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Why does LeRoi Jones (aka Amiri Baraka) hate Hard bop?

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Now.....getting back to the matter at hand......

I think it is a matter of how you define hard bop. I have a bit of a problem with this now as one of my projects The Cookers is constantly called hard bop (even hard bop icons).

Now to me, hard bop starts with the Max Roach/Clifford Brown group and is defined by Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers and Horace Silver.

It evolves from there of course and what that turns to if we are playing the label the music game is where the trouble starts and is probably the point where Mr. Baraka and the like want to get off the train as things were evolving and changing and going in many different directions.

There was the avant garde of course and John Coltrane and whatever the Miles Davis Quintet with Wayne, Herbie, Ron and Tony were doing. Plus the Blue Note guys Andrew Hill, Joe Henderson etc etc.

I think at that particular time, a writer like Mr. Baraka might find the tried and true hard bop stuff becoming a little stale with this other stuff going on.

But again, it goes back to your definition of hard bop. I've seen Mr. Baraka at many gigs I was on, Freddie Hubbard, Charles Tolliver, The Cookers and even perhaps the Lee Morgan tribute thing I do. So he certainly has a taste for whatever you call that next step, whatever hard bop evolved into and as these guys probably excited him in the '60s, they still seem to do it for him today.

On a personal note, I've met Mr. Baraka several times and he has always been friendly with me. He is a fan of the music and for that, I'm appreciative.

The same with Cornell West. He came to a Freddie Hubbard gig once and the hang after the gig with Freddie, Mr. West, Curtis Fuller and Javon Jackson was a lot of fun. He has a great sense of humor (as all those guys do) and knows the music.

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The same with Cornell West. He came to a Freddie Hubbard gig once and the hang after the gig with Freddie, Mr. West, Curtis Fuller and Javon Jackson was a lot of fun. He has a great sense of humor (as all those guys do) and knows the music.

interesting, David, that while i was reading your post, i was thinking about that night at the Iridium with Cornell West. i was there and enjoyed the hang afterwards, as you did. i also recall how Curtis was lecturing Freddie about his lifestyle and Cornell (the "lecturer") was really quiet while that was going on! i also remember that Freddie embarrassed me that night by introducing me from the audience!! he had never done that before, but it was sweet too. mem-o-ries.

can't wait to see you and the Cookers in June at Playboy!

(sorry for getting off-subject a bit!)

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Larry: The Golden Age of Radio with Max Shmid on wBAI FM features Vic and Sade regularly as well as lots of other great stuff. It's heard at 7 PM eastern and streamed over www.wbai.org

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Larry: The Golden Age of Radio with Max Shmid on wBAI FM features Vic and Sade regularly as well as lots of other great stuff. It's heard at 7 PM eastern and streamed over www.wbai.org

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Does anyone think Cornel West actually prays when he is by himself?

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Does anyone think Cornel West actually prays when he is by himself?

The only one you could ask is probably, um, unavailable for comment. No, silly, it's not Cornell West.

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Does anyone think Cornel West actually prays when he is by himself?

The only one you could ask is probably, um, unavailable for comment. No, silly, it's not Cornell West.

:g It was a rhetorical question. :)

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Just picked up "Clifford Brown at the Cotton Club 1956" on Rare Live Recordings (RLR). The band is at its absolute live best...never heard anything from them that approximates this. Clifford is simply amazing - even more so than usual. Sonny is at his absolute 1956 King of the Heap best, and Max is maniacal driving perfection.

Ah America, to think you had this going on night after night in adult clubs across the land during the 50's ... that's an incredible cultural achievement.

I don't think Baraka had this band in mind when he went down on Hard Bop ...

Q

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Just picked up "Clifford Brown at the Cotton Club 1956" on Rare Live Recordings (RLR). The band is at its absolute live best...never heard anything from them that approximates this. Clifford is simply amazing - even more so than usual. Sonny is at his absolute 1956 King of the Heap best, and Max is maniacal driving perfection.

Ah America, to think you had this going on night after night in adult clubs across the land during the 50's ... that's an incredible cultural achievement.

I don't think Baraka had this band in mind when he went down on Hard Bop ...

