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ghost of miles

Bob Porter's SOUL JAZZ book

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Has this ever been scheduled for anything else but a Kindle publication?

As for the subject on hand, I am a bit puzzled by the period covered (1945-75). From what time did "Soul Jazz" actually become known as such? 1957? 58? 59? And by when was this no longer the commonly used term to describe this type of jazz? Late 60s? (MG, please advise! :))

The reason I am asking is that I wonder about how the subject will be approached if the entire period from 1945 were to be covered in depth. Postwar blues blossoming on all those indie labels? Postwar swing-style jazz turning towards blues and becoming R&B because bebop no longer was "danceable" and "gutsy" enough for the majrotiy of the audience? Bebop unraveling into more R&B-ish jazz again from sometime in the 50s when the "intellectuals "of bebop had gone towards hard bop? Etc. etc.

All interesting aspects and something that falls squarely into my key areas of interest in the history of jazz, for example, but how often has this period and subject matter been dealt with in depth before and how often can you approach the subject from YET another angle to come up with something major that is all-new just in setting the stage for the history of "actual" soul jazz as commonly understood?

Or would "soul jazz " here be something to describe ALL the gutsier, more apporachable forms of postwar jazz as opposed to more intellectual, artistic, "far out" jazz?

Just wondering ... ^_^

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This book was announced on US Amazon in about 2004. After a few years, they pulled the announcement.

Bob and I talked a bit about the project when I visited Newark in 1997 but we never really got together on it. He persuaded me, though, that any history of Soul Jazz that didn't cover the early material of Jug, Jacquet, Ike Q, Arnett, Jaws, Wild Bill Davis and their lesser known contemporaries would be starting with a need to explain how you got to Horace Silver & Jimmy Smith - NOT from nowhere - and why Silver and Smith were going in a different direction from Jack McDuff and Willis Jackson (or vice versa if you prefer).

Indeed, the more I've thought about it subsequently, the more I feel that one really needs to start with the big bands that played mainly for black audiences in the late thirties/early forties - not Ellington's & Kenton's, but those of Buddy Johnson, Erskine Hawkins, Cootie Williams, Lucky Millinder, Andy Kirk and seldom recorded territory bands from the plains between Omaha and San Antonio. (As Peter Sellers used to say on the Goon Show, 'and this is where the story REALLY starts'. Though of course those bands didn't come from nowhere, either, did they?)

MG

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My hazy recollection from a single conversation with Bob some years ago at the Detroit Jazz Festival is that he's tackling the big picture (including many of specifics mentioned above) and that the post-war blues and R&B playlist for the book will be akin to the music he featured on his longtime radio program, "Portraits in Blue."

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I'm glad he hasn't (?) given up on it. I contacted him at WBGO because I thought no one could write as good a book on soul jazz as he.

MG

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From what the two of you say, this sounds like a very interesting approach.

Post-war R&B has by now been covered in writing quite extensively (though of course there should be room for more) but a history of the more down-to-earth, more danceable, no-frills jazz bands and artists such as the ones named by MG (which are often given short shrift elsewhere) would indeed provide an interesting background to soul jazz (as understood in the stricter sense of the word).

Maybe the book ought to be retitled "YES YOU CAN DANCE TO JAZZ - A history of "jazz for partying" in the Black community 1945 to 1975" to make yet more headlines? :)

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From what the two of you say, this sounds like a very interesting approach.

Post-war R&B has by now been covered in writing quite extensively (though of course there should be room for more) but a history of the more down-to-earth, more danceable, no-frills jazz bands and artists such as the ones named by MG (which are often given short shrift elsewhere) would indeed provide an interesting background to soul jazz (as understood in the stricter sense of the word).

Maybe the book ought to be retitled "YES YOU CAN DANCE TO JAZZ - A history of "jazz for partying" in the Black community 1945 to 1975" to make yet more headlines? :)

Yeah, I LOVE that title!

