mikeweil

Which jazz book are you reading right now?

410 posts in this topic

10 minutes ago, Gheorghe said:

Thank you for your impression about it. Seems to be more for historians than for music lovers or musicians. Like some of the books I bought and never really read, since there is so much out of music stuff in them. I like bios about musicians, written by people who knew the music.
Ira Gitler´s "Jazzmasters of the Forties" is still one of the best bebop books I have read. I really agree with you. 

Thanks for backing my opinion Gheorghe, though as a musician you would probably be better than I in wading through the book's many pages of notated musical analysis. :(

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You certainly don't want to read Bebop by Thomas Owens then... I thought deVeaux had a fairly decent balance between history and musical analysis, while Owens rarely fills a page without at least some notated music...

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3 minutes ago, Niko said:

You certainly don't want to read Bebop by Thomas Owens then... I thought deVeaux had a fairly decent balance between history and musical analysis, while Owens rarely fills a page without at least some notated music...

Thanks for the warning! :)

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9 hours ago, Niko said:

You certainly don't want to read Bebop by Thomas Owens then... I thought deVeaux had a fairly decent balance between history and musical analysis, while Owens rarely fills a page without at least some notated music...

My thoughts exactly even before I saw your reply! :lol: And his book also goes quite a bit beyond actual Bebop and lumps in hard bop (and sometimes beyond) - which is not what the book title implies. So it's good as an additional companion volume to others (see Rabshakeh's recent thread asking for recommendations for a book specifically about bebop - the REAL "period" bebop, not its hard bop or post-bop evolutions, according to what he said). But it should never be the first choice on THAT subject.

(OTOH, DeVeaux' books is skewed due to his overemphasis on Coleman Hawkins - so what you need there is to keep your proverbial grain of salt handy when you read DeVeaux's opus ^_^ )

Yet I wonder if, how and when an average jazz listener, collector and fan can digest other in-depth books that dwell on musical analysis. Examples:
- The Music and Life of Theodor Fats Navarro (by Petersen and Rehak) - Interesting but HEAVY stuff, even if you like the music enough to try to grasp the finer details while listening to the actual tune discussed in the book ...

- above all: "The Swing Era" by Gunther Schuller. Lots of musical analysis too but somehow I found this somewhat easier to digest. Schuller seems to be able to strike a better balance between historical AND musical analysis where the musical analysis is not an exceedingly detailed musicianly end in itself but a means to highlight the style and evolution of the musician within the overall historical context. 

 

But re- Bill F's comment that "I now have serious reservations about the entry of the academy into jazz", be careful, Bill ;)... I have a feeling you have not seen the most cumbersome of academic writing in jazz yet in the above examples. ^_^ There are jazz books where scholarliness and academy tend to crowd out the actual subject or at least blur it due to the agenda that the author seems to have. There would be enough for a separate thread ...

On 30.1.2022 at 3:03 AM, romualdo said:

Great new text on the Sonny Clay Orchestra fiasco back in 1928 (Australian Tour) & the White Australia Policy - things were really stacked up against them going up to very senior levels of Government. Author is a historian so the text is backed up with a multitude of references - Reminded me of Robyn Kelley's tome on Monk.

Harlem Nights.jpg

I'm wondering now ... ;)
Now that the "Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries" series (one I've enjoyed watching) is currently being given its third run on TV here I wonder if I ought to get this one to read up on some (musical) background of the era. Or maybe to keep the book by Michael Sturma on Australian Rock'nRoll company on the bookshelf?^_^

If you have watched the series you might recall that the Australian Sonny Clay tour actually was mentioned briefly in one episode - by a musician of a jazz band that played a key role in that episode, though the songs they performed did not sound that much like late 20s pre-swing à la Fletcher Henderson or Luis Russell but rather like some slightly "thirtyfied" neo-swing, particularly as far as the rhythm section went ... (But no, indeed the average watchers would not have noticed, and the "mixed couple" relationship between the singer and the trumpeter in the story would not have been typical of the era either ... ;)) At any rate, it had me baffled that they mentioned Sonny Clay at all and his name even survived into the German synchronization ...

 

Edited by Big Beat Steve

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8 hours ago, Big Beat Steve said:

 

If you have watched the series you might recall that the Australian Sonny Clay tour actually was mentioned briefly in one episode - by a musician of a jazz band that played a key role in that episode, though the songs they performed did not sound that much like late 20s pre-swing à la Fletcher Henderson or Luis Russell but rather like some slightly "thirtyfied" neo-swing, particularly as far as the rhythm section went ... (But no, indeed the average watchers would not have noticed, and the "mixed couple" relationship between the singer and the trumpeter in the story would not have been typical of the era either ... ;)) At any rate, it had me baffled that they mentioned Sonny Clay at all and his name even survived into the German synchronization ...

