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Eric Hobsbawm RIP

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A truly great historian and writer. His books helped shape my life.

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r.i.p.

indeed an inspiring character - he will be missed

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Feel kind of gratified that such great minds also loved jazz.

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In his sleeve notes for Baby Face Willette's 'Stop & listen', Joe Goldberg quoted Francis Newton.

'Uptown there is the jazz of Harlem (the one that does not even get advertised in the New Yorker, otherwise a faithful guide to the music). This is the sort of noise you hear coming out of the dark belly of the L Bar, on Broadway and 148th, the visceral sound of Marlowe Morris' rhythmic organ playing, rather like a crystalised glue, at the Top Club on West 145th... It is not very ambitious music, but by God the place jumps and the clients at the bar laugh and stomp their feet as men ought to do when they are enjoying themselves. Those who listen to this music are not "fans"; they are just people who like to have some entertainment while they drink. Those who play it are craftsmen and showmen, who accept the facts of life in the jungle with disconcerting calm.'

I know of no other critic who defined Soul Jazz as clearly as that. Reading it, when I was exploring this music in the sixties, was a revelation for me; a revelation that someone else got this; that I wasn't imagining it. I didn't then know that he was Eric Hobsbawm. Later, when I started reading Hobsbawm, and seeing him on the TV, I realised that, in order to write what he did, he HAD to be Hobsbawm; it is a VERY left wing statement.

RIP Eric.

MG

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Sorry to hear of this. RIP

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In his sleeve notes for Baby Face Willette's 'Stop & listen', Joe Goldberg quoted Francis Newton.

'Uptown there is the jazz of Harlem (the one that does not even get advertised in the New Yorker, otherwise a faithful guide to the music). This is the sort of noise you hear coming out of the dark belly of the L Bar, on Broadway and 148th, the visceral sound of Marlowe Morris' rhythmic organ playing, rather like a crystalised glue, at the Top Club on West 145th... It is not very ambitious music, but by God the place jumps and the clients at the bar laugh and stomp their feet as men ought to do when they are enjoying themselves. Those who listen to this music are not "fans"; they are just people who like to have some entertainment while they drink. Those who play it are craftsmen and showmen, who accept the facts of life in the jungle with disconcerting calm.'

I know of no other critic who defined Soul Jazz as clearly as that. Reading it, when I was exploring this music in the sixties, was a revelation for me; a revelation that someone else got this; that I wasn't imagining it. I didn't then know that he was Eric Hobsbawm. Later, when I started reading Hobsbawm, and seeing him on the TV, I realised that, in order to write what he did, he HAD to be Hobsbawm; it is a VERY left wing statement.

RIP Eric.

MG

That's very interesting. That passage you highlight from the liner notes stood out and remained with me as well when I first read it (albeit via the early 90's cd issue :) ). I often recall it in my mind when I think about things related to the music. Certainly the music isn't ambitious in the way so much Jazz was/is, but it ain't easy to learn to play either. It's still really the earthy side of Be-bop (or at least Babyface is - the music Hobsbawm had in mind might be from closer to the R&B spectrum perhaps? Who is Marlowe Morris MG?)

Hobsbawm seems to be from an earlier generation of Left wing thinkers that I know not much about, but I am getting the feeling he was like a 60's Slavoj Zizek perhaps, in terms of being a kind of Left wing public intellectual.

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A couple of years ago I read his "The Jazz Scene", and though I approached it from a primarily historical perspective to read more about the jazz scene of the time the book was written, some of its contents (e.g. the relationship between jazz and popular music) appeared to me to be relevant and insightful well beyond that particular era. A very interesting read, even decades after it was published.

the music Hobsbawm had in mind might be from closer to the R&B spectrum perhaps?

That's my impression too. And I have a feeling he wasn't out to define soul jazz but rather described an earlier R&B setting (as opposed to more "intellectual" modern jazz). I am sure I have never read these liner notes mentioned above but that description of the music in that bar sounds very familiar (word by word). Could it be that that quotation was lifted from "The Jazz Scene"? (I did not find it upon a quick check of the book, though.)

Who is Marlowe Morris MG?)

