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

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Yeah, I recognize that, but it's never registered before what that thing really is - it's a lawn mower exhaust!

That means that that mouth has been mowing grass, and that's EEEEEWWWWWWW!!!!!!

My bad, it's a muffler, not an exhaust pipe.

Nope -- it's that missing mic from RVG's studio.

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I agree that hard bop played itself out by the mid-1960s, but that doesn't explain the animosity Baraka felt for it in 1963.

You gotta remember, Baraka was a "radical", musically and socially. His patience for the status quo was next to nil, and having real, viable options at hand just made it more so.

No, I don't think the timing explains it. Sorry. If Blues People had been written in 1959 I think he would have been just as dismissive of the genre. Even before the free jazz era, Baraka was looking for musical rebels, and the hard boppers definitely weren't that.

I'm not an expert on Jones/Baraka, but he writes very warm liner notes regarding Gene Ammons's Boss Tenor. While the album doesn't fit into the hard-bop genre, if anything it's more traditional.

Guy

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On the Sharon/World Trade Center canard, Baraka is on the same page with another poet, David Duke.

Speaking of irony, it puts him in a similar role within the history of western anti-Semitism that Eric Alexander plays within the history of jazz!

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just to clarify, I look at the work foremost when making the evaluation - so if Baraka wrote something smart, I would acknowledge it thus. I mention the ideology because it has tainted so much of the actual work. Jarman can say that stuff, but unless he writes a snuff novel or makes a snuff film, it may have little effect on his work.

And I still like Wagner.

and Mel Gibson - Payback, uncut, is one of the best films ever made.

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Jarman can say that stuff, but unless he writes a snuff novel or makes a snuff film, it may have little effect on his work.

Jarman wrote a poem, so he's ok, then, right?

Just trying to figure out where these records need to go if they're not staying.

(please note that I am very muc using irony, which as a white concept, only increases the already-high odds the mau-maus will slit my throat and kill my babies)

On the Sharon/World Trade Center canard, Baraka is on the same page with another poet, David Duke.

Speaking of irony, it puts him in a similar role within the history of western anti-Semitism that Eric Alexander plays within the history of jazz!

Or Anita Bryant in the history of orange juice!

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1) keep the recording, burn the poem.

2) I stopped drinking orange juice years ago. Rickets is a small price to pay for principle.

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The poem is already burnt - into my mind. I live in constant dread of mau-maus slitting my throat and killing my babies, because, it;s so damn...likely to happen these days, ya'know? Any minute now!

Perhaps I should just set my mind on fire, although...past experiments in that regard have had at best mixed results.

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well, Michael Jackson tried it, but he got the hair instead.

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Quiet as it's kept, Pepsi is highly flammable, In fact, the WTC was made out of Pepsi. It's true.

Just don't tell anybody. They'll think you're crazy.

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Well, if the subtlety and finesse of the music of Charlie Parker suited you, I guess you might find something lacking in the popular hits of Bobby Timmons. This is what I think Jones was talking about.

Understood, but surely Parker's innovation and expression is an impossible standard to which to hold all others. Especially since Jones is so quick to explain Miles Davis' tone (and one might assume blues-y economy of sound) as "a means rather than an end... a deep connection to the basic blues impulse... insinuat[ing] more blues with one note and a highly meaningful pause than most cool instrumentalists could throughout an entire composition." Why not give similar bop musicians and their styles (i.e. Donald Byrd, Lee Morgan) the same charitable interpretation?

You should read the whole book, though, from the beginning. It's important, and needs to be seriously considered.

I definitely intend to. I loved reading this piece, regardless of my reaction to it.

Bird was a great blues player. Much better than Dizzy or Bud IMO, though they were great and had their own takes on it. But when you hear him w/McShann or any time really he was born to it. I think that's the aspect guys like Horace and Lou Donaldson picked up on (among many, many other things in Horace's case, like gospel influence, great bandleading skills, charisma, and his inborn and rare) talent for melody and communicating).

Also, re popularity vs. 'purity', I remember Dizzy telling DownBeat years ago 'George Shearing was the best thing to happen to our music this year'. Very shrewd of him, and genuinely appreciative. Every little bit helps, plus Shearing was a great musician and a contributor of tunes.

The sad fact is---like it or not---undiluted bebop, 60+ years down the line---remains unpopular (even the little it's known) in the land of its birth. Make of that what you will.

Edited by fasstrack

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On the Sharon/World Trade Center canard, Baraka is on the same page with another poet, David Duke.

Baraka has stated that Israeli intelligence (traditionally more competent that the CIA) warned the Bush administration that the attack was coming, and the US ignored the warning. It's in the several-page note that follows the poem in his book.

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On the Sharon/World Trade Center canard, Baraka is on the same page with another poet, David Duke.

Baraka has stated that Israeli intelligence (traditionally more competent that the CIA) warned the Bush administration that the attack was coming, and the US ignored the warning. It's in the several-page note that follows the poem in his book.