What makes this all hard to classify with any precision (for me at any rate) is that I see the history of popular black music as being a continuous set of developments intertwining three threads - jazz, gospel and blues - in different ways and proportions over time (and adding in a bit of Reggae later on). So, if we say that the mainstream of popular post war black music is 'R&B', with contributions from gospel music and jazz, we have so many important people with feet in (at different or the same times) more than one camp - Sam Cooke, Ray Charles, Illinois Jacquet, Clyde McPhatter, Louis Jordan, James Brown, King Curtis, Wilson Pickett, Tommy McCook, Aretha Franklin, George Benson, Fred Wesley, Lou Rawls, Sonny Stitt, Milt Jackson.... (add at your convenience) that the whole scene resembles a mish-mash. Where does X stop and Y begin? Er... well, it doesn't, really, it's just pop music (black, that is).

I was, a few years ago, considering putting together a BFT entirely consisting of bebop and hard bop tunes played by very hard core soul jazz musicians. It was gonna look like this:

Johnny 'Hammond' Smith - Billie's bounce (That good feelin') - 1959

Les McCann - Sonnymoon for two (Soul hits) - 1963

Three Souls - Milestones (Dangerous Dan Express) - 1964

James Brown - Headache (Grits & soul) - 1964

Jackie Ivory - Freddie the freeloader (Soul discovery) - 1965

Gene Russell - Now's the time (Takin' care of business) - 1966

Ramsey Lewis - Django (Dancin' in the street) - 1967

Freddie McCoy - Mysterioso (Soul yogi) - 1968

Charles Kynard - Delilah (Professor soul) - 1968

Houston Person - Blue seven (Soul dance) - 1968

Mickey Fields - Straight, no chaser (The amazing Mickey Fields) - 1968

Jimmy McGriff - Yardbird suite (Fly dude) - 1972

Groove Holmes - St Thomas (American pie) - 1972

Rusty Bryant - A night in Tunisia (For the good times) - 1973

Waymon Reed - Blue Monk (46th & 8th) - 1977

The point was not to show that these were great versions of those tunes but that soul jazz musicians - AND their audiences - had a strong appreciation of what one might think are not songs for 'entertainment' but which fitted very nicely into an entertainment context. I think one could, if one were so inclined (and I'm not), construct a similar BFT in reverse, featuring soul jazz/R&B material performed by musicians normally thought of as boppers or hard boppers (eg 'Money honey' by Dizzy Gillespie; 'My Cherie amour' by Joe Henderson). So, it's an effin' mess and there's probably little point in doing much more than noting that the music goes round and round and it comes out everywhere, and not necessarily the way you'd expect it to. If, therefore, one were trying to write a book about the history of this mess, one would run into so many inconsistencies that probably half the readers would chuck it on the bonfire before they were halfway through.

And yet the music is, in my view, wrongly neglected and systematically so, because the music educators and critics of the world have a need to demonstrate value and have come up with the formulation that art is valuable, entertainment not, to justify their salaries. And it works! So I do want Bob to write his book, even if many copies are chucked after purchase.

MG

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What makes this all hard to classify with any precision (for me at any rate) is that I see the history of popular black music as being a continuous set of developments intertwining three threads - jazz, gospel and blues - in different ways and proportions over time (and adding in a bit of Reggae later on). So, if we say that the mainstream of popular post war black music is 'R&B', with contributions from gospel music and jazz, we have so many important people with feet in (at different or the same times) more than one camp ...

...

Where does X stop and Y begin? Er... well, it doesn't, really, it's just pop music (black, that is).

...

And yet the music is, in my view, wrongly neglected and systematically so, because the music educators and critics of the world have a need to demonstrate value and have come up with the formulation that art is valuable, entertainment not, to justify their salaries. And it works! So I do want Bob to write his book, even if many copies are chucked after purchase.

Exactly ...

