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Giuseppi Logan


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#1 ep1str0phy

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Posted 19 January 2009 - 02:25 PM

I couldn't find any other threads about either Giuseppi or his reappearance, so I thought I'd post this here:

http://blog.wfmu.org...eppi-logan.html

The article and embedded videos note that Giuseppi was indeed institutionalized and homeless for a period; to quote:

"According to musician Matt Lavelle, Logan is currently living in a shelter in Brooklyn. The latest news is that on February 17, Logan will performing at the Bowery Poetry Club (308 Bowery, Manhattan) as part of a running series of "ESP-Disk Live" evenings. Giuseppi Logan lives. And plays. Blessedly."

...and he's found Jesus--or, maybe, Jesus found him--as the interview with pastor Dr. Bill Jones (in one of the hypertext links on the WFMU blog page) shows.

Good to see that Giuseppi is still playing in one way or another. His recorded legacy is of course beyond scant, but that first ESP disc is one of the more original albums issued out of the first couple waves of NY free jazz--beyond strange in terms of "playing" and instrumental technique, but much, much more fully realized melodically or compositionally--as an "ethos"--than a lot of the post-Ornette/post-Coltrane/post-Ayler stuff that floats around. Hope he's getting his royalties from that one, finally.

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#2 J.H. Deeley

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Posted 19 January 2009 - 03:33 PM

HOLY CRAP!!! Thanks for posting this.

#3 JSngry

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Posted 19 January 2009 - 03:39 PM

Wow...

Pastor Dr. Bill Jones really creeps me out. I only hope that help is indeed being proffered, and without any hopes of exploitation.

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Posted 19 January 2009 - 04:01 PM

And another vote of thanks...

Charles Gayle rose like a phoenix from the ashes after 20+ years of homelessness; let's hope Logan will do the same. He's a truly singular artist.

#5 ep1str0phy

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Posted 19 January 2009 - 11:17 PM

Wow...

Pastor Dr. Bill Jones really creeps me out. I only hope that help is indeed being proffered, and without any hopes of exploitation.


Yeah, that thought kind of crossed my mind. There's a strong difference between an ethic of giving, shared often among evangelicals, and giving as a mechanism of proselytizing. I know squat about Logan in his prime and cannot offer any real understanding of his situation now, but I think it's easy to take the video as condescending toward the man (and it really isn't supposed to serve the purpose, I think, of showing why Giuseppi is so great; it's a pseudo-commercial for the works of Bill Jones).

I hope Giuseppi is there enough to put forth some good music. He still sounds like himself, but the information right now, those videos included, is pretty dimensionless (kind of the idealized "lost and found" genius scenario in the mold of what happened with Henry Grimes recently). If everything pans out for the best, Giuseppi will be out and really testifying often and well.

I've been spinning the first ESP quartet and Roswell Rudd's Everywhere in his honor. It's weird not only knowing a musician is an enigma but hearing the mystery as well. His playing is just so technically incomprehensible and "complete" at the same time; it's like listening to an alternate universe.

Edited by ep1str0phy, 19 January 2009 - 11:17 PM.


#6 JSngry

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Posted 19 January 2009 - 11:28 PM

Anytime somebody asks me about "frauds" in the 60s Free Jazz scene, I invariably want to point to Giuseppie Logan, but I usually just can't bring myself to do it. Like you said, there is a completenes there that passes all human understanding, at least mine, and apparently yours as well.

But why am I getting the feeling that PastorDoctor Jones is thinking that he's rediscovered a really HUGE Jazz Celebrity, somebody that will make Entertainment Weekly or some such?

#7 clifford_thornton

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Posted 19 January 2009 - 11:59 PM

I really enjoy Logan's ESP sides and his contributions to Rudd's Impulse record. I don't think he was a fraud. Great player with some interesting things to say.

Call me a devil's advocate, but I'm getting a little tired of people "on the scene" patting their own backs and bringing someone "back" from obscurity to do a few feeble concerts. I'll be glad if that ISN'T the case this time, but I have my doubts.

