Larry Kart

Ethan Iverson on "Whiplash," Buddy Rich

118 posts in this topic

pretty intense verbiage there.

Horace said that, not me. And I was responding to post #69, which brought up what Horace said but got the quote a bit wrong.

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I'm confused about the charge of racism. When I first started listening to jazz I often didn't know what colour the musicians were. What if you liked Buddy Rich and didn't know he was white? Are you still a racist?

(BTW I loved Terry Gross interview with Keith Jarrett where she asked him about his reactions charges that his music was a betrayal of his Black roots. She, like me, was floored to discover that he's a Caucasian. )

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I'm confused about the charge of racism. When I first started listening to jazz I often didn't know what colour the musicians were. What if you liked Buddy Rich and didn't know he was white? Are you still a racist?

(BTW I loved Terry Gross interview with Keith Jarrett where she asked him about his reactions charges that his music was a betrayal of his Black roots. She, like me, was floored to discover that he's a Caucasian. )

Then there was her Jackie McLean interview.

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I'm confused about the charge of racism. When I first started listening to jazz I often didn't know what colour the musicians were. What if you liked Buddy Rich and didn't know he was white? Are you still a racist?

(BTW I loved Terry Gross interview with Keith Jarrett where she asked him about his reactions charges that his music was a betrayal of his Black roots. She, like me, was floored to discover that he's a Caucasian. )

Then there was her Jackie McLean interview.

What happened there?

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I'm confused about the charge of racism. When I first started listening to jazz I often didn't know what colour the musicians were. What if you liked Buddy Rich and didn't know he was white? Are you still a racist?

(BTW I loved Terry Gross interview with Keith Jarrett where she asked him about his reactions charges that his music was a betrayal of his Black roots. She, like me, was floored to discover that he's a Caucasian. )

Then there was her Jackie McLean interview.

What happened there?

Just kidding -- bouncing off of the supposition some made from Prestige album covers in the '50s that Jackie was Caucasian.

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I'll never forget Horace Silver's characterization of a certain pianist as "He plays like a fuckin' faggot!"

There's something about the percussive touch, drive, and placement that pianists like Silver, OP of the 50s and 60s, Eddie Costa(!), and Phineas Newborn(!!) possessed, that just sends me into a type of profound rapture that nothing else comes close to.

I agree that OP could sound mechanical (by the late 70s, he literally became some type of horrible machine!), but on those rare instances when he didn't, and he was burning, it was a thing of joy.

This same criticism of glib virtuosity haunted the great Phineas Newborn to such an extent, that he wound up in Camarillo State for extended periods of time over those accusations, according to some accounts(!).

Silver didn't single out a specific pianist. Rather he said, in Down Beat in 1956, "I can't stand that faggot-type jazz," by which it was understand that he meant the predominant West Coast jazz style of the time.

As for Newborn, it's my understanding that he always was a psychologically fragile person, though the "mere virtuosity" putdowns of his playing probably didn't help.

I was getting that quote from his autobiography, "Let's Get To the Nitty Gritty". I'll have to check it to see if I got it wrong.

Newborn definitely had nervous system issues, but I've never heard his diagnosis. Those West Coast critics didn't help things out, though.

He's worthy of a biography.

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I'm wondering if Horace was hearing some WCJ with bassoon on it and was just being wry.

$(KGrHqZ,!qME88f7,knyBPVsLrEUyg~~60_57.J

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I'm confused about the charge of racism. When I first started listening to jazz I often didn't know what colour the musicians were. What if you liked Buddy Rich and didn't know he was white? Are you still a racist?

This should not be a point of contention anymore anywhere today anyway. And if it still is with some then everyone else should be entitled to shoud out loud: "Crow Jim!"

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I'll never forget Horace Silver's characterization of a certain pianist as "He plays like a fuckin' faggot!"

There's something about the percussive touch, drive, and placement that pianists like Silver, OP of the 50s and 60s, Eddie Costa(!), and Phineas Newborn(!!) possessed, that just sends me into a type of profound rapture that nothing else comes close to.

Silver didn't single out a specific pianist. Rather he said, in Down Beat in 1956, "I can't stand that faggot-type jazz," by which it was understOOd that he meant the predominant West Coast jazz style of the time.

pretty intense verbiage there.

Horace said that, not me. And I was responding to post #69, which brought up what Horace said but got the quote a bit wrong.

Talking about depth, if Horace Silve actually said that (referring to "West Coast Jazz" in one swoosh), then this shows a pretty evident lack of depth of musical perception. You certainly can fault SOME West coast Jazz for being "faggoty" - but that entire style? Musicians with open ears and minds ought to have known better. Anyway, by those "angry young men" hard bop standards there must have been "faggot" jazz from other coasts too. ;)

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I'll never forget Horace Silver's characterization of a certain pianist as "He plays like a fuckin' faggot!"

There's something about the percussive touch, drive, and placement that pianists like Silver, OP of the 50s and 60s, Eddie Costa(!), and Phineas Newborn(!!) possessed, that just sends me into a type of profound rapture that nothing else comes close to.

