“Great Encounters” are book excerpts that chronicle famous encounters among twentieth-century cultural icons. In this edition, the writer Francis Paudras — a young patron of jazz music in Paris during the 1960’s, and whose devotion, friendship and compassion toward the pianist Bud Powell helped Powell late in his life — tells a short story about a backstage encounter between Powell and Charles Mingus following a 1964 performance at Salle Wagram in Paris.
Aaron Copland, the mid-century classical composer whose work was greatly influenced by American life, had an interest in jazz, particularly, as he told Don Gold in a May, 1958 Downbeat article “the marriage – the fact that the young jazzmen are composers, often bridging the gap between fields. “ He also had some sympathy for jazz musicians because “they have the same trouble getting a big audience we have.”
The article, titled “Aaron Copland: The Well-Known American Composer Finds Virtues and Flaws in Jazz,” is of special interest because
“Ring out the false, ring in the true.”
– Alfred Lord Tennyson
In a wonderfully soulful and revealing excerpt from his autobiography Good Things Happen Slowly: A Life In and Out of Jazz, the pianist Fred Hersch remembers his musical introduction to New York in 1977, and specifically when he felt appreciated by none other than Charles Mingus. An excerpt-from-the-excerpt is
In this June, 1964 Down Beat Blindfold Test hosted by pianist, composer, producer and journalist Leonard Feather — who created this famed feature and first published it in the late 1930’s in Melody Maker — the ears of Miles Davis are tested.
Although Feather writes in the introduction that Davis “does not have an automatic tendency to want to put everything down,” he appeared to be in rare form on this date. His remarks are brilliant, blistering, biting, sarcastic, insulting…and that’s just in his comments on the first record! Miles take aim at artists and record companies, musical styles and
In the circus mind of my dying spirit
I listen for the tinkling keys of Monk-
Yeah, Monk Mingus moonlight madness
I long to be, though tonight it’s a new
moon, meaning no moon and my madness
“Great Encounters” are book excerpts that chronicle famous encounters among twentieth-century cultural icons. This edition tells the story of the violent, physical confrontation that took place between Charles Mingus and Jackie McLean while touring in Cleveland, 1956
Excerpted from Better Git it in Your Soul: An Interpretive Biography of Charles Mingus, by Krin Gabbard
Any mature jazz artist with the ability and the desire to succeed will have shared the stage with a long list of musicians. But Charles Mingus seems to have played with everyone from Kid Ory to George Adams and at every stop along the paths of jazz history. Once he became a leader, he hired and fired a long list of sidepeople. Some stayed longer than others. Many were quickly discarded because
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For those of us who bought it “for the articles,” it was easy to see that few publications supported and promoted jazz music during the 50’s and 60s quite like Playboy magazine. Among its many endeavors involving jazz, Playboy, Inc. produced festivals and concerts, featured artists on its late-night television programs, invited readers to vote for their favorite performers by instrument, and released record albums. The music was a passion of founder Hugh Hefner,who found that its aesthetic fit in well with those of other “products” pitched to the sophisticated and elite male of the era. Jazz conversations were often found within the pages — the first of the now famous Playboy interviews featured Miles Davis in a 1962 conversation with a young Alex Haley.
In February, 1964, Playboy published a remarkable conversation on jazz. Hosted by journalist Nat Hentoff, “The Playboy Panel: Jazz — Today and Tomorrow” included the musicians […] Continue reading »
Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity.
— Charles Mingus
In honor of the late jazz photographer Lee Tanner, Jerry Jazz Musician presents a number of editions of “Master of Jazz Photography,” featuring a work by one of the photographers featured in Tanner’s book The Jazz Image.
This edition: Carole Reiff
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