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 01:00 AM

Agreed, Clifford. My thoughts as well. And Logan is one of the last musicians I would think of as being a fraud. He's about as real as real gets. Either one digs it or not as the case may be. Personally I think of him as a true original. Bill Dixon's take on playing with Logan is quite enlightening:

"[In the summer of 1964], Giuseppi Logan was 'studying' with me, meaning: he wanted to know certain things, and I needed an alto player, so he played all of my concerts, and occasionally I would let him have some of his things played in the group. He had a great deal of difficulty with getting people to play his music. I think at the time I was the only trumpet player who could play his music, and I loved playing it. No one sounded in an ensemble like Giuseppi. He held his head back all the way, explaining once, 'This way my throat is completely open,' so he could have more air coming through his windpipe. He used to pride himself on playing up to the fourth octave on alto. The things that made him different as an improvisor were the way he placed his notes, that sound he got, and then what the others in his group played behind him. His pieces were very attractive for those reasons. Giuseppi had his own points of view about music, which is what this music is supposed to be about. We got along."

Edited by Bill Barton, 20 January 2009 - 01:06 AM.


#9 ep1str0phy

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 02:44 AM

Who else in free jazz was writing pieces in 7/8 in 1964? (Dixon maybe? Andrew Hill was working in odd meters now and again, but he wasn't apart of that crowd.) Odd metered-rhythms and regular grooves, non-western instruments, clearly discernable chord structures--all that and extended techniques, atonality mixed with discernable melodic improvisation, rhythm section independence...

As ragged as the music sounds--even on the first quartet album, which is, again, probably the best total document to hear him in--you can't say that it's "winging it" like, say, Byron Allen. It's probably more heavily structured (that is, pre-determined) than Ayler, Ornette, or even late Coltrane, although structure does not equate to logic and the "impression of form" in this instance.

I think part of what makes Giuseppi's music so ineffable is that, for all the thought that clearly went into it, it feels even less "together" a lot of the time than completely improvised music of a similar vintage and place. The early ESPs have this quality to me of dropping space in-between the musicians--like how clear Peacock is on Spiritual Unity, or how distant Sunny Murray sounds--but that first Logan ESP, I swear, sounds more compartmentalized and disjunct (acoustically and, then, "psychoacoustically") than almost anything I've hear from that era.

If I were going to play bad, bad armchair analyst, I'd say that maybe it's a reflection of Giuseppi's alleged lunacy, but that's always reductive and something makes me think twice. 1/2 of it is that he worked with Bostic and studied at the NEC (I'd be really interested in knowing what he studied there and, for that matter, when/whether or not he finished), the other is that Dixon clearly holds him in high regard. Whatever it is, it's different.

As far as technique is concerned, Logan's wind playing is totally naif-like--but so much so that it goes past sounding fraudulent to me and into the realm of intentional extremeness. He's super sharp and his tone is harsh--like lack of control harsh. His flute playing is an overblowing nightmare to the extreme. (I'd love for a wind player to chime in here and take a look at how hard it is to execute some of Giuseppi's phrases, at least in terms of dexterity and stamina.) At the same time, it's so consistent, controlled, and weirdly songllike that there's something there; it's anti-Arthur Doyle--similarly "primitive" sounding, but completely unblustery and contained.

As far as Giuseppi's "help"... I really hope he can get back on his feet well enough to get a career going fast. I'd hate to count on this story disappearing because people realize he isn't Chet Baker or something, then have him recede into the shadows again. Maybe he can, maybe he can't cut like the young cats, and there are people now with skills and, sometimes, ideas to match. Still, I think Giuseppi's a resource because of (1) the history and (2) the fact that his ideas are probably still way over many-a-modern head. Hopefully this won't be taken as a token thing, hopefully he can still do something crazy and out of nowhere, and hopefully the scene is big enough--it better be big enough, because I am so fucking bored sometimes.

Edited by ep1str0phy, 20 January 2009 - 02:49 AM.


#10 ep1str0phy

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 03:15 AM

Oh, and maybe I'm behind the curve on this. I just found this thread on freejazz.org:

Thread on Giuseppi Logan

Parsing through the rants, a couple interesting pieces of information:

"I saw him play with Milford Graves in Baltimore in 2001 or 2002 or something like that. Now what happened to him after that I don't know." (Forbes Graham)

"Giuseppe Logan is or was living in an abandoned hotel on the southeast corner of 125th Street and Park Avenue. Ironically, this is just across the street from where Ornette Coleman's Harmolodic Studios were located up until about a year ago." (musicmargaret)

#11 clifford_thornton

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 09:44 AM

History in this music is a tough thing, especially as those in the "avant-garde" were denied a palpable sense of history or relevance in the jazz press until very, very recently. So it's with that side of things in mind that I can't bemoan the "return" of Giuseppi Logan (as well as the fact that I've long really loved his music).

