mikeweil

Which jazz book are you reading right now?

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Posted (edited)

Reading this book now, and I'm enjoying it very much:

41jSSzsJAjL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

 

I want to keep digging, so I also just ordered this book:

519MSFB6D7L._SX321_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

 

Edited by HutchFan

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Posted (edited)

On 3/22/2021 at 9:26 PM, GA Russell said:

Jeru's Journey : The Life & Music of Gerry Mulligan - Walmart.com -  Walmart.com

Sanford Josephson’s book is excellent, Klinkowitz's, not so much. I discussed the shortcomings of the latter with Mulligan in a phone interview, he was not happy about the book. The author made some dumb assumptions without bothering to get in touch with Mulligan.

 

Edited by Ken Dryden
typos

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Not strictly jazz, but it's about creativity and there's a lot of jazz in here

Creative Quest by [Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson]

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Bought this one some time ago and am gradually reading my way through it. Interesting from the wider angle the author adopts.

41249417dx.jpg

While doing an online research on one or two of the sources mentioned in the bibliography I also came across those two items below and found them tempting enough to my interests to pull the trigger:

41249418xp.jpg

41249419xd.jpg

So all these will probably keep me busy for quite a while, particularly since they are no easy reads (though - at least "in my book" and as far as I can see, "easier" than Tom Perchard's "After Django).
And right now my musical reading alternates between "Making Jazz French" and the end of Vol. 1 to be folowed by Vol. 2 of Allen Lowe's "Turn Me Loose White Man" anyway (which I find extremely interesting and informative but challenging too).
For some lighter reading in between, I still have to continue and finish Dany Barker's autobiography ("A Life in Jazz") from the lot of secondhand books I scored in early January.

 

 

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anita.jpg

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As a Mingus fan, a must.

But somehow, Santoro´s writing style is a bit strange.

He repeats phrases very very often.

For example:
"He was his father´s son"
"He was feeling the zeitgeist again"
"He was closing circles everywhere"

you can read this and other´s dozens of times......

Herunterladen.jpg

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Weak ... considering there are sites that claim he is an "acclaimed music critic". And a "Fulbright scholar" too.  Strange ...
His "Highway 61" book (that I just discovered trying to find out what his actual credentials are) has an interesting topic but I guess Id rather read it done by Allen Lowe, then. ;)

 

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On 28/05/2021 at 7:43 PM, gmonahan said:

anita.jpg

Never read it but renowned as being up there with the Hampton Hawes autobiography as a brilliant and harrowing read.

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37 minutes ago, sidewinder said:

Never read it but renowned as being up there with the Hampton Hawes autobiography as a brilliant and harrowing read.

Certainly readable, but not in the same class as the Hampton Hawes IMHO.

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16 hours ago, Big Beat Steve said:

Weak ... considering there are sites that claim he is an "acclaimed music critic". And a "Fulbright scholar" too.  Strange ...
His "Highway 61" book (that I just discovered trying to find out what his actual credentials are) has an interesting topic but I guess Id rather read it done by Allen Lowe, then. ;)

 

So I´m not the only person who thinks it´s not the best writing

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I have not read that book. But the examples that you gave should not have happened in that way (because I guess you certainly did not expressly search for such details - so they must have been fairly blatant if you stumbled across them anyway). And judging by what I have read and seen elsewhere in books I had expected to be better or more fluent I can imagine the impression these things make.
That's what I based my comments on.

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On 20.7.2021 at 9:38 AM, Big Beat Steve said:

I have not read that book. But the examples that you gave should not have happened in that way (because I guess you certainly did not expressly search for such details - so they must have been fairly blatant if you stumbled across them anyway). And judging by what I have read and seen elsewhere in books I had expected to be better or more fluent I can imagine the impression these things make.
That's what I based my comments on.

you are right, I was not searching for those detail, they stumbled across them all the time...

I just read the most part of it and come towards the end. He describes the last European Tour and another strange thing is, he always writes how much money he made (in dollars and cents !!!!!) , how much taxes he paid and so on. As if he was the one who made Mingus´  (don´t know the english word for contabilitate or in german Buchhaltung) financial and tax affairs...., I don´t know if this stuff is interesting for Mingus fans, who want to learn more secrets about his music and so....

