mikeweil

Which jazz book are you reading right now?

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Posted (edited)

Biographies, autobiographies, documentaries, whatever ....

I took Pony Poindexter's memoirs out once again, and I am astounded/delighted what a difference thirty years of listening and reading make!

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Edited by mikeweil

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I'm re-reading Donald Maggin's biography of Dizzy Gillespie.

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Recently finished. Wonderful on humorous anecdotes.

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2 hours ago, BillF said:

51ZqB-XkqNL._SX346_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

Recently finished. Wonderful on humorous anecdotes.

+1

This was my summer holiday lecture a couple of years ago. Excellent! ("El foggo" - heehee! :D)

 

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I've had this for some time..I really enjoy Gioia's writing but here the small print is a bit hard on my old eyes so it's slow going.

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images?q=tbn:ANd9GcThLDAmK6qtBgpdA50yfql

Read recently. Excellent. Recommended.

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I have the Mel Lewis on my Kindle, but have yet to finish it. I second the recommendation.

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Posted (edited)

On 8/3/2018 at 4:00 AM, BillF said:

51ZqB-XkqNL._SX346_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

Recently finished. Wonderful on humorous anecdotes.

I purchased a copy last spring after doing a phone interview with Terry Gibbs. He may be retired but he was still full of energy and with lots of great stories and lots of laughs. I highly recommend it!

I just finished Fred Hersch's autobiography. Even after viewing Coma Dreams, his description of his induced coma and rehabilitation therapy afterward is gut-wrenching. 

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Edited by Ken Dryden

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6 hours ago, BillF said:

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Read recently. Excellent. Recommended.

A good one.

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Recently finished reading this. She led a pretty amazing life - not all of it good. Although born into extreme wealth it was a very dysfunctional family, which is what most of the first half of the book covers. After that it gets into her life in NYC and associations with Monk and other jazz icons of the day.

The Baroness: The Search for Nica, the Rebellious Rothschild by [Rothschild, Hannah]

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2 hours ago, BFrank said:

Recently finished reading this. She led a pretty amazing life - not all of it good. Although born into extreme wealth it was a very dysfunctional family, which is what most of the first half of the book covers. After that it gets into her life in NYC and associations with Monk and other jazz icons of the day.

The Baroness: The Search for Nica, the Rebellious Rothschild by [Rothschild, Hannah]

The BBC did a documentary by Hannah Rothschild covering this story. I think it is on Youtube.

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Posted (edited)

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I'm finishing up The Worlds of Jazz, Andre Hodeir's third and final book about the music. His first two were severe and uncompromising, but involved conventional criticism. This one is one of the strangest books ever written about jazz. I've read parts of it over the years, but finally decided to read it cover to cover. Hodeir puts forth solid ideas, and sometimes presents all sides of an issue (e.g.: What is a jazz composer?). But instead of straightforward critical writing, he presents his concepts in the form of fables, science fiction, lectures by fictitious professors, sermons, a play, etc. My favorite chapter is "Outside the Capsule," which I have read several times over the years. At some point far in the future, archeologists find a copy of Miles Davis' Bags' Groove LP, and painstakingly analyze the portion of the record that is still playable - Monk's solo on the title tune. Only our future researchers decide that the main musical/ritual thread in the music is the walking bass line, which they incorrectly analyze and interpret at great length. It's a nice, weird little parable about jazz criticism.

 

Edited by jeffcrom

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22 hours ago, sidewinder said:

The BBC did a documentary by Hannah Rothschild covering this story. I think it is on Youtube.

Thanks - will look for it!

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Posted (edited)

11 hours ago, Captain Howdy said:

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Any comments, opinions? What are your impressions of the book? ;)

The subject is an interesting and rewarding one, though it's been covered before and from many angles (paging Allen Lowe ... ;) , not to mention the writings by Nick Tosches, Jim Dawson & Steve Propes, Ed Ward a.o.). So i wonder if this one offers something SUBSTANTIALLY new or an original approach to the subject matter compared to other publications. The info on Amazon (including the reviews) unfortunately is mostly sales blurb and reads as if those commenters who are awestruck by the contents are part of those who are totally clueless about the subject.