 

8 hours ago, Big Beat Steve said:

 

Steve, I  have watched that episode, but not the whole series (my partner has though) - I found the series generally over the top, corny, light & fluffy (lots of overacting) though Esse Davis is a fine actor (fantastic in the Australian movie "The Babadook"). Yes, I remember the music feeling out of sync ie later period material. The book is a fantastic read from a sociopolitical (and popular culture) angle with what was happening in Australia at that time. I've had the Sonny Clay Frog CD for quite a few years now so was aware of this historic encounter of Australia with African American culture/music/theatre and the spin offs from our retrograde White Australia Policy (WAP).

Edited by romualdo

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Charlotte Carter: Rhode island Red - fiction, there are 3 in the series that I know of, this is the first one.

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This is a great book about stories in the studio.
 

And some who were world stars, were very very articulate and cooperated in the studio, while I was astonished how stupid and childish others acted. 
I was really shocked about the story behind the Woody Shaw recording. 
Hubbard would have been nice and cooperative, if there had not been a latino percussionist who wanted to play trumpet also and kinda threated Hubbard....
Elvin Jones was super nice. 
Some artists who´s name I never heard, acted stupid, like the one who needs a strip tease dancer to perform, or that "trumpet player" who had his whole body bandaged like after a heavy accidence, and his saxophonist with his stinking feet....... terrible and disgusting to read this...

I know that Wallace Rooney got lessons from Miles, but maybe he understood some of Miles talking the wrong way, since he "hated whithes" and would turn his back when they wanted to make a studio photo.... Miles, who was very controversial, would not do this....

Herunterladen (6).jpg

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5 hours ago, Gheorghe said:

This is a great book about stories in the studio.
 

And some who were world stars, were very very articulate and cooperated in the studio, while I was astonished how stupid and childish others acted. 
I was really shocked about the story behind the Woody Shaw recording. 
Hubbard would have been nice and cooperative, if there had not been a latino percussionist who wanted to play trumpet also and kinda threated Hubbard....
Elvin Jones was super nice. 
Some artists who´s name I never heard, acted stupid, like the one who needs a strip tease dancer to perform, or that "trumpet player" who had his whole body bandaged like after a heavy accidence, and his saxophonist with his stinking feet....... terrible and disgusting to read this...

I know that Wallace Rooney got lessons from Miles, but maybe he understood some of Miles talking the wrong way, since he "hated whithes" and would turn his back when they wanted to make a studio photo.... Miles, who was very controversial, would not do this....

Herunterladen (6).jpg

This looks pretty interesting - I am interested to hear more about his Shaw experience.

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5 hours ago, Gheorghe said:

I know that Wallace Rooney got lessons from Miles, but maybe he understood some of Miles talking the wrong way, since he "hated whithes" and would turn his back when they wanted to make a studio photo.... Miles, who was very controversial, would not do this....

I'm not sure I'm following this correctly - are you saying that Roney would turn his back when photographers would try and take photos in the studio based on what things he misunderstood from Miles? 

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@Eric: It started right from the beginning on. Woody said to Bolleman that he is a racist and if there are racists, Bolleman would be the last one to enter in that category. Woody was high on whatever substance and wouldn´t cooperate at all. And he was accopanied by a junkie woman who was completly crazy who put all the paper in the toilet and than let the water go and soon there was an inundation in the whole studio.
Woody threw cigarette ends on the floor and after that session the studio was a shambles. But somehow they managed to record enough material for that album "Woody Shaw with the Tone Janșa Quartet.
@Dub Modal Roney refused to talk to Bolleman in the studio, refused to listen if the sound was good, refused this, refused that, while the other musicians involved were very nice and cooperative. After the session there should be a photo of the whole group, and Rooney turned his back several times until the other musicians got him to the right position.

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386705.jpg

This one arrived with the Jon Hendricks bio. Figured it was about time I got a copy, before it gets more difficult to find. Pleased to see that it is full of Wolff photos, including some of those negative strips recently on sale at Mosaic.

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9781574418446.jpg?auto=format&w=298&dpr=

Currently reading this, following recommendations here and, yes, it's good.

There are frequent references to Laurie Verchomin's Evans memoir. Has anyone read this? Would you recommend it?

Also a mention of Gene Lees's Meet Me at Jim and Andy's: Jazz Musicians and their World, which is described as a book of anecdotes. If it's anything like Bill Crow's Jazz Anecdotes, I'd like to read it. Anyone know it?