Q

I suspect Baraka's complaint was a teleological one rather than a qualitative one.

gee it's been getting boring in here of late :g

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Working thru Baraka's Black Music and have yet to find a reference to Mingus, who cannot be pigeonheld into any sub-genre, though he played in and/or composed for all of them. However, if revolution is AB's bag, then I find it puzzling that no mention is made of Mingus. Granted, Baraka's focus in the book is on the "New Thing" artists/scene/future, but if the blues and bebop attitude is what the New Thing rediscovers, then how does Mingus fit in? Or maybe better phrased, what did Baraka think of Mingus? His view of Mingus or any artist or sub-genre won't change the way I view them, but just like why I enjoy these forums, it's always informative to hear how others interpret what I hear.

Edited by Delightfulee

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Working thru Baraka's Black Music and have yet to find a reference to Mingus, who cannot be pigeonheld into any sub-genre, though he played in and/or composed for all of them. However, if revolution is AB's bag, then I find it puzzling that no mention is made of Mingus. Granted, Baraka's focus in the book is on the "New Thing" artists/scene/future, but if the blues and bebop attitude is what the New Thing rediscovers, then how does Mingus fit in? Or maybe better phrased, what did Baraka think of Mingus? His view of Mingus or any artist or sub-genre won't change the way I view them, but just like why I enjoy these forums, it's always informative to hear how others interpret what I hear.

He discusses Pithecanthropus Erectus in "The Changing Same," not extensively, but as somewhat of an addendum meant to rectify having not included Mingus in earlier essays. For the purposes of your categorizing, he calls that album a "massive orchestral breakthrough" in the same breath with Ornette Coleman's Free Jazz, Sun Ra and Ellington.

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I suspect Baraka's complaint was a teleological one rather than a qualitative one.

Even if it wasn't, kudos for working the word into the conversation!

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I suspect Baraka's complaint was a teleological one rather than a qualitative one.

Even if it wasn't, kudos for working the word into the conversation!

Well I kinda think it was/is. About a music moving towards it's inevitable point of Afro-centric self determination.

It's a big grown up word that cuts through a lot of crap.

Edited by freelancer

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I don't remember if I mentioned this above, but a good example of Baraka's blinders is where in his postscript to an earlier piece extolling Wayne Shorter's promise he refers to his development as a disappointment--this at a time when he was making his classic Blue Note albums and writing his timeless compositions.

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I don't remember if I mentioned this above, but a good example of Baraka's blinders is where in his postscript to an earlier piece extolling Wayne Shorter's promise he refers to his development as a disappointment--this at a time when he was making his classic Blue Note albums and writing his timeless compositions.

I can't speak for Mr. Jones/Baraka, but I can guess that he felt that Wayne Shorter went only so far and decided to refine his playing style as it was, rather than searching for new avenues of music, as Trane and others did.

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I don't remember if I mentioned this above, but a good example of Baraka's blinders is where in his postscript to an earlier piece extolling Wayne Shorter's promise he refers to his development as a disappointment--this at a time when he was making his classic Blue Note albums and writing his timeless compositions.

I can't speak for Mr. Jones/Baraka, but I can guess that he felt that Wayne Shorter went only so far and decided to refine his playing style as it was, rather than searching for new avenues of music, as Trane and others did.

Maybe if he had heard Wayne's playing at The Plugged Nickel he might have felt differently.

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I don't remember if I mentioned this above, but a good example of Baraka's blinders is where in his postscript to an earlier piece extolling Wayne Shorter's promise he refers to his development as a disappointment--this at a time when he was making his classic Blue Note albums and writing his timeless compositions.

I can't speak for Mr. Jones/Baraka, but I can guess that he felt that Wayne Shorter went only so far and decided to refine his playing style as it was, rather than searching for new avenues of music, as Trane and others did.

Maybe if he had heard Wayne's playing at The Plugged Nickel he might have felt differently.

Perhaps - but I don't think that Wayne stretched himself to other emotional levels on those recordings. I think that Jones/Baraka was writing about emotional and musical changes.

Edited by paul secor

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I don't remember if I mentioned this above, but a good example of Baraka's blinders is where in his postscript to an earlier piece extolling Wayne Shorter's promise he refers to his development as a disappointment--this at a time when he was making his classic Blue Note albums and writing his timeless compositions.

I can't speak for Mr. Jones/Baraka, but I can guess that he felt that Wayne Shorter went only so far and decided to refine his playing style as it was, rather than searching for new avenues of music, as Trane and others did.

Maybe if he had heard Wayne's playing at The Plugged Nickel he might have felt differently.

