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ghost of miles

“Sittin’ In: Jazz Clubs Of The 1940s And 1950s”

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Looks interesting; not sure if the author is equipped to write well about jazz (seems more of a pop/rock guy but who knows) but the photos available on amazon have me intrigued.

 

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24 minutes ago, Dan Gould said:

Looks interesting; not sure if the author is equipped to write well about jazz (seems more of a pop/rock guy but who knows) but the photos available on amazon have me intrigued.

 

My reaction too, Dan—I wish the author had more of a jazz pedigree, but the photos may inspire me to pick it up, especially if the price drops at some point.

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I was thinking too that incorporation of the old photos/current photos of jazz club locations that were put together somewhere on the interwebs would be a cool add-on.

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1 hour ago, Dan Gould said:

Looks interesting; not sure if the author is equipped to write well about jazz (seems more of a pop/rock guy but who knows) but the photos available on amazon have me intrigued.

 

I'd love a book like that but what you say sounds like a reasonable concern. But what I am more concerned about is what johnny-come-lately people/celebs like Jason Moran have to say (with real substance) from an INSIDER's point of view about jazz clubs of the FORTIES and FIFTIES and that era. What's the actual credentials? Is he a historian and/or confirmed collector of the music from that era too? Reminds me a bit of the Ken Burns jazz documentary where Wynton Marsalis was called upon as "THE" expert to make statements on each and every angle of the subject. IIRC this was ONE aspect why that series came under a lot of flak here, so ...? ;)

Seems a bit to me like someone wanted to write a book about a specific period (commendable ...) but then realized that that era was too far in the past to come up with reasonable eye and earwitnesses for a real oral history and so stuck to who was left (even Sonny Rollins and Quincy Jones were sort of a bit late to the game for the ENTIRE period covered in the book). A bit like in "oral histories" written too late such as "Bands Booze and Broads" (where a lot of the interviewees were minor big band sidemen from the big band lineups of the 50s when the big band era was a definite thing of the past and the whole scene had changed).

Despite these reservations, the photographs, however, may be the clincher - if the intro (as seem on Amazon) is true. It is very welcome if a book on that period does not rely exclusively on Bill Gottlieb's 1947 photographs (which - fantastic as they are - are commonplace to avid fans of jazz from that era as they all are in the online P.D.). So I did take the plunge and preordered. ;)

 

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39 minutes ago, Big Beat Steve said:

I'd love a book like that but what you say sounds like a reasonable concern. But what I am more concerned about is what johnny-come-lately people/celebs like Jason Moran have to say (with real substance) from an INSIDER's point of view about jazz clubs of the FORTIES and FIFTIES and that era. What's the actual credentials? Is he a historian and/or confirmed collector of the music from that era too? Reminds me a bit of the Ken Burns jazz documentary where Wynton Marsalis was called upon as "THE" expert to make statements on each and every angle of the subject. IIRC this was ONE aspect why that series came under a lot of flak here, so ...? ;)

Seems a bit to me like someone wanted to write a book about a specific period (commendable ...) but then realized that that era was too far in the past to come up with reasonable eye and earwitnesses for a real oral history and so stuck to who was left (even Sonny Rollins and Quincy Jones were sort of a bit late to the game for the ENTIRE period covered in the book). A bit like in "oral histories" written too late such as "Bands Booze and Broads" (where a lot of the interviewees were minor big band sidemen from the big band lineups of the 50s when the big band era was a definite thing of the past and the whole scene had changed).

Despite these reservations, the photographs, however, may be the clincher - if the intro (as seem on Amazon) is true. It is very welcome if a book on that period does not rely exclusively on Bill Gottlieb's 1947 photographs (which - fantastic as they are - are commonplace to avid fans of jazz from that era as they all are in the online P.D.). So I did take the plunge and preordered. ;)

 

I basically agree with all you said, except I don't know why Jason Moran had to be "raked over the coals". :ph34r:

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53 minutes ago, Big Beat Steve said:

