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ghost of miles

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

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I love these discussions about something nobody has put his hands on, just based on the Amazon blurb. Really!

:lol:

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15 minutes ago, EKE BBB said:

I love these discussions about something nobody has put his hands on, just based on the Amazon blurb. Really!

:lol:

Take it as pure excitement (and anticipation) about a subject of great interest put into print and as expectations of how you'd like the subject to be treated  - at least as far as I am concerned. ;) Happens day in day out with most anything anyone anywhere would eagerly like to get his hands on, including on this forum, isn't it?

BTW, the sample pages do give you a preview glimpse of what you are going to put your hands on. And you continue pondering the subject ...

Edited by Big Beat Steve

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2 hours ago, EKE BBB said:

I love these discussions about something nobody has put his hands on, just based on the Amazon blurb. Really!

:lol:

Yeah but it really isn't - the blurb has about six high quality images that show two sides of one page. You can read what the fashion lady says, or a good chunk of her reaction to these photos. It is easy to get a good idea about the book.

This kind of goes back to what I initially mentioned about whether this was the right author, being a rock/pop music business person with no apparent indication of jazz knowledge. We got Sonny Rollins and Quincy - surely got to be the most recognizable names of jazz survivors (and being a music business guy, he knows Quincy's vitae outside of Michael Jackson). We get one still-around critic and one young cat who did art installations replicating old clubs.  

But he could have spoken to ... Benny Golson or Jimmy Heath just to think of a couple of people.

Really it all makes me think of it as a picture book w. sort of pop sociology stuff mixed in.  Maybe it turns out to be a lot about those marketing pieces - and if it does, a few photos of matchbooks are gonna go a long way for me.

It's true jazz fans can't be satisfied and always bitch.  I bet the book would be a great visual accompaniment to that Jazz of the Late 40s thread. But if we want to hear about the clubs from the perspective of performers we're going to be disappointed.  It will probably be just fine for what it is.

Edited by Dan Gould

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9 hours ago, AllenLowe said:

 I'm just disappointed they didn't interview Grace Kelly. Now she would have insights on the old days.

Yeah, like that one time when her boyfriend got beaten up because he had blue hair, but Mingus made them stop.

Then Mingus beat him up because of the way he played.

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Mingus had principles.

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it is true I haven't read the book, but then, I haven't read Mein Kampf, but I have a pretty good sense of where he comes out on the issues of the day.

Edited by AllenLowe

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I heard some guy was going to write a book about jazz. It is going to be terrible.

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I don't trust any Shakespeare critic born after 1603. 

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I want to know what those rooms smelled like. What combination of aftershaves and colognes and perfumes and cigarette/cigar some and god only knows what else was in the air at any given time?

Similarly, wool suits and all that. all that absorbent material, not just on the walls and floors, but on the people, surely there was an acoustical factor at play?

I mean, pictures are welcome, but vision is but one sense. The experiences of being in those clubs was more than just visual.

I like a good picture as much as anybody, ok? And it may be worth a thousand words, a picture might be. But how many smells, and tastes, and touches are a thousand pictures worth?

Sensory experience, baby, sensory experience.

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So in addition to eye and ear witnesses we now need nose witnesses too? ;)

For a starter, check this Bill Gottlieb photo of a 1947 N.Y. audience:

39749933qs.jpg

Maybe some cigar collector can identify the one that the guy in the front chomps and tell us about how that would have smelled, and some beer expert can identify the bottle and the smell of that brew? :D

 

Edited by Big Beat Steve

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Scratch ' n sniff inserts like those perfume ads!

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1 hour ago, Big Beat Steve said:

So in addition to eye and ear witnesses we now need nose witnesses too? ;)

For a starter, check this Bill Gottlieb photo of a 1947 N.Y. audience:

39749933qs.jpg

Maybe some cigar collector can identify the one that the guy in the front chomps and tell us about how that would have smelled, and some beer expert can identify the bottle and the smell of that brew? :D

 

Where are the women? I see one, maybe?

And yeah, that shit gonna oderize the experience. All them crowded up suits and hats too, they will be pretty sound absorbent, so probably a much deader room sound than we today would get. and that's probably all to the better, imo.

Then again, low ceiling (is it covered at all?), and what's on the floors? And that mirror...where is the bandstand in relation to that mirror?

Like I said, I love good pictures. But if the goal of this book is to get you to "hear" what those rooms sounded like, you're just going to tell yourself something based on what you think you know about what you see, which is ok, but...no illusions, ok?

