Friday, December 2, 2016

Browsing the 1927 Victor Catalogue

On the DuPlex Mystery Jazz Hour of 12.1.16 I played a variety of music offered by the Victor record company in 1927-jazz, jug band, blues, country, tango.

All tunes are from 1927, recorded for Victor.

‪Duke Ellington - "East St Louis Toodle-oo"
‪Dixieland Jug Blowers - "Don't Give all the Lard Away!"
Benny Moten's Kansas City Orchestra - "Moten Stomp"
‪Orquesta Tipica Victor - "Tandas" 
‪Julius Daniels - "Ninety-Nine Year Blues"
‪Ben Pollack & His Orch. - "Waitin' For Katie"‬
‪Bobbie Leecan's Need-More Band "Washboard Cut Out"
‪Jelly Roll Morton Trio w.  Johnny Dodds & Baby Dodds‬-"Wolverine Blues"
‪Jean Goldkette and His Orchestra feat. Bix Beiderbecke - "Slow River"
‪Coon-Sanders Nighthawks - "Sluefoot"
‪Elizabeth Smith  w. Rex Stewart-cornet‬ "Police done tore my Playhouse Down"
‪Ross de Luxe Syncopaters- "Believe Me, Dear"
‪Clifford Hayes' Louisville Stompers "Blue Guitar Stomp"
‪Fats Waller & Alberta Hunter "Beale Street Blues"
Jimmie Rodgers - "Blue Yodel"
Louis Dumaine's Jazzola Eight ‬-"Red Onion Drag"
‪Fletcher Henderson "Variety Stomp"

Thursday, October 6, 2016

10 Ballads (Almost) No One Sings

Most of the best ballads are covered endlessly, but somehow, a few beauties have managed to slip the noose and have not been ground into dust by endless repetition.

I realize a post like this is like a person giving away a person's favorite secret swimming hole, but I know my elite and discreet readership can keep a secret.

I have ordered them from what I think are the most to the least recorded.

The song itself is sandwiched in between very non-ballad sounds and starts about 4:00 in

Friday, July 15, 2016

Jukebox Jazz

Jazz tunes that I think were made for the jukebox, on the Duplex Mystery Jazz Hour, 7/14/2016, 5-7 PM. i give you a little bit of jukebox history (you'll be surprised to learn when the first coin-operated music player was invented) and then it's off to the juke joint.


 James Moody "I'm In the Mood For Love" from "I'm In the Mood For Love" 1949 on Prestige
 Count Basie "One Oclock Jump" 1937 on Decca
 Count Basie & His Orchestra "April In Paris" 1955 on Clef
 Tommy Dorsey & His Orchestra "Song Of India"1937 on Victor
 Charles Mingus "Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting" 1959 on Atlantic
 Sarah Vaughn w. Clifford Brown "Lullaby of Birdland" 1954 on Emarcy
 The Jazztet "Killer Joe" 1960) on Argo
 Nat King Cole "Route 66" from "Soundie"
 Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five "What's the Use of Getting Sober" 1942 on Decca
 Gene Ammons Quartet "Hittin' the Jug" 1960 on Prestige
 John Coltrane "My Favorite Things"1960 on Atlantic
 Duke Ellington & His Orchestra "in a Mellow Tone"1940 on Victor
 Eddie Harris "Exodus" 1961 on Vee Jay
 Glenn Miller & His Orchestra "Elmer's Tune" 1939 on Bluebird
 Herbie Mann "Comin' Home Baby"1962 on Atlantic
 Bobby Timmons "Dis Heah (This Here)" 1960 on Riverside
 Stan Getz/Charlie Byrd "Desafinado" 1962 on Verve
 Ray Charles "One Mint Julep" 1961 on Impulse
 Jimmy Smith "Walk on the Wild Side" 1962 on Verve
 Lionel Hampton "Red Top" 1959 on Audio Fidelity
 Mongo Santamaria "Watermelon Man"1963 on Battie
 Lee Morgan "Sidewinder"1963 on Blue Note
 Ramsay Lewis Trio "The In Crowd" 1965 on ARGO
 Harry James "Ciribiribin" 1939 on Brunswick
 Cannonball Adderley "Mercy Mercy Mercy" 1966 on Capital
 Toots Thielemans "Bluesette" 1962 on ABC Paramount
 Ray Charles "What'd I Say" 1961 on ABC Paramount

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Mingus on Radio-1946 to 1954

Mingus-Part I, Duplex Mystery Jazz Hour, WZBC.ORG. Program aired on 6.30.2016.



