Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
GA Russell

The View from Within - Orrin Keepnews

19 posts in this topic

I found it a little disappointing. Just a collection of liner notes and such, most of which I knew from the respective LP releases. Some of the more interesting are not included. Nothing new for purchasers of the records he produced.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, mikeweil said:

 Nothing new for purchasers of the records he produced.

Or record sessions at which he held and operated a stopwatch.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is this a new edition? The original is from 1988.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It was one of the first jazz books I reviewed when it was first published. Unfortunately an editor at the newspaper shortened my review, leaving it with a transition that made absolutely no sense. I was embarrassed to send a tearsheet of it to Oxford University Press.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In the original edition from 1988, Keepnews held his cards close and refrained from naming names.  Since he still had one foot in the biz, Keepnews was careful not to disparage anyone who might hire him for future projects and deals.  The book is basically a reprise of Keepnews' liner notes rather than an insider's tell-all of the record industry.      

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/25/2019 at 6:19 AM, Dan Gould said:

Or record sessions at which he held and operated a stopwatch.

I believe the stopwatch was actually held by Chris Albertson, as was necessary in those days to make sure that your takes didn't go beyond what would fit onto an LP side.

BTW, in Chris's own words, he continued to use a stopwatch for his own productions, so the use of the stopwatch itself was an accepted practice. Somehow it has come to be applied to Orrin Keepnews as some sort of negative thing he did. For instance, from Chris's old "Stomp Off" blog:

"The exception was a flamenco session Bob (Weinstock of Prestige Records) asked me to do on a few hours notice—to this day, it is my only non-jazz/blues effort. It featured a Spanish Flamenco group, Los Morenos, that seemed to have come out of nowhere on a two-way ticket. I don’t know how good or authentic this group was, but its five members arrived at Rudy Van Gelder’s studio on time, complete with a roll-out dance floor and a routine as tight as any I had seen. They whipped out their castanets, stomped and attitudinized with an impressive flair for the dramatic while I practiced a lesson taken from Orrin’s a&r manual: worked the stopwatch. Unless it was a glaring goof, how would I know when to call for another take? Sound of Flamenco, should you ever come across it, is a self-produced affair."

The blog entry: http://stomp-off.blogspot.com/2009/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, bresna said:

I believe the stopwatch was actually held by Chris Albertson, as was necessary in those days to make sure that your takes didn't go beyond what would fit onto an LP side.

BTW, in Chris's own words, he continued to use a stopwatch for his own productions, so the use of the stopwatch itself was an accepted practice. Somehow it has come to be applied to Orrin Keepnews as some sort of negative thing he did. For instance, from Chris's old "Stomp Off" blog:

"The exception was a flamenco session Bob (Weinstock of Prestige Records) asked me to do on a few hours notice—to this day, it is my only non-jazz/blues effort. It featured a Spanish Flamenco group, Los Morenos, that seemed to have come out of nowhere on a two-way ticket. I don’t know how good or authentic this group was, but its five members arrived at Rudy Van Gelder’s studio on time, complete with a roll-out dance floor and a routine as tight as any I had seen. They whipped out their castanets, stomped and attitudinized with an impressive flair for the dramatic while I practiced a lesson taken from Orrin’s a&r manual: worked the stopwatch. Unless it was a glaring goof, how would I know when to call for another take? Sound of Flamenco, should you ever come across it, is a self-produced affair."

The blog entry: http://stomp-off.blogspot.com/2009/

Kevin, Chris definitely regarded Weinstock's involvement in recording sessions as being reduced to operating the stopwatch to know how long the take was going, because Weinstock had no ears to recognize a good or bad take.  The money quote is what I've bolded.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, Dan Gould said:

Kevin, Chris definitely regarded Weinstock's involvement in recording sessions as being reduced to operating the stopwatch to know how long the take was going, because Weinstock had no ears to recognize a good or bad take.  The money quote is what I've bolded.

Chris utilized a stopwatch at a session that had no involvement with Bob Weinstock. Does that mean that Chris had no ears to recognize a good or bad take? It's never good to generalize.

Look, we all know Chris hated Keepnews but whatever happened, it was personal between the two of them. At the same time, I've read of plenty of musicians who liked working with Keepnews. Jimmy Heath comes to mind.

Both of them are now gone so there's no reason to continue this feud in their stead.

Edited by bresna

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Kevin, someone has to man the stopwatch. Chris says it was all Orrin was good for. I don't have a dog in this hunt, I was only recalling Chris' comment.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

R-2576209-1346193094-4953.jpeg.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Keepnews was difficult. I once commented on some bulletin board that I didn't like Mabel Mercer and he went berserk. Berserk.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bizarre. It's not that I don't like Mabel Mercer, it's that I don't get her (or any of that type thing). At all.

I get that there's a context and importance in the wake of that, but still...I've had it "explained" to me several times over and I still don't get it.

Guess you had to be there...and I wasn't. Somehow, though, I think I'd still not get it even if I had been.

That and Mozart. :g

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had an E-mail dialog with him many years ago. In his written word, he was extremely nice and seemed to remember a lot of stuff from back in the day. I wish i saved those E-mails as I don't even remember all the stuff we talked about. I did mention Chris Albertson to him once and he didn't say anything bad about him so on his side at least, there didn't seem to be any rancor.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, AllenLowe said:

Keepnews was difficult. I once commented on some bulletin board that I didn't like Mabel Mercer and he went berserk. Berserk.

It happens every time!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bill Mays shared a story about Alfred Marx, ("the lost Marx Brother, Cheapo") in his memoir. He was recording live with Marx sitting nearby and after a song that Mays thought turned out great, the producer leaned over and said, "Great take," then announced the time from his stopwatch.

Orrin Keepnews may have been crusty, but he produced a lot of great music in his long career, even if you excluded everything after Riverside.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A stopwatch would seem to be a necessary item when recording during the LP era. It's not like they had digital timers on the tape machines. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They had to label the tape boxes and session logs and all that stuff. Like Kevin said, no digital timers, and watching a clock on a wall we be a distraction to any other clerical multitasking.

Besides, have you ever seen anybody use a stopwatch without the little fistpumpy action? There's something primal about it that keeps us in touch with our true analog heritage.

Just now, JSngry said:

They had to label the tape boxes and session logs and all that stuff. Like Kevin said, no digital timers, and watching a clock on a wall would be a distraction to any other clerical multitasking.

Besides, have you ever seen anybody use a stopwatch without the little fistpumpy action? There's something primal about it that keeps us in touch with our true analog heritage.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bresna said it well. So, Albertson didn't like Keepnews and Weinstock. What else is new? I am tired of hearing what Albertson thought about anything.

The fact is, that both Keepnews and Weinstock produced a massive amount of excellent jazz. Take your argument outside, bub.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.