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41 minutes ago, JSngry said:

Where are the women? I see one, maybe?

 

The women, no fools they, were likely to be found outside the club, waiting for spray can mace to be invented before venturing into that crowd of, um, "gentlemen".

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1 hour ago, JSngry said:

Where are the women? I see one, maybe?

And yeah, that shit gonna oderize the experience. All them crowded up suits and hats too, they will be pretty sound absorbent, so probably a much deader room sound than we today would get. and that's probably all to the better, imo.

Then again, low ceiling (is it covered at all?), and what's on the floors? And that mirror...where is the bandstand in relation to that mirror?

Like I said, I love good pictures. But if the goal of this book is to get you to "hear" what those rooms sounded like, you're just going to tell yourself something based on what you think you know about what you see, which is ok, but...no illusions, ok?

Maybe someone will have the idea to recreate the rooms, floor, wall, ceiling coverings and all, and present concerts in them to get as close to the atmosphere as possible and at the same time pay homage to the original venue...no, never going to happen 

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21 minutes ago, mjazzg said:

Maybe someone will have the idea to recreate the rooms, floor, wall, ceiling coverings and all, and present concerts in them to get as close to the atmosphere as possible and at the same time pay homage to the original venue...no, never going to happen 

Nor should it not unless the instruments are vintage also. Seriously. Why do you think all the geeks go looking for that stuff?

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4 hours ago, JSngry said:

I want to know what those rooms smelled like. What combination of aftershaves and colognes and perfumes and cigarette/cigar some and god only knows what else was in the air at any given time?

Similarly, wool suits and all that. all that absorbent material, not just on the walls and floors, but on the people, surely there was an acoustical factor at play?

I mean, pictures are welcome, but vision is but one sense. The experiences of being in those clubs was more than just visual.

I like a good picture as much as anybody, ok? And it may be worth a thousand words, a picture might be. But how many smells, and tastes, and touches are a thousand pictures worth?

Sensory experience, baby, sensory experience.

That's easy, like cigarettes and cigars.

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Not all tobacco smells the same...nor is all ventilation created equally.

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Ah, the acoustics. I'll never forget the original Colonial Tavern on Yonge Street here in Toronto. It was a long narrow room running from east  to west. The bandstand was on the north wall while the south wall was totally mirrored. When Woody Herman's Third Herd played there in November of 1953 the sound was beyond ear- splitting. In the washroom between sets the guy in front of me in the line for the urinal told Woody who was right behind me that the band sounded great but that it was "so fucking loud". Woody's response was "Well, we're not used to playing in someone's living room, man!"

Another thing, the bandstand was just large enough to accommodate a sextet. When the Colonial booked big bands (They had Kenton, Lionel Hampton, Ellington and Basie as well as Woody) they'd move the piano off the raised bandstand and set it right in among the customer tables on the left side of the bandstand (one time I was sitting about six inches from Ellington's right hand) Then they'd cram the trumpet and trombone sections onto the bandstand with the bass and drums on the floor among the tables on the right side. The reed section sat in folding chairs on the floor in front of the bandstand. The guys looked so damned uncomfortable but the atmosphere sitting among them - literally - was visceral

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2 hours ago, Don Brown said:

Ah, the acoustics. I'll never forget the original Colonial Tavern on Yonge Street here in Toronto. It was a long narrow room running from east  to west. The bandstand was on the north wall while the south wall was totally mirrored. When Woody Herman's Third Herd played there in November of 1953 the sound was beyond ear- splitting. In the washroom between sets the guy in front of me in the line for the urinal told Woody who was right behind me that the band sounded great but that it was "so fucking loud". Woody's response was "Well, we're not used to playing in someone's living room, man!"

Another thing, the bandstand was just large enough to accommodate a sextet. When the Colonial booked big bands (They had Kenton, Lionel Hampton, Ellington and Basie as well as Woody) they'd move the piano off the raised bandstand and set it right in among the customer tables on the left side of the bandstand (one time I was sitting about six inches from Ellington's right hand) Then they'd cram the trumpet and trombone sections onto the bandstand with the bass and drums on the floor among the tables on the right side. The reed section sat in folding chairs on the floor in front of the bandstand. The guys looked so damned uncomfortable but the atmosphere sitting among them - literally - was visceral

I didn't get there until 1965.  Had it changed by then? (Saw Earl Hines there once and also Monk.  Tried to see Ornette but they wouldn't let me in because I was wearing jeans! ) 

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8 hours ago, Don Brown said:

Ah, the acoustics. I'll never forget the original Colonial Tavern on Yonge Street here in Toronto. It was a long narrow room running from east  to west. The bandstand was on the north wall while the south wall was totally mirrored. When Woody Herman's Third Herd played there in November of 1953 the sound was beyond ear- splitting. In the washroom between sets the guy in front of me in the line for the urinal told Woody who was right behind me that the band sounded great but that it was "so fucking loud". Woody's response was "Well, we're not used to playing in someone's living room, man!"

