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Larry Kart

Sauter-Finegan "Memories of Goodman and Miller"

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4 minutes ago, Teasing the Korean said:

I'm assuming that SF's audience at the time was listening to SF within the context of the originals, and the SF versions provided a sense of contrast.  

See, I'm not so sure about that. I've not seen a convincing body of evidence that specific arrangers had fans of their own at more than a cult level (at best). Not even Fletcher Henderson, to whom Goodman always gave the props. So maybe these two guys were "introduced" to a general public in such a way that it was like, hey, these are the guys that did XYZ, and Mr./Mrs. "Music Fan" said, oh, I know Glenn Miller, I know Benny Goodman, I guess I know these guys too! Hardly the basis for an informed contextualization dynamic, I should think.

Seems like there were some other attempts to groom the next-gen of "big band leaders" from the ranks of esteemed arrangers, Billy May, Jerry Gray, Sauter-Finegan, who else? In each case, the hook was that they had done this and now they're going to new that same thing, only in a more current manner, but not TOO current, we'll leave that to Gil Evans if he ever gets off his ass. Or something like that.

I can tell you this - to this day, "most people" do not know how to listen to ensemble music. They here the cumulative sound but are oblivious to all the specifics going into it. Not that they should, because they don't have to play it, and they really don't have to listen to it at any other level than "this sounds good, I like it!". But if you're saying that any general audience at any given time had a natural ear for contrasting and comparing in any way other than superficially....I remain skeptical.

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1 hour ago, JSngry said:

I can tell you this - to this day, "most people" do not know how to listen to ensemble music. They here the cumulative sound but are oblivious to all the specifics going into it. Not that they should, because they don't have to play it, and they really don't have to listen to it at any other level than "this sounds good, I like it!". But if you're saying that any general audience at any given time had a natural ear for contrasting and comparing in any way other than superficially....I remain skeptical

It depends what you mean by "cumulative sound". That is certainly how I listen to the music - and perhaps things -  in general . But, on the other hand, and for whatever reason, I can pick up on things down in the mix (both in music and in the wider arena) in a below the surface way.

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Sure, there are those who can do that, especially with older musics from which time has removed the "new" factor. I just remain skeptical that "most people" can. It's not a skill-set that is needed to be a general audience. But if a conversation is had about actual events rather than the emotional reaction to them, hey. That discussion needs to be as specific in content as it does intent.

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I don't know - whether "most people" have that skill set or not. I observe - not in music, but in a general way, that people can pick on things in a highly nuanced way when they care to.

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Yeah, and I've had friendly discussions at listening sessions where the differences - obvious differences - in sax section voicings between Oliver Nelson, Gerald Wilson, and whoever the arranger is on any particular Basie record are met with shrugs and uhs. Never mind voicings, just blend in general

I've had similar conversations about chord progressions - original changes vs substitute, the different types of polychords used in arranging, inner layering, motions that overlap and/or go contrary, all that stuff that is a real thing, it doesn't happen by accident, quite the opposite, and "most people really do not grasp what is happening past the point of "I like it" or "it sounds different, but that's all I can tell", and again, that's not a problem, it's not a required skill set for general listening and enjoyment. And some general listeners do in fact have very good ears (and the supportive perceptual maths) to go with them.

But most people...most people do not. Point that out and you get a lot of the "well, you're a musician, of course YOU can hear it", and I'm like, no that's not it. There are people who are a lot more aware of the visual than I am, not all of them artists/photographers/designers/etc , and if they tell me that such-and-such is there and THAT'S why it looks like it does and that, no, it does NOT like "just like" something else, hey, if that person is demonstrating a real skill and not just pompousizing, that's real, and I will listen. I may not get it, probably won't!, but I will happily acknowledge that I don't get it and not presume to have an equally informed opinion. They're dealing with facts, I'm dealing with impressions, not even a little the same thing.

I mean, everybody's got a right to an opinion and to like what they like, but a meaningful discussion between widely divergent skill sets, democratic as hell, but useful in any other way than feeling good about having an opinion that counts as much as anybody's...not so much. I can discuss emotional reactions and, when I can, I can try to discuss facts. I can do both at the same time, but that can get weird, especially when you say I dig "A" because "A1", but still, it's more than a little sketchy because "A2".

It's the contradictions that don't demand resolution that can drive people crazy. You're supposed to know one way or the other, and/but good luck on that.

 

 

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We live in a society where the analytic is privileged above the instinctive. And I see that in the "I'm a musician, I see stuff" approach. Musicians have privileged access to specific analytic musical skills and da da da...Not that I disagree. But I also think there's a line somewhere where people decide "I'm a musician [Or photographer or whatever] and you're not  and therefore you can't understand."

My hunch....is people do have the required non-analytic skills, undeveloped, repressed - but we've created a society which desires to live on the surface, so such skills are not deployed. I also think it's been past its sell-by date for a few years.