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I like all of Gene Lees’ books, though I thought he gave short shrift in his Oscar Peterson bio to the pianist’s trio recordings with Joe Pass and Niels Pedersen. I need to track down the phone interview that I did with him, though it is probably on a 10” reel, not a cassette.

There probably aren’t as many funny stories as Crow’s book, but the stories tend to be more detailed, as I recall.

Edited by Ken Dryden
Fixed typos caused by autocorrect

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2 hours ago, Ken Dryden said:

I like all of Gene Lees’ books, though I thought he gave short shrift in his Oscar Peterson’s trio recordings with Joe Pass and Niels Petersen. I need to track down the phone interview that I did with him, though it is probably on a 10” reel, not a cassette.

There probably aren’t as many funny stories as Crow’s book, but the stories tend to be more detailed, as I recall.

Thanks for the information, Ken - and to Big Beat Steve for his input. 

I have placed an order for a used copy of the Lees book, said to be in good condition, for £8.

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4 hours ago, BillF said:

Thanks for the information, Ken - and to Big Beat Steve for his input. 

I have placed an order for a used copy of the Lees book, said to be in good condition, for £8.

Gene Lees's Meet Me at Jim and Andy's: Jazz Musicians and their World

It's my favorite Lees book, out of the half dozen or so that I have.  

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1 hour ago, John Tapscott said:

Gene Lees's Meet Me at Jim and Andy's: Jazz Musicians and their World

It's my favorite Lees book, out of the half dozen or so that I have.  

Good to hear that, John! :tup

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There probably aren’t as many funny stories as Crow’s book, but the stories tend to be more detailed, as I recall.

Gene Lees wrote a lot of lyrics for Roger Kellaway’s compositions, but the pianist told me that once Lees started writing books he never got another lyric.

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Gene Lees takes the reader inside his coterie of singers and musicians -- making you feel part of the inner circle.  While the ride makes you glad to be invited, it soon rubs off as smug and ingratiating.  Still, I've kept six of his books for my occasional drop-ins to Lees' intimate parties.  

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Spirits Rejoice ! - Albert Ayler and his message - Peter Niklas Wilson

newly publish first edition in English. I believe this is the only biography of Ayler. 

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cover-wolke-FMP01-english-big.jpg?164242

This looks like an absolute treasure trove, so well produced.  With thanks to @Clunky

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On 3/1/2022 at 11:02 AM, Bill Nelson said:

Gene Lees takes the reader inside his coterie of singers and musicians -- making you feel part of the inner circle.  While the ride makes you glad to be invited, it soon rubs off as smug and ingratiating.  Still, I've kept six of his books for my occasional drop-ins to Lees' intimate parties.  

Lees was a bit of a dope, and yet he has some good profiles in his books. But sometimes I want to kick him, especially with his moronic ideas about modernism (which he decided was unsuitable for jazz).

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9 hours ago, AllenLowe said:

Lees was a bit of a dope, and yet he has some good profiles in his books. But sometimes I want to kick him, especially with his moronic ideas about modernism (which he decided was unsuitable for jazz).

I think I don´t have books written by Lees. I heard about his Oscar Peterson bio, it was very much advertised, but since Peterson never was so interesting to me, I didn´t buy it. I have 2 or three Peterson albums that are not so much bang bang , I think "We Got Requests" I spinned some times just for easy listening, and the "In Tune" with the Singers Unlimited, since this was quite popular in the early 70´s .....
 

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If the Lees book I've bought (Waiting at Jim & Andy's) proves OK, I can borrow from the local public library his Waiting for DizzyCats of Any Color and his Herman biography.

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On 30/01/2022 at 1:03 PM, romualdo said:

Great new text on the Sonny Clay Orchestra fiasco back in 1928 (Australian Tour) & the White Australia Policy - things were really stacked up against them going up to very senior levels of Government. Author is a historian so the text is backed up with a multitude of references - Reminded me of Robyn Kelley's tome on Monk.

Harlem Nights.jpg

On 30/01/2022 at 1:03 PM, romualdo said:

Great new text on the Sonny Clay Orchestra fiasco back in 1928 (Australian Tour) & the White Australia Policy - things were really stacked up against them going up to very senior levels of Government. Author is a historian so the text is backed up with a multitude of references - Reminded me of Robyn Kelley's tome on Monk.

Harlem Nights.jpg

Yes, the White Australia Policy was still in force until '75 when Whitlam introduced the Racial Discrimination Act to the parliament of so called Australia. Let it not be understated that so called Australia was the progenitor of South African Apartheid. Although perhaps somewhat unsurprisingly, African American entertainers, both visiting and emigres, were treated much more inclusively here in the ensuing decades than the vilification and marginalisation Aboriginal people continued to endure.  

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