The current players on the scene who are doing work deserve attention NOW, especially in THIS music. Giuseppi didn't get a whole lot of it then, I presume, but the best way to rectify that could be to give young avant-garde players outside of the hype-machine their due... rather than overdoing the "making up for lost time" bit. Otherwise the cycle will continue and we could be kicking ourselves in forty years for dropping the ball on a neat 30-year-old musician.

#12 randyhersom

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 10:47 AM

History in this music is a tough thing, especially as those in the "avant-garde" were denied a palpable sense of history or relevance in the jazz press until very, very recently. So it's with that side of things in mind that I can't bemoan the "return" of Giuseppi Logan (as well as the fact that I've long really loved his music).

The current players on the scene who are doing work deserve attention NOW, especially in THIS music. Giuseppi didn't get a whole lot of it then, I presume, but the best way to rectify that could be to give young avant-garde players outside of the hype-machine their due... rather than overdoing the "making up for lost time" bit. Otherwise the cycle will continue and we could be kicking ourselves in forty years for dropping the ball on a neat 30-year-old musician.


So give us three names to listen to in Giuseppe's honor. Do you like Malaby?

#13 clifford_thornton

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 11:00 AM

Alipio C. Neto, Matt Bauder, Aram Shelton, the list could go on. Malaby is "all right."

There are also players and composers who have also been working steadily over the past 40-plus years who should be getting more and more intelligent press than they do.

I have a strong affection for Giuseppi's music.

#14 ep1str0phy

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 01:31 PM

Damn, you know Aram's stuff? I see him now and again (degree of separation); he's one of the saxophonists in my drummer's other band (our band is Host Family; the other one is called the Wiener Kids, who in its duo configuration--and I say this as temperately as I can--performed some of the best sets I've ever seen)--tremendous with reeds and electronics. I saw him do a trio set Watts/Guy/Stevens style with Damon Smith and Kjell Nordeson like a year ago, and it was easily one of the most energetic concerts I've seen here in a while (IIRC, I had to follow that one. Shit.).

If we're taking it down to that level, though I know Aram gets around more than most, then I agree that there are a lot of people to whom we can pay attention now. I say this of course from the perspective of one of the younger crowd, but I guess we can see it both ways; there's a lot of bullshit and regurgitation right now, also a lot of unique ideas. On the one hand, it always severely depresses me that the former guitar/drums incarnation of the Wiener Kids never got on the scene more than they did, because they truly were a phenomenal band. To illustrate another point, though-

During one of Roscoe Mitchell's more inspiring speechifying moments, I remember him saying, "get your shit together. Because you get your shit together, you'll be better than most of what's out there. Because ain't nobody doing shit right now." A bit harsh, maybe, but the people who put in the work and actualize ideas in a thoughtful manner are a minority. I think, as per Clifford's comment, we have to cherish the folks that are in that small group.

Taking it back to Giuseppi--if not for Giuseppi himself, whose status is up in the air a bit (on a side note, the latter-day youtube clip gives me the impression that his ESP concert already happened?), then at least Giuseppi as an example needs a place on the scene. Roscoe knows it, Dixon knows it, etc.--that the important thing is when the individual voice can pump out the ideas in a strong and convicted manner. That's what I hope doesn't get lost in the/a hype machine when the time comes, because that's what makes the best music of that vintage so special. On that level, at least, Giuseppi can teach us a thing or two.

Edited by ep1str0phy, 20 January 2009 - 01:32 PM.


#15 randyhersom

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 01:42 PM

I think Henry Grimes brought a little attention to the avant scene because he was a quality human interest story. From Dennis Gonzalez' posts on Jazzcorner, it seemed he was close to coaxing Charles Brackeen back to the life of an active musician, but didn't quite get there. If Giuseppi can do a little more of the same, great. If he can succeed musically all the better.

#16 JSngry

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 05:02 PM

During one of Roscoe Mitchell's more inspiring speechifying moments, I remember him saying, "get your shit together. Because you get your shit together, you'll be better than most of what's out there. Because ain't nobody doing shit right now." A bit harsh, maybe, but the people who put in the work and actualize ideas in a thoughtful manner are a minority. I think, as per Clifford's comment, we have to cherish the folks that are in that small group....

