Reminiscing in Tempo: Memories and Opinion/Volume Four: What do you remember about your first experience buying a record album or CD?

April 21st, 2006

Reminiscing in Tempo

*

Memories and Opinion

_____

 

“Reminiscing in Tempo” is part of a continuing effort to provide Jerry Jazz Musician readers with unique forms of “edu-tainment.” Every month (or as often as possible), Jerry Jazz Musician poses one question via e mail to a small number of prominent and diverse people. The question is designed to provoke a lively response that will potentially include the memories and/or opinion of those solicited.

Since it is not possible to know who will answer the question, the diversity of the participants will often depend on factors beyond the control of the publisher. The responses from the people who chose to participate in this edition are published below with only minor stylistic editing. No follow-up questions take place.

_____

What do you remember about your first experience buying a record album or CD?

Originally published April, 2006

 


My first purchase of a jazz record was in the 40’s. I had worked my tail off scrubbing this handicapped woman’s floors to earn enough money to buy a Charlie Parker 78 record. I had heard him as a high school student (first year) on a juke box in Detroit, Michigan and said “Oh my God…who is that?   I will do anything to hear that music again….anything.”  So I got a few coins from this woman and beat it down to the record store in Detroit and found my first 78 record called Charlie Parker and his “Reboppers.”  I will never forget that as long as I live. The thrill of my life. Changed everything for me….Can’t remember the label but it was a red label with one song on each side…..It was Bird…The greatest ever.

_________

Charlie Parker

*

 

________________________

My first real experience in buying jazz records was when I was 14 years old, after a friend played me Johnny Smith’s “Moonlight In Vermont.”  I never heard guitar played that way before.

We didn’t have a record player.   They were called Hi-Fi’s in those days. Fortunately I always had a part time job or I earned money from some gigs, so I was able to buy a portable stereo and the first record I bought was the same Johnny Smith record my friend played for me. A few weeks later I was able to see Johnny play at Birdland. The very moment I saw him play, I knew that’s what I wanted to do the rest of my life, and I have.

__________

Moonlight in Vermont, by Johnny Smith

*

Moonlight In Vermont

 


 

It was a 78 rpm by Bird, “KoKo,” and it changed my life.  I wore out seven copies.

_________

KoKo

(album jacket pictured is not likely the record Mr. Woods is referring to)

 

____________________________________________________________________

The first jazz record I ever bought was in 1964, when I was a sixteen-year-old high school sophomore. To my mind, the coolest guy in my little Midwestern high school was eighteen and an alto saxophonist who sounded like Lee Konitz. At least that’s what I decided a few years later after I had immersed myself in the music. In 1964, however, I simply knew that this young hot-shot was doing things on the saxophone much more elaborate than anything anyone in my high school was doing with a basketball or a football. I had no idea how he did it, but I knew that he was playing jazz. So I went to a record store with a larger collection than the usual, and I told the owner that I wanted to buy a jazz album. He gave me Shelly Manne and his Friends Play Modern Jazz Performances of Songs from My Fair Lady.

The friends were André Previn and Leroy Vinnegar. I think the owner was uncomfortable with jazz, or maybe he was uncomfortable with black people. As I recall, the display stand in the jazz section of his store showed the faces of Stan Kenton, Stan Getz, Terry Gibbs, and various other hip Caucasians. When I first bought a jazz record with a black musician on its cover (it was Miles Davis’s Birth of the Cool), I found it when I was out of town at a contest for high school bands.

I played cornet in the band, by the way. But this did not stop me from listening to that Shelly Manne LP over and over again and marveling at André Previn’s piano chops. Now that the album is out on CD and I’ve had my Proustian moments revisiting the music, I can still appreciate the scope of Previn’s improvisatory imagination, even if I now know that Previn was channeling Oscar Peterson, who was channeling Art Tatum.

The fact that Leroy Vinnegar, the trio’s bass player, was black certainly added a cachet to the music. And it gave me a certain prestige a few years later when many of my college peers considered The Doors to be the coolest rock group around. For at least a few years I dined on telling people that The Doors’ bass player (only on LPs, of course) was a black jazz guy whose records I was buying long before anyone had even heard of Jim Morrison. Those were the days.

As for the 18-year-old saxophonist who inspired me to begin my long affair with vinyl and its digital successors, he found religion a few years later and gave up the saxophone.

__________

Shelly Manne and his Friends Play Modern Jazz Performances of Songs from My Fair Lady

*

Get Me To The Church On Time

 

 


 

1948 — Charlie Parker 78 record size “Koko.”   It was a thrill to save up some money and bring this music home with me.

