Stereojack

Chris Albertson, R.I.P.

111 posts in this topic

Very sad to learn this.

Chris was ann invaluable contributor to the Board!

Hope he departed peacefully!

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Very sad news.

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He'll be missed. For all his first-hand experience and willingness to share whatever he knew, I'll remember him for his fearlessness when it came to telling the truth.

I also hope his last days weren't painful. He won't be forgotten.

F

Edited by Fer Urbina
Silly typo.

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Sad, sad, sad news. Che la terra ti sia lieve.

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The tendency when a person dies is to remember them fondly and exalt their accomplishments but sometimes in the process we diminish or ignore the lesser qualities or negative aspects of their personality. It presents a less than balanced view of a person.  For example, when Lincoln, a process of deification occurred and those who had criticized him now lauded him to a fault and so forth. 

Let's not do the same with Chris Albertson.  Although he contributed mightily to the world of jazz and he probably knew more about jazz in one finger than most of us know in our whole body, some of his behavior on this Forum was, in my opinion, far from exemplary, such as in the political form where he far exceeded the norms of being "crusty." Other examples included his attacks on Phil Schaap (who himself has warts).  Larry Kart noted in the Where is Phil Schaap thread "re: Chris Albertson, while I respect what he did, his judgements are... "stern" is a generous way of putting it. And where did Chris come from again?" The full thread is below. 

I think we do a disservice to any person, not just Chris Albertson, if we don't remember them in a balanced way.

 

Edited by Brad

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So far, this thread has been respectful without being inappropriately generous. I agree to everything that has been said. Christiern was kind and generous in the brief interactions we've had, now quite a few years ago. Not everything he posted here was polite or in the best interest of our host Jim Alfredson, but he certainly enriched this place. 

RIP. 

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28 minutes ago, Brad said:

 Larry Kart noted in the Where is Phil Schaap thread "re: Chris Albertson, while I respect what he did, his judgements are... "stern" is a generous way of putting it. And where did Chris come from again?" The full thread is below. 

 

 

Geez, dude, get it right.

In the thread, what you attribute to Larry Kart is actually a quote from Moms Mobley.

What Larry Kart himself actually said is:

Chris comes from Denmark and arrived here under by-the-bootstraps circumstances, I believe. He had a job in radio for many years at a public station and produced a number of important recordings, especially of New Orleans and other older musicians who otherwise might have been forgotten. He's been a freelance music journalist. He wrote one of the best jazz biographies.

Yeah, facts matter. So get it right, okay?

 

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39 minutes ago, Brad said:

The tendency when a person dies is to remember them fondly and exalt their accomplishments but sometimes in the process we diminish or ignore the lesser qualities or negative aspects of their personality. It presents a less than balanced view of a person.  For example, when Lincoln, a process of deification occurred and those who had criticized him now lauded him to a fault and so forth. 

Let's not do the same with Chris Albertson.  Although he contributed mightily to the world of jazz and he probably knew more about jazz in one finger than most of us know in our whole body, some of his behavior on this Forum was, in my opinion, far from exemplary, such as in the political form where he far exceeded the norms of being "crusty." Other examples included his attacks on Phil Schaap (who himself has warts).  Larry Kart noted in the Where is Phil Schaap thread "re: Chris Albertson, while I respect what he did, his judgements are... "stern" is a generous way of putting it. And where did Chris come from again?" The full thread is below. 

I think we do a disservice to any person, not just Chris Albertson, if we don't remember them in a balanced way.

 

Brad, people don't just remember the posts Chris made here. After his departure - I think it was over the plethora of album cover threads - he started his Stomp Off blog which was a wonderful source of material and memories from his archive.  So people shouldn't just focus on his crusty posts or his generous off-line interactions.  The man had his warts as we all do (and I think I called him a bitter old man more than once)  but no one is hiding those or disputing them. Some focus on his contributions, others try the "he was  ____ but _____" construct. 