I'd love a book like that but what you say sounds like a reasonable concern. But what I am more concerned about is what johnny-come-lately people/celebs like Jason Moran have to say (with real substance) from an INSIDER's point of view about jazz clubs of the FORTIES and FIFTIES and that era. What's the actual credentials? Is he a historian and/or confirmed collector of the music from that era too? Reminds me a bit of the Ken Burns jazz documentary where Wynton Marsalis was called upon as "THE" expert to make statements on each and every angle of the subject. IIRC this was ONE aspect why that series came under a lot of flak here, so ...? ;)

Seems a bit to me like someone wanted to write a book about a specific period (commendable ...) but then realized that that era was too far in the past to come up with reasonable eye and earwitnesses for a real oral history and so stuck to who was left (even Sonny Rollins and Quincy Jones were sort of a bit late to the game for the ENTIRE period covered in the book). A bit like in "oral histories" written too late such as "Bands Booze and Broads" (where a lot of the interviewees were minor big band sidemen from the big band lineups of the 50s when the big band era was a definite thing of the past and the whole scene had changed).

Despite these reservations, the photographs, however, may be the clincher - if the intro (as seem on Amazon) is true. It is very welcome if a book on that period does not rely exclusively on Bill Gottlieb's 1947 photographs (which - fantastic as they are - are commonplace to avid fans of jazz from that era as they all are in the online P.D.). So I did take the plunge and preordered. ;)

 

 

yes, we can't have anyone under the age of 50 being knowledgeable about Jazz clubs from before their birth can we now. Quickly the barbarians are at the gates.

If you knew Moran's work you might know he has done a number of deeply researched historical projects and has an obvious respect for music of the 20s - 40s. You may not like his interpretations of Waller or James Reese Europe but I'm not sure he can be dismissed as a 'johnny-come-lately people/celeb'.

https://jasonmoranharlemhellfighters.com/

Or his inclusion in the book could be to do with the work he's done around venues now lost, venues from 40s and 50s surprisingly :)

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/21/arts/music/jason-moran-contemporary-art.html

https://whitney.org/exhibitions/jason-moran/performances

13 minutes ago, jlhoots said:

except I don't know why Jason Moran had to be "raked over the coals". :ph34r:

prejudice or ignorance, I suspect :ph34r:

Edited by mjazzg

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19 minutes ago, mjazzg said:

 

yes, we can't have anyone under the age of 50 being knowledgeable about Jazz clubs from before their birth can we now. Quickly the barbarians are at the gates.

If you knew Moran's work you might know he has done a number of deeply researched historical projects and has an obvious respect for music of the 20s - 40s. You may not like his interpretations of Waller or James Reese Europe but I'm not sure he can be dismissed as a 'johnny-come-lately people/celeb'.

https://jasonmoranharlemhellfighters.com/

Or his inclusion in the book could be to do with the work he's done around venues now lost, venues from 40s and 50s surprisingly :)

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/21/arts/music/jason-moran-contemporary-art.html

https://whitney.org/exhibitions/jason-moran/performances

prejudice or ignorance, I suspect :ph34r:

I didn't attempt to rake him over the coals but I won't say I am excited by his participation ... I was not aware of his "art installations" replicating old clubs so thanks for that link, but studying pictures to accomplish this "art" doesn't give one insight into the environment of those clubs when they existed.  It's a lot like the fashion expert opining about the styles show in those photos ... if I get this I am not going straight to her interview either. 

At 45 Moran is as equipped as anyone who was born long after these clubs were active to opine about them.  Attempting to duplicate club stages from years ago doesn't really change that. So if I buy the book we'll see if I am surprised or pleased by whatever Moran says ... but I'll be far more interested in  Rollins/Quincy/Morgenstern's contributions because they are old enough to know something firsthand.

 

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@mjazzg:

Neither of the two, just wondering and puzzlement.

I was not aware of his research or artistic interpretations. My fault possibly, but if you read my statements carefully - and without prejudice about my intentions on YOUR side ;) - you will have noticed that I asked whether he in fact did have in-depth (!) research(er) or writer credentials on the topic of 40s/50s jazz clubs (so I did take that possibility into account but wanted to find out). So if he has (no, I did not check the links yet), all the better, and in this case I stand corrected. But given previous experience - in reading (of books written with what clearly are either secondary sources or attempts to catch an era but, being too late, being forced to use oral sources who came in at the tail end of that era only and therefore could not provide first-hand testimonials of the KEY years either) or watching (documentaries where current/present-day celebs are called in to comment on previous eras and styles of music - with all too often shallow results) - I as someone very interested in the subject matter reserve the right to ask the question beforehand. I hope I made my point.