Another thing, the bandstand was just large enough to accommodate a sextet. When the Colonial booked big bands (They had Kenton, Lionel Hampton, Ellington and Basie as well as Woody) they'd move the piano off the raised bandstand and set it right in among the customer tables on the left side of the bandstand (one time I was sitting about six inches from Ellington's right hand) Then they'd cram the trumpet and trombone sections onto the bandstand with the bass and drums on the floor among the tables on the right side. The reed section sat in folding chairs on the floor in front of the bandstand. The guys looked so damned uncomfortable but the atmosphere sitting among them - literally - was visceral

That's the kind of reminiscences that would belong in the Sittin' In book too - unfortunately it probably is too late because the patrons who visited the clubs described in the book are certainly almost all gone by now (and how to track down those who remain and who are able to share their memories now?). Or you would have to round up previously published recollections but I guess that would have diluted the author's concept (understandably so).

 

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Waitresses? Cigarette girls? Anybody left alive (other than Carla Bley?)? Anybody know who those people were? Some of them were, I'm sure, there more regularly that the musicians. Bartenders?

Sometimes you want to go where you know everybody's name.

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None of the jazz spots in Toronto had cigarette girls but I do recall one of the waiters at the Colonial, a large, taciturn guy named Bill. My girlfriend and later wife asked him one time if he enjoyed the music. He told us that it was all just noise to him but he'd pretty much learned to tune it out.

 

I chuckled at medjuck's story about being denied entry to hear Ornette Coleman because he was wearing jeans. The first time Ornette played in Toronto was in another club, The Town Tavern, around the corner from The Colonial on Queen Street East. Before the quartet came into the club one of my friends, Bill Smith, the co-editor of Coda Magazine, tried to get in but was denied entry because he was wearing jeans, It was amusing when Ornette and his guys walked in. Ed Blackwell and Dewey Redman wear wearing business suits, Ornette, one of his neon creations and Charlie Haden jeans and a lumberjack shirt. My friend Bill figured this would make it OK for him. but no deal, customers could not get in if they were wearing jeans.

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55 minutes ago, Don Brown said:

None of the jazz spots in Toronto had cigarette girls but I do recall one of the waiters at the Colonial, a large, taciturn guy named Bill. My girlfriend and later wife asked him one time if he enjoyed the music. He told us that it was all just noise to him but he'd pretty much learned to tune it out.

 

I chuckled at medjuck's story about being denied entry to hear Ornette Coleman because he was wearing jeans. The first time Ornette played in Toronto was in another club, The Town Tavern, around the corner from The Colonial on Queen Street East. Before the quartet came into the club one of my friends, Bill Smith, the co-editor of Coda Magazine, tried to get in but was denied entry because he was wearing jeans, It was amusing when Ornette and his guys walked in. Ed Blackwell and Dewey Redman wear wearing business suits, Ornette, one of his neon creations and Charlie Haden jeans and a lumberjack shirt. My friend Bill figured this would make it OK for him. but no deal, customers could not get in if they were wearing jeans.

It may have been The Town Tavern I couldn't get into. After 50 years I'm not sure though I have memories (not necessarily correct) of what both looked like.  I saw Bill Evans Trio and The Jazz Messengers  a the Town. Not together, of course-- though I once saw Roland Kirk and Wes Montgomery on a double bill in a Montreal club. 

 

BTW you refer to the "original Colonial".  Were there more than one?

Edited by medjuck

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On 10/29/2020 at 11:12 AM, kh1958 said:

I heard some guy was going to write a book about jazz. It is going to be terrible.

well, believe it or not, this is a correct characterization of about 90 percent of what appears about jazz. So you are on to something.

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35 minutes ago, AllenLowe said:

well, believe it or not, this is a correct characterization of about 90 percent of what appears about jazz. So you are on to something.

That's why I like photo books now.

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