The Jazz Digest, June 2011

Choice snips from Jazz Journal, June 2011



Bill CharlapBill Charlap to Mark Gardner
"I continue to learn from all the great pianists. Here is a sampling of what comes to mind from some of my favourites: Wynton Kelly (swing and time feel), Tommy Flanagan (beautiful touch), Bill Evans (harmonic sense and line), Oscar Peterson (intensity and command), Art Tatum (imagination and mastery), Hank Jones (relaxed feel), George Shearing (attention to detail and optimism), Herbie Hancock (ability to be modern and rooted at the same time), Dick Hyman (comprehensive musicianship), Erroll Garner (a sanctified feeling), Lennie Tristano (unique linear approach), Teddy Wilson (lightness and clarity), Bud Powell (drive and rhythmic invention)."

Barry Witherden on Led Bib

"Led Bib is just one of several young bands hailed as 'the future of jazz' in recent years, apparently because they are happy to incorporate elements from outside jazz. (A bit like Louis Armstrong and Miles Davis!) Such claims are meaningless, of course. Led Bib represents one stream of jazz's present. They are not, nor would they claim to be, innovators."

Stan Sulzmann to Fred Grand
"I’m not committed solely to lyricism, but more recently I’ve been trying to work on ‘line construction’ rather than my frantic blowing of the 70s. I want to play something that has clarity, and was greatly influenced by our own Iain Ballamy and Julian Arguelles."

Steve Voce on set pieces and improvisation
"An abiding memory of such a situation is the hurt and confusion Louis and Velma Middleton suffered on their 1956 tour. Their British audiences were quite unreasonably outraged when confronted with what had been Armstrong’s normal concert programme for years and years. The audience wanted new and pure improvisations on West End Blues whilst Louis and Velma wanted to make us laugh with Baby, It’s Cold Outside."

Simon Spillett on Keith Tippett
"Keith Tippett also quickly moved outside any notions of a 'strict' jazz genre, extending his energetic virtuoso piano playing to ever larger, ever more inclusive projects such as Centipede, the 50-strong orchestra which he formed in 1970 and which took in jazz, rock and classical musicians to perform the extended work Septober Energy. His interest in free music gave rise to the improvisers group Ovary Lodge, and also to a collaboration with fellow pianist Stan Tracey. Tippett remains beyond category, although there is little doubt that his has definitely been the work of a jazz musician looking farther afield and not that of grant-chasing charlatan."

Dave Gelly on the Radio 2 typist

"She (everyone assumed it was a she) had simply typed what she heard. She heard 'Cannon Blad-derly' (Benny Green found that one) and the Hollywood conductor 'Hugo Winnerholler'. Someone - I forget who - claimed once to have found 'Mugs España', although that ñ seems a bit suspicious to me. But I was the one who found 'Big Spider Beck'."

Alan Luff on the "Chu" of Berry
"At a mere 18 years of age, he turned up with his tenor in a red bag, sporting a smart suit, real hip for Ohio, with goatee beard, which earned him his nickname Chu, after his resemblance to Chu Chin Chow. It’s often wrongly spelt, Choo or Chew; a rare photo has him wearing a sweater marked Chew. But then once I saw a guy similarly with Miles on his chest; it wasn't him – he was white (and smiling)."

Fred Grand on Mike Stern at Gateshead
"Stern on the other hand did exactly what he does best – he had a ball! At times the music was so fast and complex that it bordered on the limits of human possibility. Yet his group, which included Bob Malach and Dave Weckl, carried the same visceral charge as the best Texan bar-room blues and spoke with a deceptively simple voice. Quite unexpectedly, this was my festival high point."

Graham Colombé on Bob Dylan biography
"Is this the first extended mention of Bob Dylan in a jazz magazine? Not at all. Any readers who subscribed to Jazz Monthly in the early 60s will have noticed no fewer than three articles on the young Dylan. Clearly editor McCarthy saw a link between Dylan and jazz as did much later the Melody Maker’s Max Jones."

Brian Robinson on new Stan Kenton DVD documentary
"As a documentary about a world famous band leader and his music this is outstandingly good. Made by award winning jazz film maker Graham Carter in association with the Los Angeles Jazz Institute and with commentary by jazz historian Ken Poston this is obviously a product of meticulous research."

Barry Witherden on Surman & NDR DVD from 1969
"When I saw a promotional clip from this DVD on the Internet I almost wet myself with excitement and anticipation."

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