Lionel Hampton and His Orchestra, Mingus Fingus-Teddy Buckner, Wendell Culley, Duke Garrette, Leo Shepherd, Snooky Young (trumpet) Andrew Penn, James Robinson, Britt Woodman, Jimmy Wormick (trombone) Jackie Kelso (clarinet, alto sax) Ben Kynard, Bobby Plater (alto sax) Morris Lane, John Sparrow (tenor sax) Charlie Fowlkes (baritone sax) Lionel Hampton (vibes) Milt Buckner (piano) Billy Mackel (guitar) Joe Comfort, Charles Mingus (bass) Earl Walker (drums). Hollywood, CA, November 10, 1947

Boppin in Boston Baron Mingus And His Rhythm; probably Vern Carlson (trumpet) probably Britt Woodman (trombone) unknown (tenor sax) Wilbert Baranco (piano) Charles Mingus (bass, vocals) unknown (drums)  possibly Wilbert Baranco (vocals -2)

Illinois Jacquet And His All Stars-Bottom's Up Russell Jacquet (trumpet) John Brown (alto sax) Illinois Jacquet (tenor sax) Arthur Dennis (baritone sax) Bill Doggett (piano) Ulysses Livingston (guitar) Charles Mingus (bass) Al Wichard (drums) Hollywood, CA, circa mid August, 1945

Wilbert Baranco And His Rhythm Bombardiers-Weepin Willie; Karl George, Dizzy Gillespie, Howard McGhee, Snooky Young (trumpet) Ralph Bledsoe, Henry Coker, Vic Dickenson, George Washington (trombone) Marvin Johnson, Willie Smith (alto sax) Freddie Simon, Lucky Thompson (tenor sax) Gene Porter (baritone sax) Wilbert Baranco (piano, vocals) Buddy Harper (guitar) Charles Mingus (bass) Earl Watkins (drums), 1946

Ivie Anderson & her all stars - The Voot is Here to Stay-Karl George (trumpet) Willie Smith (alto sax) Gene Porter (tenor sax) Buddy Collette (baritone sax) Wilbert Baranco (piano, arranger) Buddy Harper (guitar) Charles Mingus (bass) Booker Hart (drums) Ivie Anderson (vocals)
Los Angeles, CA, January, 1946

Charles Mingus And His Orchestra-Shuffle Bass Boogie; Karl George, John Plonsky (trumpet) Henry Coker (trombone) Jewel Grant, Willie Smith (alto sax) Gene Porter, Lucky Thompson (tenor sax) Wilbert Baranco (piano) Buddy Harper (guitar) Charles Mingus (bass) Lee Young (drums) Claude Trenier (vocals -1,2,4)Los Angeles, CA, early 1946

Baron Mingus Presents His Symphonic Airs-Story of Love; Vern Carlson, Miles Davis (trumpet) Henry Coker (trombone) Boots Mussulli (alto sax) Lucky Thompson (tenor sax) Buddy Collette (tenor sax, flute) Herb Carol (baritone sax) Buzz Wheeler (piano) Charles Mingus (bass, cello) Warren Thompson (drums), Hollywood, 1946

Pipe Dream (Weird Nightmare) Baron Mingus And His Octet; Karl George (trumpet) Henry Coker (trombone) Marshall Royal (clarinet, alto sax) Willie Smith (alto sax) Lucky Thompson (tenor sax) Lady Will Carr (piano) Irving Ashby (guitar) Charles Mingus (bass) Lee Young (drums), 1946

Charles Mingus - Inspiration-John Anderson, Buddy Childers, Hobart Dotson, Eddie Preston (trumpet) Jimmy Knepper, Marty Smith, Britt Woodman (trombone) Eric Dolphy (alto sax, flute, clarinet) Jewel Grant, Art Pepper (alto sax, clarinet) Herb Caro (tenor sax, clarinet) William Green (tenor sax, clarinet, flute) Gene Porter (baritone sax, clarinet) Russ Freeman (piano) Red Callender, Charles Mingus (bass) Roy Porter (drums) Johnny Berger (percussion) and others
Hollywood, CA, 1949

Red Norvo Trio--Move, September Song, This Can't Be Love; Red Norvo (vibes) Tal Farlow (guitar) Charles Mingus (bass) Los Angeles, 1950