All are valid.

Edited by Dan Gould

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He certainly did come off as a bitter old man, probably was (and quite possibly justifiable so). And I recall him being very vocal (and unequivocal) about his negative opinion of the current Israeli government.

But hey. That was him, you knew where he stood when he was alive, and you know where he stood now that he's dead. No surprises, and judging by how he presented himself, no regrets.

We should all die with that much transparency of our life intact. I doubt any of us will.

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I had to smile when his (AAJ) nick "Christiern" was brought up. He sometimes used that over there to try to pull new forumists' legs (thinking the newbies were unaware of his true identity, i guess) - mine included at one itime - but not always to much avail. Sobered him at least momentarily as it seems.

As for his posts, yes he got carried away from time to time and may have alienated some (and i can understand the "bitter old man" remark - let's hope WE fare better at that age) but he DID speak his mind and backed it up with personal experience and exposure so it wasn't just some mud slinging (in most cases as far as I can tell) but rather a case of "setting the record straight". And if this involved putting some (who had seen thesmelves differently and would have liked others to do so too) in their place then in the overall picture this wasn't the worst thing IMHO and added some insight that the interested observer otherwise never would have gotten.
I am not sure if he realized all the time that alienating others by extreme candor (even if the facts were 100% on his side) is not the best way to get what credit will be due you (because there always will be some who have more clout and an agenda of their own that may run contrary to your interests) but I think from what I read in his posts and on his blog he personally took it in stride in most cases. And if he still took a swipe at whoever he felt was trying to rake in credit without being entitled to it then he was perfectly entitled to do so IMHO.

And yes - if nothing else were to remain of his statements - his description of when a photographic document can be considered to have been "drigged" will remain in my vocabulary forever. :lol:His (apparently quite justified) target wasn't the only one of that kind in that publishing business. 

Edited by Big Beat Steve

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Chris was a fascinating person. Chris will be missed. So many artists and historians and producers and critics of jazz have left us and are leaving us. 

Edited by jazzbo

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1 hour ago, Brad said:

The tendency when a person dies is to remember them fondly and exalt their accomplishments but sometimes in the process we diminish or ignore the lesser qualities or negative aspects of their personality. It presents a less than balanced view of a person.  For example, when Lincoln, a process of deification occurred and those who had criticized him now lauded him to a fault and so forth. 

Let's not do the same with Chris Albertson.  Although he contributed mightily to the world of jazz and he probably knew more about jazz in one finger than most of us know in our whole body, some of his behavior on this Forum was, in my opinion, far from exemplary, such as in the political form where he far exceeded the norms of being "crusty." Other examples included his attacks on Phil Schaap (who himself has warts).  Larry Kart noted in the Where is Phil Schaap thread "re: Chris Albertson, while I respect what he did, his judgements are... "stern" is a generous way of putting it. And where did Chris come from again?" The full thread is below. 

I think we do a disservice to any person, not just Chris Albertson, if we don't remember them in a balanced way.

 

Perfectly stated. This is what I posted on my Facebook page. 

“Chris and I go back about 18 years. On the old Jazz Corner message board we often engaged in lively and aggressively nasty political conversations. We had absolutely no love for one another. But as time passed, and I became a relatively hardcore liberal, our relationship became damn near friendly. Didn’t talk to him much after JC shut down, but occasionally ran into him here and had a few brief, friendly conversations. I’m not sure either of us considered the other a friend, but news of his death is still sad to me. So long, brother. Rest peacefully.” 

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46 minutes ago, jazzbo said:

So many artists and historians and producers and critics of jazz have left us and are leaving us. 

And, sadly, these are the people with a true connection to jazz.  People under a certain age will not have this connection, even if they want to.  

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What is it with musical age limits today?! 

How silly. Are we somehow now endorsing the Wynton Marsalis/Ken Burns opinion of when “real Jazz” died? 

