- Only just got around to reading the Reich and Gaines book. Lots of interesting stuff but some worrying errors that take the edge off the book. Such as:
King Oliver apparently recording Wolverine Blues;
KO CJB and others recording at Gennett with a microphone;
Morton seems to have recorded 'Pop' in 1928, apparently similar to Seattle Hunch;
Louis Armstrong either Hot 5 or 7 recording Frog I More Rag.
Possibly the final issue is a reference to Potato Head Blues, which was conceivably partly lifted from Frog I More, so there is some justification for that. 'Pop' is obviously Pep, except that Pep has nothing (apart from structure) to do with Seattle Hunch.. Otherwise, these are simple mistakes.
----- Original Message ----
From: tc <toddcoop@...>
Sent: Sunday, August 12, 2007 5:16:58 PM
Subject: Re: [RedHotJazz] Art Davis; double bassist who played with jazz greats; 73
Much love and respect. R.I.P.
On 8/11/07, pdqblues <PDQBlues@...> wrote:
> Art Davis; double bassist who played with jazz greats; 73
> ASSOCIATED PRESS
> August 7, 2007
> Art Davis, the renowned double bassist who played with John Coltrane
> and other jazz greats, has died. He was 73..
> Mr. Davis died of a heart attack July 29 at his home in Long Beach,
> his son Kimaili Davis told the Los Angeles Times.
> Mr. Davis was blacklisted in the 1970s for speaking up about racism in
> the music industry, and he later earned a doctorate in clinical
> psychology, balancing performance dates with appointments to see patients.
> "He was adventurous with his approach to playing music," said pianist
> Nate Morgan, who played with the elder Davis intermittently over the
> past 10 years. "It takes a certain amount of integrity to step outside
> the box and say, 'I like it here, and I'm going to hang here for a
> while.' "
> Known for his stunning and complete mastery of the instrument, Mr.
> Davis was able to jump between genres. He played classical music with
> the New York Philharmonic; was a member of the NBC, Westinghouse and
> CBS orchestras; and played for Broadway shows.
> The most enriching experience of his career was collaborating with
> John Coltrane.. Described by jazz critic Nat Hentoff as Coltrane's
> favorite bassist, Mr. Davis performed on the saxophonist's albums
> including "Ascension," Volumes 1 and 2 of "The Africa/Brass Sessions"
> and "Ole Coltrane."
> The two musicians met one night in the late 1950s at Small's Paradise,
> a jazz club in Harlem.
> Mr. Davis viewed his instrument as "the backbone of the band," one
> that should "inspire the group by proposing harmonic information with
> a certain sound quality and rhythmic impulses," Mr. Davis said in an
> excerpt from So What magazine posted on his Web site.
> By following his own advice, Mr. Davis' career flourished. He played
> with a long and varied list of artists: Thelonious Monk; Duke
> Ellington; Rahsaan Roland Kirk; Louis Armstrong; Judy Garland; John
> Denver; the trio Peter, Paul and Mary; and Bob Dylan.
> Mr. Davis began studying piano at age 5 in Harrisburg, Pa., where he
> was born in 1933. By sixth grade, Mr. Davis studied the tuba in school
> because it was the only instrument available, he said.
> By 1951, he decided to make music his career. He chose the double
> bass, believing it would allow more opportunities to make a living. At
> age 17, he studied with the principal double bassist at the
> Philadelphia Orchestra. But when he auditioned for his hometown's
> symphony, the audition committee was so unduly harsh and demanding
> that the conductor Edwin MacArthur questioned their objectivity.
> "The answer was, 'Well, he's colored,' and there was silence," Mr.
> Davis recalled in a 2002 article in Double Bassist magazine. "Finally
> MacArthur burst out, 'If you don't want him, then you don't want me.'
> So they quickly got together and accepted me."
> After high school, Mr. Davis studied classical music on scholarship at
> the Manhattan School of Music and the Juilliard School of Music. At
> night he played jazz in New York clubs.
> In the 1970s, his fortunes waned after he filed an unsuccessful
> discrimination lawsuit against the New York Philharmonic. Like other
> black musicians who challenged hiring practices, he lost work and
> industry connections.
> With less work coming his way, Mr. Davis returned to school and in
> 1981, earned a doctorate in clinical psychology from New York
> University. For many years he was a practicing psychologist while also
> working as a musician.
> As a result of his lawsuit and protest, Mr. Davis played a key role in
> the increased use of the so-called blind audition, in which musicians
> are heard but not seen by those evaluating them, Hentoff said.
> The accomplished musician also pioneered a fingering technique for the
> bass and wrote "The Arthur Davis System for Double Bass."
> Mr. Davis also wore the hat of university professor. He taught at the
> University of California Irvine for two years. Most recently, Mr.
> Davis was a part-time music instructor at Orange Coast College in
> Costa Mesa.
> Besides his son Kimaili, Mr. Davis is survived by another son and a
> (c) Copyright 2007 Union-Tribune Publishing Co. � A Copley Newspaper Site
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[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- Regarding the Reich and Gaines Morton bio: The American writer and guitarist
Duck Baker really ripped the book in a review and author exchange published,
I believe, in Jazz Times (possibly Coda?). Listed many factual errors,
errors of interpretation, as well as seeming ignorance of existing
scholarship on Morton.
Still, I have the book and consult it from time to time. Bob Mielke, the
venerable trombonist, told me he greatly appreciated the chapter on Chicago
and the Melrose scene in the teens and twenties.
The world awaits a book that could weave together recent Morton scholarship
(Gushee, Meddings, etc.), archival research (Russell, Hogan archives, etc.),
vaudville/show business history, a nuanced account of shifting American
racial identities, an balanced evaluation of Lomax, and - too much to hope
for? - a great ear for the MUSIC.
Morton is THE great story. The story has a shitty ending, true, and Morton
was often a pretty unlikable guy - read those anti-Semitic letters to Carew,
circa 1939! - do Reich and Gaines even mention these? - but the span of his
life, and the great visionary music, are "beyond comparison."