Miles Davis Sextet-Lady Bird; Miles Davis (trumpet) Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, Big Nick Nicholas (tenor sax) Billy Taylor (piano) Charles Mingus (bass) Art Blakey (drums), Live Birdland, 1951

Charles Mingus Nonet-Blue Tide; Ernie Royal (trumpet) Willie Dennis (trombone) Eddie Caine (alto sax, flute) Teo Macero (tenor sax, clarinet) Danny Bank (baritone sax) Jackson Wiley (cello) John Lewis (piano) Charles Mingus (bass, arranger) Kenny Clarke (drums) Janet Thurlow (vocals -3,6,7) Paul Bley (conductor) Spaulding Givens equal Nadi Qamar (arranger) NYC, October 28, 1953

The Gordons With Hank Jones Trio-Bebopper; Hank Jones (piano) Charles Mingus (bass) Max Roach (drums) Honey Gordon (vocals -2/6) George Gordon Jr., George Gordon, Richard Gordon vocals NYC, 953

Billy Taylor Trio-Bass-Ically; Billy Taylor (piano) Charles Mingus (bass) Art Taylor (drums) NYC, summer 1953

Miles Davis Quartet - Smooch; Miles Davis (trumpet) Charles Mingus (piano) Percy Heath (bass) Max Roach (drums) WOR Studios, NYC, May 19, 1953

Charlie Parker and His Orchestra - In the Still of the Night; Junior Collins (French horn) Al Block (flute) Tommy Mace (oboe) Manny Thaler (bassoon) Hal McKusick (clarinet) Charlie Parker (alto sax) Tony Aless (piano) Charles Mingus (bass) Max Roach (drums) The Dave Lambert Singers: including Annie Ross (vocals) Dave Lambert (vocals, arranger) Gil Evans (arranger, conductor)
Fulton Recording, NYC, May 25, 1953

Dizzy Gillespie Quartet; Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet, vocals) Bud Powell (piano) Charles Mingus (bass) Max Roach (drums) "Birdland", NYC???, circa late May, 1953

Charles Mingus Nonet-Pink Topsy; Ernie Royal (trumpet) Willie Dennis (trombone) Eddie Caine (alto sax, flute) Teo Macero (tenor sax, clarinet) Danny Bank (baritone sax) Jackson Wiley (cello) John Lewis (piano) Charles Mingus (bass, arranger) Kenny Clarke (drums) Janet Thurlow (vocals -3,6,7) Paul Bley (conductor) Spaulding Givens equal Nadi Qamar (arranger), NYC, 1953

Paul Bley Trio-Zootcase; Paul Bley (piano) Charles Mingus (bass) Art Blakey (drums) NYC, 1953

Ada Moore-The Man I Love; John LaPorta (alto sax, clarinet) Wally Cirillo (piano) Tal Farlow (guitar) Oscar Pettiford (bass) Osie Johnson (drums) Ada Moore (vocals) Alonzo Levister, Charles Mingus (arranger) NYC, June 27, 1954

Thad Jones Quintet-Elusive; Thad Jones (trumpet) Frank Wess (tenor sax, flute)Hank Jones (piano) Charles Mingus (bass) Kenny Clarke (drums) Hackensack, NJ, 1954

J J Johnson & Kai Winding Quintet - Lament J.J. Johnson, Kai Winding (trombone) Billy Bauer (guitar) Charles Mingus (bass) Kenny Clarke (drums) Hackensack, NJ, August 24, 1954

Charles Mingus Sextet-Purple Heart; John LaPorta (clarinet, alto sax) Teo Macero (tenor, baritone sax) George Barrow (baritone, tenor sax) Mal Waldron (piano) Charles Mingus (bass) Rudy Nichols (drums) NYC, October 31, 1954

Charles Mingus Sextet-Minor Intrusion; Thad Jones (trumpet -1/4,7) John LaPorta (clarinet, alto sax) Teo Macero (tenor, baritone sax) Jackson Wiley (cello -1/4) Charles Mingus (bass, piano) Clem DeRosa (drums, tambourine) NYC, December, 1954

Hazel Scott w/Charles Mingus and Rudy Nichols. "A Foggy Day" on YouTube, unknown date

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

How to Listen to Jazz; a Q&A

In How to Listen to Jazz, Ted Gioia has tasked himself with writing a book that asks people to drop their musical prejudices and open up their ears. The challenge in writing a book like is to find a middle path between, as Gioia says, "those who pretend that music is objective science and those who insist it is "subjective whimsy…" For my money, he has succeeded; talking about the nuts and bolts of melody, harmony and rhythm in a clear, comprehensible, knowing way, while finding myriad ways to communicate the joy ("jouissance") in the music.

