The Sandke Affair 2: Break Out the Books

[continued from “Can White Cats Play Jazz?”]

Not everything in Randall Sandke’s book Where the Dark and the Light Folks Meet gets me riled up.  Sandke’s chapter “It’s Strictly Business” contains fascinating stories of lesser-known studio musicians.  “Show Me the Money” has some good stuff in it, too, including a sentence that actually made me laugh, “Surely it’s time to give the old canard that white jazz musicians have consistently out-earned blacks a rest (if not a Viking funeral).” 

Sandke has hung out with jazz musicians his whole life, and that earthy community occasionally pokes through in parts of Where the Dark and the Light Folks Meet.  In the chapter “The Activist Jazz Writers,” Sandke reports: “Whereas [John] Hammond was called 'the big bringdown,' [Leonard] Feather was known in some circles as 'the empty suit.'”  Oh yeah.  I can see that very clearly:  a group of older working class jazz players drinking, smoking, and dissing the critics.

I never wrote much before starting to blog six years ago, but I have always liked reading about jazz. Words about music!  What could be more fun than that?

Of course, a lot of musicians don’t feel that way.  The massive history by John Gennari, Blowin’ Hot and Cool: Jazz and Its Critics, has never come up in conversation with a fellow musician, and frankly I don’t ever expect it to.  But I certainly recommend it to all the fledgling bloggers out there wondering how to write about music.

While I am surprised that Sandke doesn’t mention Whitney Balliett, Terry Teachout, or Gene Lees, nor parse Richard Sudhalter,  I am dismayed at his treatment of John Gennari. Sandke both steals from Gennari’s unprecedented work without attribution or twists quotes from Gennari to obfuscate meaning.

Sandke presents his grand theory of activist jazz writers as new information.   But “Popular Front” shows up in the index of Gennari no less than seven times.  Sandke's and Gennari’s reading of Hammond and Feather is very similar -- I believe “the big bringdown” and “the empty suit” are the only interesting new details from Sandke -- except that Gennari's is longer, more detailed, better attributed, and he did it first, five years ago.

At one point quotations by Martin Williams and Nat Hentoff are footnoted to Gennari five times in a row.  Sandke must have really exhausted himself in his research, the way he had to open up  Blowing Hot and Cold over and over again!

Sandke’s use of Gennari’s quotes about Nat Hentoff reveal a shocking lack of consideration for Hentoff.  Here is Sandke (pg. 26):

...Hentoff has championed many white players and spoken out against Crow Jim -- a term writer Barry Ulanov introduced to describe reverse racism in the jazz world. Nevertheless, such characteristic magnanimity has not prevented Hentoff from occasionally veering off into divisive and controversial territory. He was the first jazz writer to suggest that black “soul jazz” was a reaction against the primarily white West Coast school, which he described as “low in soul and high in pretensions.” Hentoff’s eastern chauvinism met up with his racial activism when he wrote, “Here were these white guys [in California] appropriating black music, stripping of its soul, and making much more money than the deep swingers in the jazz capital of the world [New York].” Pitting groups of musicians against each other, especially along racial lines, would remain a favorite pastime of the new jazz intelligentsia.

Both quotes are referenced to Gennari. The whole Gennari paragraph is (p.175):

Nat Hentoff has also stressed an economic motive in soul jazz: a reaction by black musicians against the popular vogue of West Coast jazz played by white musicians such as Chet Baker, Shorty Rogers, Dave Brubeck, and Shelly Manne. Writing in 1997, Hentoff described West Coast jazz as “well-mannered technically skilled music” that was “low in soul and high in pretensions,” and rued that because of the popularity of this music among mainstream white listeners, these musicians “appeared in ads for colognes and other genteel merchandise in the fashion magazines.” These advertisements, Hentoff noted, didn’t include a single black face. “Cannonball and other [black] musicians were furious,” Hentoff remembered. “Here were these white guys appropriating black music, stripping it of its soul, and making more money than the deep swingers in the jazz capital of the world.”

Gennari tells us on the page that this material comes from 1997 (the footnote reveals that it's found in Hentoff's Speaking Freely).   Gennari knows that is important to clear up right away because those of us who have read classic Hentoff will be surprised at this outburst.  Even more important, it’s clearly an old man reminiscing about conversations he had 50 years earlier with musicians he knew. He’s not engaging in a “pastime of the new jazz intelligentsia” to pit “groups of musicians against each other, especially along racial lines.”   The charge is ludicrous.  Gennari gives us nuance, Sandke gives us Fox News.

