup:tup:tup

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--whenever I hear L. Feather or any of the other plethora of 'jazz' vocalists on the radio (a sadly common phenomenon), I immediately flip the dial. In fact, I flip it to the oldies AM station, because I would rather hear Bing, or Peggy Lee, or even Johnny Mathis. To me, that stuff seems more real.

--I have made a concerted effort to buy more new jazz. It's more hit and miss (compared to say, an RVG) and I've returned my share of the newer stuff, but gradually I've begun to find new music I really like. There really is jazz being recorded right now that is 21st century, of-its-time real. To me, we live in a hard, technical cold society and when I find an artist who's expressing that, right now, it speaks to me (Greg Tardy Viijay Iyer, Greg Osby, Walt Weiskopf, Jeremy Pelt).

The jazz industry is so bent on nostalgia. Just listen to your public radio jazz station. It's not that they play old stuff 24/7, but the play new stuff that's based in nostalgia. Feather, Krall, Marsalis etc. Wynton is a mystery to me. I think his best playing is the cold hard technical stuff--that's him. He's analytical and contentious and his playing should probably reflect those qualities. Why he insists on trying to sound like Bubber Miley or Red Allen is a mystery to me. He sounds horrible.

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"Rape" and "colonialism," though, are words that speak of a lack of appreciation for scale. Lorraine Feather can't rape Ellington, any more than a rat can rape a blue whale. And people who dredge up words like "colonialism" "racism" and "imperialism" to put an exclamation point on their judgements of taste are really practicing the same sort of aesthetic absolutism Wynton Marsalis is always accused of practicing.

There's a name for the sort of shameless and promiscuos borrowing and combining: it's called culture, not "colonialism." It's always been going on, and it'll always be going on and it often pays little attention to "understanding" the source, just using it. In fact, a lot of times the borrowing is based on ridiculous & lazy misunderstandings of the source. And it's not all bad, at that. Welcome to the Human Race.

Well, of course you're right, but if you don't see what difference it makes (or why it might matter that it does make a difference), then you're also clueless.

So go on ahead and be right! :tup:tup:tup:tup:tup

and from elsewhere:

As much as I agree with the jist of many of the Marsalis/Crouch pronouncements about "ownership" of the music and stuff like that, the rub is that not everybody who wants to play that game has the requiste depth of knowledge/perspective/whatever to play it with what I would consider respect-commanding aplomb (there were no Muhals or Horace Tapscotts in this bunch, dig?).

My whole thing is that I don't buy the concept of cultural ownership. When it comes to copyright and when it comes to ethnic groups laying claims to a style or mode of expression, I think cultural ownership needs to be VERY limited.

Does it matter whether folks recognize the history/context/meaning of stuff they borrow? Sure, but that doesn't mean that that sort of recognition is absolutely necessary. Ex cathedra "does toos" don't change that.

--eric

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Just a thought, but I find it hard to believe that Wynton weilds such power as to influence the jazz gig scene in Texas, especially in the mid-80s. It seems to me that it might've been just another instance of nostalgia creeping into pop culture. Kind of how there is a big "I Love The 80's" nostalgia going on now. But what do I know?

You know a lot, but in this case, believe me when I tell you that he had a dramatic impact. Again, not his music per se, but his dogma. There were plenty of people (many/most of them musically under-qualified) waiting to "reclaim the tradition" or some such rot, and with all the hype generated by Wynton, they carpe-diemed like a big dog. They were also assisted by like-minded non-musicians who played any number of "cards" to gain positions of authority in the local festival/concert arena. Bebop was it, no matter how poorly it was played, and everything (and everybody) else found themselves shut out of the action.

I will take your word for it since I was not even close to being on the scene back then. I did, however, witness first hand the same thing happen during the big blues revival of the mid to late 1990s, so it would not surprise me, although I don't think blues had the same Wynton figurehead. Just a lot of little whiny non-musician wanna-be's setting the "rules".

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I don't think it is a accident this happened at the same time as the "Reagan Revolution" and the rise of the religious right.

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There's a jazz gig scene in Texas? Where is it?

In the 70s in Dallas, there was the Recovery Room.

In the 80s, there was Caravan of Dreams in Fort Worth.

Other than very short-lived places (Jazz Connection, New Forest Theater), there have generally only been restaurants with incidental music (in Dallas this means the diners are louder than the band, and this is true even if the band is loud).

Wynton did play several times at the Caravan of Dreams several times. I actually found it pretty enjoyable, if not extremely exciting. It was amazing though, how many more people would turn out for him than when a genuine jazz great played there.

This has been an intersting thread and I'm wary of voicing my own opinion on the matter (although it is probably well known by now). I will say that I have consciously tried to temper any re-issue buying with purchasing two new discs for every re-issue. I failed at Stereojack's place (along with Kevin B) simply because I had not yet picked up the recent re-issues of Turning Point by Lonnie Smith (nice), Mothership by Larry Young (sweet), or The Sounds of Jimmy Smith (holy crap!).

On a side note, that is one of the Top 10 Re-Issues of 2005 for me. Jimmy Smith recorded in 1957 with something to prove to the world. Smith has his boxing gloves on and is not taking any prisoners whatsoever. And has Eddie McFadden ever played better?

Just a thought, but I find it hard to believe that Wynton weilds such power as to influence the jazz gig scene in Texas, especially in the mid-80s. It seems to me that it might've been just another instance of nostalgia creeping into pop culture. Kind of how there is a big "I Love The 80's" nostalgia going on now. But what do I know?

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I don't think it is a accident this happened at the same time as the "Reagan Revolution" and the rise of the religious right.

Bingo.

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