A jazz pianist and organist who a.o. recorded with Lester Young and was featured in the 1944 "Jammin The Blues" film. According to Chilton's Who's Who, he was with Coleman Hawkins, Al Sears, Sid Catlett, Doc Wheeler, Eddie South and Tiny Grimes through the 40s and mainly worked as a single in the 50s.

Edited by Big Beat Steve

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Marlowe Morris, a fine pianist as well as an organist, was a protege of Art Tatum's. In his liner notes for an LP, the title of which escapes me, Dick Wellstood told of once catching Tatum and Morris at an after hours session. Apparently someone had the temerity to challenge Tatum. Tatum felt cutting this cat wouldn't really require his participation so he turned to Morris and said, "Take him, Marlowe".

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Marlowe Morris, a fine pianist as well as an organist, was a protege of Art Tatum's. In his liner notes for an LP, the title of which escapes me, Dick Wellstood told of once catching Tatum and Morris at an after hours session. Apparently someone had the temerity to challenge Tatum. Tatum felt cutting this cat wouldn't really require his participation so he turned to Morris and said, "Take him, Marlowe".

This might've been at the Hollywood Club in Harlem with Donald Lambert.

Monday nights were a regular time there for Morris and Wellstood and some others -

with Tatum sometimes showing up.

This may be the LP you're referring to:

t7CGK.jpg

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Hobsbawm, AKA Francis Newton, died this morning.

The Guardian

The Hobsbawm 'diary' link is a great read.

So Marlowe Morris is definitely on the Jazz side of Blues? Wild Bill Davis like perhaps.

And here's the sound itself :) - to use an old Australian colloquialism - 'shit hot!"

I totally get where Hobsbawm was coming from hearing this.

Edited by freelancer

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Hobsbawm seems to be from an earlier generation of Left wing thinkers that I know not much about, but I am getting the feeling he was like a 60's Slavoj Zizek perhaps, in terms of being a kind of Left wing public intellectual.

I don't think either of them would be that thrilled with the comparison. But you might be right, I don't think that a thinker like Hobsbawm (or any of the other historians with high profiles in the 50s-60s) would get very far today without a Zizekian schtick attached (much as I enjoy that schtick, I should say). Too difficult by half, and too patrician.

Hobsbawm was very down on intellectualist jazz, like other Marxist critics. There's a review of AMM from the late-60s which is very rude about their avant-gardeism. But there's also a really good little book, derived from a 1990s lecture, on the 20th century avant-gardes.

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Hobsbawm seems to be from an earlier generation of Left wing thinkers that I know not much about, but I am getting the feeling he was like a 60's Slavoj Zizek perhaps, in terms of being a kind of Left wing public intellectual.

I don't think either of them would be that thrilled with the comparison. But you might be right, I don't think that a thinker like Hobsbawm (or any of the other historians with high profiles in the 50s-60s) would get very far today without a Zizekian schtick attached (much as I enjoy that schtick, I should say). Too difficult by half, and too patrician.

Hobsbawm was very down on intellectualist jazz, like other Marxist critics. There's a review of AMM from the late-60s which is very rude about their avant-gardeism. But there's also a really good little book, derived from a 1990s lecture, on the 20th century avant-gardes.

What is AMM? Who is Zizek? Should I care?

MG

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I posted about Hobsbawn last evening; I see my post has been deleted without explanation.

Hobsbawm's nom de plume "Francis Newton" was a sly reference to the swing trumpeter Frankie Newton, an avowed communist.

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What is AMM? Who is Zizek? Should I care?

AMM is the opposite of Marlowe Morris. Zizek is not really the opposite of Hobsbawm, I don't think.

I care about one and am interested in the other, but I couldn't say on your behalf.

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Hobsbawm, AKA Francis Newton, died this morning.

The Guardian

The Hobsbawm 'diary' link is a great read.

So Marlowe Morris is definitely on the Jazz side of Blues? Wild Bill Davis like perhaps.

And here's the sound itself :) - to use an old Australian colloquialism - 'shit hot!"

I totally get where Hobsbawm was coming from hearing this.

Yes, I used to have the LP that came from, but sold it when I was poor in '71.

Nice to hear it again. Thanks.

MG

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I posted about Hobsbawn last evening; I see my post has been deleted without explanation.

Hobsbawm's nom de plume "Francis Newton" was a sly reference to the swing trumpeter Frankie Newton, an avowed communist.