Ted was kind enough to respond to some questions I sent him.

One of the foundations of the book is that there are standards that are inherent in the music. Talk about the process of teasing these out.
If you want to grasp the dangers of imposing external standards on the music, just look at the long, sad history of warring camps in the jazz world. In the 1940s, traditional jazz musicians complained about bop because it didn’t sound like Louis Armstrong.  And modernists dismissed traditionalists who didn’t know the bop licks. A few years later, a similar battle erupted over the merits of West Coast jazz versus East Coast jazz. This was followed by protracted controversies over free jazz, fusion, the new traditionalists of the 1980s, etc.—indeed almost every new style led to diatribes and confrontations, and a strange situation in which listeners were told they had to choose between the combatants.

Finally, the jazz wars seem to have ended. Okay, we have a few skirmishes on the border—I saw an exchange of fire a few days ago on the Kamasi Washington front—but this is all child’s play compared with the full-scale battles of days gone by. And I will be the first to celebrate the cessation of hostilities. Let’s enjoy the peace dividend.

But there’s a larger lesson at stake here. Different genres and subgenres bring with them their own standards, and make different demands on us. My enjoyment of the music—and my understanding of it—have been enhanced by trying to live up to these demands.  Our response to the music comes with a responsibility—two words that derive from the same etymological root. And part of that responsibility is to enter into the distinctive worldview and templates that come embedded into the music.

Why was it important for you to bring in your own experience in learning how to play this music?
This book is more autobiographical than anything I’ve ever written. I felt that the best way to teach readers how to listen to jazz is to share the path by which I learned to listen deeply to the music. Between the ages of 15 and 25, I spent around 10,000 hours at the piano, and many more hours studying the performances of the best musicians I could find, in person or on record. My subsequent work as a music critic and historian is built on this foundation.

What did I learn from that apprenticeship? Sad to say, I learned to appreciate the greatness of the masters through my own mistakes, and through all the slow, hard work I put into gaining fluency with the basic building blocks of the music. I struggled and fought my way through every aspect of jazz, from how to start and end a phrase to how to how to create rhythmic misdirection and float over the beat. I really didn’t possess a mature grasp of jazz until I was in my late twenties and, in retrospect, I’ve often wished I had been a more precocious learner, or had had access to skilled teachers. I really taught myself, and a day at a time. It’s no exaggeration to say that I had to invent my own pedagogy. But this slow path brought some advantages—I developed analytical and methodological tools that have proven invaluable in helping me conceptualize and articulate what’s going on in the music. I draw on these hard-won learnings in How to Listen to Jazz, and I feel that I have dealt with a number of key issues in a way that hasn’t been done in other books on the subject. 

Can you flesh out this quote a bit: "We can tell that we are encountering a real work of art by the degree to which it resists [your emphasis] our subjectivity."
Some people will tell you that our responses to music are purely subjective. But everything I’ve learned about music runs counter to that claim. My previous book on love songs describes in great specificity quasi-universal qualities in music that cut across cultural and individual differences. The same is true in my books on work songs and healing music. Music critics and historians ignore these factors at their own risk. They undermine their work to the extent that they believe they can impose their whims or ideologies on the music. 

In the course of reading jazz and blues history, I've never encountered your interesting points that statistics used to track diseases can also tell us about the spread of jazz and that looking at African-American farming plots can help trace the genesis of the blues. Why do you suppose more of this cross-discipline work hasn't been done-or have I simply missed it?
I learned these analytical techniques through sheer happenstance. In my early twenties I studied the diffusion of innovations at Stanford Business School. My professors had no intention of teaching me skills I could use in writing music history books, but I later saw how these predictive models could answer key questions in my research into early blues or traditional love songs.

By the way, my readers would probably be surprised by how much my analysis of music has been enhanced by studying microeconomics, game theory, statistics, business strategy and other issues outside the typical purview of music critics. This is true of both my writings on music history but also my writings and talks on the current music industry.