Perhaps - but I don't think that Wayne stretched himself to other emotional levels on those recordings. I think that Jones/Baraka was writing about emotional and musical changes.

I think I know what you mean and also think I know what Jones/Baraka might have had in mind, but I'd say that the way Wayne plays on the Plugged Nickel recordings is about as dauntingly out there as Wayne could have played and still be Wayne, given the nature of who he was/had become as a person and musician by that time. I do miss the more brutally ironic, masked marauder Wayne of his VeeJay recordings, etc. (if "brutally ironic" is the right way to put it), but I can see where that stance was one he couldn't or didn't want to maintain. Odd though that Jones/Baraka, who did know Wayne personally back in Newark apparently didn't know him well enough to know this.

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Earlier Wayne drew blood. As he went along, he got into bringing you to your knees by just staring at you and discombobulating you like none other. Then when he got to the Weather Report-ish years, it was just the blinding light of his tone and phrasing that did it. Same ends, evolving means.

Or something like that, if we have to have a narrative, and I don't know that we have to, at least one that reduces that much. So...never mind!

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Anyone who could possibly feel Wayne Shorter stopped exploring at any point should look into an ear transplant. Exploring is what he does. It's in his DNA. Even when he plays tunes from his '60s book they are transformed each time---or at least that's what he goes for, win or lose.

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I had a chuckle today in Loren Schoenberg's National Jazz Museum. I live close and it's a nice oasis. They have a nice library. I've been reading Jazz Jews by Mike Gerber (I highly recommend it). There's an interview with Ran Blake, who responded amusingly to Baraka's slamming him in a review in, I think, Black Music. Baraka was saying how Blake must've crashed, didn't deserve the gig, etc. After correcting the record (he was invited by Marion Brown, the piano he had 'banged on' had mostly broken keys, etc.) he cleaned Baraka's clock: (I'm paraphrasing) 'he came from a well-to-do New England family... So he breaks up with his Jewish wife, a painter, and presto turns up in Newark with the shades and Dashiki-like he was always there and about that. Called him a phoney in print! Coda: I read that Blake and Baraka and their wives spent some pleasant time in Amsterdam. Blake lives there and was showing them the sights. Finally the article was brought up. 'Don't take it personally. It was just Black Nationalism'!!

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I had a chuckle today in Loren Schoenberg's National Jazz Museum. I live close and it's a nice oasis. They have a nice library. I've been reading Jazz Jews by Mike Gerber (I highly recommend it). There's an interview with Ran Blake, who responded amusingly to Baraka's slamming him in a review in, I think, Black Music. Baraka was saying how Blake must've crashed, didn't deserve the gig, etc. After correcting the record (he was invited by Marion Brown, the piano he had 'banged on' had mostly broken keys, etc.) he cleaned Baraka's clock: (I'm paraphrasing) 'he came from a well-to-do New England family... So he breaks up with his Jewish wife, a painter, and presto turns up in Newark with the shades and Dashiki-like he was always there and about that. Called him a phoney in print! Coda: I read that Blake and Baraka and their wives spent some pleasant time in Amsterdam. Blake lives there and was showing them the sights. Finally the article was brought up. 'Don't take it personally. It was just Black Nationalism'!!

The Amsterdam/"It was just Black nationalism" story is about Baraka and pianist Burton Greene. Are you sure that it isn't Greene, too, in the first story? That Gerber says it is Blake, if Gerber's book is where you read it, doesn't mean it's reliable. Ran Blake would not have been that likely a musical partner for Marion Brown, and Greene certainly served in that role.

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I suspect Baraka's complaint was a teleological one rather than a qualitative one.

Even if it wasn't, kudos for working the word into the conversation!

Well I kinda think it was/is. About a music moving towards it's inevitable point of Afro-centric self determination.

It's a big grown up word that cuts through a lot of crap.

It's a big word that neatly encapsulates a lot of crap.

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I originally wrote in parenths that it might've Burton Greene, but had to edit for space using the limited cell phone. I should have left them in. Damn. The Amsterdam thing threw me too. Which is the one who showed Baraka Amsterdam (recounted in my last 2 sentences)? I'm totally confused now-and embarrassed b/c I thought it was a funny story. BTW Burton Greene is on the cover of Jazz Jews and looks so much like Ronnie Cuber it's uncanny.

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