Your post was deleted because it set up a duplicate thread on the topic and added no particular information about EH that hadn't already been posted on this one. I'd have combined the two threads but I no longer have the capacity to do that -- don't know why that's so. If you find what I did without an added explanation to be discourteous, I'm sorry, but that's the way it going to be in such situations unless and until I'm not a moderator or until someone can restore my capacity to combine threads. As for discourtesy, I find it thoughtless to start a new thread about someone who has just died without checking to see if there isn't a thread on this topic going already, when that's quite likely.

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In his sleeve notes for Baby Face Willette's 'Stop & listen', Joe Goldberg quoted Francis Newton.

'Uptown there is the jazz of Harlem (the one that does not even get advertised in the New Yorker, otherwise a faithful guide to the music). This is the sort of noise you hear coming out of the dark belly of the L Bar, on Broadway and 148th, the visceral sound of Marlowe Morris' rhythmic organ playing, rather like a crystalised glue, at the Top Club on West 145th... It is not very ambitious music, but by God the place jumps and the clients at the bar laugh and stomp their feet as men ought to do when they are enjoying themselves. Those who listen to this music are not "fans"; they are just people who like to have some entertainment while they drink. Those who play it are craftsmen and showmen, who accept the facts of life in the jungle with disconcerting calm.'

I know of no other critic who defined Soul Jazz as clearly as that. Reading it, when I was exploring this music in the sixties, was a revelation for me; a revelation that someone else got this; that I wasn't imagining it. I didn't then know that he was Eric Hobsbawm. Later, when I started reading Hobsbawm, and seeing him on the TV, I realised that, in order to write what he did, he HAD to be Hobsbawm; it is a VERY left wing statement.

RIP Eric.

MG

That's very interesting. That passage you highlight from the liner notes stood out and remained with me as well when I first read it (albeit via the early 90's cd issue :) ). I often recall it in my mind when I think about things related to the music. Certainly the music isn't ambitious in the way so much Jazz was/is, but it ain't easy to learn to play either. It's still really the earthy side of Be-bop (or at least Babyface is - the music Hobsbawm had in mind might be from closer to the R&B spectrum perhaps? Who is Marlowe Morris MG?)

Hobsbawm seems to be from an earlier generation of Left wing thinkers that I know not much about, but I am getting the feeling he was like a 60's Slavoj Zizek perhaps, in terms of being a kind of Left wing public intellectual.

That quote made a big impression on me as well, but I feel somewhat saddened that such a basic recognition of the basic humanity of the whole thing inevitable became a political statement.

Not saying that I don't understand why it was, but geez, people going out for drinks and dancing and having a boisterous good time to the accompaniment of music of a similar quality, that's a pretty basic human activity, It's pretty damn depressing to think that it took a "political statement" or whatever to see it as simply as it was.

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In his sleeve notes for Baby Face Willette's 'Stop & listen', Joe Goldberg quoted Francis Newton.

'Uptown there is the jazz of Harlem (the one that does not even get advertised in the New Yorker, otherwise a faithful guide to the music). This is the sort of noise you hear coming out of the dark belly of the L Bar, on Broadway and 148th, the visceral sound of Marlowe Morris' rhythmic organ playing, rather like a crystalised glue, at the Top Club on West 145th... It is not very ambitious music, but by God the place jumps and the clients at the bar laugh and stomp their feet as men ought to do when they are enjoying themselves. Those who listen to this music are not "fans"; they are just people who like to have some entertainment while they drink. Those who play it are craftsmen and showmen, who accept the facts of life in the jungle with disconcerting calm.'

I know of no other critic who defined Soul Jazz as clearly as that. Reading it, when I was exploring this music in the sixties, was a revelation for me; a revelation that someone else got this; that I wasn't imagining it. I didn't then know that he was Eric Hobsbawm. Later, when I started reading Hobsbawm, and seeing him on the TV, I realised that, in order to write what he did, he HAD to be Hobsbawm; it is a VERY left wing statement.

RIP Eric.

