Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Hot Ptah

Lou Donaldson's Blindfold Test in new Jazz Times

59 posts in this topic

Has anyone else read Lou Donaldson's Blindfold Test in the new issue of Jazz Times (the first issue under the new ownership, with Joe Lovano on the cover)?

Lou provides several "unguarded", blunt opinions about musicians, which venture close to being insulting.

Not the usual happy-face Blindfold Test!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lou has always been opinionated. I've always wondered what he thought about Braxton's 40B being dedicated to him.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This isn't terribly surprising - Lou has criticized fusion (or con-fusion) musicians as well as anyone in the free/A-G category. I think Lou believes good music starts and ends with bop and "sufferin' music" and nothing else counts. So I am curious what he says and I'm wondering if it will appear on the website anytime soon.

How is the photo essay on Blue Note - anything we haven't seen before? The website says the intro is written by Ashley Kahn which makes me wonder how soon the long-awaited Blue Note book will come out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lou was in town last spring and several of the students had some hang time with him. He was using the above lines and was talking smack about various players- it came off very much like sour grapes and left the students wondering "WTF?". They showed up to meet this jazz legend and left feeling a little let down, not sure how to interpret his remarks.

I'm not sure why Lou feels he needs to diss these players- does he feel he has not received his "due"? I've always thought of him as one of the main Hard Bop cats, and it seems like he's received a lot of deserved recognition from his great work with Blue Note. It was disappointing to hear him being dismissive of players like Trane, and the "con-fusion" rap grew old fast. He still is playing pretty well and swings like a MF, though!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I liked the comment about Wynton as being the only person that supposedly knows anything about Jazz anymore.

Some of the stuff they played he got after a few notes so he knows his stuff. I agree some of his comments did come off as insulting at least on paper, maybe in person it came off more humorously.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe he figures he can get a gig at Lincoln Center if he says nice stuff about Wynton.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe he figures he can get a gig at Lincoln Center if he says nice stuff about Wynton.

He didn't mean it in a nice way, more of how come every time somebody in the press asks about Jazz why is it they only ask Wynton? He said he went up to Wynton and told him I guess your the only person that knows anything about Jazz anymore.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was in attendance at the bft...very interesting stuff and I'm sure a lot of it didn't make it to print.

m

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, Lou´s saying exactly what the critic, jazz author and a part of the audience want´s to hear. It seems to thrill them if musicians fight each other, Miles saying unkind words about fellow musicians, Mingus throwing a drum at some musician or hitting them in the mouth, Miles and Monk fighting at the studio (which never took place)....but see, it´s heaven for a lot of people, so it´s natural if Lou developed his own brand of puttin´on the audience. He sure can afford to do so.

I remember well the way Lou announces the next tune ("....rite now we gonna play a tune, not recommended for fusion and con-fusion players, it´s called "Wee", pretty nice tune....here we go...."). I really enjoy everything he did, but I can enjoy a lot of so called "free jazz" and fusion, without being bothered by Lou´s statements. So it´s just part of the scene, I think.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Betty Carter used to be scornful of Lou Donaldson's claim to be keeping the flame of the good ol' stuff. She said that in the mid-70's he tried to jump on the commercial funky-jazz bandwagon like everybody else and used to encourage young players to follow that path to fame and riches. But it didn't work out for him, and he became vocal in his scorn for any compromise regarding "real jazz."

AMG provides some evidence for this view, describing 1974's "Sweet Lou" thusly: "The 1974 setting, following standard operating procedure for the period, is a nougat of trumpet and trombone charts plus a funky rhythm section infiltrated by trendy clavinet and synthesizer sounds."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, Lou´s saying exactly what the critic, jazz author and a part of the audience want´s to hear. It seems to thrill them if musicians fight each other, Miles saying unkind words about fellow musicians, Mingus throwing a drum at some musician or hitting them in the mouth, Miles and Monk fighting at the studio (which never took place)....but see, it´s heaven for a lot of people, so it´s natural if Lou developed his own brand of puttin´on the audience. He sure can afford to do so.

