sgcim

An interesting quote from Geo. Duvivier's biography/discography

20 posts in this topic

Panama Francis:

"George and I had similar ideas about proper deportment, unlike some of the "problem children" of the bebop era. It seems that the intellectuals just love to see bad behavior on the part of black musicians. The worse you act, the more they seem to like you. They just adored Miles; that's their image of how a musician should act! That's not the way George and I were taught to behave. We always tried to be role models for the young musicians coming up."

How far can you extend this? To rappers? What does it say about why people like this type of thing?

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Jo Jones was particular about deportment and dress, as were many others (Horace Silver, Lou Donaldson etc.)

Rap? Well, what does one expect? Rap is for performers who can't sing or play a musical instrument.

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IMHO Francis, Duvivier and their likes had a valid point. No doubt they were sincere in their "role model" life. They just did not need those kinds of scandals or excesses to perform their art and no doubt were embarrassed by how others gave their community a (pun very intended) "bad rap" by the way they behaved. And the unfortunate voyeuristic and scandalizing tendencies of some of the (white?) media AND "intellectuals" at the time no doubt contributed too.

As for this ...
Rap is for performers who can't sing or play a musical instrument.
... well, I don't like rap at all and get nothing out of it but just like with hip hop I'll concede this is a major strain of TODAY's R&B that is valid and relevant to today's youth audience and therefore another evolutionary step in the overall history of R&B, like it or not ...
Which reminds me that from the mid-50s onwards many (who had the clout to get their opinions into print)  claimed exactly the same thing about 50s r'n'r (including a lot of black r'n'r FKA R&B). Now what does THAT say? ^_^

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"White folks" still love them some minstrel show shenanigans, and they still love being able to look down at the rest of life and decry the spectacle, name the victims, and point to the perpetrators, totally without irony. It extends past black music into every live and aspect of life that is not their own.

The myth of "equality" is that sharing of power, to the point that it may in part or in whole be yielded, will be totally embraced. Yeah, sure. Follow the monies, follow the ownerships.

I would say that Miles was quite the role model, actually, at least in terms of not buying into the premise that others should be able to own his music, alive or dead. People might not like how the legacy is being handled now, but please note that it is being handled by family, and the money along with it.

The ability to accrue and then pass on wealth (ok, "wealth") to increase individual and collective financial (and thus, social) leverage is no small matter.

Just as there are "alternative history" novels, let's imagine an alternative musical history where Reconstruction actually works, and Freedmen actually are able to pursue entrepreneurial endeavors protected and unmolested. Then let's say that Black Capital builds the Black Music Industry from the ground up. Let's ponder what kind of Black Music gets promoted, what kind of behavior becomes normalized/imprinted on the collective consciousness, let's think about where we might be now if that happened.

But no, that didn't happen. And here is where we are.

Toni Morrison, 1975, making the net-rounds a lot lately, and with good reason:

“The very serious function of racism … is distraction. It keeps you from doing your work. It keeps you explaining, over and over again, your reason for being. Somebody says you have no language and so you spend 20 years proving that you do. Somebody says your head isn’t shaped properly so you have scientists working on the fact that it is. Somebody says that you have no art so you dredge that up. Somebody says that you have no kingdoms and so you dredge that up. None of that is necessary.”

Also implicit in this dynamic is that the distractor continues to maintain power of direction over the distracted.

Racism is not the only distraction, of course, and there are some distractions that are incumbent upon the individual to own the avoidance of. But yes, rewarding/enabling bad behavior and/or dysfunction, not to understand it and salve/heal it, but to profit from it, this type of distraction is institutional and it is bigger than any one individual on either side. But there it is.

There it is.

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29 minutes ago, JSngry said:

... let's imagine an alternative musical history where Reconstruction actually works, and Freedmen actually are able to pursue entrepreneurial endeavors protected and unmolested. Then let's say that Black Capital builds the Black Music Industry from the ground up. Let's ponder what kind of Black Music gets promoted, what kind of behavior becomes normalized/imprinted on the collective consciousness, let's think about where we might be now if that happened.