Almost all the quotes in Where the Dark and the Light Folks Meet are given out-of-context.  How am supposed to believe any of these little quotes when I see how he chops up Nat Hentoff?   Or Gennari himself, for that matter?  Sandke, pg. 34:

John Gennari, assistant professor of English at the University of Vermont and author of Blowing Hot and Cool: Jazz and Its Critics, writes that jazz is a music “born of slavery and segregation” and refers to the “jazz world’s overt racism.” In addition he detects the ongoing “power of systematic, institutional racism in a culture founded on white supremacy.”

It looks like Gennari is being quoted from a single paragraph somewhere, doesn’t it?  Actually, the three non-contextualized phrases are pulled from pages 22, 129, and 384.  In the first quote, he is describing John Hammond and Leonard Feather:  “Two men...who set out to convince the world that a music born of slavery and segregation was the true American art.”   In the second, he references a famous 1939 discussion of Jack Teagarden: “Jazzmen was replete with similar examples of powerful cross-racial cultural exchanges and affinities, even as in its most politically progressive moments it reckoned honestly with the jazz world’s own racism.”  I guess this is the quote Sandke means.  It’s the only phrase that is similar on page 129, although Sandke changes “own” to “overt.” 

Sandke is either intellectually dishonest or pathologically clumsy:  Gennari is reporting his interpretation of others from the 1930's, not what Gennari thinks himself of anything today.  As far as the third quote goes, Gennari worries that when Gene Lees brags endlessly of being friendly with blacks, Lees does not always take into consideration the bigger picture of race relations in the last quarter of the twentieth century.   In this I can only agree.

In his introduction to Where the Light and the Dark Folks Meet, Ed Berger says that Sandke is “not an academic.”   Talk about an understatement!  To all the critics who have blurbed or praised Sandke’s book -- Berger, Dan Morgenstern, S. Frederick Starr, Doug Ramsey, Stuart Nicholson, Larry Kart, Jacob Teichroew, Chris Kelsey, Michael Steinman, I’m looking disappointingly at you -- I ask, how much do you care about the future of your field?    And to future researchers excited about material Sandke trumpets as new discoveries -- Congo Square as Piltdown Man, for example -- I'm issuing a warning:  Sandke's work needs to be redone from the top. 

Another example of Sandke vs. Gennari is their treatment of the most famous jazz educational record set in history. Sandke, pg. 27:

In 1970 Williams became director of a jazz program at the Smithsonian Institution.  There he produced the Smithsonian Collection of Classic Jazz, a seven-LP set that was meant to reflect a cross-section of the music.  This collection has been widely used as a teaching tool in university jazz courses ever since its release.  Out of eighty-six selections, only three were by white artists, and even for this tiny sampling he was apologetic.  In his notes Williams suggests that the inclusion of two cuts by Beiderbecke might be excessive.  Once again he singles out a white musician, the great and seminal Eddie Lang, for having a faulty sense of rhythm.  Obviously Williams’ lack of musical literacy didn’t prevent him from making sweeping pronouncements about the abilities of musicians.  A later, enlarged edition of the Smithsonian Collection, prepared for CD release, includes more tracks by white musicians, but these were only added at the urging of coproducer Dan Morgenstern.

Once again,  Sandke is weak on sourcing his material. I’ve never owned the Smithsonian Collection. Do I have to order a copy from eBay to find out what is on there?  Sandke’s point could be made much more convincing by actually listing what is on Smithsonian version A and Smithsonian version B.  OK, I just googled around and kind of figured it out, but still I’d like to look at what exactly Williams wrote about Beiderbecke in version A.   As for the last sentence, who says Morgenstern was responsible for more white jazz in version B?  It’s not annotated.  Did Williams say so somewhere?  Or is it something Morgenstern told Sandke in conversation?  Morgenstern blurbed Sandke’s book, so obviously he thinks this statement is true -- I’d like to know if Williams thought the story was that clear-cut as well. 

And surely there is another side to all this, anyway. I’ll let John Gennari explain (pg. 362):

In 1970, Time-Life Records released a multi-album project called “The Swing Era,” with studio groups recreating the sounds of the 1930s and 1940s. In a blistering review, Martin Williams criticized not just the musicianship of the “largely lily-white swing bands,” but the project’s skewed history of swing. He asked: “Why was Fletcher Henderson, who forged this music and directly or indirectly made everyone’s style, assigned to the back of the book (I almost said the back of the bus), with a comforting photo of a record date where he used a white trumpeter?”

