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Hardbopjazz

Whom do you think did the best linner notes?

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I have to add Phil Schapp to the list, even though he is better known as a jazz historian. I like the work he did on the Bird Verve box set.

My boss and I used to listen to Phil on the radio (WKCR).

We'd make fun of his absolutely comprehensive style:

And now we have a 32-second false start of "I Never Knew." This take started a brief time after Buddy Rich came back to the studio bringing pizza, and even in this very brief snippet you can hear, by his even-for-him-tentative attack, that Lester Young has burned the roof of his mouth, and Buddy apparently failed to wipe his hands, as one of his drumsticks can clearly be heard hitting the floor just 10 seconds into the take.

[music]

Let's hear that one again!

--eric

Edited by WNMC

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My favorite jazz fiction writers, Phil Schaap and Orrin Keepnews--You know how to pick 'em, HBJ! :g:g:g

Actually, I'm beginning to wonder if this isn't Heaney in a Burkha. The choices, the bad spelling--it all fits. Curious to know how he feels about LC's boy wonder? :w

Edited by Christiern

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Thanks, JohnS, Jim S., and B-3er (from the "Nessa spam" thread) -- writing those "All Music" notes back then was almost as exciting as listening to the music being made, under intermittently stressful conditions (as I've been reminded and to some extent recall) that finally yielded glorious results (am sure I've never heard time float like it does on "317 E. 32nd").

Of other notes I've done, I'm happiest about the longish ones for the Mosaic Tristano-Konitz-Marsh set, the recent reissue of "Filles de Kilimanjaro" (with an assist by Jim S.), and the notes for a 1972 reissue of Rollins' "Worktime" that I still think say something fairly novel and useful about his music. All of them, and a whole lot of other stuff, will be in my (ahem) forthcoming book "Jazz In Search of Itself," due in fall 2004 from Yale U. Press (about the same time Dan's tome will arrive -- I told him we should set up a dual book-signing tour).

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Larry, by coincidence I was listening to a double CD set last night called 'Historically Speaking' by the Clarke-Boland Big Band. This is a German release and as part of the lengthy notes are various reviews including a very informative one by yourself from Downbeat. I look forward to the book.

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JohnJ -- For some reason I don't recall right now, that Clarke-Boland review didn't make it into the book, maybe because some of the thoughts I had there were recycled a bit in a late-'90s piece about the Jim McNeely-Vanguard Orchestra album "Lickety Split." Also, forgot to say thanks to Paul Secor.

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Herb Wong's are a good read, Mingus' wrote some far-out shit, and Keepnews. Albertson, too. :tup

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Michael Brooks wrote some nice liner notes too.

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How about Jon W. Poses? I am a bit biased because I know him, but he writes good liner notes.

I read all the liner notes when I get new CDs. They are sometimes difficult to read (or understand) since English is my second language. However, Ira Gitler's writing is very readable and flows very well in my opinion. He is one of my favorites.

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I like Benny Green's Pablo notes too. The guy is a veritable gusher of gush, and he does like his verbiage, but he strikes me as totally sincere and not a little musically astute.

Don´t know much about the gush or Bush thing ;) but I did enjoy his liner notes for the Art Tatum Complete Group Masterpieces!

So did I!

Other favorites might be Cecil Taylor and Brad Mehldau ;)

ubu

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Now seriously - the names that popped up first were some of the usual suspects: Ira Gitler, Dan Morgenstern, Nat Hentoff.

Cecil can be interesting (as can be Mehldau, methinks), but very hard to understand.

Others I like: Bob Porter, Larry Kart, John Litweiler, sometimes Leonard Feather, Brian Priestly.

Never a fan of Orrin K, I think Chris A's remark hits the spot (and he certainly knows, anyway).

ubu

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I've enjoyed several good ones over the years. Favorites include Leonard Feather, Nat Hentoff, Dan Morgenstern (well described above as being like a very knowledgeable friend), Stanley Dance (on occasion), Ira Gitler, Martin Williams, Robert Levin, ...

That's a good point about the late 60s Prestige LP note writers. I had a lot of those LPs, and the notes were excellent. Mark Gardner did some good ones. (He also issued some LPs of live Bird at about that time.)

Bill Kirchner did a fine job for the new Mulligan Mosaic, and I hope he does the notes for the upcoming Jazztet set.