If African-American jazzmen had flocked to VeeJay instead of BN? ;)

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Or if African-American musicians in general had been incentivized, empowered, and rewarded for staying in the American South.

Please remember - VeeJay, like Chess, thrived in the wake of The Great Migration, which itself was an inevitable result of the failure of Reconstruction to follow through on its alleged ideals.

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1 hour ago, JSngry said:

Or if African-American musicians in general had been incentivized, empowered, and rewarded for staying in the American South.

That would have made Peacock Records a #1 contender for signing all the artists.

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Assuming that Don Robey would have manifested as he did...the implications of the practical and moral failings of Reconstruction created this America at pretty much every level, every aspect. What would have otherwise happened....who knows?

One hope that we would still have gotten Prismatic Fidelity!

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Another fascinating aspect of Duvivier's life was the jazz band that he and the members of his African-American community in NYC formed when they were still in their teens, The Royal Barons, which included a young Herbie Nichols(!) as their pianist. They modeled themselves after the Jimmy Lunceford Band, and they were so good that when they played opposite the Lunceford band at the Renaissance Casino at 138th and 7th Ave, the Lunceford band, although they were finished for the night, were back up on the stage, all listening to The Royal Barons. Billie Moore Jr., the RB's arranger, later went on to become a very important part of the Lunceford organization. George himself was hired as an arranger for the Lunceford Band after he came back from service in WWII.

All the members of The Royal Barons went on to become successes, some in the music business, and some outside of it. George Parker went on to become a piano teacher at Julliard. Herbie Nichols and George went on to become Herbie Nichols and George. Bob Shoecraft went on to become a D.A. in Ohio, Jocelyn Smith became a Superior Court Justice, and so on. Unfortunately, there are no known recording of The Royal Barons. They broke up due to the War.

 

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I asked James Williams about the unissued session he recorded with George Duvivier (which was evidently one of the bassist's last sessions, if not last). The pianist told me that his own playing wasn't up to par on the date so the music wouldn't be released. I made an inquiry to William Paterson University (which received Williams' music legacy following his death) to see if they had the tapes, but there was no response.

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Question - what book is this, exactly? The thing from Scarecrow Press that is (for me) a little prohibitively priced, or something else? What's it called. Bass Notes?

George Duvivier has long fascinated me. I'd love to read this.

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55 minutes ago, Ken Dryden said:

I asked James Williams about the unissued session he recorded with George Duvivier (which was evidently one of the bassist's last sessions, if not last). The pianist told me that his own playing wasn't up to par on the date so the music wouldn't be released. I made an inquiry to William Paterson University (which received Williams' music legacy following his death) to see if they had the tapes, but there was no response.

Yeah, that's what Williams was quoted as saying about the album by George.

 

49 minutes ago, JSngry said:

Question - what book is this, exactly? The thing from Scarecrow Press that is (for me) a little prohibitively priced, or something else? What's it called. Bass Notes?

George Duvivier has long fascinated me. I'd love to read this.

"Bassically Speaking: An Oral History of George Duvivier" by Edward Berger. Published by Institute of Jazz Studies (#17) Rutgers, and Scarecrow Press, 1993.

My PHD brother finagled borrowing privileges from Columbia University, and I've been taking advantage of them while they still last. 

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Yeah, that'd the one!

Where is Da Capo with the paperbacks now that you need them?

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2 hours ago, Ken Dryden said:

I asked James Williams about the unissued session he recorded with George Duvivier (which was evidently one of the bassist's last sessions, if not last). The pianist told me that his own playing wasn't up to par on the date so the music wouldn't be released. I made an inquiry to William Paterson University (which received Williams' music legacy following his death) to see if they had the tapes, but there was no response.

George took James Williams around, and introduced him to all the guys. He always helped out many young cats who were serious about the music. A saint.

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6 hours ago, Ken Dryden said:

I asked James Williams about the unissued session he recorded with George Duvivier (which was evidently one of the bassist's last sessions, if not last). The pianist told me that his own playing wasn't up to par on the date so the music wouldn't be released. I made an inquiry to William Paterson University (which received Williams' music legacy following his death) to see if they had the tapes, but there was no response.

