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sgcim

"Cookin' Hard Bop and Soul jazz 1954-1965"

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I'm in the middle of a great book by Kenny Mathieson named "Cookin'- Hard Bob and Soul Jazz- 1954-1965", and he has a chapter on musicians of that period who have never had a full-length biography written about them, at the time of its writing, 2002. Since then, books have been written about many of these artists, but there's a chapter on Jimmy Smith, as well as:Art Blakey, Dexter Gordon/Wardell Gray, Horace Silver, The MJQ, Cannonball Adderly/Nat Adderly, Lee Morgan/Hank Mobley, Wes Montgomery, Kenny Dorham/Howard McGhee, Donald Byrd/Blue Mitchell/Booker Little, Sonny Stitt/Johnny Griiffin, James Moody/ Serge Chaloff/ Jimmy Heath, Lou donaldson/ Stanley Turrentine, Booker Ervin Tina Brooks/ Gigi Gryce, Sonny Clark/Elmo Hope/ Wynton Kelly, Kenny Burrell/Grant Green, The Jazztet.

Anyone read this? I searched it here, and the only mention is by Brad, when he wanted to sell it eight years ago. I mentioned this in the Jimmy Smith thread, but would like some opinions on it, because the opinions on the book "Trad Dads, Dirty Boppers and Free Fusioneers" saved me a lot of time by warning me of the political BS the author throws into the last chapters!

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I will have to see if I still have it!

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7 hours ago, sgcim said:

I'm in the middle of a great book by Kenny Mathieson named "Cookin'- Hard Bob and Soul Jazz- 1954-1965", and he has a chapter on musicians of that period who have never had a full-length biography written about them, at the time of its writing, 2002. Since then, books have been written about many of these artists, but there's a chapter on Jimmy Smith, as well as:Art Blakey, Dexter Gordon/Wardell Gray, Horace Silver, The MJQ, Cannonball Adderly/Nat Adderly, Lee Morgan/Hank Mobley, Wes Montgomery, Kenny Dorham/Howard McGhee, Donald Byrd/Blue Mitchell/Booker Little, Sonny Stitt/Johnny Griiffin, James Moody/ Serge Chaloff/ Jimmy Heath, Lou donaldson/ Stanley Turrentine, Booker Ervin Tina Brooks/ Gigi Gryce, Sonny Clark/Elmo Hope/ Wynton Kelly, Kenny Burrell/Grant Green, The Jazztet.

Anyone read this? I searched it here, and the only mention is by Brad, when he wanted to sell it eight years ago. I mentioned this in the Jimmy Smith thread, but would like some opinions on it, because the opinions on the book "Trad Dads, Dirty Boppers and Free Fusioneers" saved me a lot of time by warning me of the political BS the author throws into the last chapters!

"Trad dads and dirty boppers" suggested a British author to me and judging from his name and other publications I'd say he was Scottish. I see he's also written one called Giant Steps: Bebop and the Creators of Modern Jazz 1945-65. Just my period! Anyone read it?

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1 hour ago, BillF said:

 I see he's also written one called Giant Steps: Bebop and the Creators of Modern Jazz 1945-65. Just my period! Anyone read it?

I did (sort of - see below). I bought it when it was fairly new as it covers a period that I am rather interested in too, and this was at a time when I must have been in a "read anything about it" mood. The book is made up of chapters on the major names, much like the "Jazz Masters of the 50s" book.
You can get an idea here:
https://books.google.de/books?id=Azl-2jRD5B4C&printsec=frontcover&hl=de#v=onepage&q&f=false

What he has to say about those major acts is interesting but focusing on these big names really leaves too much on other musicians unsaid and all too much falls between the gaps IMHO instead of providing a real-depth picture of the era, musicians and stylistic nuances you are covering. I would have preferred an approach like the "Jazz Masters of the 40s" (where from starting with the major ones you go on to cover the "others" who deserve mentioning too) or in fact like "West Coast Jazz" by Ted Gioia and similar books.
YMMV, of course.