Gennari goes on to conclude this event was an influence on Williams’s choices for the Smithsonian set.  No kidding!  And right now I hear the rustling in the weeds as Sandke and Sudhalter and the rest get ready to pounce on Williams here:  “Fletcher Henderson was not alone in forging this music...Henderson had to learn to play the blues...Henderson took this from so and so white forebear...” Right, possibly good points.  And, also, shut up!  If Henderson is the only black musician pictured in a major corporate version of jazz in 1970 (so recent!) something is still wrong.  A lot of pain and human suffering went into the making of this music in its inception. When early jazz is discussed, I align with Williams in wanting to keep that fact in sight at all times.

This makes me an "activist jazz writer" in Sandke's terms, and Sandke's thinks being "activist" blocks the "true jazz ethos."  I'd weigh that criticism more seriously if we were in danger of losing our collection of dedicated researchers into the history of early jazz, but specialized new books come out every year.   I'm much more worried about losing a "black ethos" in jazz than Sandke's "true jazz ethos."

One reason we should support Wynton Marsalis (or, if you don't like his music, at least give him room to breathe) is that he has made some impact with the black community.  Probably not that much, but some.  Sandke is mad (pg.128) that when Marsalis got a chance to write for Ebony, Marsalis said that jazz "expresses a Negroid point of view" (Sandke would prefer "American point of view," I guess).  To which I say, "At least he got a chance to write for Ebony!"

I had some dealings with Ebony last year myself.  When working on my Lester Young centennial, I got intrigued by the Ebony photo essay of Pres, "How to Make a Pork Pie Hat."  It's not reproduced in any Lester Young book and I really wanted to see it. (I since have and it is wonderful.)  I emailed three different Ebony addresses trying to get them to do a web-only reproduction of the photo essay on his 100th birthday.  I naively thought the fashion element would be enticing, but no:  all three emails were responded to with polite rejections.  Of course, all I could offer them was "traffic from all over the jazz internet."  Wow, I'm sure they were impressed.  They probably think of the whole jazz world like I think of Richard Sudhalter:  a man in an upstairs attic playing with model trains.

My copy of Lost Chords belonged to Sudhalter himself.  In a little used book store on Long Island I was stunned to discover a wealth of exquisite books on jazz.  When the cashier rang up my extensive bill, he paused at Lost Chords.  "These are his books," he said. 


"Yeah, Sudhalter lived near here, and shortly before he died he brought all these in."

"Oh.  Did you talk to him? "

"He asked me if I liked jazz, and I said I loved John Coltrane.  He looked just horrified at what I had said.  'Don't listen to Coltrane!'"

"Don't listen to Coltrane."  If you love this music, you should never try to turn away any fan showing some interest.  If you've ever seen Wynton Marsalis in action with the general public you know that he spreads goodwill and grooviness with every homespun phrase.  That really is the kind of action -- you can even call it "activism" if you want -- that we need now.  When there is absolutely no black American interest in jazz anymore, it's time for that Viking funeral for all of jazz, black or white.


I'm convinced that Where the Dark and the Light Folks Meet was written with a hidden agenda. Sandke rarely puts himself into the frame enough to see the inner workings clearly, but an exception is on page 28.

Gary Giddins, a Williams protégé, seems to share many of the same biases. Again, it would be unfair to call Giddins an out-and-out ideologue. But throughout his books, one is struck by the sheer number of prominent white musicians from all over the jazz spectrum who are merely mentioned in passing, if not omitted entirely. A prime example is Michael Brecker, who is widely regarded as the most influential saxophonist of his generation. In his 1981 book Riding On a Blue Note, Giddins describes Brecker as a “journeyman musician.” Brecker is also given short shrift in Giddins 1986 book Rhythm-A-Ning, which tells us that the saxophonist “searches sonically for Albert Ayler without quite finding him.” Brecker is nowhere to be found in Giddins’s Visions of Jazz: The First Century from 1998, nor is his highly acclaimed brother, the trumpeter and composer Randy Brecker.

