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Re: Bernard Wolfe, Mezzrow, and Really the Blues

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  • Tommer
    ... Robert, such comments about the British trad on a co.uk site! I d like to read more about some of the subject raised: 1. In the picture that Mezz was the
    Message 1 of 79 , Jun 6 2:45 PM
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      --- In RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com, "Robert Greenwood" <robertgreenwood_54uk@...> wrote:
      >
      > --- In RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com, "Tommer" <tommersl@> wrote:
      > > I think a review on a book should be on the book, not on the person!
      > > And Mezzrow's book is a great book IMO, well written, the first chapter was highly interesting to me, a fast read, later it became slower, and the information about musicians in the book is priceless!
      > > Tommer
      > >
      > Tommer (and anyone else who's interested)
      > My essay/review on Mezzrow's Really the Blues is published on-line here:
      >
      > http://www.culturewars.org.uk/index.php/site/article/jazz_mythology/
      >
      > Robert
      >

      Robert, such comments about the British trad on a co.uk site! I'd like to read more about some of the subject raised:

      1. In the picture that Mezz was the first "Wigga", how do the whole minstrel scene, and generally blackface acts and etc. are placed? Or for instance, any white early "Jazz" player is actually immitating the blacks culture, like for instance Bix going to see Louis Armstrong to learn from him the Blues/Jazz culture and art basics, how does it fit into all this?

      2. About Finkelstein vs Mezz narratives, the question why Finkelstein book isn't popular as Mezz is because Mezz was autobiography, a unique insider view, and his book had many of the views that black were having, with the lack of black writers this is closer, this and Pannasies are the only books in that direction.


      There are so many white Jaz narrative books like that by more skilled writers (though Finkelstein has as much content to offer as they) like Leonard Feathers, Max Harrison that Finkelstein book is in their shadows. For instance, Harrison has a style he can write something like "Bud Powell was the most influential Jazz pianist since Art Tatum." In such a sentence he combines two questionable items together, and that leaves the reader shocked how quickly he went from one thing to another!

      Or Gunther Schuller, Andre Hodeir , where does Finkelstein stand among all those and other writers? Mezzrow book is unique at that.

      3. I think Mezz meant that the black guy didn't have much future and history, Mezz is right because black people were under closure, the sun was set they were not allowed outside, there were many lynches by KKK against black people who wanted to enjoy the freedom they were supposed to get after the civil war, there were Jim Crow laws, all this makes sense that the black guy was still under pressure and was very close to slavory, those blacks were living the moment, some of them were hoping for a change and better lives, they had dreams, but Mezz only described the Blues, which is this state of mind as he described!

      4. I'd like to read more about what you think generally on the book, was it a good reading, is there any good points about it, anything that makes it worth reading in your review, or that it is just a total waste of time.

      5. There are several good points about the anti white part of Mezz, though I believe his way of expression is sometimes more biased than the content of what he wanted to input, a matter of taking things to the extreme or provocative, but I find some true basis in his views, the Jazz music came from the Blues and oppression of colored people by white people, and this fact is neglected by most white narrative writers.

      There were the first 5 things I thought after reading, I highly enjoyed even if there were part that I couldn't fit in with what I have on mind, still, impressive work and a lot to learn from for me.

      Thanks
      Tommer
    • Howard Rye
      Sadly, I have to report that ³the sweeter side of King Keppard² was a discographical misattribution on which Rudi Blesh built a flight of fancy. This
      Message 79 of 79 , Jun 16 10:43 AM
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        Sadly, I have to report that ³the sweeter side of King Keppard² was a
        discographical misattribution on which Rudi Blesh built a flight of fancy.

        This particular piece of tosh is to be found in the ŒPostscript¹ appended to
        later editions of Blesh¹s ŒShining Trumpets¹. Keppard isn¹t even on the
        record cited as proto-Beiderbecke, Doc Cook¹s ŒI Got Worry¹. The trumpeter
        is probably Elwood Graham, whose presence is confirmed by his file
        attribution as a member of the vocal trio on ŒHum and Strum¹. As the date
        is 1928 comment on the likely direction of influence is probably
        superfluous. This is a showband doing what showbands do (giving the public
        what it wants). It would be an exaggeration to call ŒI Got Worry² a
        Whiteman-imitation but they are aiming at the same territory and Graham
        plays in the style he or the arranger considered appropriate for that job. I
        seriously doubt that anything more compliacted is happening.

        Incidentally despite what discographies say about the personnel of this
        session, Doc Poston is certainly present since the files name him as one of
        the vocal trio too, unless there really was a musician called ³Postum² in
        the band.

        on 16/06/2009 18:01, Tommer at tommersl@... wrote:

        >
        > --- In RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com <mailto:RedHotJazz%40yahoogroups.com> ,
        > "Tommer" <tommersl@...> wrote:
        >
        >> > I didn't read this Murray but IMO improvisation on Blues texture (hot) is
        >> different than improvising on the something that wraps the Blues (sweet).
        >> >
        >> > IMO Louis' "West End Blues" the piano is sweet. They also don't swing much.
        >> On the other hand the piano on Johnny Dodds' "New St. Louis Blues" is hot and
        >> they swing. I was reffering to the piano but it is more or less what I feel
        >> about the whole of each of the two.
        >> >
        >> > What I prefer? The hot!
        >> >
        >> > Tommer
        >> >
        >
        > I have to add something accordingly. I think that one of the problems in
        > understanding among Jazz listeners the connection between Jazz and Blues is
        > that because unfair argues. Like, saying anything Louis did was hot which is
        > not true. What those that like "West End Blues" is the virtuoso trumpet thing,
        > but in terms of hot music it is not so much.
        >
        > Why I mentioned this is complicated to explain, first because I saw that West
        > End is regarded by Albert and I am sure others think the same as one of the
        > two (with Singin the Blues) most important records of the 1920's, and for me
        > this record is a symbol to the end of the most powerful Blues era in Jazz,
        > because this as well as Singin are records that goes from collective efforts
        > on Blues texture to virtuoso use of Blues for other things.
        >
        > And I don;t mean 12-bar Blues, because 12-bar can play without improvisation
        > on the texture, as much as other forms can be played inside the texture.
        >
        > What I believe is that because assuming everything Louis did was "hot" is why
        > Rudi Blesh claimed that Bix wasn't influenced by Louis but, he was influenced
        > by the sweeter side of King Keppard.
        >
        > Because assuming everything Louis was doing at the time was hot, causes a
        > problem, how can a always hot musician influence so much a musician Blesh
        > believed was sweet?
        >
        > And this is what confuse people! Because there are romantic descriptions to
        > deal with this.
        >
        > So, Murray omitting Oliver or for that same matter any list is questionnable,
        > at the time Bunk and George Lewis were rediscovered they weren't as able to
        > deal with Blues texture too much. That era is over since the 1920's are over.
        > But, Murray could say that on Bunk because Bunk was from the old times!
        >
        > However, Oliver had Jazz Babies Blues and Alligator and Krooked Blues and
        > Canal Street Blues, and other that were some of the best Blues in Jazz ever
        > recorded IMO. I don't believe he omitted Oliver, maybe he didn't hear the
        > right records or just forgot about him or had a short selevtive or
        > representative list.
        >
        > Tommer
        >


        Howard Rye, 20 Coppermill Lane, London, England, E17 7HB
        howard@...
        Tel/FAX: +44 20 8521 1098




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