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Have you written for Wikipedia on jazz artists?

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I know that jazz authors rarely sell enough books to spend their own money on proofreaders. If I ever get around to writing a book, I probably know enough people in the jazz world who would be willing to proofread a chapter or two. When I offer to proofread a book, it is as a favor, not to seek compensation. Even the best proofreader will still miss a typo here and there.

I don’t look at proofreading as “setting the author” straight. When I have volunteered to help it has been because I am a fan of the author and the subject, in addition to having sufficient knowledge of the subject. I am not about to offer to proofread a bio of Cecil Taylor or Ornette Coleman, as my knowledge is insufficient when compared to some of the artists I have collected extensively for decades and maybe interviewed several times.

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When I wrote "setting the author straight" this was not meant in the strictest sense of the word but to describe those cases where upon screening a text for its correctness you start wondering to yourself why you would have to point out this or that rather obvious fact (which in turn leads you to wondering - again to yourself - to what extent the author has truly immersed himself in that particular topic) and then you wonder how you can put this correction across to the author without offending him yet making your point. Not an easy task ...

I have had this case recently when I read a magazine feature where a friend (a great expert on the subject matter) had supplied the author with all the info and hard facts to work into an article but clearly the author (a staff author of the magazine but no expert on this particular specialist matter) either had not listened enough or had been unable to really digest the facts to present them correctly in his story. So those who use this feature for reference either stumble across the errors like I did or absorb or reproduce them in good faith. With the not so pleasant result that as soon as one error is repeated often enough by one scribe copying another (here we are talking about a different specialist field but as we all know this has happened among jazz authors too) or enough readers perpetuating the error on other platforms it becomes "set in stone" and even harder to correct later on. Annoying if you know how it came about (and yes, I am glad I did not have to take this up with the author "to set him straight" ^_^).

And I guess this is how errors creep into Wikipedia too (and remain there and elsewhere - "set in stone", because after all "I read it on Wikipedia". :D)

Edited by Big Beat Steve

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Well a tad bored at work so I googled Percy France and jazz and discovered that in June, someone started up a Percy France page which is stuck in "review" status.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Draft:Percy_France

This is not bad overall, and with a link or two to the site so that is good.  But I am going to have to correct some things in there too.

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I actually tried to make edits to several Jazz musicians' pages many years ago and every one I made got rejected by the Wiki gatekeeper of the article. I even cited several online articles & interviews to no avail. If the Wiki guardian doesn't like you, you aren't editing anything. I gave up after that.

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My time is too valuable to waste it on Wikipedia edits. 

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Posted (edited)

On 12/1/2021 at 4:31 PM, Shrdlu said:

Today, and for the last couple of days, Wikipedia has been nagging for a donation.

In the last times I've seen this too. But it's August 2022. But maybe it's been like this all this time.

Edited by Bluesnik

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I went in to the Curley Russell entry and corrected something; I had given Phil Schaap some info on Curley that only I knew, and Phil, as was his wont, took credit for providing it. I know it seems petty, but, with due respect, this was typical of the way Phil bullshitted his way through jazz history,

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On 9.8.2022 at 9:24 PM, Ken Dryden said:

My time is too valuable to waste it on Wikipedia edits. 

Same here.

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2 hours ago, mikeweil said:

Same here.

Wikipedia is pretty damn good I think. I got a lot of useful info there when I was working on Turn Me Loose White Man.

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On 9.8.2022 at 11:19 PM, AllenLowe said:

I went in to the Curley Russell entry and corrected something; I had given Phil Schaap some info on Curley that only I knew, and Phil, as was his wont, took credit for providing it. I know it seems petty, but, with due respect, this was typical of the way Phil bullshitted his way through jazz history,

I just read it. I always did like his bass-playing, he was really strong and is great even on the ultra-rapid speeds of Dizzy Atmosphere and Little Willie Leaps on that Night at Birdland 1950 with Bird-Fats-Bud-Blakey, or on the Blakey´s "A Night at Birdland" where he is very fine. Though he was not known for soloing much, his short solo-spots on Night in Tunisia, or on a minor blues on maybe his last recording 1957 with Cliff Jordan-John Gilmore are very nice and making the point. 

In Ira Gitler´s "Jazz Masters of the 40´s" Gitler writes, that in the sixties he played with hotel bands in those resorts of the borș-district in Upstate NY. 

Why had he stopped playing in jazz surroundings, was it the maybe better paid and safe jobs in hotel-bands ? Did he play until the end of his life, or what was his life about in later years ? I had heard that he was from the Bronx.....

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5 hours ago, AllenLowe said:

Wikipedia is pretty damn good I think. I got a lot of useful info there when I was working on Turn Me Loose White Man.

Basically, yes. What I do not like is that you do not get an author's credit and that anybody, no matter how incompetent they are, can change your entry. I never use Wikipedia information without checking against other sources. 

The level of musical entries in English Wiki is much higher than in German ones, which often are just heavily summarized translations of their English counterparts. 

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I wouldn't waste time going thru Wikipedia randomly correcting entries, but I do have an interest in getting Percy France the attention he deserves and traffic to the website. A wiki entry can help so of course I am going to want to make sure that his entry is accurate.