What we're seeing here is a permanent form of musical "crossover" before that term became fahionable (as you know, if you listen closely there are a lot of instances where the boundaries between R&B and bebop blurred right from 1945), and you are perfectly right about the "art vs entertainment" aspect. This has been the plight of this segment of jazz for decades.

Compared to 1945-55 R&B and bebop, soul jazz is relatively unknown territory to me (and I only have a handful of basic records from that field so far), but a book that tackles the story of post-war R&B and jazz from THAT angle to show how R&B and specific segments of post-war jazz evolved into soul jazz and how things continued from there would be a book I'd really be looking forward to.

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Don't know if you saw it at the time, but this thread covers some of the R&B/Jazz nexus.

MG

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No, MG, i did not. So thanks for the hint.

I've just taken a look at it - very good ov erview you gave there.

Actually, I've got a bit of trivia to add/complete your info (a b it belatedly but maybe it cannot do any harm resurrecting that thread this way .... ;)

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No, MG, i did not. So thanks for the hint.

I've just taken a look at it - very good ov erview you gave there.

Actually, I've got a bit of trivia to add/complete your info (a b it belatedly but maybe it cannot do any harm resurrecting that thread this way .... ;)

Not really trivial, Steve.

Though I DO wonder what the album's like :D

MG

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Steve started me thinking about what a book covering soul jazz history might look like. So I jotted down some ideas and pinched his title :D.

YES YOU CAN DANCE TO JAZZ - A history of "jazz for partying" in the Black community 1945 to 1975
Chapter headings/content

Prelude – The swing bands

1 Big bands in the black community – some big bands remained focused on black customers in the swing era thirties (Erskine Hawkins, Buddy Johnson, Tiny Bradshaw, Cootie Williams, Lucky Millinder, Lionel Hampton, Andy Kirk, Milt Larkins etc) (territory band stuff got from Preston Love’s book). But where do Basie & Chick Webb hang in all this? Half in, half out?

Part 1 – the world before Rock & Roll

2 The Honkers 1944-1954 – Illinois Jacquet, Arnett Cobb, Wild Bill Moore, Jaws, Hal Singer, Big Jay McNeely, Paul Williams, Big Al Sears, Eddie Chamblee, Rusty Bryant, Red Prysock, Earl Bostic, Sam ‘The Man’ Taylor, Lorenzo Holden, Gator Tail, Frank ‘Floorshow’ Culley, Lynn Hope, Joe Houston etc etc

3 The non-Honkers (?!) – Gene Ammons, Ike Quebec, Sonny Stitt, Buddy Tate, Lou Donaldson, Teddy Edwards – some boppers, some swing musicians, what brought them together?

4 Singers – Dinah Washington, Ella Johnson, Etta Jones, (probably Little Jimmy Scott, though I don’t like him and haven’t explored his work), Esther Phillips, Arthur Prysock.

5 Early organ groups – W B Davis, Buckner, Doggett, Jackie Davis, Baby Face Willette etc

6 Guitarists – Tiny Grimes, Bill Jennings, Grant Green, George Benson.

7 Relationship with developing R&B: the refugees from the Millinder Band – Wynonie Harris, Bullmoose Jackson, Big John Greer; L Jordan; Big Joe Turner; Roy Milton; Amos Milburn; Joe Liggins; Todd Rhodes; lady R&B/jazz singers - Julia Lee, Hadda Brooks, Camille Howard, Nellie Lutcher, Marion Abernathy, Savannah Churchill; Sepia Sinatras – Charles Brown, Nat King Cole, Ivory Joe Hunter, Percy Mayfield, Cecil Gant.

Part 2 – The soul revolution 1954-1964

8 Gospel music in R&B - Clyde McPhatter, Esther Phillips(?), Wilson Pickett, Sam Cooke, Jackie Wilson, James Brown.

9 Turning it into jazz - Ray Charles & Horace Silver – hard bop & soul jazz.

10 Tenor/organ combos – Jaws/Bagby, Jaws/S Scott, Lorenzo Holden/Ernie Freeman, Schoolboy Porter/Jack McDuff, Joe Holiday/Jordin Fordin etc.