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Considering what he has done and written (according to the WWW) it is amazing that these stylistic lapses should have happened to him. Careless writing, sloppy editing/proofreading or a case of being stuck in a writer's "can do no wrong" bubble, I wonder?
Re- Mingus' financial matters, I think the word you are looking for is "accountant". Some of these financial aspects may be important in an artist's bio (cf. Woody Herman's later days, and probably Bobby Hackett too). As for Mingus, i don't know. But some people (writers included, possibly?) may attach more importance to financial matters than others ... In the case of Santoro, maybe his own background (as found on the internet) goes toward explaining it? "Growing up in a two-room basement apartment in Brooklyn, Gene Santoro didn't know people like him could become writers--never mind make a living at it ..." :mellow:

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4 hours ago, Gheorghe said:

As if he was the one who made Mingus´  (don´t know the english word for contabilitate or in german Buchhaltung) financial and tax affairs...., I don´t know if this stuff is interesting for Mingus fans, who want to learn more secrets about his music and so....

 

3 hours ago, Big Beat Steve said:

Considering what he has done and written (according to the WWW) it is amazing that these stylistic lapses should have happened to him. Careless writing, sloppy editing/proofreading or a case of being stuck in a writer's "can do no wrong" bubble, I wonder?
Re- Mingus' financial matters, I think the word you are looking for is "accountant". Some of these financial aspects may be important in an artist's bio (cf. Woody Herman's later days, and probably Bobby Hackett too). As for Mingus, i don't know. But some people (writers included, possibly?) may attach more importance to financial matters than others ... In the case of Santoro, maybe his own background (as found on the internet) goes toward explaining it? "Growing up in a two-room basement apartment in Brooklyn, Gene Santoro didn't know people like him could become writers--never mind make a living at it ..." :mellow:

I think financial matters are important, but they also should be woven into the story to support the overarching theme/narrative. Just throwing out figures isn't interesting. The subsequent effects of those earnings (or lack thereof) on the artist and their band and perhaps the related motivations these finances provided help tell the whole story. 

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I liked the Santoro book quite a bit. It's quirky, to be sure. But it tells the story quite well, imo.

As for fees and such...if the guy was getting paid better than ever, that is relevant, because it shows that somebody who was getting evicted a decade past had become a worldwide draw, and showing it in tangible, not abstract terms. "Everybody loved Mingus", well yeah. But how much money did that love actually bring in? Because as the old folks say, you can't live on love. 

So, money, yes. That's very much part of this story.

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15 hours ago, JSngry said:

I liked the Santoro book quite a bit. It's quirky, to be sure. But it tells the story quite well, imo.

As for fees and such...if the guy was getting paid better than ever, that is relevant, because it shows that somebody who was getting evicted a decade past had become a worldwide draw, and showing it in tangible, not abstract terms. "Everybody loved Mingus", well yeah. But how much money did that love actually bring in? Because as the old folks say, you can't live on love. 

So, money, yes. That's very much part of this story.

Okay, from that point of view I understand it. And yeah, the Mingus I saw in 76/77 must have been paid better than ever, and his "Three or Four Shades of Blues" sold very well. So of course, as a person who loves Mingus, I´m glad that he made much money. 
But as a reading experience, and I have many jazz books, it was strange for me to read it so much into details that I think it might be interesting for an accountant (thank you Big Beat Steve !) .

Maybe my own attitude explains this, since I never talk about money to else people than the guys from the autority for financial affairs and taxes. It´s their job, they get paid for it...

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I think it would be a big deal that Mingus went from being put out on the street to being a reasonably lucrative draw, especially  after that Atlantic record with the guitar players that put him into another tier of earning potential altogether.

Or are career considerations not relevant to musicians, just to their accountants and managers? That's how people get screwed and their biographies are sad stories about never making any money. I'm perfectly happy to be able to read a different type of story.

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6 hours ago, JSngry said:

I think it would be a big deal that Mingus went from being put out on the street to being a reasonably lucrative draw, especially  after that Atlantic record with the guitar players that put him into another tier of earning potential altogether.

I didn't know that. (I do remember him stating after the release of Tijuana Moods that RCA was the first label to have paid him any royalties. ) How well did 3 or 4 Shades do commercially? 

