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Mark Stryker

Ira Gitler, R.I.P.

93 posts in this topic

After all, he's just a man.

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On 3/1/2019 at 0:11 AM, Michael Weiss said:

I'm forever grateful for all the ink Ira gave me over the years, and a couple of concerts he produced to boot. Ira, yet another icon of the NY jazz scene to leave us - one of those who make living here special. 

You deserve it! Keep swingin' that thing!

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On 2.3.2019 at 1:07 AM, Guy Berger said:

Also, let's be honest about relative importance: Gitler was an interesting asterisk in the history of this music.  He was a very articulate "super fan" and sort-of-critic.  He wasn't one of the "creators".

True, the musicians were the creators. But among the scribes and historians who documented and presented post-1945 jazz he was second to none IMHO in spreading background knowledge of the music to fans and serious listeners who came after him and he certainly was above a fair number of "analyzers" who probably considered themselves far more enlightened and "deep". I know there are quite a few who figure on the spines of books in my music library where I'd rather choose Ira Gitler if I had to.

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41 minutes ago, Big Beat Steve said:

True, the musicians were the creators. But among the scribes and historians who documented and presented post-1945 jazz he was second to none IMHO in spreading background knowledge of the music to fans and serious listeners who came after him and he certainly was above a fair number of "analyzers" who probably considered themselves far more enlightened and "deep". I know there are quite a few who figure on the spines of books in my music library where I'd rather choose Ira Gitler if I had to.

:tup:tup:tup

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Doin' things that you don't understand.

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On 3/2/2019 at 7:07 PM, Guy Berger said:

I don't think this thread is in any way out of the norm for this board; I have seen some far more negative. 

Also, let's be honest about relative importance: Gitler was an interesting asterisk in the history of this music.  He was a very articulate "super fan" and sort-of-critic.  He wasn't one of the "creators".

That’s the sad part; it’s not outside of the norm. Wonder what his family would think. 

No, he wasn't a creator; he was a critic, an observer and they have their place, too.   

2 hours ago, Big Beat Steve said:

True, the musicians were the creators. But among the scribes and historians who documented and presented post-1945 jazz he was second to none IMHO in spreading background knowledge of the music to fans and serious listeners who came after him and he certainly was above a fair number of "analyzers" who probably considered themselves far more enlightened and "deep". I know there are quite a few who figure on the spines of books in my music library where I'd rather choose Ira Gitler if I had to.

Well said :tup

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1 hour ago, Brad said:

That’s the sad part; it’s not outside of the norm. Wonder what his family would think. 

No, he wasn't a creator; he was a critic, an observer and they have their place, too.   

 

As far as the nature of the comments here, Gitler was a critic, and therefore trafficked in opinions, including negative opinions.  What would Ornette Coleman's family think of reading his writing?  What would Wynton Marsalis's family think if they spent time in this forum?    As far as tolerance of "newer" styles, I remember Philip Larkin writing about the 1964 Miles Davis "Four and More" album, with the Coleman/Hancock/Carter/Williams quartet doing classic material, as if it were sacrilege.   I don't particular disagree with some of the negative comments about Sun Ra, Braxton, Ayler, etc. written here, though I do tend to listen to Sun Ra and Ayler, sort of for the same reason you stare at a car wreck.  They ARE interesting, and do add value to my experience.  And I'll glady listen to any solo piano album (and most other albums) from Cecil Taylor from any point in his career (and even moreso with Muhal Richard Abrams), and really like much/most of what the AEC has done through the years (thanks Chuck).   I have to admit that almost everything by Braxton is lost on me (for whatever reason. I do like the "In The Tradition" sets OK).  But I know he brings much to other listeners.  And some guys like Noah Howard do a ton for me.  Gitler had his preferences.  He was interesting and trustworthy on what he knew and liked.  Not so much on things outside that realm.  Not at all unusual or unexpected.   For instance,  I can't tell "good" gansta rap from "bad" gangsta rap at all, but will debate 60's garage rock or 70's Strata-East down to the last jot and tittle.