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Wikipedia editors are about as reliable as Facebook factcheckers. 

 

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9 hours ago, Gheorghe said:

I just read it. I always did like his bass-playing, he was really strong and is great even on the ultra-rapid speeds of Dizzy Atmosphere and Little Willie Leaps on that Night at Birdland 1950 with Bird-Fats-Bud-Blakey, or on the Blakey´s "A Night at Birdland" where he is very fine. Though he was not known for soloing much, his short solo-spots on Night in Tunisia, or on a minor blues on maybe his last recording 1957 with Cliff Jordan-John Gilmore are very nice and making the point. 

In Ira Gitler´s "Jazz Masters of the 40´s" Gitler writes, that in the sixties he played with hotel bands in those resorts of the borș-district in Upstate NY. 

Why had he stopped playing in jazz surroundings, was it the maybe better paid and safe jobs in hotel-bands ? Did he play until the end of his life, or what was his life about in later years ? I had heard that he was from the Bronx.....

Curley was sorta phased out in lieu of a more modern generation of bass players, post-Ray Brown. Unfortunately. He had great time but it wasn't enough. He just wasn't that nimble harmonically. He was also one of the nicest people I've ever known.

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16 hours ago, AllenLowe said:

Curley was sorta phased out in lieu of a more modern generation of bass players, post-Ray Brown. Unfortunately. He had great time but it wasn't enough. He just wasn't that nimble harmonically. He was also one of the nicest people I've ever known.

Yes, that may be the reason. Sure, I´m not stuck to "old school" bass players from the be bop days , though when listening to bop, I really love all of them , Gene Ramey, Tommy Potter, Curley Russell, Al McKibbon, and I think the first great bop solo on bass could be Ray Brown on "One Bass Hit", which is really great. 
And I grew up while Ron Carter and Buster Williams where top and I love them both, and many many others who play today. 

So I think it must have been painful to have such a great recording history and then it´s over. 

 I´ve heard that Gene Ramey became some clerk at a bank office , but still played occasionally. 

Did Curley Russell also take a day job, because I think otherwise he couldn´t have survived ....? 

Great you did know him personally. Especially when I was a youngster and just had discovered bop because I had heard Mingus´ Parkeriana with Dolphy and wanted to know who is "this Charlie Parker" who had inspired Mingus.....sure....,.......I would have whished to get to talk about people who lived and worked during that time. And as busy as Curley Russell was, he might have had a lot to tell about all those nights at Birdland, at Royal Roost , about Bird, Bud, Fats, Dameron and all those who were dead when I started to listen to jazz. Thanks God other key figures like Diz, J.J. Johnson, Sonny  Stitt, Dex, Max Roach, Klook were alive, recording and performing at that time

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9 hours ago, Gheorghe said:

Yes, that may be the reason. Sure, I´m not stuck to "old school" bass players from the be bop days , though when listening to bop, I really love all of them , Gene Ramey, Tommy Potter, Curley Russell, Al McKibbon, and I think the first great bop solo on bass could be Ray Brown on "One Bass Hit", which is really great. 
And I grew up while Ron Carter and Buster Williams where top and I love them both, and many many others who play today. 

So I think it must have been painful to have such a great recording history and then it´s over. 

 I´ve heard that Gene Ramey became some clerk at a bank office , but still played occasionally. 

Did Curley Russell also take a day job, because I think otherwise he couldn´t have survived ....? 

Great you did know him personally. Especially when I was a youngster and just had discovered bop because I had heard Mingus´ Parkeriana with Dolphy and wanted to know who is "this Charlie Parker" who had inspired Mingus.....sure....,.......I would have whished to get to talk about people who lived and worked during that time. And as busy as Curley Russell was, he might have had a lot to tell about all those nights at Birdland, at Royal Roost , about Bird, Bud, Fats, Dameron and all those who were dead when I started to listen to jazz. Thanks God other key figures like Diz, J.J. Johnson, Sonny  Stitt, Dex, Max Roach, Klook were alive, recording and performing at that time

when I knew him he was living with his daughter and driving a cab occasionally.

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On 8/12/2022 at 3:12 AM, Gheorghe said:

 

 I´ve heard that Gene Ramey became some clerk at a bank office , but still played occasionally. 

 

Gene Ramey lived in Austin, Texas at the end of his life and occasionally played with local jazz musicians. I saw him live in Austin once circa 1982.  He still sounded good.

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On 13.8.2022 at 5:31 PM, kh1958 said:

Gene Ramey lived in Austin, Texas at the end of his life and occasionally played with local jazz musicians. I saw him live in Austin once circa 1982.  He still sounded good.

Yes, and he had perfect time. He also recorded with Sonny Rollins for BN. 
He was in Europe around 1980 with a Lionel Hampton All-Stars where Dexter also sat in on "Flyin´Home". 

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Percy France lives on Wikipedia. The draft article was regarded as "marginal" for appropriate notoriety but they published to "let the community decide".

It had issues so I've now edited it:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Percy_France

I am interested to see how it goes from here. I am a bit pissed that in the Project Jazz page discussion someone wrote

The website in his own name looks questionable; it could be used as a way of identifying information that can be found in a better source. Much better sources are available.

 

Like, WTFF?

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