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frankisyb

Hsio Wen Shih

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Greetings!

I wonder if anyone on this board knows anything about the Chinese-American jazz critic/architect Hsio Wen Shih?

I'm in the process of writing an essay (in Chinese...) on him. I think many people here are probably familiar with his "the Spread of Jazz and the Big Bands," which was written for Hentoff and McCarthy's 1959 "Jazz: New Perspectives On The History Of Jazz By Twelve Of The World's Foremost Jazz Critics And Scholars." During the late 50's and early 60's, he was active as a reviewer, art director and later the publisher of Jazz Review . Besides, he designed the bandstand for the 54' Newport Jazz Festival, wrote liner notes for Sabu Martinez's 1957 album Palo Congo on Blue Note, and was a part of the Termini Brothers' organization and the manager for Ornette Coleman for a while.

Apparently he was also the third husband of harpist Daphne Hellman but walked out of their home one day in 1965 and disappeared. I can't find any evidence of activities of him after a 1966 radio appearance by searching on the internet. I wonder what happened to him...??????

I'm sure Nat Hentoff and Gunther Schuller have much to say about him since they were both editors of Jazz Review but I don't feel like bothering them...for now.

anyone???

Thanks in advance!

Edited by yuja

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I was told he killed himself by jumping in front of a subway train, years ago - I would call Dan Morgenstern at Rutgers, though I think it was John Szwed who told me this.

Probably Hentoff would know as well.

Edited by AllenLowe

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Is Szwed still at Yale? He was at the time (early 90's as I recall), when we spoke a few times while he was working on his Sun Ra biography.

Edit: This Yale bio of him says he's at Columbia, which he apparently is.

Edited by Rooster_Ties

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The last time this came up with Dan, he said that no one knows for sure what happened to him, but that the common speculation is that Wen Shih met with a dark end of some sort. Even when he was around, he was felt to be a mysterious, secretive guy.

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huh - someone did tell me about the train, but I'll have to ask John again. And actually- I seem to recall that some years ago there was an article in the NY Times about him, believe it or not -

and yes, Szwed is primarily at Columbia these days, but I think he's a prof Emeritus at Yale -

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well, nothing much about him in the Times, that I could find, but here's some stuff about his wife:

http://select.nytime...n%20Shih&st=cse

http://select.nytime...n%20Shih&st=cse

http://query.nytimes...n%20Shih&st=cse

she may be dead by now - she'd be 99 or so - and all that these say is that he disappeared and played on the subways -

Edited by AllenLowe

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Even when he was around, he was felt to be a mysterious, secretive guy.

Hi Larry, thanks! I wonder what time and the situation were when you saw him?? Did you have some direct contact with him when he was around?

Edited by yuja

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No, never saw him, only reporting what Dan Morgenstern said about how Wen Shih was commonly regarded at the time.

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He was my uncle, although he disappeared before I was born.

His wife, Daphne, talks about him a bit in this 1990 New Yorker profile of her: http://www.newyorker.com/archive/1990/12/24/1990_12_24_040_TNY_CARDS_000357350.

Thanks! This article is also collected here: http://books.google.com/books?id=i_JD71gsBC0C&pg=PA97&dq=%22hsio+wen+shih%22&hl=en&ei=EuYPTZeCDoK88gao3M2TDg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=10&ved=0CFQQ6AEwCQ#v=onepage&q&f=false

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