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So, What Are You Listening To NOW?


JSngry

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Just stumbled across this interview with Liebman (on Lieb's website) that focuses on Steve Grossman.  It reiterates much of what we were saying. 

One particularly interesting passage:

JB: I was wondering if there is anything specific you can say about perhaps what Grossman could have done to enhance his reputation? I mean, he obviously kind of went over the edge with self-indulgent behavior.

DL: Well, that’s it! That is what happened. I don’t know musically if he made a conscious decision to go back into the bebop thing, particularly Sonny Rollins’ playing of the ‘50s or if it just happened. Questions of lifestyle and living in Europe for decades factor in also. It’s complicated so it seems. You’d have to ask him. He definitely had a way of playing that was unique. He was the best of all of us. We, the tenor players of that time from our generation all acknowledged that. Those of us still alive from then would still say that Steve was the one that had the most going on. It’s like if you came up in the ‘90s you had Chris Potter to contend with, super whiz kid stuff. Steve was the most innovative at the time and the most accomplished. How it ended up, or how it is now what he’s been playing the last decades has baffled almost everybody who would be part of my observation. Why and how, and what happened we don’t know. There was a feeling he went backward or stopped. On the other hand, he’s such a great player that it doesn’t matter what he plays. I mean he could play a nail and it would be great. What a guy chooses to play is his decision and it’s his prerogative to do what he wants. It’s not a judgment call to me, it’s just mystifying and baffling that he did not go further on. I don’t know what direction that could’ve been but some kind of more individual direction than what it appears he ended up playing like. I can’t tell you how he’s playing today, so who knows. Again I’m not judging him, it’s just that he was the one we were looking at and then he kind of, well not dropped the ball, but just went in what seems to have been a radical direction.

 

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16 minutes ago, HutchFan said:

Just stumbled across this interview with Liebman (on Lieb's website) that focuses on Steve Grossman.  It reiterates much of what we were saying. 

One particularly interesting passage:

JB: I was wondering if there is anything specific you can say about perhaps what Grossman could have done to enhance his reputation? I mean, he obviously kind of went over the edge with self-indulgent behavior.

DL: Well, that’s it! That is what happened. I don’t know musically if he made a conscious decision to go back into the bebop thing, particularly Sonny Rollins’ playing of the ‘50s or if it just happened. Questions of lifestyle and living in Europe for decades factor in also. It’s complicated so it seems. You’d have to ask him. He definitely had a way of playing that was unique. He was the best of all of us. We, the tenor players of that time from our generation all acknowledged that. Those of us still alive from then would still say that Steve was the one that had the most going on. It’s like if you came up in the ‘90s you had Chris Potter to contend with, super whiz kid stuff. Steve was the most innovative at the time and the most accomplished. How it ended up, or how it is now what he’s been playing the last decades has baffled almost everybody who would be part of my observation. Why and how, and what happened we don’t know. There was a feeling he went backward or stopped. On the other hand, he’s such a great player that it doesn’t matter what he plays. I mean he could play a nail and it would be great. What a guy chooses to play is his decision and it’s his prerogative to do what he wants. It’s not a judgment call to me, it’s just mystifying and baffling that he did not go further on. I don’t know what direction that could’ve been but some kind of more individual direction than what it appears he ended up playing like. I can’t tell you how he’s playing today, so who knows. Again I’m not judging him, it’s just that he was the one we were looking at and then he kind of, well not dropped the ball, but just went in what seems to have been a radical direction.

 

Ok, armchair psychologist here - "it" came so easy to him - it being the "mastery" of existing styles - that coupled with the addiction issues...at some point he started asking himself the same questions that Liebman asked (and probably before anybody else started asking them) that a certain style of self-loathing set in. I mean, he probably knew that he could/should be doing more to move forward, but...why? And you know, I really can't, I'm a fraud (Coltrane at half-speed, remember), so fuck it, let me play like Sonny (and really if you can do that THAT well and inside it's what you love, hey...) and self-destruct, let nature take its course.

Totally speculative, and Liebman would rightfully call BS on it (he does that, you know). But really...what else makes sense? The wildcard being that things don't always make sense...they just don't.

All I know is that I have a soft spot for Steve Grossman that I don't have for any of those other guys, Liebman included. In my heart, not in my head. Some of those Stone Alliance albums are just SO full of pure, raw, feeling, not unlike a punk aesthetic as practiced by a certain time/place/people of a jazz bent. Infinitely more musical content, but still, just raw feeling.

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You're speculation makes sense.  It's plausible.  But, like you said, at the end of the day... Who knows?   

Grossman may not have even fully understood his own motivations.

Every one of us has done stuff in our own lives without fully understanding why.  We just do it.  ... A lot of life is like that.

 

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2 minutes ago, HutchFan said:

Every one of us has done stuff in our own lives without fully understanding why.  We just do it.  ... A lot of life is like that.

Oh hell yeah.

From my experience (and only mine), the best path forward is to understand yourself, painful as that process can become (and remain), and then deal with that. No illusions, no lies.

And I do get the impression that that's where Grossman was at, he knew himself, and he accepted himself.

I say that because of all the horror stories you hear about the guy, you never hear the stories ending with him "apologizing", making excuses, promising to do better, or anything else to get you to think that he wanted to be anything other than he was. It seems like that was his version of Sonny's "This is what I do".

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