Edited by Big Beat Steve

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On 8/4/2018 at 6:50 PM, ghost of miles said:

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Looks like a title I need to pick up!

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Posted (edited)

17 hours ago, jeffcrom said:

51b-INg-K1L._SL300_.jpg

I'm finishing up The Worlds of Jazz, Andre Hodeir's third and final book about the music. His first two were severe and uncompromising, but involved conventional criticism. This one is one of the strangest books ever written about jazz. I've read parts of it over the years, but finally decided to read it cover to cover. Hodeir puts forth solid ideas, and sometimes presents all sides of an issue (e.g.: What is a jazz composer?). But instead of straightforward critical writing, he presents his concepts in the form of fables, science fiction, lectures by fictitious professors, sermons, a play, etc. My favorite chapter is "Outside the Capsule," which I have read several times over the years. At some point far in the future, archeologists find a copy of Miles Davis' Bags' Groove LP, and painstakingly analyze the portion of the record that is still playable - Monk's solo on the title tune. Only our future researchers decide that the main musical/ritual thread in the music is the walking bass line, which they incorrectly analyze and interpret at great length. It's a nice, weird little parable about jazz criticism.

 

I've pretty much given up reading books on music and music criticism, but this one sounds as if it might be both interesting and fun.

Edited by paul secor

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Posted (edited)

3 hours ago, paul secor said:

I've pretty much given up reading books an music and music criticism, but this one sounds as if it might be both interesting and fun.

From what I've read of him and about him elsewhere Hodeir had a tendency of being overly, really overly "scholarly", stifling the music (yes, and its "essence" - pun intended ;)) in the process. So this one sounds like he loosened up a little at last. Might indeed be interesting.

Edited by Big Beat Steve

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9 hours ago, paul secor said:

I've pretty much given up reading books on music and music criticism, but this one sounds as if it might be both interesting and fun.

Well, it's certainly interesting. Fun only in spots for me. It's still Hodeir, and the writing is pretty dense. His sense of humor comes through at times, but even though it's "fictionalized" jazz criticism, I still found it pretty hard reading much of the time.

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I've often wondered how much of the "sternness" is from the translation. I mean, I read Evolution & Essence pretty early on and found it joylessly accurate, which is one of those things that kind of leaves you feeling warned about going back there again. I've kept it, and my cheap paperback has fallen apart, but not from use, jsut from it being a cheap paperback in general.

But does he read like that in French? And has anybody ever hear him just conversing? If he was just a jovial, bubbly kind of effervescent kind of dude, then that's a whole other ballgame. But was he? I mean, I can see that going either way.

And who, by god, were his translates for his English releases?

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17 hours ago, Big Beat Steve said:

Any comments, opinions? What are your impressions of the book? ;)

The subject is an interesting and rewarding one, though it's been covered before and from many angles (paging Allen Lowe ... ;) , not to mention the writings by by nick Tosches, Jim Dawson & Steve Propes, Ed Ward a.o.). So i wonder if this one offers somethign SUBASTANTIALLY new or an original approach to the subject matter compared to other publications. The info on Amazon (including the reviews) unfortunately is mostly sales blurb.

I first read it a while ago, so my memory is fuzzy. Now I'm just re-reading a few chapters. If you're interested in his thesis you can read the Introduction at Google Books. I'm not particularly interested in the history of rock 'n' roll aspect. There's a long chapter ("Good Rockin' Tonight") that's basically a survey of pre-Elvis R&B acts and that's what I re-read. If you've read Arnold Shaw's Honkers and Shouters or something like that you probably won't learn anything new. I also re-read "Jumpin' Jive" which is basically a look at proto-R&B. He gives a lot of consideration to country music which tbh I skipped over. Birnbaum does seem very knowledgeable (although I'm not in a position to fact check any of his statements) and he's able to speak technically about the music, e.g. "in October [The Treniers] cut 'Rockin' Is Our Bizness', a reworded take on Jimmie Lunceford's 1935 smash 'Rhythm Is Our Business' fitted with a backbeat and boogie bassline, plus a squealing saxophone solo in the manner of Illinois Jacquet on 'Blues No. 2'." 

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