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24 minutes ago, Simon Weil said:

We live in a society where the analytic is privileged above the instinctive.

Where is THIS society?

25 minutes ago, Simon Weil said:

My hunch....is people do have the required non-analytic skills, undeveloped, repressed - but we've created a society which desires to live on the surface, so such skills are not deployed.

Yeah, THIS is the society I live in.

26 minutes ago, Simon Weil said:

 Musicians have privileged access to specific analytic musical skills and da da da...Not that I disagree. But I also think there's a line somewhere where people decide "I'm a musician [Or photographer or whatever] and you're not  and therefore you can't understand."

Oh lord, it's the other way around...the things that so many people think that they themselves can't understand....it's frustrating beyond words too many times. It's reverse-snobbery. The assumption that I cannot possibly understand X because it's not my profession, C'mon people...

No, not everybody can hear everything, individuals ultimately have ceilings, but if you can't hear the difference - in context, between a C chord and an A min chord, or to hear the difference between Phil Woods and Marshall Royal playing lead in a section, sorry, I doubt that it's because you've hit your ceiling yet.

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2 hours ago, JSngry said:

 

2 hours ago, Simon Weil said:

 Musicians have privileged access to specific analytic musical skills and da da da...Not that I disagree. But I also think there's a line somewhere where people decide "I'm a musician [Or photographer or whatever] and you're not  and therefore you can't understand."

Oh lord, it's the other way around...the things that so many people think that they themselves can't understand....it's frustrating beyond words too many times. It's reverse-snobbery. The assumption that I cannot possibly understand X because it's not my profession, C'mon people...

I think both happen. I'm guessing, but the root of it is people don't want to think outside their box, because then they'd have to look at the whole. If you apply "be true to yourself so as to be true to the world" (reversed), you end with they'd have to look at themselves. Which is why we live on the surface, to avoid that.

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9 hours ago, JSngry said:

See, I'm not so sure about that. I've not seen a convincing body of evidence that specific arrangers had fans of their own at more than a cult level

Of course they don't.  I meant that if SF recorded "In the Mood," "Moonlight Serenade," or Chattanooga Choo-Choo," SF's audience at the time would have been very familiar with the songs and the Glenn Miller versions.  They don't have to know the name of an arranger to recognize an arrangement, and they don't have to know what block chords are to to recognize Glenn's signature reed sound.  

SF was offering a contrast to the originals.  A listener today likely would not have the same reference points that a 1952 listener would have. 

 

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Ok, never mind what drove the S-F band, what is driving THIS?????

 

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18 minutes ago, Teasing the Korean said:

Of course they don't.  I meant that if SF recorded "In the Mood," "Moonlight Serenade," or Chattanooga Choo-Choo," SF's audience at the time would have been very familiar with the songs and the Glenn Miller versions.  They don't have to know the name of an arranger to recognize an arrangement, and they don't have to know what block chords are to to recognize Glenn's signature reed sound.  

SF was offering a contrast to the originals.  A listener today likely would not have the same reference points that a 1952 listener would have. 

 

Yeah, ok, but..if this record was from 1958, that's an easy 15 year (or larger) spread between "then" and "now"...anybody know what the S-F fanbase was, was it old "swing era" diehards. or was it people who might have been 13 in '43 and were now 28, and oh wow, here's stuff I heard when I was a kid, and wow, it sounds MODERN now, I mean, how reliable an indicator is that.

And to complicate things even further, yeah the Miller stuff was big hits, but was Sauter's hardercore Goodman stuff really POPULAR? That I don't know, but if not, how familiar with the originals of those would "most people" truly be? I can honestly say that I'm a lot more familiar with these in there original form than these 1958 remakes. Whatever reference point that gives me, I don't know, but it's one that doesn't hear this a progressing in terms of substance, not at all.

Did you mean "block chords" or clarinet lead?

This band has always made me feel like they had one thing in mind when they were putting it together, but then it became something totally different once it got real. I've heard more than a few fan-remeberances that use the word "progressive" as applied to this band, and honestly, most all what I've heard of them is actually regressive.

Anyway...where is there more like THIS?

That's more (or less) like it.

 

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6 minutes ago, JSngry said:

Did you mean "block chords" or clarinet lead?

Block chords with clarinet on top and tenor an octave below playing the melody, other saxes playing the harmonies between. 

8 minutes ago, JSngry said:

Anyway...where is there more like THIS?

That's more (or less) like it.

The LPs I have contain lots of stuff like that, but sandwiched between corny stuff.  It can be frustrating. 

Edited by Teasing the Korean

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8 hours ago, JSngry said:

Yeah, ok, but..if this record was from 1958, that's an easy 15 year (or larger) spread between "then" and "now"...anybody know what the S-F fanbase was, was it old "swing era" diehards. or was it people who might have been 13 in '43 and were now 28, and oh wow, here's stuff I heard when I was a kid, and wow, it sounds MODERN now, I mean, how reliable an indicator is that.

