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Posts posted by blajay

  1. Working thru Baraka's Black Music and have yet to find a reference to Mingus, who cannot be pigeonheld into any sub-genre, though he played in and/or composed for all of them. However, if revolution is AB's bag, then I find it puzzling that no mention is made of Mingus. Granted, Baraka's focus in the book is on the "New Thing" artists/scene/future, but if the blues and bebop attitude is what the New Thing rediscovers, then how does Mingus fit in? Or maybe better phrased, what did Baraka think of Mingus? His view of Mingus or any artist or sub-genre won't change the way I view them, but just like why I enjoy these forums, it's always informative to hear how others interpret what I hear.

    He discusses Pithecanthropus Erectus in "The Changing Same," not extensively, but as somewhat of an addendum meant to rectify having not included Mingus in earlier essays. For the purposes of your categorizing, he calls that album a "massive orchestral breakthrough" in the same breath with Ornette Coleman's Free Jazz, Sun Ra and Ellington.

  2. Hey -- I bought the "Baraka Reader" today at Half-Price Books.

    I like that collection because it is clearly organized in a way that historicizes well in my opinion Baraka's work from Beat (1957-1962) to Transitional (1963-1965), Black Nationalist (1965-1974), and finally to Third World Marxist (1974-). Judging from this thread, it seems to me important to keep in mind that people change and so, then, does the knowledge they produce, depending on the timing of its publication. That collection is pretty comprehensive, too, including for example his scarce short stories like "The Screamers" that has been cited on this board about a riot that is initiated at a Lynn Hope concert. Enjoy.

    For folks in NY, Baraka is speaking at the Left Forum next week in a panel called "Occupy Malcolm X: By Any Means Necessary." Here is the link.

  3. I enjoy and appreciate all of the relevant responses.

    It is understandable how Baraka's political priorities informed his experience of the music. Yet I still find it ironic that while Hard Bop musicians saw the music as more "authentically" Black and as a conscious return to its African-American roots (a reemphasis which would in-and-of-itself have been a type of protest to the current White/capitalist paradigm), a radical such as Baraka would see the same sentiments as regressive, if not an example of the "modern minstrelsy" of which he speaks . It definitely hints of the nuances of the role of jazz within the larger racial, civil discourse at the time and about the obligations a Music might have for social or political statement, or whether that obligation should ever trump the aesthetic value of the art itself. ...No argument in there, just a few thoughts.

    For help in sorting out this question of authenticity vis-à-vis anti-essentialism in Black American music and its sub-idioms, I recommend turning to Baraka's influential essay "The Changing Same" in Black Music, and then following that with Paul Gilroy's revisit of it below in which he elaborates on the idea that if Black music is a changing same, then it is neither a fixed essence nor a reified construction.

    Gilroy, Paul

    1991 Sounds Authentic: Black Music, Ethnicity, and the Challenge of a "Changing" Same. Black Music Research Journal 11(2):111-136.

    [edit to correct the title of Gilroy's paper (I had only put the subtitle above previously); I wanted to add along these lines that I'd also recommend this piece by George Lewis available here]

  4. Tsuruga is the same organist I saw Donaldson with a few years ago at Yoshi's SF. If I recall correctly, Dr. Lonnie Smith mentored her. He's clearly a great teacher. I saw him perform on Saturday night at the Jazz Standard, actually. It was a great show, and afterward his adorable 8 or so year-old grandson who is apparently blind went up on stage and sat at the organ. He started to play and blew everyone away. Look out for that kid!

  5. You sure it wasn't from during the above-mentioned performance with Lou Donaldson?

    haha, Chris you should write fiction!

    But I am very curious if someone could confirm whether his wearing of the turban is a secular or religious practice. Which is not to say unsoulful! And what about Lynn Hope or Chuck Willis? I know Sun Ra has his own "Astro-Black Mythology" and Horace Silver is I assume doing it for the cover art there, but is there something consistent in the former three at least (Smith, Hope, and Willis) related to Black American culture or religion or is it simply an aesthetic choice?

