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CraigP

Humorous (?) review of new Eric Wyatt album

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Phil Freeman of Burning Ambulance seems to have a love/hate relationship with modern jazz. He likes some avant-garde artists, but then he writes something like this in a review of Eric Wyatt’s album Borough of Kings:

“When you read the phrase "Brooklyn jazz" in 2014, you probably don't think of a guy like Eric Wyatt. You probably think of young men in untucked plaid shirts with glasses and beards, and young women who look like substitute teachers, playing music that tumbles over its own feet, clatters and honks, and never quite convinces that its failure to swing is deliberate.”

Personally I would have said librarians instead of substitute teachers. ;)

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It's a very good album. And the reviewer agrees: "Eric Wyatt is a terrific, powerful saxophonist who deserves much more attention than he’s gotten to date."

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It's a very good album. And the reviewer agrees: "Eric Wyatt is a terrific, powerful saxophonist who deserves much more attention than he’s gotten to date."

Yes, my post was not meant to slight Mr. Wyatt, who I've not heard, but to point out an interesting commentary on the current "scene."

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not a fan of PDF's writing in general, though he does know some things about some things.

Edited by clifford_thornton

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I guess I probably wouldn't be interested in Burning Ambulance

Not that much of a veil in that absurd shot at Ms. Halvorsen

Music that tumbles over its own feet???

Clogged ears but that is nothing new

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ordered this a few days ago - liked the samples on the Posi-Tone web site

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finished his Miles tome (whatever happened to Hardbop?) and it was pretty poor, unfortunately. Funny, the description above is exactly the image I have of what PDF would look like....

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I don't think it's a 'shots fire!' sort of thing where he's taking aim at the scene or whatever in earnest, more a bit of light ribbing, partly because i feel like Freeman has covered that sort of stuff favourably in the past (i could be wrong).

I think Freeman is okay. I definitely sense some holes at times, but i don't hold him to a very high standard. He's like 'one of the guys' rather than 'insert name of universally revered and respected jazz critic here'. The J-Pop and K-Pop thing gets on my nerves though, i really don't get why otherwise sane people feign to sincerely dig that stuff (excuse me while i put on an Elektric Band CD).

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Not that much of a veil in that absurd shot at Ms. Halvorsen

Indeed, that was immediately clear to me, too. At least this time the author isn't anonymous (like in the moronic "Sonny Rollins" piece), but this personal attack is very bad style.

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It's the Nude Journalism, in which they don't even pretend it's not personal shit...

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Right you are.

I wrote a few things for Burning Ambulance on request. Felt like my stuff was fine. But it was often surrounded by things I couldn't get with.

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I've been wondering if Freeman made his barbed witticism on his own hook, or if it is reflects something deeper (or larger). The attack seems to me to have deeper roots than one person's sense of humor. Perhaps it represents certain factions of the Downtown scene that might not be enamored of some of the more relatively recent arrivals on the scene. There are fault lines drawn. The joke is a thinly veiled jab, enough to sting, not knock anyone out, just to let someone know that it's not going to be all hearts and flowers. I'm not condoning it, just trying to analyze what seems a rather odd sideswipe.

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I can tell you where a lot of it started offline and yes, it is personal, not musical.

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If it is personal and not musical, then it is simply pathetic.

I have plenty of issues with some of the more obtuse and ethereal elements of some if the music being made and played that roughly falls under the descriptor of the downtown scene but Mary Halvorsen, whenever I've seen her play, cuts through the stilted aspects of what I consider sometimes overly composed/academic music that tends to exist within the scene more so than the more energetic and knotty/gritty music I prefer.

She personifies that sound/approach, i.e. I hear fresh invigorating playing and writing that can only be a positive. She is the one guitarist who I would deem to be a jazz guitarist that I would want to hear live more so than any other playing today. In fact, I really don't know anyone who wouldn't or hasn't been impressed with her music or at least her improvising. One would have to be thoroughly close minded to anything out of the mainstream or on the other hand, be one of the anti-jazz sort - a few of which happen to be friends of mine.

So a real poor target, IMO

So shots at her if personal should be made to be personal and not hidden under a musical and/or appearance based comment.

Edited by Steve Reynolds

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I don't want to go down a rabbit hole of shit talking this guy, 'cause he genuinely doesn't bother me, but anyone who's read his blog can see perfectly where he's coming from, and jazz is not his home base. Personally I don't have a lot of use for these types, but they're more than entitled to their place in the conversation, and it's better in the long run to have people unpredisposed to this music come to it and have their say. Really not a big deal, but ...

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When I was a kid, substitute teachers were usually hotter than the regular ones, either young teachers who had recently retired to have a kid, or else were just out of college and kind of biding their time until a regular gig came along. So, this Freeman guy, I don't understand why looking like a substitute teacher is something that bugs him, unless he's the victim of an educational system that was unfortunately option-availabled..