And to complicate things even further, yeah the Miller stuff was big hits, but was Sauter's hardercore Goodman stuff really POPULAR? That I don't know, but if not, how familiar with the originals of those would "most people" truly be? I can honestly say that I'm a lot more familiar with these in there original form than these 1958 remakes. Whatever reference point that gives me, I don't know, but it's one that doesn't hear this a progressing in terms of substance, not at all.

Did you mean "block chords" or clarinet lead?

This band has always made me feel like they had one thing in mind when they were putting it together, but then it became something totally different once it got real. I've heard more than a few fan-remeberances that use the word "progressive" as applied to this band, and honestly, most all what I've heard of them is actually regressive (actually, what _YOU meant to say is "most all what I've heard of them is something that I feel to be regressive". Big difference ...)

 

Since you linked to the "Science Fiction" 45 on YT you must have come across the comment posted there:

I'm glad Bill Finegan had a chance to write for himself.While with Miller,he was intimidated by Miller over his charts.Miller would run one down and say "Bring it down to OUR level!" Billy May,who was arranging and playing trumpet for Miller then,once said that his heart bled for Finegan because of Miller's constant fiddling with his charts.Miller was considered to be more of an "idea man".

Do we know if what S-F did with their reworkings of the Miller tunes, for example, maybe went into the direction of what Finegan had originally been required to cut out? Reason enough, maybe, to do it at all ...

At any rate, I don't feel what they did was "regressive". Not even with the Miller/Goodman reworkings (at least those I have heard on YT now). They "progressed" from the original charts and as I said earlier, they could have been more "adventurous" for my taste - meaning more "modern" or daring, in the sense of what typical "progressive" jazz big bands of that time stood for, hence the term applied to them. But they chose just to embellish their original charts here and there and make them sound a little "edgier" (for want of a better term, this from just a listener, not a musician). So what? That's their choice and isn't it ONE legitimate way of doing things?

Copying the original charts just to redo them in "Hi Fi" was a different matter in those days. (Van Alexander or George Williams (et al.), anyone? ) ^_^

As for the original charts, they stand on their own and are what they are but being the living end of progressiveness or adventurousness 15 years after the fact? Come on ... They WERE "progressive" in their time but hardly 15 years later. And though they remain timeless within the context of swing-era jazz, is this a reason to make them taboo for later reworkings - by the original creators, of all persons? It's not even a question of "improving" on them but just of treating them in a (somewhat) different way. For the listener (me, for example, anyway) they brought out some features of the originals in a different and differently accentuated way. Why not?

One may like their treatment or not but - again: So what if these 50s reworkings can be enjoyed for what they are? Regardless of whether you manage to listen to them with the same "reference points" as someone in the 50s would have.
At any rate, if one manages to capture those period reference points then it is the reference points of the genuinely interested and reasonably aware (and not just "consuming") listener that matters, not that of whatever musician (or musicologist). The approach is different yet the musician's angle is largely irrelevant to the main listening and record buying audience. The musician angle is an add-on and may give additional interesting insights to the interested listener but it is not the main (and even less, the only) angle. Musicians who listen with nothing but musicians' ears, dissecting everything into tiniest shreds, are another example of what is commonly labeled "professional deformation" and risk losing the overall picture. ;)


 

 

 

 

Edited by Big Beat Steve

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I stand by "regressive" in that they sound - to me - like the originals being simply being tricked out instead of being organically grown/developed.

That "Science Fiction" 45 (supposedly only on 45, does that still hold true?), that to me sounds like organic music, no tricks, no gimmicks, great writing and great playing. Creative, crafty, but NOT clever.

That's what I myself like. Can somebody who knows the oeuvre direct me to more like that, please? That's the type of thing that "buzz" had me expecting when I first dipped into S-F. It's the lack of that that flipped the switch off.

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44 minutes ago, JSngry said:

Can somebody who knows the oeuvre direct me to more like that, please? 

As I said, there is stuff like that sprinkled across all of their LPs.  You have to endure some corny stuff, albeit in different ratios from album to album.  I have never found a good SF compilation. 

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I'd like a good comp that contained only the serious (or whatever) writings from that band. For the other boopdonghonkpingyBAM stuff, make mine Esquivel, who sounded like he really no choice in music but to do that. And when he tried to not do that, it pretty much sucked. Sort of a Bizarro S-F, maybe?

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1 hour ago, JSngry said:

I stand by "regressive" in that they sound - to me - like the originals being simply being tricked out instead of being organically grown/developed.

 

I attended a clinic with Buddy DeFranco in Atlanta about 1990.  He said that he was a very big fan of the Sauter-Finnegan band.  Of course, there is no disputing taste.