MG

That's very interesting. That passage you highlight from the liner notes stood out and remained with me as well when I first read it (albeit via the early 90's cd issue :) ). I often recall it in my mind when I think about things related to the music. Certainly the music isn't ambitious in the way so much Jazz was/is, but it ain't easy to learn to play either. It's still really the earthy side of Be-bop (or at least Babyface is - the music Hobsbawm had in mind might be from closer to the R&B spectrum perhaps? Who is Marlowe Morris MG?)

Hobsbawm seems to be from an earlier generation of Left wing thinkers that I know not much about, but I am getting the feeling he was like a 60's Slavoj Zizek perhaps, in terms of being a kind of Left wing public intellectual.

That quote made a big impression on me as well, but I feel somewhat saddened that such a basic recognition of the basic humanity of the whole thing inevitable became a political statement.

Not saying that I don't understand why it was, but geez, people going out for drinks and dancing and having a boisterous good time to the accompaniment of music of a similar quality, that's a pretty basic human activity, It's pretty damn depressing to think that it took a "political statement" or whatever to see it as simply as it was.

I agree, but that's a pretty basic human activity, too :D

Glad to see you're better Jim :g

MG

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AWAKE!

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In his sleeve notes for Baby Face Willette's 'Stop & listen', Joe Goldberg quoted Francis Newton.

'Uptown there is the jazz of Harlem (the one that does not even get advertised in the New Yorker, otherwise a faithful guide to the music). This is the sort of noise you hear coming out of the dark belly of the L Bar, on Broadway and 148th, the visceral sound of Marlowe Morris' rhythmic organ playing, rather like a crystalised glue, at the Top Club on West 145th... It is not very ambitious music, but by God the place jumps and the clients at the bar laugh and stomp their feet as men ought to do when they are enjoying themselves. Those who listen to this music are not "fans"; they are just people who like to have some entertainment while they drink. Those who play it are craftsmen and showmen, who accept the facts of life in the jungle with disconcerting calm.'

I know of no other critic who defined Soul Jazz as clearly as that. Reading it, when I was exploring this music in the sixties, was a revelation for me; a revelation that someone else got this; that I wasn't imagining it. I didn't then know that he was Eric Hobsbawm. Later, when I started reading Hobsbawm, and seeing him on the TV, I realised that, in order to write what he did, he HAD to be Hobsbawm; it is a VERY left wing statement.

RIP Eric.

MG

That's very interesting. That passage you highlight from the liner notes stood out and remained with me as well when I first read it (albeit via the early 90's cd issue :) ). I often recall it in my mind when I think about things related to the music. Certainly the music isn't ambitious in the way so much Jazz was/is, but it ain't easy to learn to play either. It's still really the earthy side of Be-bop (or at least Babyface is - the music Hobsbawm had in mind might be from closer to the R&B spectrum perhaps? Who is Marlowe Morris MG?)

Hobsbawm seems to be from an earlier generation of Left wing thinkers that I know not much about, but I am getting the feeling he was like a 60's Slavoj Zizek perhaps, in terms of being a kind of Left wing public intellectual.

That quote made a big impression on me as well, but I feel somewhat saddened that such a basic recognition of the basic humanity of the whole thing inevitable became a political statement.

Not saying that I don't understand why it was, but geez, people going out for drinks and dancing and having a boisterous good time to the accompaniment of music of a similar quality, that's a pretty basic human activity, It's pretty damn depressing to think that it took a "political statement" or whatever to see it as simply as it was.

Well most of the Blue Note liner notes seem to be written with White people in mind.

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Much as I appreciated Hobsbawn's "The Age Of..." histories, I thought he became more stiff, unreliable in later years. His eventual denial of the population explosion and its depletion of the earth's resources, which as far as I can tell was pure party orthodoxy, was what especially made me give up on him. But he was a good guy to read on the subject of jazz.

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Hobsbawm, AKA Francis Newton, died this morning.

The Guardian

The Hobsbawm 'diary' link is a great read.

So Marlowe Morris is definitely on the Jazz side of Blues? Wild Bill Davis like perhaps.

And here's the sound itself :) - to use an old Australian colloquialism - 'shit hot!"

I totally get where Hobsbawm was coming from hearing this.

Yes, I used to have the LP that came from, but sold it when I was poor in '71.

Nice to hear it again. Thanks.

MG

The Lp is included in the Mosaic Columbia Small Groups Session. I never particularly liked it. Maybe I should give it another listen.

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