In response to my poke at JALC, Adrian Ellis emailed to say, "We are working on it, honest!" I'm sure they are, and (as I should have said in the first place) when we initially met last yeat they were already working on it. When experimental music is regularly programmed at JALC -- as it inevitably will be -- I will have been just another voice in the choir, not the instigator.
Sam Stephenson takes some issue with my characterisation of Whitney Balliett. Why isn't Sam's blog on DTM blogroll yet? Easily rectified...
Sam doesn't want Balliett "scrutinized without his full body of work in focus." To which, I say, absolutely! Indeed, that's a main point of my essay: let's look and everything and contextualize. I didn't know about Sam's recent marvelous look at Balliett's studio and his extensive output.
Two pieces I've already picked out as having pride of place in this (still imaginary) Jazz and Race Reader are "The Gathering of Stones" by Gerald Early and "All Dressed Up and Nowhere to Go" by Whitney Balliett. Both are simply fantastic.
The point I rather long-windedly was trying to make is simply this: "Dannie Richmond took the kind of head-knocking solo that Max Roach sometimes delivers when he is thinking about white men" can be played in the same number of keys and tempos as "These same writers not only forever intrude the name of Bix Beiderbecke into discussions about such seminal blues-idiom trumpet players as Buddy Bolden, Bunk Johnson, Freddie Keppard, King Oliver, and Louis Armstrong." Although it never is, of course -- As far as I know, my attack on Balliett was unprecented, but Albert Murray keeps getting beaten up.
They both need to be represented in the canon. I can't explain everything either of them wrote, but there always needs to be grit to make the pearl.
David Adler beat me to the punch on Saturday (I didn't know until last night), with more scathing analyses of out-of-context Sandke quotes. It turns out Gary Giddins dismissed neither Michael Brecker or - shockingly - Sandke.
Giddins's essay comparing dozens of recordings of "Body and Soul" was influential on my own style as a critic. I miss Weatherbird.
Just for fun, here's a little bit of ballsy action from the June 21, 1979 issue of Down Beat.
I like their style, asking DB for a Cleveland. The 70s were so much cooler, really. I can't imagine even the biggest jazz stars today being this awesome.