_________

Charlie Parker

*

Ko-Ko

 

 

Share this:

4 comments on “Reminiscing in Tempo: Memories and Opinion/Volume Four: What do you remember about your first experience buying a record album or CD?”

  1. Love this article. Not “knowing” any of these jazz musicians personally, it is interesting to hear their thoughts. Another interesting question would be, what was your first live music experience?

    1. i was 13 years old, a kid in Los Angeles, accompanying my parents to a discount store called ‘White Front’ in the San Fernando valley. walking the aisles, I came to the music dept., and an album cover caught my eye: Crescent, with a picture of John Coltrane on the album cover. bought it, listened to it on my modest,basic,but serviceable stereo system at home, and have been hooked on jazz ever since.

      1. Fred, that is impressive. I mean Crescent isn’t exactly an “intro to jazz” title. But, hey it worked. I remember White Front in San DIego where I grew up, early model for Target I guess. I believe my first jazz LP was Return to Forever’s “Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy”. My older cousin to me at age 16 (1974) to see them live at The Mainpoint, a small club in Philly. I never looked back.

        1. My first jazz album was hardly unusual — “Kind of Blue” — but I bought it after hearing it being played in the record store…Blew me away…I took it to the counter with a Beatles album and I think an Elton John album (may have been his first). That visit to the record shop in Berkeley — Leopold’s circa 1970 — changed my life.

Comment on this article:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

In this Issue

A Collection of Jazz Poetry – Spring, 2020 Edition There are many good and often powerful poems within this collection, one that has the potential for changing the shape of a reader’s universe during an impossibly trying time, particularly if the reader has a love of music. 33 poets from all over the globe contribute 47 poems. Expect to read of love, loss, memoir, worship, freedom, heartbreak and hope – all collected here, in the heart of this unsettling spring. (Featuring the art of Martel Chapman)

Interview

Ornette Coleman 1966/photo courtesy Mosaic Images
In a Jerry Jazz Musician interview, Ornette Coleman: The Territory And The Adventure author Maria Golia discusses her compelling and rewarding book about the artist whose philosophy and the astounding, adventurous music he created served to continually challenge the skeptical status quo, and made him a guiding light of the artistic avant-garde throughout a career spanning seven decades.

Features

Red Meditation by James Brewer
Creative artists and citizens of note respond to the question, "During this time of social distancing and isolation at home, what are examples of the music you are listening to, the books you are reading, and/or the television or films you are viewing?”

Book Excerpt

In the introduction to Dave Brubeck: A Life in Time – the author Philip Clark writes about the origins of the book, and his interest in shining a light on how Brubeck, “thoughtful and sensitive as he was, had been changed as a musician and as a man by the troubled times through which he lived and during which he produced such optimistic, life-enhancing art.”

Interview

NBC Radio-photo by Ray Lee Jackson / Public domain
In a Jerry Jazz Musician interview, acclaimed biographer James Kaplan (Frank: The Voice and Sinatra: The Chairman) talks about his book, Irving Berlin: New York Genius, and Berlin's unparalleled musical career and business success, his intense sense of family and patriotism during a complex and evolving time, and the artist's permanent cultural significance.

Book Excerpt

In the introduction to Maria Golia’s Ornette Coleman: The Territory and the Adventure – excerpted here in its entirety – the author takes the reader through the four phases of the brilliant musician’s career her book focuses on.

Art

Art by Charles Ingham
Charles Ingham’s “Jazz Narratives” connect time, place, and subject in a way that ultimately allows the viewer a unique way of experiencing jazz history. Volume 7 of the narratives are “Torn from Its Moorings", "Watching the Sea" and "Plantations" (featuring west coast stories of Ornette Coleman and Billie Holiday)

Interview

Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, Carl Van Vechten Collection
Richard Crawford’s Summertime: George Gershwin’s Life in Music is a rich, detailed and rewarding musical biography that describes Gershwin's work throughout every stage of his career. In a Jerry Jazz Musician interview, Crawford discusses his book and the man he has described as a “fresh voice of the Jazz Age” who “challenged Americans to rethink their assumptions about composition and performance, nationalism, cultural hierarchy, and the racial divide.”

Jazz History Quiz #138

photo by William Gottlieb/Library of Congress
Shortly following their famed 1938 Carnegie Hall performance, Benny Goodman’s drummer Gene Krupa left the band to start his own. Who replaced Krupa?