I agree that OP could sound mechanical (by the late 70s, he literally became some type of horrible machine!), but on those rare instances when he didn't, and he was burning, it was a thing of joy.

This same criticism of glib virtuosity haunted the great Phineas Newborn to such an extent, that he wound up in Camarillo State for extended periods of time over those accusations, according to some accounts(!).

Silver didn't single out a specific pianist. Rather he said, in Down Beat in 1956, "I can't stand that faggot-type jazz," by which it was understand that he meant the predominant West Coast jazz style of the time.

As for Newborn, it's my understanding that he always was a psychologically fragile person, though the "mere virtuosity" putdowns of his playing probably didn't help.

I was getting that quote from his autobiography, "Let's Get To the Nitty Gritty". I'll have to check it to see if I got it wrong.

Newborn definitely had nervous system issues, but I've never heard his diagnosis. Those West Coast critics didn't help things out, though.

He's worthy of a biography.

Horace remembered it one way in his autobiography written many years later, but the printed in DB back in 1956 quote was what he said, assuming that he was being quoted accurately. Not a huge difference between the two passages, I suppose, but the actual quote seems to me to have an extra edge of off-the-cuff disdain to it. Also, and most important perhaps, it wasn't aimed at a particular pianist but at an entire style.

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pretty intense verbiage there.

Horace said that, not me. And I was responding to post #69, which brought up what Horace said but got the quote a bit wrong.

Oh, I know that!

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I'll never forget Horace Silver's characterization of a certain pianist as "He plays like a fuckin' faggot!"

There's something about the percussive touch, drive, and placement that pianists like Silver, OP of the 50s and 60s, Eddie Costa(!), and Phineas Newborn(!!) possessed, that just sends me into a type of profound rapture that nothing else comes close to.

I agree that OP could sound mechanical (by the late 70s, he literally became some type of horrible machine!), but on those rare instances when he didn't, and he was burning, it was a thing of joy.

This same criticism of glib virtuosity haunted the great Phineas Newborn to such an extent, that he wound up in Camarillo State for extended periods of time over those accusations, according to some accounts(!).

Silver didn't single out a specific pianist. Rather he said, in Down Beat in 1956, "I can't stand that faggot-type jazz," by which it was understand that he meant the predominant West Coast jazz style of the time.

As for Newborn, it's my understanding that he always was a psychologically fragile person, though the "mere virtuosity" putdowns of his playing probably didn't help.

I was getting that quote from his autobiography, "Let's Get To the Nitty Gritty". I'll have to check it to see if I got it wrong.

Newborn definitely had nervous system issues, but I've never heard his diagnosis. Those West Coast critics didn't help things out, though.

He's worthy of a biography.

As for those criticisms of Newborn for being too flashy or too indebted to Tatum and what all, I don't recall that they came from West Coast-based critics at all -- if so, they certainly weren't criticizing Newborn from any "West Coast Jazz is the thing" perspective; there was little or nothing about Newborn's playing that was akin to the styles of either coast -- but, IIRC, from guys like John S. Wilson of the NY Times and, maybe even, -- oh, the horror! -- Nat Hentoff. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if Nat hadn't compared Newborn unfavorably to that earthy unflashy paragon .... Horace Silver.

BTW, whatever happened to Adam Makowicz, who in the '70s received much the same response that Newborn reived in the late '50s? Interestingly, one of Makowicz's chief critical advocates was the typically stern and insightful Max Harrison.

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I'll never forget Horace Silver's characterization of a certain pianist as "He plays like a fuckin' faggot!"

There's something about the percussive touch, drive, and placement that pianists like Silver, OP of the 50s and 60s, Eddie Costa(!), and Phineas Newborn(!!) possessed, that just sends me into a type of profound rapture that nothing else comes close to.

I agree that OP could sound mechanical (by the late 70s, he literally became some type of horrible machine!), but on those rare instances when he didn't, and he was burning, it was a thing of joy.

This same criticism of glib virtuosity haunted the great Phineas Newborn to such an extent, that he wound up in Camarillo State for extended periods of time over those accusations, according to some accounts(!).

Silver didn't single out a specific pianist. Rather he said, in Down Beat in 1956, "I can't stand that faggot-type jazz," by which it was understand that he meant the predominant West Coast jazz style of the time.

As for Newborn, it's my understanding that he always was a psychologically fragile person, though the "mere virtuosity" putdowns of his playing probably didn't help.

I was getting that quote from his autobiography, "Let's Get To the Nitty Gritty". I'll have to check it to see if I got it wrong.

Newborn definitely had nervous system issues, but I've never heard his diagnosis. Those West Coast critics didn't help things out, though.

He's worthy of a biography.

As for those criticisms of Newborn for being too flashy or too indebted to Tatum and what all, I don't recall that they came from West Coast-based critics at all -- if so, they certainly weren't criticizing Newborn from any "West Coast Jazz is the thing" perspective; there was little or nothing about Newborn's playing that was akin to the styles of either coast -- but, IIRC, from guys like John S. Wilson of the NY Times and, maybe even, -- oh, the horror! -- Nat Hentoff. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if Nat hadn't compared Newborn unfavorably to that earthy unflashy paragon .... Horace Silver.