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7 minutes ago, JSngry said:

I'd like a good comp that contained only the serious (or whatever) writings from that band. For the other boopdonghonkpingyBAM stuff, make mine Esquivel, who sounded like he really no choice in music but to do that. And when he tried to not do that, it pretty much sucked. Sort of a Bizarro S-F, maybe?

You need to understand that there are at least THREE categories of S-F music:  "Serious," Esquivel, AND CORNY, which I believe you and I would both hate.  Most of the existing comps have mostly corny, with little of the other two categories.  

I would be happy with a serious and Esquivel comp, minus the corny, but it doesn't exist. 

And what's wrong with Esquivel?  He's so much more interesting and fun than most "serious" jazz arrangers. 

Edited by Teasing the Korean

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Yeah,

  • CORNY...make mine Doo-Wacka-Doo, or the Budweiser record by that St. Louis cat, shit like that, not bigass showily orchestrated hificorn
  • Esquivel - make mine Esquivel, I'd down with that
  • "Serious" - exactly, where is THAT comp? They probably sell me one of those.
6 minutes ago, GA Russell said:

I attended a clinic with Buddy DeFranco in Atlanta about 1990.  He said that he was a very big fan of the Sauter-Finnegan band.  Of course, there is no disputing taste.

A LOT of musicians from the time loved that band. I think it's as much that they appreciated the challenge of the writing and the impeccable execution, as well as the economic/commercial struggles that surely were a part of being those guys with that band.

But, you know, buddy DeFranco led the Miller ghost band for a pretty good stretch. So it's not like he was innately averse to working the marketing hook of a gig, nor should he have been. That is actually to his credit, imo.

Just saying that if you I tell you that I don't really care for liver, and you tell me that Buddy DeFranco was a big fan of liver, that tells me nothing except that Buddy DeFranco was a big fan of liver

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And then there are tracks like this that are serious, Esquivel, and corny in a single arrangement.

I would say the ratios are maybe 40% Esquivel, 50-55% serious, and 5-10% corny, depending on what kind of mood I am in.

 

Edited by Teasing the Korean

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Did they ever do "Baubles, Bangles, and Beads"?

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9 hours ago, JSngry said:

Did they ever do "Baubles, Bangles, and Beads"?

You know, it sure seems like they should have, but apparently they did not, at least on the albums I have.  Maybe Dick Schory, who sits beside most of my Sauter-Finegan albums, recorded this one.  

This thread has inspired me to go through my relatively substantial Sauter-Finegan collection and review each album - and even each track - for serious, Esquivel, and corny content.  Imagine a pie divided into three equal pieces, each representing one of the three styles.  This is a useful graphic, because each of the three borders the other two, and each dominant category can teeter into territory on either side, or even both sides.

I will start this thread in the artists section, or perhaps the discography section, and title it "A Bachelor's Guide to Sauter-Finegan," and include videos when and where available.  

Wish me luck.  This will be a labor of love and mixology.  

Edited by Teasing the Korean

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1 minute ago, Teasing the Korean said:

You know, it sure seems like they should have, but apparently they did not, at least on the albums I have.  Maybe Dick Schory, who sits beside most of my Sauter-Finegan albums, recorded this one.  

This thread has inspired me to go through my relatively substantial Sauter-Finegan collection and review each album - and even each track - for serious, Esquivel, and corny content.  Imagine a pie divided into three equal pieces, each representing one the three styles.  This is a useful graphic, because each of the three borders the other two, and each dominant category can teeter into territory on either side, or even both sides.

I will start this thread in the artists section, or perhaps the discography section, and title it "A bachelor's guide to Sauter-Finegan," and include videos when and where available.  

Wish me luck.  This will be a labor of love and mixology.  

That would be cool, thanks.

Only instead of a pie-chart, maybe a Venn Diagram?

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8 minutes ago, JSngry said:

That would be cool, thanks.

Only instead of a pie-chart, maybe a Venn Diagram?

Let me review my software's graphic capabilities and I'll get back to you.  

This probably won't begin until Sunday, so hang tight. 

EDIT:  I have 8 LPs and 1 CD.  I unloaded another two LPs, including the one in this thread title.  I will review the LPs in chronological order, and then review the CD based on how accurately it captures overall what S-F was about.  

Edited by Teasing the Korean

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8 hours ago, Teasing the Korean said:

This probably won't begin until Sunday, so hang tight. 

EDIT:  I have 8 LPs and 1 CD.  I unloaded another two LPs, including the one in this thread title.  I will review the LPs in chronological order, and then review the CD based on how accurately it captures overall what S-F was about.  

I'll be looking forward to it. I wonder what exactly you file under "corny". Maybe some of the (comparatively straightforward) vocals ...? I know some ofthem don't do much for me in this context but I'd consider them a concession to some common denominators among the general public's taste.

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