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April issue of Jazz Times - a "Bass Special"?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by Bruce Lindfield, Mar 20, 2002.


  1. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    This has just filtered over to the UK and I was "tipped off" by JimK - thanks Jim!! :)

    So it had loads of articles and interviews with Bass Players and a very interesting piece by Stanley Crouch on "The Place of the Bass".

    Although it has Jaco on the cover and a feature - the majority of this stuff is about DBers - so I put this here for any acoustic purists who are put off by an electric bassist being on the cover! ;)

    This is the first issue I have felt compelled to buy and it's really worth having - it is quite expensive in the UK and usually doesn't have much I want, so I read it over a cup of coffee in "Borders and don't usually take it away! ;)

    Ironically, I picked up the UK equivalent "JazzWise" at the same time, which has a short feature on Marc Johnson, who says "Anyway, people don;t really want bass solos - they're hard to hear; the instrument just doesn't really project. "

    So in Jazz Times, the Stanley Crouch piece starts with a great eulogy praising Buster Williams's bass solos, while in JazzWise, Johnson is saying people don't want DB solos? :confused:

    Too funny!
     
  2. Crouch. Hm.

    He's absolutely dead on in his assessment of Buster Williams' skills, but, as usual, I find 70 percent of what he says to be contentious.

    In this editorial, Crouch writes:
    "Nothing in European music made the kind of physical demands on bass players that jazz does..."

    "Then there is the question of the Scott LaFaro influence, which is fine for features but conceives of rhythm-section counterpoint in the obvious way it would function had jazz been invented in Europe. That is not as profound, for this music, as what we hear from Paul Chambers.....or Ray Brown....or Mingus....The LaFaro approach also avoids swing..."

    I'm sure that no one here would take issue with these points :rolleyes:

    It was a nice issue overall. I loved the photo of young Jaco dressed as Superman (how's that for irony?), though it is sad to see the perpetuation of Jaco worship and myth-mongering. To Milkowski and the JazzTimes editor's credit, the article did stick to Jaco's musical development without so much focus on the bizarre behaviour.
     
  3. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Yes - I thought all the DBers should read this issue and article because it might stimulate some interesting debate! ;)

    I was suprised at how much was of interest to me in this issue though - usually I don't find much - is it changing?

    I thought the Crouch thing was provocative, but nice evidence that Bass Solos can be appreciated! :D

    I wonder if he still talks over most of them though - I noticed someone in the letters page complaining about how his annoying laugh and continual conversation ruined a good gig!
     
  4. Y'know, I really get tired of commentators like Stanley Crouch or Steve Coleman trying to harp about "white jazz" and "black jazz." I'm reminded of the infamous Down Beat test, where Roy Eldridge--who claimed he could identify the race of any player, sight-unseen--completely and utterly failed to separate white from black players. It's still this same deluded notion that comes into play when someone like Crouch says that LaFaro didn't swing. When are we, as a society, going to get past this?
     
  5. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    I agree with Jack Walrath -- Crouch is a jazz humorist.

    In JazzTimes, he's done a great reverse-parody of 80-year-old Professor Von BassInSchool. When Crouch says, "Nothing in European music ever made the kinds of physical demands on bass players that jazz does" -- knowing, as he does, that bowing continuously through a multi-hour orchestra program is the most back-breaking work a bassist can do -- we know he must be joking.

    Similarly, when he hauls out the forty-year-old "Scott LaFaro doesn't swing" vamp, I just keep waiting for the punch-line . . . This stuff is as old as "Charlie Parker With Strings."
     
  6. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    All too true. I suspect that we'll start to "get past this" when idiots like STUDLY CROTCH and WYLTIN' BARFSALADS start dying off. :rolleyes:
     
  7. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    I'm just glad that I wised up an turned in my jazz badge a couple of years ago. Now I'm just a bass player and life is easy.
     
  8. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    So - you think that he really doesn't like bass solos and is one of those who will be talking very loudly through them?

    It's interesting for me comparing the US and UK Jazz magazines and how different in style they are - although the music and basic source material they are dealing with is very much the same - hey I even spotted a couple of British releases in Jazz Times !! ;)

    But there aren't the "personalities" over here and most reviews are pretty serious and factual - although the writers can be enthusiastic.

    I do get the feeling that there is some sort of "crusade" going on in Jazz "criticism" (if that is the right term!) in the US, to validate the music as of equal worth to the European tradition, that we just don't have over here?

    But anyway, it was nice to see so much about Bass Players in Jazz Times - I just finished reading the article on Buell Neidlinger, which was very interesting - he sounds like the kind of guy who would be good for a DB "Ask the Pros" ?
     
  9. While walking through the rainstorm on the way to work this morning, I thought about this some more.

    The only guy in meatspace that I know who likes jazz as much as I do often talks about certain players (Pat Metheny, for example) being "too white" for his tastes. Strangely enough, though, he worships Brad Mehldau, who plays in a very European fashion and whose trio is strongly reminiscent of Bill Evans'. I don't know how he can reconcile these things.

    I think the problem with people like Wynton is that their emphasis on the music's roots in the blues, to the exclusion of all other influences, conflicts with the historical truth that composers like Debussy and Bartok had a profound effect on straightahead jazz in the "classic" period of the early '60s. But, then, cognitive dissonance has always been a feature of Crouch's writing, so I'm not surprised.
     
  10. I don't know if that article has been reprinted, but I can attest that it happened. I'm old enough to have read the original article.
    Jazz Times should be taken to task for taking the position that Stanley Crouch is competent to pass judgement on the art of playing bass or the respective skills of players.
    I intend to communicate my contempt to them, and I think other TB members should, too.
    Do they have an e-mail address?
     
  11. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    letters@jazztimes.com

    I thought about communicating my admiration for Mr. Crouch's unique brand of comedic writing. Then I thought of Ray's admonition: By writing, I'd only be giving them "what they expected."

    So I decided to express my appreciation by not subscribing (which I was about to do before this piece) and continuing to read it for free on the news-stand.
     
  12. By the way, this guy is black, and his father is a lobbyist for African debt relief.
     
  13. Joe Taylor

    Joe Taylor

    Dec 20, 2001
    Tracy CA
    Music is music! Just like people are people we are all brothers and sisters. Race in not relevant. It's how you live your life that counts. It's how well you play the music not what the music style is that counts.

    Joe
     
  14. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    All beautiful thoughts. Get that across to the folks at Lincoln Center and I bet I can hook up some more talks for you in Ramallah.