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I like the notes John Zorn did for one of the John Patton rare grooves (either 'Boogaloo' or 'Memphis to New York Spirit', can't recall which). Those notes were written with real affection and a fair degree of insight.

Edited by sidewinder

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Among the worst self-indulgent crap:

Anything by Joel Dorn

Ralph J. Gleason for Bitches Brew.

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I have to add Joe Goldberg to the top of my list. Good notes on Mobley's Soul Station and Coltrane's Lush Life.

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Loren Schoenberg, Keepnews, Morgenstern,(Did his daughter Rhoda ever write any?) and as mentioned before, Michael Brooks. He gets a bit flowery, but I really like it....On the Bing Crosby set the Columbia Years. Lawd, You Made the Night Too Long.....Another great rarity, and I salute the American public for helping it reach that status. You have 5:21 to fix yourself a drink.

On the Track Love me Tonight. Frankie Trumbauer, whose C-Melody Sax waves a discreet sensualilty around the record, encasing the whole thing in the sheerest satin lingerie. And on the track It's Within Your Power. Jimmy Dorsey, a sadly underrated figure in jazz history, shine briefly, his tone as pure and clear as a fawn bathing in a mountain stream :excited:

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Reading Chris Sheridan´s absolutely fantastic (IMHO) liner notes for Tete Montoliu´s "Tête à Tete" for Steeplechase (1976), I wonder if he did many others.

I´d be interested in picking those discs, if only for his descriptions! :)

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les paul told me he wrote the liner notes for charlie christian's first album. i never tried to check this to see if it was true.

i noticed that chris wrote the liner notes for columbia's charlie christian, the genius of the electric guitar, so maybe he can shed some light on the veracity of this claim. B-)

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I can't verify that, but there is no reason to believe that Les Paul was not remembering correctly. He played jazz, he was highly plugged in, and he was quite hot at the time--obvious choice, I would say. :g

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Reading Chris Sheridan´s absolutely fantastic (IMHO) liner notes for Tete Montoliu´s "Tête à Tete" for Steeplechase (1976), I wonder if he did many others.

I´d be interested in picking those discs, if only for his descriptions! :)

Chris Sheridan wrote the notes to both Mosaic Count Basie Complete Roulette Live Recordings and the Complete Roulette Studio Recordings. But I'm pretty sure, you already got these...

He wrote a number of liner notes for Steeplechase including Walt Dickerson's 'Serendipity'

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Sheridan wrote the notes to Von Freeman's "Serenade and Blues".

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i thoroughly enjoy reading paul desmond's witty musings on his own recordings. i'm not sure if all of these quotes come from liner notes, but here are some gems:

“I think I had it in the back of my mind that I wanted to sound like a dry martini.”

“I have won several prizes as the world’s slowest alto player, as well as a special award in 1961 for quietness.”

“I was unfashionable before anyone knew who I was.”

“I tried practicing for a few weeks and ended up playing too fast.”

“Writing is like jazz. It can be learned, but it can’t be taught.”

“Our basic audience begins with creaking elderly types of twenty-three and above.”

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There were a lot that I enjoyed, but first would have to be Leonard Feather. I often learned something about the music when I read his notes.

Tom

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John Litweiler's notes to Ben Webster's "Did You Call?" (Nessa) may be the best he ever did, which makes them among the best, period. Intellect, soul, wisdom -- the whole package.

I'll always have a soft spot for J.B. Figi's notes to Roscoe Mitchell's "Sound" (Delmark). Poetic, precise, and right on the mark right out of the box -- when that music was brand-new.

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Besides many of writers heralded above I would like to mention Robert Farris Thompson, who wrote some very informative and knowledgeable liner notes to Fantasy Latin music LPs.

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Reading Chris Sheridan´s absolutely fantastic (IMHO) liner notes for Tete Montoliu´s "Tête à Tete" for Steeplechase (1976), I wonder if he did many others.

I´d be interested in picking those discs, if only for his descriptions!  :)

Chris Sheridan wrote the notes to both Mosaic Count Basie Complete Roulette Live Recordings and the Complete Roulette Studio Recordings. But I'm pretty sure, you already got these...

Yep! But only CD-R thanks to a member of this board, long after these sets went OOP! And no booklets... :mellow:

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