Taking it back to Giuseppi--if not for Giuseppi himself, whose status is up in the air a bit (on a side note, the latter-day youtube clip gives me the impression that his ESP concert already happened?), then at least Giuseppi as an example needs a place on the scene. Roscoe knows it, Dixon knows it, etc.--that the important thing is when the individual voice can pump out the ideas in a strong and convicted manner. That's what I hope doesn't get lost in the/a hype machine when the time comes, because that's what makes the best music of that vintage so special. On that level, at least, Giuseppi can teach us a thing or two.


Well, there's two things to consider in all this, not just about Logan, but about playing, especially "free" playing, in general.

One is that it is absolutely essential to develop your own voice, to tell a story of your own. On that front, Logan succeeded as well as anybody, better than a lot, actually.

The other, though (and this is particularly relevant to what Roscoe was saying), is that after you do that, you'd best develop the resources to develop that story. Otherwise, you're going to be left telling the same story the same way year after year after year, and before too uch longer, who cares any more, except that ok, you doi have a voice, but what are you telling me with it that you've not already told me? And this is where Logan and a some other guys got hung up, I think. And where Roscoe most assuredly did not.

"Getting yor shit together" is a pretty damn....vast undertaking, if you know what I mean (and players such as the E-Man here most certainly do). Earlier, I mentioned the "fraud" list, and how I could not quite bring myself to include Logan on it (truthfully, I can put very few people on it, because most everybody who gets considered has at least developed a personal voice, although dammit, I do think I will include Arthur Doyle, just because he...never mind, we've had that discussion somewhere at some point before), but gee whiz folks, is there any evidence that the guy did in fact put in the time to, as Roscoe said, get his shit together? Really together?

None that I can hear of, and if that's because of personal problems, hey, ok, shit happens, but then again, shit happens anyway, right? So what I'm left with in Logan is somebody whose presence is more valuable to me as an "example" than as an actual musician. What he actually did is nice enough, but ultimately his concept trumps his reality, if you know what I mean.

Giuseppi Logan is not Henry Grimes, if you know what I mean. I'm genuinely glad that he is alive and might yet still have a shot, but...

#17 JSngry

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 05:03 PM

I think Henry Grimes brought a little attention to the avant scene because he was a quality human interest story.


And also because he was a damn fine musician.

#18 clifford_thornton

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 05:21 PM

Was.

#19 JSngry

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 05:36 PM

Ok, is.

Again.

Point being, he wasn't being any kind of a musician (other than perhaps a "mental" one, by which I mean he played in his head but nowhere else) when he got rediscovered.

But before he disappeared (and now that he's reappeared), he was (is) one helluva musician, and not just "conceptually".

Edited by JSngry, 20 January 2009 - 05:37 PM.


#20 .:.impossible

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 09:12 PM

Sorry to go off topic, but I haven't yet put together who e-man is. If you want to remain anon, that's cool, of course. I respect that. A few recent posts have me curious though.

#21 Horny Blowsitt

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Posted 21 January 2009 - 05:39 PM

If this was mentioned before, I apologize, but didn't Logan also record on one of Burton Greene's ESP lps? I know I have that lp, the one with the close up image of Greene's
face on the cover. I may be wrong on this, so back out to the garage to search for the lp. Clear me up if I'm mistaken.
Listened to the Quartet (Logan's) yesterday. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed it. I don't have Logan's 2nd ESP lp, anyone want to furnish me a copy?? Clifford??

-----HB

#22 clifford_thornton

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Posted 21 January 2009 - 05:51 PM

Frank Smith (ts) is on one track of the Greene.

The second date includes material recorded at Town Hall on May 1, 1965 with Reggie Johnson in for Gomez on bass. A short piano improvisation and the tune "Wretched Saturday" were leftovers from the first date and take up side two of the record. Interestingly, the plates for 1st stereo pressings have only one track on side two, monos have both tracks. Also, later stereo pressings are corrected (but wretched-sounding). Typical ESP confusion!

#23 ep1str0phy

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 01:02 AM

As per the 7/8 thing, coming from who it does and where it does--historically--I think it's an issue that isn't dealt with enough. It's easy to be reductive about analyzing free jazz of that vintage and, moreover, to lump it all together into one homogeneous kind of thing, but I think there's something to be said about certain people doing different things (even if not well).

Now, in the world(s) of Braxton, or Zorn, or, hell, Zappa, or Max Roach, it's not as important--not when we flatten everything out and look at what people can do and have done. Maybe this makes details like Giuseppi's composition a curiosity (ultimately), but it's interesting enough to me... it's there and kind of not talked about.