Oh, "Baraka has stated" in "the several page note." Then it must be true. :blink:

First, as has been known for some time (see Richard Clarke's testimony, Bush's "now you've covered your ass" remark to the CIA rep who came to the ranch to pass on the agency's warning, etc., the U.S. had been told at the highest level by its own intelligence arms that something significantly bad probably was in the works but not specifically this.

Second, the tone alone of these passages:

"Who know why Five Israelis was filming the explosion And cracking they sides at the notion

...

"Who knew the World Trade Center was gonna get bombed Who told 4000 Israeli workers at the Twin Towers To stay home that day Why did Sharon stay away?"

seems to me to speak of a noxious flippancy that scarcely inspires trust in the contents of that several page note. Further, what about those five filming Israelis "cracking they sides at the notion"? The non-existent 4000 Israeli workers who stayed away that day? And why did he think Sharon was supposed to be there and didn't show? All signs of the highly competent Israeli intelligence service hard at work, right? But I suppose the note covers all this.

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Yes. I still like the other 90% of that poem.

For its craft? Its use of language? Its aesthetics? Or its polemic?

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To call that "poem" :rolleyes: rubbish, is to insult rubbish.

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just to clarify, I look at the work foremost when making the evaluation - so if Baraka wrote something smart, I would acknowledge it thus. I mention the ideology because it has tainted so much of the actual work. Jarman can say that stuff, but unless he writes a snuff novel or makes a snuff film, it may have little effect on his work.

And I still like Wagner.

and Mel Gibson - Payback, uncut, is one of the best films ever made.

Jarman tick

Wagner tick

Gibson ? shirley you can't be serious.

Is this one of Mel's 'projects" written and directed.

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Stanley Crouch on Baraka and the poem, from the Bad Plus website interview.

EI: You've changed you mind on things over the years, and sometimes it has been confusing. There were things I didn't understand about your development until reading "Jazz Me Blues." For example, I knew of your dislike for Leroi Jones/ Amiri Baraka. However, your aggressive dismissal of Leroi Jones/Amiri Baraka always struck me as a something like as if I were to aggressively dismiss Paul Bley--my true forebear! Jones was a big influence on you.

SC: Yes, he was, and I go into that in the book.

EI: Exactly, and then you explain step by step how that relationship soured. It was quite revelatory.

SC: Well, I think he lost his mind when he became super-black nationalist, anti-white, and so forth. He has really been a detrimental influence, so much so that if you make any criticism of something done by white people for what are apparently white reasons, most white people seem to they think you must be taking the Leroi Jones line. There's a lot of resentment--or hand-me-down resentment--in both races about that period of black nationalism.

EI: Well, as a flabby white intellectual liberal, I will always be willing to give an angry black man a hearing. And while I really learned some things reading your personal history with Baraka, nothing you or anybody could say would change my mind that Black Music is one of the most significant books on jazz ever written.

SC: Well, it is.

EI: Those interviews with Wayne Shorter and Roy Haynes are great. And when he talks about Albert Ayler--I know you aren't that interested in Albert now, but you were at one point--when he talks about Albert Ayler he really hits high gear. I like what Gerald Early (who I wouldn't know about unless you hadn't written about him) said in Tuxedo Junction:

Baraka…has done more than any other writer to popularize black avant-garde music…he certainly adored it. And adoration is a very useful kind of currency in a society of cash and carry emotions.

There may have been negative consequences from some of the later essays in Black Music, but that feeling I got as a teenager reading Jones about a trio concert of Don Cherry, Wilbur Ware, and Billy Higgins---

SC: Whew!

EI: --That feeling is immortal.

SC: This was a very talented man. And when he went first into Black nationalism, then Super-Black racism, then Marxism--he shredded his talent in front of all of us.

The overall problem with his writing in the last third of Black Music is that he never arrives at anything of substance to say about anyone he likes. You get no idea of HOW Albert Ayler or Sonny Murray played, just a lot of celebratory adjectives or phrases intended as barbs to exclude white readers.

EI: And recently, his poem about Israel being behind 9/11--

SC: He's lost his mind. He's a nut now. He was a superb and original writer up until about 1965 or '66, maybe '67.

When I was a younger guy, I would read his essays in Black Music over and over, and became intrigued with many of people he talked about.

In fact, the essay in Considering Genius about Thelonious Monk, "At the Five Spot," is in direct response to the essay "Recent Monk" in Black Music. I was determined to outdo him, since he has HIS foot so firmly on the gas in that one. Wow! I thought the highest performance level (that I had seen) of "writing an essay about Thelonious Monk" had been achieved by Leroi Jones. He made you feel like you were at the club.

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On the Sharon/World Trade Center canard, Baraka is on the same page with another poet, David Duke.

Baraka has stated that Israeli intelligence (traditionally more competent that the CIA) warned the Bush administration that the attack was coming, and the US ignored the warning. It's in the several-page note that follows the poem in his book.

Oh, "Baraka has stated" in "the several page note." Then it must be true. :blink:

First, as has been known for some time (see Richard Clarke's testimony, Bush's "now you've covered your ass" remark to the CIA rep who came to the ranch to pass on the agency's warning, etc., the U.S. had been told at the highest level by its own intelligence arms that something significantly bad probably was in the works but not specifically this.