Likewise, stellar saxophonist Chris Potter, the 2000 winner of the prestigious Danish Jazzpar Prize, is totally ignored by Giddins. Ken Peplowski, one of the most fluent jazz clarinetists ever, is treated with perpetual scorn. So many musicians I respect and admire are given little if any space by Giddins, whose aesthetic criteria are perplexing. I once asked the veteran and thoroughly individual pianist John Bunch if Giddins had ever written about him. “I don’t think he even knows who I am,” replied Bunch. Giddins has the distinction of being one of the first jazz journalists with a regular byline (he wrote a feature column Weather Bird in The Village Voice from 1973 to 2003) to simply banish whole categories of full-time working jazz musicians from his myopic field of vision.

Giddins also employs a double standard, exempting himself from a criticism he heaps on other musicians. Many musicians, myself included, would prefer to devote themselves entirely to their own music but are often obliged to perform historic jazz styles in order to make a living. Giddins has often held our feet to the fire for this, and has even questioned our musical sincerity and fundamental ability to express a personal message.

I can’t think of a single “older school” jazz critic who championed Michael Brecker.  Was the longstanding supporter of Sandke's community, Whitney Balliett, a fan of Brecker?  Of course not.  Brecker certainly didn’t need them, either!  (UPDATE:  David Adler beat me to the punch (I didn't know until after posting), with more scathing analyses of out-of-context Sandke quotes.  It turns out Gary Giddins dismissed neither Michael Brecker or - shockingly - Sandke.)

As far as Ken Peplowski and John Bunch are concerned, now it feels like we are getting closer to the nub.  How I wish that Sandke had written a frank, humorous, and celebratory tome profiling these friends rather than waspishly cranking out this faux-treatise on race.

Indeed, Sandke could have made all the points he’s trying to make here much more smoothly. I see a scene with Peplowski and Bunch and whoever else sitting around, drinking coffee and brainstorming hateful names for Gary Giddins.   Or them bitching about how the JALC cats were un-excitedly reading down arrangements of “Muskrat Ramble” for big bucks and accolades when they could all sing the Hot Five solos since they were teenagers.  Or wondering if this was black music at all anymore, since they and their audience were all white and had been for years.  Or working out the problem of playing yourself vs. playing in historical styles.

A memoir would let us draw our own conclusions.  Instead Sandke treats his personal history as critical/historical truth, which does a disservice to his community and himself.

UPDATE -- there are now two more parts:

The Sandke Affair 3: Randall Sandke Guest Post (includes a bonus track from Sandke's editor, Evan Spring)

The Sandke Affair 4: Extensions (Africa, the Blues, Art Tatum, Bill Evans, Hampton Hawes, Paul Bley, Lowell Davidson, Warne Marsh, Burton Greene)


BONUS TRACK:  A re-edited riff from 2008,  from when I was researching Lennie Tristano reception and read John Gennari for the first time.  There's brand new stuff about Whitney Balliett at the end.


Art Hodes had a long working-class career as a traditional jazz/blues/boogie pianist. He is breathtakingly unpretentious and soulful, with an interesting beat, a surprisingly dry attack, and the some of the best blues tremolos around.

His best-known sides are several dates with Sidney Bechet that were among the Blue Note label's first.  I believe Hodes and Jutta Hipp were the only white pianists to record as a leader for Blue Note under Alfred Lion.  Interestingly, the quintessential Blue Note artist, Horace Silver, once said, "If there was no Art Hodes there'd be no Horace" (quoted in Hot Man: The Life of Art Hodes).

Hodes was also a writer:  His reminisces make up the liner notes on most of his albums, and he even edited a magazine in the forties Jazz Record in forties. 

Hodes always credited black players for teaching him everything he knew.  When he became a band leader he always tried to have a mixed-race band (not every club owner would allow this) and when he became an editor he regularly put older black jazz and blues players like Cow Cow Davenport and Baby Dodds on the cover of the Jazz Record. (That wasn't DownBeat's policy yet, who wouldn't put black musicians on the cover consistently until the sixties.)  The magazine's anthology Selections From the Gutter is an essential volume for anyone interested in early jazz, with interviews with many major musicians and in some cases commentary by the musicians themselves. 