I hope it doesn't disappoint you, .:., but I'm not Henry Kaiser or whatever:

www.myspace.com/karladevangelista
Or a VERY rough recording of my group:
www.myspace.com/hostfamilyband

I am studying under Roscoe and Frith, playing and kibitzing with some of the Asian Improv Arts guys, and, when the context will allow it, playing out on the Bay Area experimental scene (confrontational and unlucrative, which is paradoxically perfect for attracting lots of interesting people). I just did a Moe!kestra! yesterday and nearly went deaf with ecstasy.

#24 ep1str0phy

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 01:08 AM

C: To clarify my very unconvincing ideas, I think the bigger issue is that, short of Jost and a few artist-specific books & scholars (like the interesting but kind of brief Ornette Coleman book by Peter Niklas Wilson), no one has really gone in-depth about composition as an element of 60's free jazz. I think Giuseppi is interesting because it seems that preconfigured elements are just as important as improvisation as an organizing factor in his music--which contravenes the classic stereotyping of free jazz as a compositionally reductive music. (OK, that's better...)

#25 paul secor

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 10:50 AM

Bought the two Giuseppi Logan ESPs when they came out - maybe I still have them somewhere - and bought Roswell Rudd's Everywhere when it came out, but I never could hear Mr. Logan's playing. It was certainly unique, but not in a way that moved me. That said, I wish him the best and I hope that Mr. Logan emerges to play music that I and/or others will be moved by.

#26 clifford_thornton

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 03:12 PM

Yeah, "Satan's Dance" is a great little tune as is "Bleecker Partita." This music is of course characterized by many to be without compositions, but then you look at artists like Rudd, Tchicai, Shepp, Taylor, Abrams, Carla Bley, Dixon... and it's clear that people were writing a lot of things that weren't entirely out of Ornette's book or a Trane-like raga. Actually, Bley and Dixon seem to, in this period (1963-1965), be heavily influenced by George Russell.

#27 ep1str0phy

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 03:43 PM

Right--all ascriptions of fire and rage kind of dull/hide the fact that a lot of that music was heavily, heavily arranged. I recall a Downbeat interview with Carla Bley sometime in the 70's where she disparaged Brotzmann and Kowald--I think because of a tension between her composed aesthetic and the much more formally "open" playing of the Germans. Paraphrasing from the same interview, I remember her saying that she could only really go as far as Ornette (again, I don't have the article in front of me). I mean, it was a scene, but I don't get the impression it was a totally united front.

Listened to Everywhere again and Logan's flute comes across a lot more nuanced than I thought--though I get the impression that he's pushed further back in the mix than the others (his bass clarinet is almost inaudible for some of the ensembles). Weird.

#28 clifford_thornton

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 04:43 PM

I've heard recordings of Brotzmann and Kowald with Jazzrealities and it's pretty interesting from a historical point of view but of course the Fontana LP does it all way better without them. Keep in mind that Brotzmann couldn't read music at that time (not sure about Kowald). I believe that Giuseppi's reading was pretty good, from what I've been told.

Everywhere may be a little off balance in Giuseppi's favor, but I have the sneaking suspicion that he was not playing very loudly or projecting that much. If you listen to his commentary on Patty Waters' College Tour LP, it's definitely off in the distance. Maybe that was intentional, or psychological, OR a result of poor miking.

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 05:44 PM

Charles Gayle is an arrogant hateful asshole as well-- why don't you tell us that part, Barton? . . .


Because I've never met the man. I thought that we were talking about music here but WTFDIK?

#30 caravan

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Posted 23 January 2009 - 08:58 AM

I've heard recordings of Brotzmann and Kowald with Jazzrealities and it's pretty interesting from a historical point of view but of course the Fontana LP does it all way better without them. Keep in mind that Brotzmann couldn't read music at that time (not sure about Kowald). I believe that Giuseppi's reading was pretty good, from what I've been told.

Everywhere may be a little off balance in Giuseppi's favor, but I have the sneaking suspicion that he was not playing very loudly or projecting that much. If you listen to his commentary on Patty Waters' College Tour LP, it's definitely off in the distance. Maybe that was intentional, or psychological, OR a result of poor miking.



Don't know where you've got that from re: Brotzmann's non-reading, but I for one know from personal experience that Brotz's music reading was fine, at least in the late 1960s.



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