Actually, pulling out my copy now I see that I never got around to reading the final quarter of the book yet. :unsure:

So - no, considering the other books I've bought of post-1945 jazz this one is nice to have but I would not consider it essential.

This review nails it in a balanced way, I think:
https://jazztimes.com/archives/giant-steps-bebop-and-the-creators-of-modern-jazz-1945-65-by-kenny-mathieson/

The "Cookin'" book would be a tempting one for me too (to complement the "Soul Jazz" book by Bob Porter which left more unsaid than I would have thought at first) but if this one is handled like "Giant Steps" then I am just a little bit wary for now.

 

 

Edited by Big Beat Steve

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3 hours ago, Big Beat Steve said:

I did (sort of - see below). I bought it when it was fairly new as it covers a period that I am rather interested in too, and this was at a time when I must have been in a "read anything about it" mood. The book is made up of chapters on the major names, much like the "Jazz Masters of the 50s" book.
You can get an idea here:
https://books.google.de/books?id=Azl-2jRD5B4C&printsec=frontcover&hl=de#v=onepage&q&f=false

What he has to say about those major acts is interesting but focusing on these big names really leaves too much on other musicians unsaid and all too much falls between the gaps IMHO instead of providing a real-depth picture of the era, musicians and stylistic nuances you are covering. I would have preferred an approach like the "Jazz Masters of the 40s" (where from starting with the major ones you go on to cover the "others" who deserve mentioning too) or in fact like "West Coast Jazz" by Ted Gioia and similar books.
YMMV, of course.

Actually, pulling out my copy now I see that I never got around to reading the final quarter of the book yet. :unsure:

So - no, considering the other books I've bought of post-1945 jazz this one is nice to have but I would not consider it essential.

This review nails it in a balanced way, I think:
https://jazztimes.com/archives/giant-steps-bebop-and-the-creators-of-modern-jazz-1945-65-by-kenny-mathieson/

The "Cookin'" book would be a tempting one for me too (to complement the "Soul Jazz" book by Bob Porter which left more unsaid than I would have thought at first) but if this one is handled like "Giant Steps" then I am just a little bit wary for now.

 

 

Thanks for your informative post, Steve.

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Thanks for mentioning this - downloaded a sample on my Kindle.

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Edited by mikeweil

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10 hours ago, BillF said:

"Trad dads and dirty boppers" suggested a British author to me and judging from his name and other publications I'd say he was Scottish. I see he's also written one called Giant Steps: Bebop and the Creators of Modern Jazz 1945-65. Just my period! Anyone read it?

Mathieson didn't write Trad Dads. Trad Dads was written by Duncan Heining, who is indeed British. "Cookin' was written by Mathieson, who is indeed Scottish. Cookin' was written as the second in a series about the period covered in Giant Steps, I haven't read Giant Steps.

Edited by sgcim

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8 hours ago, Big Beat Steve said:

I did (sort of - see below). I bought it when it was fairly new as it covers a period that I am rather interested in too, and this was at a time when I must have been in a "read anything about it" mood. The book is made up of chapters on the major names, much like the "Jazz Masters of the 50s" book.
You can get an idea here:
https://books.google.de/books?id=Azl-2jRD5B4C&printsec=frontcover&hl=de#v=onepage&q&f=false

What he has to say about those major acts is interesting but focusing on these big names really leaves too much on other musicians unsaid and all too much falls between the gaps IMHO instead of providing a real-depth picture of the era, musicians and stylistic nuances you are covering. I would have preferred an approach like the "Jazz Masters of the 40s" (where from starting with the major ones you go on to cover the "others" who deserve mentioning too) or in fact like "West Coast Jazz" by Ted Gioia and similar books.
YMMV, of course.

Actually, pulling out my copy now I see that I never got around to reading the final quarter of the book yet. :unsure:

So - no, considering the other books I've bought of post-1945 jazz this one is nice to have but I would not consider it essential.