One of the more fabulous sections of Selections From the Gutter are four celebrations of Bessie Smith by Mezz Mezzrow, Zutty Singleton, Carl Van Vechten, and Hodes himself, who describes seeing her perform in Chicago:

Ah!  I don’t know, she just reaches out and grabs and holds me.  There’s no explaining her singing, her voice.  She don’t need a microphone; she don’t need one.  I ain’t sure if them damn nuisances had put in their appearance in that year.  Everybody can hear her.  This gal sings from the heart.  She never lets me get away from her once.  As she sings she walks slowly around the stage. Her head, sort of bowed. From where I’m sittin’ I’m not sure whether she’s got her eyes open.  On and on, number after number, the same hush, the great performance, the deafening applause.  We won’t let her stop. What a woman.

It seems like a long way to go from Hodes to Lennie Tristano. But both pianists were intimately bound up with the powerful jazz critics Barry Ulanov and Leonard Feather, who called themselves “The Two Deuces” at Metronome in the early forties.


From The Session Label:

"Feather's Lament" is a title assigned in cutting irony. At the time Hodes, an ardent "moldy fig," had become Barry Ulanov and Leonard Feather's chief punching bag in the pages of Metronome. In January 1944, the magazine reviewed a Hodes release on another label: "these sound like an amateur band entertaining in an air shelter. Us, we'll face the bombs." In February 1944, Barry Ulanov declared that a live appearance by Hodes: "presented a pathetic set... tinkly, faltering, vapid... really a chore." In March either Feather or Ulanov really went beyond the pale in a review of another Hodes release: "Many of Art Hodes' personal friends... have taken us severely to task for our unkind review... But oddly enough, none of them tried to offer any musical defense. Even men who have worked with him follow the line of reasoning which runs: 'Don't be hard on the guy. We know he can't play, but he's sincere and he means well and he's kind to children.' Alas, we can't let this influence us..."

In Hodes’ autobiography Hot Man (co-written with Chadwick Hansen), there is a little more from Ulanov on Hodes: 

There are literally thousands of young unknowns who could play more real jazz in four bars than Art plays on all these four sides.  Even one of the Two Deuces, a mediocre amateur pianist himself [Feather], is willing to take Art on and cut him at any session....Hodes, we think, is the worst musician who has ever attained such stature in the jazz world.

Hansen says that Hodes sued Metronome for $100,000 but only collected for expenses, and that the really sad part of the affair is that a chance to record with Lester Young evaporated because of the Metronome attacks. 

All of this extreme behavior was formented by the nasty debate between the traditionalists (the “moldy figs”) and the modernists (the “beboppers”).  In Feather’s autobiography The Jazz Years: Earwitness to An Era, he admits that much of his commentary on the moldy figs was “mean-spirited and clumsily written,” and that “Barry Ulanov and I continually asked for trouble by assuming that the best defense was attack.”  Feather doesn’t bother to make anything up to Hodes, though, who he should have apologized to for having the colossal impudence to challenge to a duel.  Instead, Hodes is insulted further in Earwitness to an Era by being only mentioned in passing as the editor of the Jazz Record before Feather’s citation of a few words of a Jazz Record article by Jake Russell Jr. which Feather avers is racist.  Feather thus implies that all of the Jazz Record was racist. (The Randy Sandke approach to quotation!)

Russell’s piece may indeed be racist - finding the complete article is beyond my research abilities - but I certainly don’t trust Feather on this topic. The Jazz Record articles anthologized in Selections From the Gutter have nothing but respect for black traditions.  And it seems that traditional black musicians understood this:  when Pops Foster, the legendary New Orleans bassist, made his only record as a leader, an informal date of duos and storytelling, he called Art Hodes to play piano on it.

In Blowing Hot and Cool: Jazz and Its Critics, John Gennari connects the dots to several events from this era in new and compelling ways. The complete absence of Hodes in the index is too bad, though, mainly because Hodes is one of the only musicians to give a solid contribution to the written material of jazz, but also because “Feather’s Lament” is a rare example of a song written for a jazz critic.

The only other piece by a jazz musician dedicated to a critic I can think of is also not mentioned in Gennari’s book:  Lennie Tristano’s “Coolin’ Off with Ulanov.”

The symbiotic relationship of Wynton Marsalis and Stanley Crouch is foreshadowed by that of Tristano and Ulanov. Ulanov began thusly:

These are the finest piano sides in the last ten years; they introduce the remarkable Mr. Tristano to records, a resourceful musician who combines familiar pop figurations here with a linear construction and dissonances out of Hindemith and manages to integrate all of this and a driving jazz beat successfully...Here is a breath of fresh air in the stale winds of jazz.