Edited by felser

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On 3/3/2019 at 1:11 PM, Brad said:

That’s the sad part; it’s not outside of the norm. Wonder what his family would think. 

My recommendation to any family of any public figure, even a relatively obscure one like Ira Gitler: for the love of God, don’t search the internet for opinions about your deceased!!

re: Gitler, as a guy who often expressed strong opinions about the work of others, my guess (or hope) is he could take it as well as he could dish it out, especially if expressed as mildly and politely as on this thread.

Edited by Guy Berger

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"Benson, long ago a convert to Charlie's brand of Christianity..."

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1 hour ago, JSngry said:

"Benson, long ago a convert to Charlie's brand of Christianity..."

That's a GREAT sentence.

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i laughed and cringed at the same time.

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Rereading this thread made me wonder, has anyone here ever read anything anywhere that goes beyond just spotting the quotations in solos, or just saying that sometimes they work and sometimes they don't, to really analyze how and why they might or might not work as part of an unfolding line of musical thought?  Preferably with a few notated examples for those of us who read music but not necessarily all that well.  And I love what Ira said there about Benson, although I'd have love some punning on Grant Green as an influence on George's playing even more.

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1 hour ago, danasgoodstuff said:

Rereading this thread made me wonder, has anyone here ever read anything anywhere that goes beyond just spotting the quotations in solos, or just saying that sometimes they work and sometimes they don't, to really analyze how and why they might or might not work as part of an unfolding line of musical thought?  Preferably with a few notated examples for those of us who read music but not necessarily all that well. 

There's some guy on the webernet tht has a buttload of exactly that about Paul Desmond solos. It's as dorky as it is illuminating, which in both cases is quite!

And maybe, in Desmond's case it's bit of consciousness interpretation of a subconscious process, but as it pertains to Desmond, I would assume nothing either way.

Here's where it lives, although not everything tht lives here is that: https://raggywaltz.com/category/desmonds-quotes/

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17 minutes ago, JSngry said:

There's some guy on the webernet tht has a buttload of exactly that about Paul Desmond solos. It's as dorky as it is illuminating, which in both cases is quite!

And maybe, in Desmond's case it's bit of consciousness interpretation of a subconscious process, but as it pertains to Desmond, I would assume nothing either way.

Here's where it lives, although not everything tht lives here is that: https://raggywaltz.com/category/desmonds-quotes/

Thank you, I'll check that out.  Dorky is pretty much what you'd expect in this context, no?

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On 2/28/2019 at 7:22 AM, JSngry said:

Best as I recall, Gitler played a little bit of alto.

in Dan Morgenstern's fond reminiscences of Ira, he mentions that estimable and outspoken mainstream trumpeter Joe Thomas confronted Ira after he sat in at a session and told him that he should never again get up onstage with professional musicians. Soon after that, Ira put down his horn for good.

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20 minutes ago, danasgoodstuff said:

Thank you, I'll check that out.  Dorky is pretty much what you'd expect in this context, no?

Mostly, yeah, kinda comes with the territory. But dorky is ok if it's right.

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On 10/27/2020 at 0:29 PM, Larry Kart said:

in Dan Morgenstern's fond reminiscences of Ira, he mentions that estimable and outspoken mainstream trumpeter Joe Thomas confronted Ira after he sat in at a session and told him that he should never again get up onstage with professional musicians. Soon after that, Ira put down his horn for good.

What is it Dirty Harry said? "Man's gotta know his limitations." That's a great story! I think Gitler did the music a great service as a chronicler, booster, and, yes, critic.

 

 

gregmo

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Ira was hardly the only one who wrote unnecessarily whiny liner notes and reviews in the '60s and '70s complaining about the fact that free and fusion even existed.  Especially annoying when it had no bearing on the record at hand at all.  But overall I enjoy his writing, even the bad puns.

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