I can't say that I've ever heard James Williams not up to par on a recording.  I'm inclined to think that it'd still be worth hearing.  It's too bad that you didn't hear back from the university.

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22 hours ago, sgcim said:

Panama Francis:

"George and I had similar ideas about proper deportment, unlike some of the "problem children" of the bebop era. It seems that the intellectuals just love to see bad behavior on the part of black musicians. The worse you act, the more they seem to like you. They just adored Miles; that's their image of how a musician should act! That's not the way George and I were taught to behave. We always tried to be role models for the young musicians coming up."

How far can you extend this? To rappers? What does it say about why people like this type of thing?

You're asking us to engage in such gross generalization that any response will expose far more about our own personal views on race than it will examine "why people like this type of thing."

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Posted (edited)

Well I don't thing it's exclusively a 'black musicians' thing, or how white people want to see black artist. People admire the sex, drugs and rock & roll thing too in the ' white rock scene. God I hope we can ever stop talking about 'races'. I can remember quite a lot people talking with much adoration about the enormous drug use by artists like Jim Morrison or Ozzy Osbourne. In the sense that: wow those guys lived a life.... Isn't it the same reason why people love mobsters and big criminals? Its a world unknown to them, tempting but way too scary. I don't know and can't say I actually care.

About rap or hip-hop: there is more than gangsta rap for God's sake. Don't like Shrdlu's comment on rap. Don' t know why people always feel the need to bash genres they don't like or listen too. There is quite a lot of good hip-hop made. And a good rapper.... man that is an art form itself. It's not really my favorite genre either but I hear what they're doing. 

Part from that: I do think it is a particular 'class' thing to expect from people growing up in a harsh environment to sing about butterflies and flowers or to behave like a school choir boy. Music is a product of its environment most of the time.

Edited by Pim

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Posted (edited)

this is a discussion about very little. Musicians act up, yes it can be entertaining, but just as entertaining to other musicians. Big nothing, and there are reams of hypocrisy innvoled. I mean, Jo Jones was drunk for about 40 years. I watched them dry him out every year in the '70s at NYU hospital but he remained insane and raving and nasty and just plain mean. Comportment? He comported himself like a mad man.

I remember Randy Weston one night complaining about how his generation lived "clean," and then someone whispering to me that he had so many kids with so many different women that even he wasn't sure who was who.

Face it - private AND public lives are messy and it has nothing to do with Minstrel Show entertainment. Not if you've heard the locker room talk.

Jazz and most of black music started out from a 'disreputable' place, and stayed there for a long time. The best music in the old days was made by junkies and drunks, and we know Miles was an abuser and sexual predator. Bud was a mess, Bird was a mess, Prez was a mess. Duvivier was a gentleman and great artist. There's all kinds. Al Haig was tried for murder, Tony Fruscella was a mess, Stan Getz made plays for the other musicians' wives when they were on tour.  Keith Jarrett is an asshole with a vengeance, Art Blakey ripped everybody off, Bill Triglia called me 'jewboy' (he suffered from horrible PTSD; I still loved him). Julius Hemphill told me his life had been out of control, and by the time he made a move to put things together it was too late. It's all music. It's not nice, but it's life.

As for a 'class thing,' most of the jazz players I knew, black and white, were essentially middle class. Race is a deal-breaker, however, and clouds everything.

A famous producer told me once (in the '70s) that he had only known ONE jazz musician who was a "grownup," and this guy knew everybody.

 

Edited by AllenLowe

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I've had more than one musician discuss his problems with alcohol but I never saw fit to either broadcast that information or include it in an article.

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Too bad I never caught George Duvivier live. He was scheduled on an Woody Herman All-Star small Group in 1985 which I saw live, but when they went on stage they announced that George Duvivier couldn´t perform due to illness, he was replaced by a Young unknown but very fine bass Player. 

And shortly afterwards we heard George Duvivier had died. 

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