This review nails it in a balanced way, I think:
https://jazztimes.com/archives/giant-steps-bebop-and-the-creators-of-modern-jazz-1945-65-by-kenny-mathieson/

The "Cookin'" book would be a tempting one for me too (to complement the "Soul Jazz" book by Bob Porter which left more unsaid than I would have thought at first) but if this one is handled like "Giant Steps" then I am just a little bit wary for now.

 

 

Cookin' (as you can see from my listing of the table of contents) includes many of the musicians the author left out in Giant Steps. How many books have chapters on Tina Brooks, Elmo Hope, Nat Adderly, Wardell Gray, Howard McGhee, Blue Mitchell, Booker Little, Booker Ervin, Johnny Griffin, and Sonny Clark?

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Very true, but much as I like and collect Wardell Gray, isn't his connection with Hard Bop and Soul Jazz rather tenuous? Same (as far as his major stylistic importance is concerned) for Howard McGhee. Not to mention the MJQ.
I wouldn't even be sure Wardell Gray can be considered a trailblazer and forefather of hard bop.
So I wonder how the author tackles his overall subject in full.

I did see your above remark re- this being the second in a series covering what started with Giant Steps. I had seen this in various online comments on the Cookin' book too but understood this - maybe incorrectly - to be the CHRONOLOGICALY second and follow-up in that series (as the dates in the subtitle seem to indicate too).

What strikes me as odd too is that I read somewhere in an online review (and comment by the author) that he decidedly followed a subjective approach and made no excuses for omitting Jackie McLean, for example (one I would rather have seen as an important Hard Bop figure - but that's only me ... ;))

Like I said, I may be off the mark but instinctively I would have preferred a different approach to cover the subject IN FULL and not as a rundown of major names in a sort of "pars pro toto" approach (that might work - but just as well might not, depending on what you are looking for). ;)

But again - YMMV ^_^

 

Edited by Big Beat Steve

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Of course, this isn't the first book to cover this sort of area. It's many years since I bought David H Rosenthal's Hard Bop: Jazz & Black Music 1955-1965 (1992).

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29 minutes ago, BillF said:

Of course, this isn't the first book to cover this sort of area. It's many years since I bought David H Rosenthal's Hard Bop: Jazz & Black Music 1955-1965 (1992).

The Rosenthal is a good read IMO.

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This is the one I went to first for that part of jazz history as well (some 20 years ago). Been quite a while since I read it and I need to pull it out again to refresh (and maybe update) my impressions but I do remember that back then I found its contents a bit slim compared to what e.g. Ted Gioia did in his book on West Coast Jazz . 

Edited by Big Beat Steve

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14 hours ago, BillF said:

Of course, this isn't the first book to cover this sort of area. It's many years since I bought David H Rosenthal's Hard Bop: Jazz & Black Music 1955-1965 (1992).

He uses Rosenthal's four groups of musicians that qualify as Hard Bop. 

 

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19 hours ago, Big Beat Steve said:

Very true, but much as I like and collect Wardell Gray, isn't his connection with Hard Bop and Soul Jazz rather tenuous? Same (as far as his major stylistic importance is concerned) for Howard McGhee. Not to mention the MJQ.
I wouldn't even be sure Wardell Gray can be considered a trailblazer and forefather of hard bop.
So I wonder how the author tackles his overall subject in full.

I did see your above remark re- this being the second in a series covering what started with Giant Steps. I had seen this in various online comments on the Cookin' book too but understood this - maybe incorrectly - to be the CHRONOLOGICALY second and follow-up in that series (as the dates in the subtitle seem to indicate too).

What strikes me as odd too is that I read somewhere in an online review (and comment by the author) that he decidedly followed a subjective approach and made no excuses for omitting Jackie McLean, for example (one I would rather have seen as an important Hard Bop figure - but that's only me ... ;))

Like I said, I may be off the mark but instinctively I would have preferred a different approach to cover the subject IN FULL and not as a rundown of major names in a sort of "pars pro toto" approach (that might work - but just as well might not, depending on what you are looking for). ;)

But again - YMMV ^_^

 

He includes Wardell Gray on the chapter with Dexter Gordon because of the recording of "The Chase" in 1947, which fits the first group of musicians that Rosenthal says qualifies for inclusion in the hard bop nomenclature. The chapter contains a lot more on Gordon than Gray.