Ulanov went on to get Tristano significant gigs.  The 1947 Metronome All-Stars with Charlie Parker and Tristano were organized by Ulanov to “battle” the traditionalists. (Art Hodes was not invited.)  This resulted in the only recording of some traditional classics like “Tiger Rag” by some famous beboppers - incidentally, Tristano’s blazing solo on the very fast “Tiger Rag” is one of the most exciting moments in his whole discography.

I'm not a fan of the earliest Tristano free jazz, but Ulanov sure was:  "These adventures in jazz intuition may very well be the high point of all jazz until now…It marks a strong parallel to the development of the twelve-tone structure in classical music…'Intuition' is the peak of modern jazz."

John Gennari interviewed Barry Ulanov at length and declares that Ulanov "was a major U.S. intellectual of the twentieth century." That’s not my opinion, but Gennari’s chapter “Hearing the Noisy Lostness’” is stunning:  It’s a careful parsing of the first full-length books on jazz in the late 40’s and early 50’s, including Ulanov’s A History of Jazz in America.  It seems that Ulanov wanted to erase the consideration of race from jazz, an idea possibly insulting to those who had to overcome a racist society to make their music heard.  There are clear echoes of Ulanov's persepective from Randy Sandke today, although Sandke would never agree with Ulanov's unquestionably insulting argument that

Until some of the later Ellington, until Charlie Parker and Lennie Tristano, there has been little if anything in jazz that could be called profound.

I wonder if Ulanov hated Art Hodes because Hodes tried to sound black and loved Tristano because Tristano was inarguably white. (Hindemith and twelve-tone music!  You could have at least gone after the far more swinging Stravinsky and Bartók.)  I'm not sure of this, and not quite interested enough to research it further -- frankly, you'd need to put a gun to my head to get me to read all of Ulanov -- but maybe somebody else would like to check it out.

I'm still intrigued by the idea of a Jazz and Race Reader.  I hate to throw him under a bus, but regrettably the great Whitney Balliett is prime material.  As far as I know, he never wrote about a black critic entirely sympathetically (he called Spellman's Four Lives in the Bebop Business "wayward" and machine-gunned Albert Murray) and is utterly incapable of bobbing and weaving with a taste of 60's-era Black Nationalism.  (He wrote that Dannie Richmond  "took the kind of head-knocking solo that Max Roach sometimes delivers when he is thinking about white men.")

When Balliett profiled Art Hodes in the March 30, 1981 issue of The New Yorker, he wrote this astonishing paragraph:

Some of the most celebrated jazz performers have been poor blues players.  They include Art Tatum, Joe Venuti, Benny Goodman, Stan Getz, Fats Waller, J.J. Johnson, Bix Beiderbecke, Miles Davis, and Gerry Mulligan.  They either parody the blues or use them for displays of baroque muscle.

Jesus H. Christ.  Any of those musicians, really, but Miles stands out.  Who played the blues better than Miles Davis?  (Balliett's great hope Scott Hamilton, perhaps?)

But the really sad gaffe is earlier in the profile, with a long litany of great black musicians.

[Hodes's] slow blues are unique; in their intensity they surpass those of any other blues pianist -- Otis Spann, Ray Bryant, Pete Johnson, Speckled Red, Lloyd Glenn, Champion Jack Dupree, Meade Lux Lewis, Pine Top Smith, Ray Charles, Albert Ammons, Cow Cow Davenport, Little Brother Montgomery, Memphis Slim, Jimmy Yancey, Leroy Carr.

Poor Art Hodes.  He could never catch a really big break.  Forty years after getting trashed by Ulanov and Feather, here he is back in NYC again, getting some major press for a run at Hanratty's,  and the writer of the profile does this to him.  Forced into into an impossible position, Hodes did the right thing.  On the back of the liner notes to the record made at the engagement Balliett promoted, Someone to Watch Over Me:  Live at Hanratty's, Hodes says,

"I'm flattered...but there are so many other guys who had a lot of torment, and that's what it's all about.  If the story had said that I was the greatest white player of the blues, it would be okay."

Whitney Balliett never anthologized his Hodes profile.


UPDATE -- there are now two more parts:

The Sandke Affair 3: Randall Sandke Guest Post (includes a bonus track from Sandke's editor, Evan Spring)

The Sandke Affair 4: Extensions (Africa, the Blues, Art Tatum, Bill Evans, Hampton Hawes, Paul Bley, Lowell Davidson, Warne Marsh, Burton Greene)