11 Later organ groups – Jimmy Smiff’s development from hard bop to soul jazz. Patton, Roach, McDuff, S Scott, Holmes, L Bennett, J H Smith, Kynard, Patterson, Gloria Coleman, Ludwig, R Scott, Marr, McGriff, Rhyne, P Bryant etc.

12 Pianner players – Mance, McCann, Lewis, Timmons, G Harris, Mabern, H Foster, Parlan, Garland(?), Kelly, John Wright, Simmons, Ray Bryant.

13 Later singers - Ernie Andrews, Irene Reid, Gloria Lynne, Nancy Wilson, Dakota Staton, Ernestine Anderson.
Part 3 – Funk & Disco 1964-1974

14 James Brown, The JBs, Parliament, the Horny Horns, Kool & the Gang, Fatbacks, the Counts.

15 Freddie McCoy, Lou Donaldon, Houston Person,

16 Even later organists L Smith, Earland, S Phillips, B Larkin, L Spencer, R Wilson

17 Latin stuff to disco Deodato, Pucho & LSB, Mango Santamania, Afro-Blues Quintet +1, El Chicano

PS Part 4 – After the end

18 Swirling strings & Barry White, smooth jazz & George Benson (not forgetting ‘precursors’ Wes Montgomery & Stan Getz).

19 Soul jazz goes to France – Black & Blue records & the Midnight Slows.

Comments?

MG

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Lester Young

Johnny Hodges

Ben Webster

and Lester Young.

For the truly brave, include the connection between jazz and tap, which at one time, remember, was a pretty popular commodity! Maybe even look at the culture of African-Americam club comedy, too, because for a bit of a long while, the clubs and theaters where you heard a good amount of Soul Jazz were also the places where you'd get a tapper or a comedian on the band's breaks.

But that would be a bigass book. Unwieldy!

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But that would be a bigass book. Unwieldy!

I'd be prepared to shell out for a copy anyway. ;)

Great framework for a book of the subject, MG!

A couple of random thoughts:

- One link between R&B and jazz that I find important too: Leo Parker. See where you can fit him in. ;)

- Some careers might be long ones to describe and fall into several categories. Your list of "later singers" includes Ernie Andrews. I have several 78s by him which place him rather in the "Sepia Sinatra" category, i.e. stylistically and historically earlier rather than later. So ....?

- Another key person: Red Saunders.

Agreed about the club comedy part. Redd Foxx, Mabley/Markham? After all they sang too.

Edited by Big Beat Steve

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Lester Young

Johnny Hodges

Ben Webster

and Lester Young.

Yes, you're right if you mean that they were loved in the black community as much as Jug was later and, one way or another, were primary influences for all the sax players in soul jazz. And I assume, because you didn't include Coleperson Hawkins, that's what you do mean.

For the truly brave, include the connection between jazz and tap, which at one time, remember, was a pretty popular commodity! Maybe even look at the culture of African-Americam club comedy, too, because for a bit of a long while, the clubs and theaters where you heard a good amount of Soul Jazz were also the places where you'd get a tapper or a comedian on the band's breaks.

But that would be a bigass book. Unwieldy!

Sure you're right about the relevance. OK - you can write that chapter for our delectation and education :g (Don't forget, I'm a furriner.)

MG

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But that would be a bigass book. Unwieldy!

I'd be prepared to shell out for a copy anyway. ;)

Great framework for a book of the subject, MG!

A couple of random thoughts:

- One link between R&B and jazz that I find important too: Leo Parker. See where you can fit him in. ;)

- Some careers might be long ones to describe and fall into several categories. Your list of "later singers" includes Ernie Andrews. I have several 78s by him which place him rather in the "Sepia Sinatra" category, i.e. stylistically and historically earlier rather than later. So ....?