  6. I'm unfortunately on the East Coast now, so I'll miss this show (but maybe see you at the NY concert, 7/4!). If you're in the Bay Area, I highly recommend for anyone to go to this show, if not for Frith's band, for our friend ep1str0phy (Karl Evangelista). If you think his contributions to this forum have been thoughtful and well-informed, his guitar playing is likewise and very exciting live! I've seen him perform a number of times over the past couple of years ever since he generously gave me a ride to a Roscoe Mitchell/Muhal Richard Abrams concert at Mills College without having ever met in person; we got in touch through this board. It is always a thrill to go to one of his shows. I encourage everyone to check it out, and look out for that name: Karl Evangelista (sometimes in a trio) and Grex! Hope you don't mind the side spam, Karl.

  7. Been awhile, but hello, friends. I'm just revisiting Barry Harris' great album At The Jazz Workshop and Sam Jones' solo on the first track "Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Baby" really grabs me. I couldn't find a topic specifically on Jones, and I know he was mostly a sideman with Louis Hayes like on this record. I was curious if you folks have similarly resonant favorite performances by him as a sideman on record that you could recommend, but I also don't have any of his albums as a leader and would be curious about both the 60s stuff on Riverside but also the later 70s stuff on a variety of other labels.



  8. I moved from SF to NY for graduate school last summer, and I was so distracted with readings and paper-writing that I did not notice this thread (I tried to keep reading, but I have missed the discussion with you all, by the way, and I am glad to have a nice break to engage myself again). Even though I didn't catch this news, yesterday I got confirmation mid-conversation with Fred Cohen at the Jazz Record Center that Tom passed away last year. I had been afraid of the news ever since I heard that his store closed down shortly after I moved away. I lived just a few doors down from the Jazz Quarter, so Tom and I became pretty close in his unique way. I knew he had health problems. I spent countless hours in Tom's store trying to understand the discographical constellations he articulated out of an unbelievably expansive knowledge in an environment cluttered with multiple simultaneous sensations: towers of LPs, books, and cds; a record--that he knew I didn't know but that I would like--playing at a loud volume; a live baseball game on his tiny television; intermittent sips from his giant cup of Pepsi; and Irving Pizza crumbs projected from his mouth in every direction (not to mention some of the old jazzbros in these below videos). I'll never forget my first time in the shop. I'm relatively young and new to the idiom compared to many of you. When I walked in there, I was overwhelmed by media. I chose the right question to garner his eccentric sort of indirect affection, though, when I asked him where to start with Lester Young! Each new visit to the store he'd play something that built on a recording I'd bought during the visit before. That would then initiate the conversation, and it would go on all day. There was never any small talk. My participation in the conversation was aided by independent "research" through involvement in this forum. So in a way, many of you participated, too. Anyway, he was one of a kind, and I'll miss him dearly. Here are some links to videos recorded of him at his best below:













  9. Even if you accept the notion that Tristano-ite music lacks the "African diasporic rhythmic element," the assumed logic is curious through which white musicians like Iverson--who ostensibly appropriates African-American cultural forms in his own musical production--discourage other white musicians from continuing to cultivate Tristano's "cold" forms, or at least help to portray Tristano in a positive light. I haven't read Shim's book, but is it possible that either consciously or unconsciously Tristano simply opted for strategies of desegregation that didn't adhere to the more common paternalistic understanding of integration? In other words, what is the emancipatory potential of "deciding to play with 'others,'" in the first place? The assumption is that the white musician is the subjective actor; he is the one making the choice. And who benefits from that choice? Is it that Tristano created an exclusive group of white musicians or that he respected the autonomy of African-American bebop musicians and developed something else parallel to their formation of bebop? It seems to me that Iverson may suffer from what Anthony Braxton diagnoses as the “spectacle diversion syndrome,” best exemplified in “the reality of the ‘sweating brow’ as a signifier of musical realness (Lock 1988:114).”

  10. Weird, my friend was just visiting from Barcelona, and he recommended this just a couple days ago. Apparently Q and 54 are the most popular novels. He liked Manituana, too. You can download many of their works from their site here:


    Not all in English, including the other jazz-related one New Thing (not the CD compilation), but if you know Italian, Spanish, or French, go for it!

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