Iconoclasts

By February 14, 2014 0 Comments Read More →

Individuality: a case for Erroll Garner, part 1.

As we’ve lamented here ad nauseum, individuality has become a lost art in jazz and other improvisational music. We talked earlier about tenor sax and trumpet players in that narrow temporal window between the demise of Swing and the birth of modern jazz, and how an immediately recognizable, unique style seemed to be an essential […]

Posted in: Iconoclasts, Jazz, Videos
By February 12, 2014 0 Comments Read More →

Sid Caesar checks out.

Sid Caesar–who was NOT in our dead pool–left us today for that Borscht Belt in the sky. Sid’s “Your Show of Shows” on NBC in the early 1950’s was fairly edgy for its time, and the writers for that show–Carl Reiner, Neil Simon, Mel Brooks and others—are all icons. Sid, in addition to using his […]

Posted in: Iconoclasts, Jazz, Videos
A conversation with my idiot twin.
By January 28, 2014 0 Comments Read More →

A conversation with my idiot twin.

Idiot Twin: “I see where Bob Seger died.” Me: “No, that was Pete Seeger who died. The folksinger.” Idiot Twin: “I didn’t know Bob Seger had a brother. A folksinger, eh? Like Marshal Dillion?” Me: “You’re thinking of Bob Dylan. Marshal Dillon was a character on TV. You know, Matt Dillon, on the old ‘Gunsmoke’ […]

With apologies to Miles Davis: a playlist

With apologies to Miles Davis: a playlist

We’ve created a playlist to support the contentions we’ve made in our four-part post, “With apologies to Miles Davis“. As with all of our listening suggestions, you can click on the song title and you’ll be taken to an Amazon.com page where you can either listen to a sample, buy the individual song as an […]

With apologies to Miles Davis (part 4).

With apologies to Miles Davis (part 4).

Miles Davis’ great 1960’s quintet at Newport: (left to right) Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter, Miles, Tony Williams. (continued from part 3) The advances made in vertical improvisation exemplified by John Coltrane’s 1960 recording Giant Steps, the modal innovations that dominated jazz in the early to mid-1960s, and the move to free, atonal improvisation that Coltrane […]

Posted in: Iconoclasts, Jazz
With apologies to Miles Davis (part 3).

With apologies to Miles Davis (part 3).

Miles Davis in the studio recording the 1959 album “Kind of Blue”. From left: John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley, Miles, Bill Evans. (continued from part 2) By the early ’50’s, and with the “Birth of the Cool” in his rear view mirror, Miles Davis descended into a five-year battle with heroin that not only dramatically reduced […]

Posted in: Iconoclasts, Jazz
With apologies to Miles Davis (part 2).

With apologies to Miles Davis (part 2).

(left) Charlie Parker and Miles Davis, 1947 and (right) Lennie Tristano’s band, about 1949. (continued from part 1) In 1948, Miles Davis began jamming with baritone saxophonist and arranger Gerry Mulligan, just freed from the Gene Krupa band, alto player Lee Konitz, late of Claude Thornhill’s Orchestra, and Thornhill’s arranger, Gil Evans. They formed the […]

Posted in: Iconoclasts, Jazz
With apologies to Miles Davis (part 1).
By March 31, 2013 0 Comments Read More →

With apologies to Miles Davis (part 1).

(left) Billy Eckstine’s band, about 1945; (right) Miles, Lee Konitz and Gerry Mulligan, 1949. Miles Davis is a name that still carries some weight outside jazz circles, and for folks of a certain age, he represents styles and raisons d’etre that transcend the limited cultural impact of improvised music. For those who actually remember Miles […]

Posted in: Iconoclasts, Jazz

In praise of weirdos.

One thing that strikes us about the current state of American audio culture is the conspicuous lack of weirdos. We’re not talking about people who simply dress weird, or those who act weird due to mental impairments or disease. And we aren’t talking about “weird” when it becomes some sort of mainstream thing, like “alternative” […]


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