BTW, whatever happened to Adam Makowicz, who in the '70s received much the same response that Newborn reived in the late '50s? Interestingly, one of Makowicz's chief critical advocates was the typically stern and insightful Max Harrison.

I got it from here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phineas_Newborn,_Jr.

It said that it happened when he moved to LA, but it said 'some critics' so i was wrong to assume that that it was West Coast critics.

Good proofreading/fact checking Larry; you might want to consider working for a newspaper. :rofl:

I was inspired to read the 1959 DB article on OP after reading what Allen said about Dick Katz' statement that OP had facility- not technique.

Some of the article was about OP criticizing other pianists; specifically Horace (too linear), Ahmad Jamal (only uses abstract 'singing' lines) and Errol Garner (He's a stylist, we'll never hear what he would've sounded like if he had studied). He said it was too early to judge Bill Evans.

He was criticizing just about all the pianists of that time for not playing the whole piano.

Oscar had studied piano technique in depth, and played all the classics, so I don't know about the validity of Katz' critique.

OP details his heavy debt to Tatum, but criticizes Tatum for not fitting into a trio situation (overplaying) as well as he did.

Hentoff was inspired by the sad demise of Newborn to set up a fund for jazz musicians (mentioned in the Wiki article above) with his issues.

There's a very creepy video of one of Newborn's last solo performances. He turns around and stares at the audience after every phrase he plays... :huh:

I was surprised to find that Newborn played on what is considered by some as the first rock and/or roll record, "Rocket 88" , or at least played on the tour that supported the record. Ike turner is credited on the record.

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I recall an extremely long biographical essay in the late '80s that was published in one of the Village Voice quarterly jazz supplements. It was by Stanley Booth (I think) and it went deep into Newborn's family history and mental issues and the like. I don't recall any details but at the time I think was disappointed that there wasn't more in the piece about his jazz recordings, concept, etc. I probably have it in my clip files. I have no idea if it was ever reprinted but hard for me to imagine that it didn't show up somewhere. Under deadline gun so no time to research ...

Edited by Mark Stryker

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I was surprised to find that Newborn played on what is considered by some as the first rock and/or roll record, "Rocket 88" , or at least played on the tour that supported the record. Ike turner is credited on the record.

FWIW, Phineas Newborn was indeed not on the "Rocket 88" session (so the Sun discographies say) but at the time that record hit the shops he recorded with B.B. King (including on King's "She's Dynamite") at the Sun studios and later that year (1951) was on Brenston's follow-up record "Tuckered Out").

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Here's two performances of Lush Life by Newborn.

The first in 1961 or 1962:

The second in 1989:

Edited by sgcim

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I actually have a Howlin' Wolf record from Memphis in the '50s with an intro which is so boppish it HAS to be Newborn,

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I recall an extremely long biographical essay in the late '80s that was published in one of the Village Voice quarterly jazz supplements. It was by Stanley Booth (I think) and it went deep into Newborn's family history and mental issues and the like. I don't recall any details but at the time I think was disappointed that there wasn't more in the piece about his jazz recordings, concept, etc. I probably have it in my clip files. I have no idea if it was ever reprinted but hard for me to imagine that it didn't show up somewhere. Under deadline gun so no time to research ...

There's an essay on Phineas Newborn Jr. in Stanley Booth's Rhthm Oil. It's been years since I read the book and I no longer have it, but here are a couple of links:

http://www.amazon.com/Rythm-Oil-Journey-Through-American/dp/0306809796

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/291643.Rythm_Oil

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I really like some of Newborn's recordings a lot; the only ones that didn't do much for me were the RCA-Victor sessions. But I should probably revisit them with open ears sometime.

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The whole Newborn family were deeply intwined in Memphis music, some of the early Stax guys worked with Phineas Sr.

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the brother, guitarist, Calvin Newborn, is still active, I believe.

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I bought one of Calvin's CDs hoping to hear a guitar equivalent of his brother, but that wasn't the case at all.

I don't know what's going on with the Phineas lineage, but there's a Phineas Newborn III who's a Hollywood actor.

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Speaking of representations of jazz and documentaries, has there been any discussion on this board of Keep On Keepin' On? I've seen only clips, not the entire film.

I'm bumping this one to respond to this query. I just saw "Keep on Keepin' On," and besides the fact that it had me in tears half the time, what struck me was that this film is the almost perfect "anti-Whiplash." In the great Clark Terry, we see a master teacher and mentor who loves his students, works hard with them, encourages them and thereby makes them find whatever greatness is in them. He does not torture them or abuse them or cheat them, and the music comes out of this particular film as an act of creativity, love, and genius. His students come out of the experience of working with him unbelievably better musicians AND human beings than they were when they started. Certainly, the movie has its maudlin moments, but it sure makes a great antidote for the sterile, mean, regimented view of the music in the *very* fictional "Whiplash."

gregmo

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