James Lincoln Collier — a Louis Armstrong biographer who described listening to Armstrong’s 1935 – 1947 Decca recordings “one after another” as a “dispiriting experience” — has written a pretty dispiriting piece of his own. Published in the July, 2014 edition of the West View News (“The Voice of the West Village”), the op-ed, titled “N—-R in the White House” (full offensive word not edited out in the publication’s headline) is characterized by several major news sources as being “pro-Obama.” One of the claims Collier makes is that “The simple truth is that there is still in America an irreducible measure of racism,” and that “far right voters hate Obama because he is black.”
The piece will likely find some sympathetic readers, but the headline was offensive and unnecessary to the piece’s intent, and appears to have been utilized simply because, […] Continue reading »
Paul Morris is an avid Portland, Oregon record album collector who, in his words, will “share his enthusiasm for the artists who created album covers in the ‘40′s and ‘50′s.” In addition to being a collector of the art, he is a scholar of it. This edition features Alex Steinweiss album covers from his prime period — the late 1940′s and early 1950′s. […] Continue reading »
From his autobiography, Miles Davis recalls his experience meeting and playing with the recently deceased pianist Horace Silver in 1954, a point in time following Miles kicking heroin. Silver played on Rudy Van Gelder-engineered recording sessions with Miles at the time of this Alfred Lion photograph that were released on Miles Davis Volume 3 for Blue Note, and Miles Davis Quartet for Prestige.
The scene in New York had changed since I’d been gone. The MJQ — Modern Jazz Quartet — was big on the music scene then; the kind of “cool” chamber jazz thing they were doing was getting over big. People were still talking about Chet Baker and Lennie Tristano and George Shearing, all that stuff that came out of Birth of the Cool. Dizzy was still playing great as ever, but Bird was […] Continue reading »
The convergence of poetry and jazz has long been a part of the counterculture, and it has always interested me. An early interview I did for Jerry Jazz Musician was with David Amram, once known as Jack Kerouac’s musical collaborator. In the interview he talked about Kerouac’s love of music, telling me that “he had an enormous memory for music and for jazz and the classics. He could sing the melodies from different Haydn and Beethoven string quartets. He was like an encyclopedia of music and classic literature from Europe. He also had an enormous knowledge of Buddhism. He had a tremendous knowledge of Judaism, as well as the writings from the Old and New Testaments as well as from the Mass. He had this knowledge of so many different things. When he was reading, I would submerge myself into whatever it was he was reading, and I tried to anticipate what would happen next.”
So, the collaboration of words and music is fascinating, and has deep and intellectual roots. It was the basis for my interest in an email I received a while ago from reed player Kevin Flanagan who, like Kerouac, is a Lowell, Massachusetts native. Flanagan’s Riprap Quartet recordings, he informed me, “feature compositions by the band setting the works of Pulitzer Prize winning-poet Gary Snyder” and is […] Continue reading »
Virtually all recordings of this influential trumpet player are available, but the only known film footage of him is in a 1955 appearance on the Soupy Sales variety show, which was one year before his death. Who is he?
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