P.S: @Dan Gould: Thanks for your comments which shed some additional light on Moran's involvement. Something worthwhile may well come of how Moran tackles the subject, but as you say - reenactment or artistic reinterpretation may not necessarily equal first-hand experiences and memories or historical accuracy.

 

Edited by Big Beat Steve

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1 hour ago, Dan Gould said:

I didn't attempt to rake him over the coals but I won't say I am excited by his participation ... I was not aware of his "art installations" replicating old clubs so thanks for that link, but studying pictures to accomplish this "art" doesn't give one insight into the environment of those clubs when they existed.  It's a lot like the fashion expert opining about the styles show in those photos ... if I get this I am not going straight to her interview either. 

At 45 Moran is as equipped as anyone who was born long after these clubs were active to opine about them.  Attempting to duplicate club stages from years ago doesn't really change that. So if I buy the book we'll see if I am surprised or pleased by whatever Moran says ... but I'll be far more interested in  Rollins/Quincy/Morgenstern's contributions because they are old enough to know something firsthand.

 

It wasn't you.

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27 minutes ago, jlhoots said:

It wasn't you.

No but I did have the initial, unspoken thought, of what would Moran bring to this that would be memorable or enlightening?

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2 hours ago, Dan Gould said:

I didn't attempt to rake him over the coals but I won't say I am excited by his participation ... I was not aware of his "art installations" replicating old clubs so thanks for that link, but studying pictures to accomplish this "art" doesn't give one insight into the environment of those clubs when they existed.  It's a lot like the fashion expert opining about the styles show in those photos ... if I get this I am not going straight to her interview either. 

At 45 Moran is as equipped as anyone who was born long after these clubs were active to opine about them.  Attempting to duplicate club stages from years ago doesn't really change that. So if I buy the book we'll see if I am surprised or pleased by whatever Moran says ... but I'll be far more interested in  Rollins/Quincy/Morgenstern's contributions because they are old enough to know something firsthand.

 

I never said, nor did jhoots, that you raked him over the coals. My comments are only in response to BBS's post.

And, I agree that Moran's installations may not give him credence on the subject but they may. As you say the proof will be in his contributions to the book.

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2 hours ago, Big Beat Steve said:

@mjazzg:

Neither of the two, just wondering and puzzlement.

I was not aware of his research or artistic interpretations. My fault possibly, but if you read my statements carefully - and without prejudice about my intentions on YOUR side ;) - you will have noticed that I asked whether he in fact did have in-depth (!) research(er) or writer credentials on the topic of 40s/50s jazz clubs (so I did take that possibility into account but wanted to find out). So if he has (no, I did not check the links yet), all the better, and in this case I stand corrected. But given previous experience - in reading (of books written with what clearly are either secondary sources or attempts to catch an era but, being too late, being forced to use oral sources who came in at the tail end of that era only and therefore could not provide first-hand testimonials of the KEY years either) or watching (documentaries where current/present-day celebs are called in to comment on previous eras and styles of music - with all too often shallow results) - I as someone very interested in the subject matter reserve the right to ask the question beforehand. I hope I made my point.

P.S: @Dan Gould: Thanks for your comments which shed some additional light on Moran's involvement. Something worthwhile may well come of how Moran tackles the subject, but as you say - reenactment or artistic reinterpretation may not necessarily equal first-hand experiences and memories or historical accuracy.

 

I fear you protest too much. 

Your dismissive attitude to Moran's involvement is very evident in your phrase about him 'what johnny-come-lately people/celebs like Jason Moran have to say' and how you then compare his credentials to those of Marsalis contribution to the Burns documentary - contributions it's obvious you regard negatively.