Second, the tone alone of these passages:

"Who know why Five Israelis was filming the explosion And cracking they sides at the notion

...

"Who knew the World Trade Center was gonna get bombed Who told 4000 Israeli workers at the Twin Towers To stay home that day Why did Sharon stay away?"

seems to me to speak of a noxious flippancy that scarcely inspires trust in the contents of that several page note. Further, what about those five filming Israelis "cracking they sides at the notion"? The non-existent 4000 Israeli workers who stayed away that day? And why did he think Sharon was supposed to be there and didn't show? All signs of the highly competent Israeli intelligence service hard at work, right? But I suppose the note covers all this.

Pretty sick. I remember a piece of his in the VV entitled Confessions of an ex-anti-Semite. He claimed in a the letter column that the title was 'tacked on'.

Then there's Julius Lester, who did the opposite: Someone read a horrible anti-Jewish poem on his '60s WBAI show. There was a furor and the JDL tried to storm the station. Lester, explaining his later conversion to Judaism, said that the Jews at the station were the only ones that stuck up for him. Black militants---of which there were plenty---turned their backs. It's amazing how full of shit some progressives are in the name of who-all-knows what cause.

Leonard Lopate---who BTW is as pink as they come but puts on an act at WNYC (not that I mind anyone's politics, just phonies) had a discussion in the '80s on his then talk show on BAI about the 'crap he had to sit through as a dedicated member of the Left'..and proceeded to quote from memory a poem by Baraka's wife. He had a point, it was totally stupid and horribly written. I guess you can't blame Amiri for that.

Edited by fasstrack

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On the Sharon/World Trade Center canard, Baraka is on the same page with another poet, David Duke.

emi_1c006-80.112_D_a.jpg

WTF? Hilarious!

C'mon, everyone: 'The games people play now

Every night and every day now...

Never meanin' what they say now

Never sayin' what they mean'

Ok, just the altos. Once more, with feeling.........

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I enjoy and appreciate all of the relevant responses.

It is understandable how Baraka's political priorities informed his experience of the music. Yet I still find it ironic that while Hard Bop musicians saw the music as more "authentically" Black and as a conscious return to its African-American roots (a reemphasis which would in-and-of-itself have been a type of protest to the current White/capitalist paradigm), a radical such as Baraka would see the same sentiments as regressive, if not an example of the "modern minstrelsy" of which he speaks . It definitely hints of the nuances of the role of jazz within the larger racial, civil discourse at the time and about the obligations a Music might have for social or political statement, or whether that obligation should ever trump the aesthetic value of the art itself. ...No argument in there, just a few thoughts.

For help in sorting out this question of authenticity vis-à-vis anti-essentialism in Black American music and its sub-idioms, I recommend turning to Baraka's influential essay "The Changing Same" in Black Music, and then following that with Paul Gilroy's revisit of it below in which he elaborates on the idea that if Black music is a changing same, then it is neither a fixed essence nor a reified construction.

Gilroy, Paul

1991 Sounds Authentic: Black Music, Ethnicity, and the Challenge of a "Changing" Same. Black Music Research Journal 11(2):111-136.

[edit to correct the title of Gilroy's paper (I had only put the subtitle above previously); I wanted to add along these lines that I'd also recommend this piece by George Lewis available here]

Edited by zanonesdelpueblo

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I don't think Amiri Baraka is anti-Semitic. I think he's anti-Zionist and also a conspiracy nut, and in this particular case (the belief that 4,000 Israelis were told to stay home that day) those two things combined to cause him to write something very stupid.

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I don't think Amiri Baraka is anti-Semitic. I think he's anti-Zionist and also a conspiracy nut, and in this particular case (the belief that 4,000 Israelis were told to stay home that day) those two things combined to cause him to write something very stupid.

Maybe. He's not an anti-Semite in his love life, anyway. Married a Jew once.

There's a very fine line that needs to be watched: many people claim just that, that they are anti-Zionist and not anti-Jewish. I say follow the deeds, not the words.

For example, the book on Jimmy Carter among many (mostly conservative and moderate) Jews is that he's a Jew-hater---based on his sympathy for Palestinians, at least in print. I don't believe that, and think Carter a great man. I also don't reside in either his brain or soul, so my best opinion is only that.

This whole discussion gets heated, but the thing to bear in mind is that most discussing it have never visited---let alone spent any time talking to both sides in---Israel, thereby not to be taken all that seriously IMO. I have no idea what goes on there really---and never will until I spend at least 6 months to a year there. It would take at least that long for people to trust any outsider and say what they really feel. Just my opinion........

Edited by fasstrack

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Nasty post removed.

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I don't think Amiri Baraka is anti-Semitic. I think he's anti-Zionist and also a conspiracy nut, and in this particular case (the belief that 4,000 Israelis were told to stay home that day) those two things combined to cause him to write something very stupid.

Without haggling over what does or does not qualify one as an anti-Semite, it fits pretty comfortably in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion tradition.

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that poem is disgusting and repulsive. There are no other words. It is possible to be anti-Zionist without being anti-semitic, of course. But that poem has nothing to do with any rational political belief.

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