Edited by Scott Dolan

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I hope that someone or some organization takes over  "archive" and keeps his name on it

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Saw this news here on the board last night and felt too sad to say anything then.  He was very supportive of Night Lights in its infancy and contributed the first "plug" that we used for promotional copy.  Although his contributions to the wider world of jazz and blues are the most important aspect of what he did, I'm also grateful for all that he shared with us here and on his blog.  I've been meaning to revisit the Basie Verve Mosaic anyway, so now would be a good time to start doing that.  I wish I'd been able to meet up with him in "real life," but there was nothing unreal about what he meant to me as an online friend.

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3 hours ago, Teasing the Korean said:

And, sadly, these are the people with a true connection to jazz.  People under a certain age will not have this connection, even if they want to.  

Some of us have a true connection to current Jazz which to some of us is just as important as the much more well known a celebrated historical Jazz.

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39 minutes ago, Steve Reynolds said:

Some of us have a true connection to current Jazz which to some of us is just as important as the much more well known a celebrated historical Jazz.

My point is that world does not exist anymore, regardless of how much we want it to, and regardless of who is playing jazz now. I was acknowledging that Chris had some connection to that vanished world.

That is not a criticism of contemporary jazz artists.  It is simply a fact.   

Edited by Teasing the Korean

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Sad news . I always valued his opinions 

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1 hour ago, Teasing the Korean said:

My point is that world does not exist anymore, regardless of how much we want it to, and regardless of who is playing jazz now. I was acknowledging that Chris had some connection to that vanished world.

That is not a criticism of contemporary jazz artists.  It is simply a fact.   

I agree with that. It was a special time & place that many of us would have loved to have experienced for themselves. My experience is that many don’t share these experiences with humility. I sure hope that when I mention to younger friends that I was able to see/hear or have some close experience with music from many years ago that I don’t come across as superior and instead I can express that I sure wish that younger friend could have shared my wonderful experience.

My experience here is not so much like that. I do get some of that bullshit with some of the people I see shows with in NYC as even some of them are smug about - well I saw Hendrix or Coltrane and you didn’t...Most of the older guys/girls are nit that way in person. If I ask I get some wonderful stories.

I always enjoyed reading Chris’ posts but nothing to communicate from here - and I wish I would have heard some wonderful stories. Me hopes I never turn anywhere near a bitter and angry old guy.

RIP

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He did seem very unhappy, and I’m sure he had legitimate reasons. He rage quit both here and JC, and at his age that seemed a bit off. I’m sure he was a good dude, but he seemed to be dealing with stronger demons than most. 

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31 minutes ago, Steve Reynolds said:

My experience here is not so much like that. I do get some of that bullshit with some of the people I see shows with in NYC as even some of them are smug about - well I saw Hendrix or Coltrane and you didn’t...Most of the older guys/girls are nit that way in person. If I ask I get some wonderful stories.

I like to think of it like, if you know David S. Ware, you have a link to Sonny Rollins. and if you have a link to Sonny Rollins, you have a link to Coleman Hawkins. Like that, it's there if you want it.

But only a rare few of us actually knew Coleman Hawkins as a living human. And from everything I can gather, he was one helluva MASSIVE living human. his knowledge, his presence, just HIM.

That's the thing people my age will never have. But again, if you have David S. Ware...

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I remember how much many of us regretted his decision to leave the Board and begged him to stay. He was not only knowledgeable but often just fun, even when he got a bit cross! A fine voice for the music, who will be very much missed.

 

 

gregmo

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Never a dull thread when Chris A was actively posting. Hope he has found his rest now.

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5 hours ago, medjuck said:

I hope that someone or some organization takes over  "archive" and keeps his name on it

I am going thru the Stomp Off blog so much material that must be saved but I don't know how that can be done. And there were things he shared with others that I don't think made it onto the blog, recordings from the radio station marathons. God only knows what else might have been in the "tape closet" he mentions on the blog. 

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