It's a self-evident truth that he can't contribute 'with real substance) from an INSIDER's point of view about jazz clubs of the FORTIES and FIFTIES and that era', so why even set him up to fail on a false premise. Nor does this necessarily disqualify him from having knowledge of the subject which could enhance the book.  I simply pointed out some context that may suggest he could do so.  I also don't read 'just wondering and puzzlement' in your dismissal of Moran  But maybe I'm being unnecessarily obtuse.

It's obvious to everyone that someone with lived experience has a greater opportunity to provide insight but let's not dismiss the contributions of those that have gained knowledge often from studying the testimonies of those with that experience.

 

Edited by mjazzg

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4 hours ago, Big Beat Steve said:

@mjazzg:

Neither of the two, just wondering and puzzlement.

I was not aware of his research or artistic interpretations. My fault possibly, but if you read my statements carefully - and without prejudice about my intentions on YOUR side ;) - you will have noticed that I asked whether he in fact did have in-depth (!) research(er) or writer credentials on the topic of 40s/50s jazz clubs (so I did take that possibility into account but wanted to find out). So if he has (no, I did not check the links yet), all the better, and in this case I stand corrected. But given previous experience - in reading (of books written with what clearly are either secondary sources or attempts to catch an era but, being too late, being forced to use oral sources who came in at the tail end of that era only and therefore could not provide first-hand testimonials of the KEY years either) or watching (documentaries where current/present-day celebs are called in to comment on previous eras and styles of music - with all too often shallow results) - I as someone very interested in the subject matter reserve the right to ask the question beforehand. I hope I made my point.

P.S: @Dan Gould: Thanks for your comments which shed some additional light on Moran's involvement. Something worthwhile may well come of how Moran tackles the subject, but as you say - reenactment or artistic reinterpretation may not necessarily equal first-hand experiences and memories or historical accuracy.

 

Reading your statement carefully doesn’t change “But what I am more concerned about is what johnny-come-lately people/celebs like Jason Moran have to say”. You can change your narrative after being called out, but if you really did wonder if he had in-depth knowledge before researching anything about Jason’s work regarding the period, you didn’t need to include the above statement. Also Jason’s been on the scene for 20+ years. How is that Johnny-come-lately? 

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no guys, you are missing the point - Moran is a fine musician and nice guy but he has no place in a book like this. I have no place in a book like this, and I at least  knew a LOT of musicians who were extremely active on the scene in the 1950s. But it makes no historical sense, none at all, to have Moran as a part of this project. 20 years on the scene puts him at 40+ years too late for this book.  It's offensive when there are a number of living jazz musicians who would have been perfect for this, and a few who died recently (like Annie Ross). This is just a crap way to do it and an insult to a lot of great jazz people.  Who's going to talk about Teddy Charles and Hall Overton, and Bill Triglia (house pianist at Birdland for a time in that decade), Jimmy Knepper, Al Haig, etc etc? Not to mention that our own Larry Kart, who came of age in that decade,  would have been perfect - and  Chuck Nessa. It is an incredible lost opportunity of the kind that re-enforces my sense that nobody really gives a damn any more about the depth of jazz history. Ah.....

Edited by AllenLowe

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Even when someone does something interesting, we all bitch about it. Do it yourself then.

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Just now, jlhoots said:

Even when someone does something interesting, we all bitch about it. Do it yourself then.

I've done plenty myself. But that's like saying "stop complaining about Trump and run for president yourself."

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3 minutes ago, AllenLowe said:

I've done plenty myself. But that's like saying "stop complaining about Trump and run for president yourself."

Yes you have, & no it doesn't. Can't we all just get along?

Edited by jlhoots

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I would like to see the book, but it sounds from the blurb like the same-old-same-old. I'd prefer to see Cafe Bohemia and places like that, clubs in Brooklyn like the one Max worked with Duke Jordan, also that Cleveland club that had a great photographer in residence. Maybe they'll surprise me. I'm just disappointed they didn't interview Grace Kelly. Now she would have insights on the old days.

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16 minutes ago, AllenLowe said:

I would like to see the book, but it sounds from the blurb like the same-old-same-old. I'd prefer to see Cafe Bohemia and places like that, clubs in Brooklyn like the one Max worked with Duke Jordan, also that Cleveland club that had a great photographer in residence. Maybe they'll surprise me. I'm just disappointed they didn't interview Grace Kelly. Now she would have insights on the old days.

