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So, What Are You Listening To NOW?


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Art PepperThe Return of Art Pepper [(A) on Pepper's Mosaic Select set] (Jazz West—Aladdin Records / Mosaic)
— Art Pepper - alto saxophone; Jack Sheldon - trumpet; Russ Freeman - piano; Leroy Vinnegar - bass; Shelly Manne - drums


Joe Morello: Collections [portion with Art Pepper] [(B) on Pepper's Mosaic Select set] (Intro Records—Aladdin Records / Mosaic)
— Art Pepper (alto & tenor sax), Red Norvo (vibes), Gerald Wiggins (piano), Ben Tucker (bass), Joe Morello (drums)


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Put on Mal Waldron’s “Mal -1” today, and while it’s not all solid gold, these three tracks really struck me. Personnel is Idrees Sulieman, Gigi Gryce, Julian Euell, Arthur Edgehill. This is a good as I’ve ever heard from Sulieman, likewise perhaps with Gryce. Nice added interlude on “Stablemates,” probably from Mal. The depth of the mood on “Yesterdays” is special, and “Dee’s Dilemma” is a nice tune.



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After listening to "Mal-1" I put on a Coral album from 1957 led by trombonist Tommy Shephard, “Shephard’s Flock,” with charts by Manny Albam, Al Cohn, and Nat Pierce (mini-big band personnel: Nick Travis, Sam Marowitz, Hal McKusick, Cohn, Charlie O’Kane, Pierce. Barry Galbraith, Milt Hinton, Osie Johnson). In some respects a rather tame affair, built around Shephard’s Dorsey-like horn, but the charts are not fobbed off stuff, and all the solos by the other players (not that there’s anything wrong with Shephard's balladeering ) are quite committed, especially Cohn's — he has a gem on bass clarinet. In any case, ’55-’56 was when I first began to listen, and sometimes when I run across something from that era, particularly when, as in this case, I haven't heard it in years, it speaks to me with such a peculiar oblique intensity — speaks to me OF that era, perhaps, of how a good deal of music was being felt and made back then  — that I find myself full of emotion.
By  the same token, I recall what it was like as a child (in the early 1950s) to read the Chicago Tribune comics on Sunday. (We didn't get the Trib, so I saw their elaborate comics section only when we visited a family that did get the paper.) In any case, virtually every strip in the Trib (Little Orphan Annie, Prince Valiant, Dick Tracy, many more) while they still were being drawn in the present, originated in the early 1930s and still were drawn in that era's style. Thus, even though, this wasn't spelled out for me, I was being brought into direct contact with The Flavor (virtually The Smell) of The Past, and felt and knew this. A tremendously important experience I think this was -- to grasp not only that the way things were in the then present (e.g. the way they were, speaking only of comics, in L'il Abner, which was in the paper we got, the Chicago Daily News)) was not the way things always were, but also to detect and attempt to decode all the various implicit messages from the past (social, political, Lord knows what else) that, say, Little Orphan Annie still reeked of in 1952. BTW, one of strongest odd examples of this was the old but futuristic strip Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. What could date more decisively than a c 1930 style strip about the future? It was like watching an old Flash Gordon serial with Buster Crabbe as Flash. (p.s. I recall finding "The Teenie-Weenies" [see below] to be especially weird in its past-ness -- the way those women were drawn!)
Back to the music. The next thing I put on after Mal-1 was a Don Sickler album of Kenny Dorham music from 1978 on Uptown, and while these were all good players (Jmmy Heath, Cedar Walton, Ron Carter, Billy Higgins)  I found myself during a too closely recorded (no doubt at his own request) egomanical Carter bass solo so utterly repelled by the whole thing and the era that represented/spoke of to some degree that I turned it right off. Responses of these sorts to eras and their characteristic habits, especially in relation to one’s own history, are no small matter perhaps.






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2 hours ago, paul secor said:

Did not know that,  thanks for posting and sorry for their loss.  Just posted because that happened to be what I was listening to while I work from home during the snowstorm.

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