Interview

photo unattributed/ Public domain
In a Jerry Jazz Musician interview with The Letters of Cole Porter co-author Dominic McHugh, he explains that “several of the big biographical tropes that we associate with Porter are either modified or contested by the letters,” and that “when you put together these letters, and add our quite extensive commentary between the letters, it creates a different picture of him.” Mr. McHugh discusses his book, and what the letters reveal about the life – in-and-out of music – of Cole Porter.

Book Excerpt

The introduction to John Burnside's The Music of Time: Poetry in the Twentieth Century – excerpted here in its entirety with the gracious consent of Princeton University Press – is the author's fascinating observation concerning the idea of how poets respond to what the Russian poet Osip Mandelstam called “the noise of time,” weaving it into a kind of music.

Short Fiction

photo Creative Commons CC0
Short Fiction Contest-winning story #53 — “Market & Fifth, San Francisco, 1986,” by Paul Perilli

Photography

photo by Veryl Oakland
In this edition of photographs and stories from Veryl Oakland’s book Jazz in Available Light, Frank Morgan, Michel Petrucciani/Charles Lloyd, and Emily Remler are featured

Poetry

photo Bret Stewart/Wikimedia Commons
“Afterwards — For the Spring, 2020” — a poem by Alan Yount

Interview

photo by Fred Price
Bob Hecht and Grover Sales host a previously unpublished 1985 interview with the late, great jazz saxophonist Lee Konitz, who talks about Miles, Kenton, Ornette, Tristano, and the art of improvisation...

Book Excerpt

A ten page excerpt from The Letters of Cole Porter by Cliff Eisen and Dominic McHugh that features correspondence in the time frame of June to August, 1953, including those Porter had with George Byron (the man who married Jerome Kern’s widow), fellow writer Abe Burrows, Noel Coward, his secretary Madeline P. Smith, close friend Sam Stark, and his lawyer John Wharton.

Interview

photo by William Gottlieb/Library of Congress
Con Chapman, author of Rabbit's Blues: The Life and Music of Johnny Hodges discusses the great Ellington saxophonist

Humor

photo by William Gottlieb/Library of Congress
"Louis Armstrong on the Moon," by Dig Wayne

Book Excerpt

This story, excerpted from Irving Berlin: New York Genius by James Kaplan, describes how Berlin came to write his first major hit song, “Alexander’s Ragtime Band,” and speaks to its historic musical and cultural significance.

Pressed for All Time

In this edition, producer Tom Dowd talks with Pressed for All Time: Producing the Great Jazz Albums author Michael Jarrett about the genesis of Herbie Mann’s 1969 recording, Memphis Underground, and the executives and musicians involved

Interview

photo by Bouna Ndaiye
Interview with Gerald Horne, author of Jazz and Justice: Racism and the Political Economy of the Music

Great Encounters

photo of Sidney Bechet by William Gottlieb/Library of Congress
In this edition of "Great Encounters," Con Chapman, author of Rabbit’s Blues: The Life and Music of Johnny Hodges, writes about Hodges’ early musical training, and the first meeting he had with Sidney Bechet, the influential and legendary reed player who Hodges called “tops in my book.”

Poetry

The winter collection of poetry offers readers a look at the culture of jazz music through the imaginative writings of its 32 contributors. Within these 41 poems, writers express their deep connection to the music – and those who play it – in their own inventive and often philosophical language that communicates much, but especially love, sentiment, struggle, loss, and joy.

“What are 4 or 5 of your all-time favorite Blue Note albums?”

"What are 4 or 5 of your all-time favorite Blue Note albums?"
Dianne Reeves, Nate Chinen, Gary Giddins, Michael Cuscuna, Eliane Elias and Ashley Kahn are among the 12 writers, musicians, and music executives who list and write about their favorite Blue Note albums

In the Previous Issue

Interviews with three outstanding, acclaimed writers and scholars who discuss their books on Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, and Cole Porter, and their subjects’ lives in and out of music. These interviews – which each include photos and several full-length songs – provide readers easy access to an entertaining and enlightening learning experience about these three giants of American popular music.

In an Earlier Issue

photo by Carol Friedman
“The Jazz Photography Issue” features an interview with today’s most eminent jazz portrait photographer Carol Friedman, news from Michael Cuscuna about newly released Francis Wolff photos, as well as archived interviews with William Gottlieb, Herman Leonard, Lee Tanner, a piece on Milt Hinton, a new edition of photos from Veryl Oakland, and much more…

Contributing writers

Site Archive