- Another key person: Red Saunders.

Agreed about the club comedy part. Redd Foxx, Mabley/Markham? After all they sang too.

Oh yeah, Leo Parker was really there. Chapter 3, I think :)

Dunno about Ernie Andrews. I haven't heard anything earlier than his GNP material. Did he have an impact in the late forties/early fifties or was he just getting going? You could say the same about Etta Jones - but her just getting going period had her substituting for Ella Johnson with the Buddy Johnson band when Ella was off pregnant, which is kind of important.

I also think there may be a need to include something about big bands in the sixties - Gerald Wilson, Lloyd Price, Onzy Matthews - others? Q Jones? Any thoughts?

MG

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This is a whole new scene to me but wouldn't Cannonball's "Mercy Mercy Me" and The Jazz Crusaders journey from Jazz to Funk feature fairly largely in the story of Soul Jazz?

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Steve started me thinking about what a book covering soul jazz history might look like. So I jotted down some ideas and pinched his title :D.

........

Comments?

MG

Why not write it yourself? :P

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Evidently there's been a deal to publish this book.  Don't know any details about when or by whom, but hopefully we'll see it in the next year or so.

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It's out.  Here's the press release:

Soul Jazz is a history of jazz and its reception in the black community in the period from the end of World War II until the end of the Vietnam War. Previous histories reflect the perspective of an integrated America, yet the United States was a segregated country in 1945. The black audience had a very different take on the music and that is the perception explored in Soul Jazz.
 

Bob Porter is a record producer, writer and broadcaster in the fields of Jazz and Blues.  He has worked for such prominent record labels a Prestige, Savoy and Atlantic.  He has produced more than 175 albums and several hundred reissues.  He has contributed to DownBeat, JazzTimes, Jazz Journal (London) and currently writes a book review column for the Journal of the International Association of Jazz Record Collectors.  He is a two-time Grammy winner, was awarded the Marion McPartland Award for Excellence in Jazz Broadcasting and is a member of the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame.  He currently is the host of three separate radio programs on WBGO Newark.


Available In The Following Formats From
 
Xlibris
 
E-Book
Softcover
Hardcover

 
http://bookstore.xlibris.com/Products/CategoryCenter/MUS!025/Jazz.aspx
 
Also Available From Amazon.com

 

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Both amazon.com and amazon.de quote a publishing date of 10 November 2016 but say it's temporarily unavailable.
So I am wondering when it will actually be for sale.

And at the list price quoted I am VERY wary of that virtual "half-price" offer by reseller "Superbooksdeals" listed on both sites. Sounds too good to be true (or realistic).

Would have been a very nice Christmas stocking stuffer but I have a hunch my (jazz) reading arrivals for Xmas will be plentiful anyway. ;)

 

 

Edited by Big Beat Steve

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5 hours ago, Big Beat Steve said:

 

And at the list price quoted I am VERY wary of that virtual "half-price" offer by reseller "Superbooksdeals" listed on both sites. Sounds too good to be true (or realistic).

 

 

 

Well I've jumped on the .com listing from that seller. <crosses fingers>.

This would go pretty close to the top of the stack of unread books, especially since Porter is not, to my knowledge, a professor of sociology or any other high-falutin' field that would make for tough sledding in a book like this.*

*Professor of Grease doesn't count. :g

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Amazon indicates this is now in stock.

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Supposed to be here Friday!

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4 hours ago, mjzee said:

Amazon indicates this is now in stock.

Not at amazon.de yet, unfortunately.

And that half-price offer via Superbooksdeals is no longer on amazon.de either. (BTW, @Dan Gould, did they confirm your order?)

But as a paperback copy from amazon.com would have been almost the same price (including shipping from the US) as a hardcover copy bought here, I pre-ordered the book anyway and will be keeping my fingers crossed they will get it in stock before long.

 

 

Edited by Big Beat Steve

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