He mention McLean in the introduction, saying that although he figures frequently in the course of the book, and was a prominent contributor to the emergence of hard bop, he has deliberately chosen to withhold his discussion of JM's work, because he wants to save JM for the next book in his series, which will look look at the extensions of bop in the early and mid 60s, in modal and other directions. He says, "McLean seems to me an excellent bridge into that development, and also made what I consider to be the most exciting and innovative music of his career in those years. Accordingly, I have reserved any detailed examination of his music for that volume".

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I must admit I don't get this "qualification" approach. Isn't that a bit formalistic or formulaic?
And while I fully understand his stance on Jacke McLean (and it does make sense according to HIS approach as it becomes clearer to me now), I still am not overly enamored by this "series of biographies of individual musicans to describe a whole STYLE - and period - of jazz". It's the "pars pro toto" approach I mentioned before that left me somewhat dissatisfied with the "Giant Steps" book. If I am to buy a book on the definite, comprehensive history of bebop, for example, I'd expect it not to be just a bio of Bird and Diz and that's that (to put it bluntly and exaggeratedly).

Like I tried to explain before, a historically comprehensive and in-depth book IMHO would require a different approach that goes into all the links between the different strains of development (or evolution) that existed, geographical and stylistic differences and nuances under one common roof, and of course covers, analyzes and outs into perspective not just the biggest names but also (more than just in passing) most of the others too, including those who at the time were relatively big names but for whatever reason may have disappeared under the radar later on and have been outright forgotten or given short shrift by historians (which happened at all times). Good historians and writers can present subjects like this without this becoming just a series of rattling off names, dates, recordings and places. But of course if it is so (according, I think, to the review I linked earlier) that Mathieson is another "Johnny-come-lately" among writers on the subject who relies (according to what that reviewer said) a bit too much on what previous historians wrote before him then such a comprehensive approach is exceedingly difficult to sustain unless you really go back to primary, FIRST-hand PERIOD sources instead of risking having your assessments clouded by what interpretations other historians have come up with before you. These historians' inputs can come into the picture too to complete things but IMHO they ought to be secondary to first-generation, primary sources at all times. (But again, that's only me ...  )

I may actually get Cookin'" too but then for what it is - an assortment of individual biographies with limited sideways excursions, but I still find its title wildly misleading.

Edited by Big Beat Steve

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I agree that it's not as comprehensive as something like Schuller's Swing Era tome, but he does make clear that it's part of a series of books that intends to include at least two or three other areas (modal and other influences, Free Jazz), and his disregard for Cannonball's 'Soul Jazz' period in the first of the series, here becomes adoration, because it's understood in the context of hard bop (first group of Rosenthal's groups of musicians.).

Maybe his lack of first hand sources stemmed from his 'difficult' interview with Jimmy Smith, where Smith refused to talk about the past, angrily insisting that the present was all that mattered. In any event, I agree that the title was misleading,and perhaps he should have called it, "Vol. Two: Musicians Infuenced and influencing the hard Bop Style".

s

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I found Rosenthal's book - a Long-form essay in many respects - very interesting and in some respects pretty thought-provoking, too (the "inclusive" Approach, mostly, which makes a lot of sense to me, and Rosenthal has a way of concisely putting things into just the right amount of words).

Mathieson seems to have rather less appeal from what I gather here - or rather, as Big Beat Steve puts it, has to be taken for what it is ...

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On 03/11/2019 at 2:29 AM, sgcim said:

Anyone read this? I searched it here, and the only mention is by Brad, when he wanted to sell it eight years ago.

I have it from back in the day, but still haven't read it. It's high on my priorities list but I have too many other things to read.

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