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no one hotter than the Spanish teacher :D

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I don't think the gibe was directed solely at Mary H. There are other women improvisors on the scene now, and that, regrettably, is causing some heartburn in certain quarters. As for the guys in untucked plaids, well, we've heard enough about that sort of thing here too; but then again, almost every hipster in Brooklyn sports that look (non-musicians included). Sounded to me like trash-talking that found its way into a review.

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I don't know if it's sexism as much as purposely going against the grain just to be contrarian. He used to post on Bagatellen and IHateMusic and ruffled the feathers of a lot of free musicians, who ultimately didn't take him too seriously and thus he found himself not being able to tap into that scene. The "NY Is Now" book didn't help his case from the get-go, either. He seems to have taken his ball and gone elsewhere, so to speak.

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I don't know if it's sexism as much as purposely going against the grain just to be contrarian. He used to post on Bagatellen and IHateMusic and ruffled the feathers of a lot of free musicians, who ultimately didn't take him too seriously and thus he found himself not being able to tap into that scene. The "NY Is Now" book didn't help his case from the get-go, either. He seems to have taken his ball and gone elsewhere, so to speak.

I actually enjoyed Freeman ruffling some feathers on Bagatellen. Not necessarlly musicians but fans, other critics and impresarios deserved it, imho because they talked about music in a very dogmatic way.

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I had a pal who's wheelhouse is very exclusively pop and rock who used to troll the hell out of IHM. I think they banned him. But they had a nice community there, if a bit stiff.

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As i said i don't think there's too much in it, but maybe there is a bit of general contrarian/backlash in there. When i was heavily in to hip hop i mostly listened to underground/alternative/avant garde (yup) stuff, and, you know, we generally thought it was the hip stuff to be in to as opposed to listening to Puff Daddy. At some point, i reckon around 2002/2003, i think the backlash started and people that only listened to underground stuff and thought that the mainstream was wack started to be looked down on. I think that all the overly earnest/overly sensitive rappers in the underground were starting to get a bit annoying/self parody-ish too, and i think there was a bit of reaction to that as you saw more overtly thuggish stuff start to gain populariity in the underground.

Anyway, not sure if i'm making sense. Just saying that, if jazz was popular enough, i could liken what Freeman is saying to being indicative of a larger movement where it's no longer cool to be only in to the obviously cool stuff and look down on the less cool stuff. As it is it's probably just something that he's feeling.

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On 8/1/2014 at 8:05 AM, kh1958 said:

It's a very good album. And the reviewer agrees: "Eric Wyatt is a terrific, powerful saxophonist who deserves much more attention than he’s gotten to date."

 Going through boxes of unshelved stuff trying to cull JUST a little bit and found two Eric Wyatt albums in CD-R form that a friend sent me at least a decade ago,. One is called Family Business, the other one A Covert Operation, both obviously very self-produced and both pretty much invisible on The Internet Of Today. If these would have been label-produced, I'd probably have let them loose, but they're so raw and burning and edgy (and obviously self-produced). James Spaulding guest on two cuts of the former (and is intense on one of those two), Robert Glasper is on both, playing very well indeed, and the notion that this guy is not in anyway a kid now, nor was one then...the two are going on the shelf and not back in the box.

And then I'm probably gonna be done with Eric Wyatt, but that's ok. Now I know who is is, can give him props, and no longer think of some ex-Wynton pianist when I hear his name (who would that be, anyway?).

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56 minutes ago, JSngry said:

 Going through boxes of unshelved stuff trying to cull JUST a little bit and found two Eric Wyatt albums in CD-R form that a friend sent me at least a decade ago,. One is called Family Business, the other one A Covert Operation, both obviously very self-produced and both pretty much invisible on The Internet Of Today. If these would have been label-produced, I'd probably have let them loose, but they're so raw and burning and edgy (and obviously self-produced). James Spaulding guest on two cuts of the former (and is intense on one of those two), Robert Glasper is on both, playing very well indeed, and the notion that this guy is not in anyway a kid now, nor was one then...the two are going on the shelf and not back in the box.

And then I'm probably gonna be done with Eric Wyatt, but that's ok. Now I know who is is, can give him props, and no longer think of some ex-Wynton pianist when I hear his name (who would that be, anyway?).

Eric Reed perhaps?

I haven't listened to Eric Wyatt in a while, but I recall he plays one of Sonny Rollins' saxophones, given to him by Mr. Rollins (said to be his godfather?). I recollect Borough of Kings as being an album I liked; I haven't followed up with anything further. He plays a late night set at Smalls about every month; there are lots of his sets in the Smalls archive.

 

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