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2 hours ago, medjuck said:

I didn't know that. (I do remember him stating after the release of Tijuana Moods that RCA was the first label to have paid him any royalties. ) How well did 3 or 4 Shades do commercially? 

per: https://blogs.loc.gov/music/2021/02/whats-old-is-new-welcoming-four-scores-by-charles-mingus/

Mingus responded negatively to the Three or Four Shades of Blues LP but listeners loved it; the album sold 50,000 copies in just two months.[1]

per: https://jonimitchell.com/library/view.cfm?id=1379

Mingus saw the public beginning to catch up with his genius precisely at the moment of his physical decline. In 1977, his album Three Or Four Shades Of Blue sold 50,000 copies, the first of his records to come close to that figure. His last few years of performing were attended by the most enthusiastic audiences of his career (including a full, 9,000-seat house at the 1976 Berkeley Jazz Festival); last year, he was given a standing ovation at a jazz festival staged on the White House lawn, and an all-star big hand played his music to several thousand people at the Newport Jazz Festival in Saratoga. During his life, Mingus was all but ignored by the major press. When he died, his obituary appeared on the front page of the New York Times, while Rolling Stone, a publication which has been jazz-conscious only to the degree to which jazz brings in ad revenue, noted Mingus' passing with a black border on the cover.

The anecdote was that Mingus was bitching at Nesuhi Ertegun for making him make a goddam rock and roll record (or something like that), but the next time they met, Mingus had on a big/new Rolex and was all happy about it.

So yeah, in and of itself, fees on the upswing not important in and of itself, but as an indicator of rapidly increasing fortune (no pun intended) and what a blow it was for him to have gone pretty much his entire career making, at best, "jazz money" and then, BAM, it's totally relevant to the overall arc of the Mingus story.

Imagine what fees he could have commanded if he had lived through the Joni Mitchell record...he was crossing over in a way that was only really possible in the 70s. You gotta think that for a guy who thrived on attention and the rewards that came with it, this was really going to be a happy ending...until it wasn't.

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8 hours ago, JSngry said:

per: https://blogs.loc.gov/music/2021/02/whats-old-is-new-welcoming-four-scores-by-charles-mingus/

Mingus responded negatively to the Three or Four Shades of Blues LP but listeners loved it; the album sold 50,000 copies in just two months.[1]

per: https://jonimitchell.com/library/view.cfm?id=1379

Mingus saw the public beginning to catch up with his genius precisely at the moment of his physical decline. In 1977, his album Three Or Four Shades Of Blue sold 50,000 copies, the first of his records to come close to that figure. His last few years of performing were attended by the most enthusiastic audiences of his career (including a full, 9,000-seat house at the 1976 Berkeley Jazz Festival); last year, he was given a standing ovation at a jazz festival staged on the White House lawn, and an all-star big hand played his music to several thousand people at the Newport Jazz Festival in Saratoga. During his life, Mingus was all but ignored by the major press. When he died, his obituary appeared on the front page of the New York Times, while Rolling Stone, a publication which has been jazz-conscious only to the degree to which jazz brings in ad revenue, noted Mingus' passing with a black border on the cover.

The anecdote was that Mingus was bitching at Nesuhi Ertegun for making him make a goddam rock and roll record (or something like that), but the next time they met, Mingus had on a big/new Rolex and was all happy about it.

So yeah, in and of itself, fees on the upswing not important in and of itself, but as an indicator of rapidly increasing fortune (no pun intended) and what a blow it was for him to have gone pretty much his entire career making, at best, "jazz money" and then, BAM, it's totally relevant to the overall arc of the Mingus story.

Imagine what fees he could have commanded if he had lived through the Joni Mitchell record...he was crossing over in a way that was only really possible in the 70s. You gotta think that for a guy who thrived on attention and the rewards that came with it, this was really going to be a happy ending...until it wasn't.

Yes, Atlantic´s demand to add fusion guitarists, and Mingus´ first responded negatively. 


Nevertheless, on his 1977 tours he used only his core quintet and played material from "Three or Four Shades of Blues" and "Cumbia".