I remember well the way Lou announces the next tune ("....rite now we gonna play a tune, not recommended for fusion and con-fusion players, it´s called "Wee", pretty nice tune....here we go...."). I really enjoy everything he did, but I can enjoy a lot of so called "free jazz" and fusion, without being bothered by Lou´s statements. So it´s just part of the scene, I think.

I don't want to say too much b/c I may wind up on the bandstand with Lou and it'll get back to him. Which is my point, and I'll speak in general terms: everything you do or say comes back on you. I've heard many musicians run afoul of decency, manners, and just plain make fools of themselves in public with this routine. I'll give names privately if wanted, but you get the idea. It's also a real turn-off to young people, b/c it's tantamount to saying 'your heros suck and you don't know anything'. Great way to build a jazz audience and buikd up the confidence of young musicians. Nice going, geniuses.

Your best opinion should come from what you play.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can think of a number of Blue Note CDs by Donaldson which are no longer in my collection. A lot of it was commercial schlock.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just read the article--btw, Lou spends about a paragraph talking about the Oliver Nelson-arranged Leo Gooden record that Jim Sangrey hipped us to a few months back.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just read the article--btw, Lou spends about a paragraph talking about the Oliver Nelson-arranged Leo Gooden record that Jim Sangrey hipped us to a few months back.

I stumbled across the original record a couple of days ago on Ebay.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Picked this up yesterday and Lou's comment about David Binney is worth the (inflated to $5.95) price of admission:

That's got nothing to do with jazz. They say he's searching, but I know what he's searching for - a saxophone teacher.

:rofl:

At the same time, he isn't gentle with straightahead guys or beboppers either. Calls Frank Morgan an amateur; has unkind words about Tom Scott and Terence Blanchard (for a Cannonball tribute recording) and Donald Harrison.

******************************

To answer my earlier question, the Sax Legends of Blue Note pictorial definitely has some previously unseen Francis Wolff photos, including a pretty cool looking one from The Empty Foxhole session, there's also a shot of Griff and one of KB with Coltrane that I don't recognize. Jazztimes is definitely thinner than the last time I picked it up but this is a pretty good issue - there's a short article about Red Holloway and one of the feature stories is about One For All, also an update on Mark Turner's recovery from that horrific power saw accident.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have to admit, I did not know who David Binney was (is) but that comment made me go to his homepage and listen to his stuff. Sounds great... his tone reminds me of Jerry Bergonzi at times and Charles Lloyd at others.

Poor Lou sounds just jaded and cynical. What a shitty place to be. He hasn't put out a record since what, 1993?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No, there's stuff from QE2 Festival put out in 2000. . . maybe later cds as well.

He's entitled to his opinion. . . I think he wants more attention.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have to admit, I did not know who David Binney was (is) but that comment made me go to his homepage and listen to his stuff. Sounds great... his tone reminds me of Jerry Bergonzi at times and Charles Lloyd at others.

Poor Lou sounds just jaded and cynical. What a shitty place to be. He hasn't put out a record since what, 1993?

David Binney is one of the really great alto saxophonists in the States. Very good composer, also.

I can understand Lou ( and I have never dug Frank Morgan either), he old and from a entirely different generation. Salty is the word.

To sit in front of him in a club is to hear a direct decedent of Charlie Parker, sound and all, and that's wonderful and rare these days.

That said, I don't think he's changed his set list in at least 10 years.

If I was in NYC, and had the choice to hear either Binney or Lou, I'd have to go hear Binney.

Nothing against Lou, it's just where I'm at.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No, there's stuff from QE2 Festival put out in 2000. . . maybe later cds as well.

He's entitled to his opinion. . . I think he wants more attention.

...and he could get that with a new recording. The guy still sounds great but Tom is right.....I've seen him a dozen times and the set list doesn't change. That said, I still love the guy.

m

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmmmm. . . well we don't know how hard he's trying to get a recording date. . . .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

FWIW, Lou's been "salty" longer than just recently...I got a buddy who recounts hearing him say that "Wayne Shorter never could play no changes" back in the very early 1980s.

Love him or not (I tend to love him, but in spite of himself more than because), the guy doesn't shy away from saying stupid stuff!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Love him or not (I tend to love him, but in spite of himself more than because), the guy doesn't shy away from saying stupid stuff!

Maybe Lou and Bixie can hook up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.