:alien::ph34r::blink:

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Tile floors or carpet? Wool suits? How much glass was in the room, as opposed to plastic?

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So this discussion is about a book no-one has actually read yet? 

Edited by medjuck

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1 hour ago, medjuck said:

So this discussion is about a book no-one has actually read yet? 

In a way - yes. But from what I for one did see on the sample pages on Amazon I was intrigued enough to pre-order it. Despite Jason Moran. (So ... mission accomplished for the publishers - in my case anyway :P)
And therefore - in response to jlhoots and jcam_44: You may not like the way I worded my doubts (cultural clashes, maybe?) but yes, I was a bit doubtful about the credentials and relevance of Jason Moran as a strictly fact-based researcher and historian, but I WILL be VERY pleased to be proven wrong about this when I read the book. Moran's artistic reinterpretations of that period are interesting for what they are but this is not what such a book is (supposed to be) about. After all it is a book about that period and the clubs and the atmosphere and its musicians and patrons and the entire way of (night)life of that era (at least that is how I understood the sales blurb on Amazon and what I am looking forward to). It is NOT about a reinterpetation of that era by today's artists. It is a bit like if I want to read a biography about the life and music of Fats Waller, for instance, a writeup on the "Ain't Misbehavin'" musical and nothing more will not do. It's an add-on, not more - regardless of how entertaining the musical is (yes I did see it at the time).
So I agree with Allen Lowe - from a historian's perspective there would have been others who would have been able to provide more profound insights on this.
IMO Jason Moran figures there not least of all because he is a name in today's jazz entertainment world and may draw additional sales (and this is something I am wary about).
But apart from the celebrity angle and looking beyond pro historians such as Dan Morgenstern, on that level of profound knowledge on the subject on hand basically any diehard collector and serious amateur researcher of the jazz club life of the 40s and 50s (all of whom of course are johnny-come-latelies due to the time that has passed since the 40s and 50s and are BOUND to be late starters on the subject) might be just as qualified to add something substantial to the subject. No doubt collectors and hobby historians of that caliber ARE out there (if the book had been written 20 years ago I'd say there would have been a handful of them around on the Retro Swing scene, for example. But of course they don't have the "name").

So ... I stand by it: I prefer fact-based contributions of historians and researchers to artistic reinterpretations (regardless of the names attached). After all the book is about the club scene of the 40s and 50s, not about what we today extract from that 40s and 50s atmosphere to rework it (an interesting approach too but if I wanted that I'd buy an updated edition of "Swing - The Retro Renaissance", for example ^_^, but that will be a different subject matter, then).

 

Edited by Big Beat Steve

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History and research-based publications on a subject of history are one thing, but reworking parts of history in something of today is something else again. Two different pairs of shoes. Both can be done but there is no point in mixing them up randomly. After all the book is supposed to be about shedding some documentary (!) light on the 40s and 50s club scene (or else the Amazon blurb was grossly misleading), not about how name artists of today take that scene for their own reworkings (which in their essence would amount to a sort of vintage or retro culture too, or else the results of their efforts would be an even more different pair of shoes). We will see how the full text of the book actually reads. I will be looking forward to it - one way or another.

BTW, being outside the US, I had to look up who Robin Givhan is (now I understand where she comes into the picture ...), but seeing an excerpt of the interview with her on one of the sample pages, I wonder: Where do London, Mary Quant and the 60s come in as important aspects when the fashion of the 40s and 50s is discussed (50s obviously meaning most of all the FIRST half of the 50s as continuing the trends of the 40s), andwhat is this "My guess is", "I think", etc., even about such trivial questions such as the availability of sharp garb to the public: Ms Givhan, did you do an in-depth check of features and ads in period magazines (starting with Ebony etc.) to see where the gents and ladies in the street were able to buy/order their outfits etc.? Or is this chapter not so much about putting the fashion trends of the day in context than about "Renowned Robin Givhan muses on fashion of the 40s and 50s"? ;) Ho hum ... I do cross my fingers the FULL interview will not turn into a missed opportunity but provide something more period-specifically substantial.

 


 

Edited by Big Beat Steve

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