But it would have gone further into fusion.
We already had the scheduled tour with the fusion guitarists Larry Coryell etc for late Nov. 1977 in some German towns and wanted to travel to Germany (Dortmund I think). It was advertised in "Jazz Podium", and then the big disappointment that it was chancelled. 

And Atlantic´s next project would have been a meeting of Mingus with co-Atlantic artist Stanley Clark. 
I think, Mingus again had the same doubts, But it might have been interesting, since Clark really can play everything from straight ahead to funk. 

I have read in the footnotes of some books, that Mingus did some interviews with Jay Arnold Smith for Downbeat in 1977/78 were he also refers to that project with Stanley Clark, but since I became a DownBeat subscriber only from 1979 on, I really miss that. Maybe anyone can post it here ?????

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On 7/19/2021 at 7:53 AM, BillF said:

Certainly readable, but not in the same class as the Hampton Hawes IMHO.

I haven't read the Hawes book, but I did enjoy (if that's the word!) reading O'Day's book. She had quite the life, no doubt about it.

 

 

gregmo

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Born without a uvula!

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Reading "Major Dudes" edited by Barney Hoskyns. It's just a compendium of articles written about Steely Dan from 1972 to the present; mostly from British magazines.

Donald Fagen makes some interesting comments about their performance of East St. Louis Toodle-Oo in Melody Maker, June 1974:

"Walter and I are both jazz fans, and as a composition this one stood up so well, we wanted to hear it with all the expertise of modern hi-fi. Most of the great jazz compositions have been neglected. There is no jazz in America now. There is a considerable amount of electric experimenting, but that doesn't interest me and their improvisation is strictly modal- and boring. John Coltrane was a fantastic player, but he was responsible for leading people into making a terrible mistake. I like more changes in music and, anyway, I I preferred John before his modal period, when he was with the Miles Davis Quintet.

"So there is no jazz of note in the US now. Most of the stuff played is nostalgic '50s arrangements with good soloists. And of course Miles Davis has gone over the edge."

I'm only on p.72, so it hansn't even gotten to Aja yet...

 

"

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I see it took me four days to finish the Steely Dan book, and I'll just share the jazz comments they made in interviews.

Donald Fagen was fascinated by Red Garland's "Jazz Junction" album as a kid, and has spent his whole life trying to emulate it. He said he took three or four piano lessons, and spent a summer at Berklee. His mother was a big band singer.

He said Wayne Shorter took three takes on his Aja solo, because he had a little trouble with the changes.Phil Woods' solo on Dr. Wu was a ONE TAKE solo.

Both he and Becker described the history of the world as:

'The planet was formed. Then it cooled off. Then fire was discovered and the wheel invented.Then Bird appeared, and it was all downhill after that'

'Since the late 70's, people feel the center of the beat in a different place than where we feel it.We're trying to put it where Miles, Monk and Muddy Waters put it.'

'We just want musicians that have a jazz background, and can play R&B or understand what's good about that.'

'More musicians don't like jazz. Musicians went in a different direction. It's not that they're not interested-they actually dislike it- it's actually repulsive to them.to move away from triads.That's standard since the bebop era. You can still clear a room in downtown Manhattan by putting on a Charlie Parker record.'

Fagen admired Mancini's "Dreamsville" and "A Profound Gass". The writer of the article said, 'Sometimes we need experts to teach us the art of making fine distinctions, and keeping valuable traditions alive'.

There are other sections on jazz featuring Peter Erskine's tenure with the band, and the attitude of some of the jazz musicians they used, but that's the gist of it.

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Posted (edited)

sgcim,

It's interesting -- and surprising -- that they were such jazz traditionalists.  No Coltrane after he left Miles?!?!   Modal music is "boring"?!?!  Yowza. 

 

Speaking of Aja ... I was 9 years old when it came out 1977.  I grew up on that album because my father LOVED it, played the hell out of it.  

I still have his LP.  I rarely play it, but when I do, it's like a time machine -- it takes me back to being a kid.

But, aside from Aja (and the radio hits that everyone knows), Steely Dan has never really grabbed me.  I "imprinted" on just that one LP.  It was the only Steely Dan record that my dad had, and I've never really dug any further.  

Maybe I will one day...

 

Edited by HutchFan

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