I love that you call those who deconstruct and recombine musical memes "the gene splicers of jazz." Why did you choose that metaphor rather than alluding to the idea of "influences"?
The notion of influence tends to promote linear and static thinking. But when we apply the metaphor of DNA and genetics to our discussions of musical evolution, we can grasp the dynamic and complex nature of these processes with more insight.

Take for example, saxophonist Lester Young. A static lineage model would tell you that he was a major influence on Stan Getz and a handful of other postwar saxophonists. End of story. But a better way of understanding his impact is to look at how his expansion of a ‘cool’ vocabulary, with its emphasis on melodicism and understatement, entered into the global music DNA—and could be adapted by anyone seeking a certain kind of aesthetic experience. Once you view Lester Young in that way, you start hearing how he shaped movie soundtracks, bossa nova, pop music, a cappella vocal arrangements, even classical works such as John Adams’ recent sax concerto. You understand Young better by viewing his innovations—which were essentially genetic mutations in the sphere of music—in this wider context.

You have a definite brief against "global entertainment corporations." Tell us why and what you think might be done to ameliorate their negative influence.
I listened to more than one thousand new releases last year, and I am on track to do the same this year. I cast a very wide net in my listening—I check out all music genres, and though I pay attention to highly-promoted commercial releases from the major labels, I also listen closely to little-known projects from small indie labels and self-produced albums.

This is a large investment of time, but it gives me valuable insights into the priorities of the global entertainment corporations. I can see what they are choosing to promote, and compare it against the projects they turn down or ignore.

And what do I learn from this? My conclusions are depressing ones. First let me share the good news: there is more outstanding music recorded today than at any point in history. But here’s the bad news: it’s harder to find than ever before. The big entertainment corporations are doing a terrible job of scouting talent, nurturing it, and giving it a platform to reach a large audience. There’s a crisis in the music business. And this isn’t just my personal opinion—just look at sales figures and financial statements, or talk to the talented musicians who are trying to build careers in this environment. 

Why are labels making such bad decisions? We can speculate on the causes. I would love to give an ear test to folks making decisions at the major labels. How skilled are they at actually hearing what’s happening on a recording, and grasping what the musicians are doing? And then I’d like to give them a polygraph test to see which is more important to them, promoting artistry or making money? And, then, I’d like to have a test to gauge their degree of commitment to musical values, and their courage in pushing against the groupthink and conformity of the huge corporations that employ them. Finally, I would like to compare these results against those of the visionary label execs from today and the past—people like John Hammond or Manfred Eicher or George Martin. I have a hunch we would find some answers to our questions, no?

Do you have a specific idea who the audience will be for this book?  Do you hope it will work its way into the educational market?
I’ve been blessed with great readers. I hear from them all the time—especially in the last few years, with the rise of social media and worldwide connectivity. And I learn from them too.

Many of my readers are musicians, some of them absolute masters of their instruments. Others played in bands in the past and have transitioned to other careers, yet still have big ears and trained sensibilities. Some have never had musical training, but care deeply about the music. This very smart audience keeps me honest. I have them in mind while I write, and that helps me avoid glib and facile treatment of the subjects at hand.

I try to write in such a way that every one of these readers is served by the book. My goal with How to Listen to Jazz was a simple one, but also challenging: I wanted to provide an entry point into jazz for newcomers, but do it in such a way that even a very knowledgeable fan would find something useful or insightful on every page. I’ll leave it to others to judge whether I live up to that goal.

This reader says he does.

Friday, May 6, 2016

"Early Guitar" Radio Show

Lonnie Johnson
A quick look at the early great jazz guitar players, aired on the DuPlex Mystery Jazz Hour of 5.5.16.
Check out the playlist and give a listen.

LISTEN HERE (Sorry for the minor hum, audible at a low level when I speak, not during the music))

Sam Moore "Chain Gang Blues" 1921 on Okeh

Lonnie Johnson "Four Hands are Better Than Two" 1927 on Okeh

Eddie Lang "Add a Little Wiggle" 1928 on Okeh

The Chocolate Dandies "Paducah" 1928 on Okeh

Frank Trumbauer & His Orchestra "I'm Coming Virginia" 1927 on Okeh

Lonnie Johnson and Blind Willie Dunn "Deep Minor Rhythm Stomp" 1929 on Okeh

King Nawahi's Hawaiians "Hawaiian Capers" 1929 on Columbia

Eddie Edinborough & His New Orleans Wild Cats "Brown Baby" 1933 on Columbia

The Five Cousins "I've Got the Word on a String" 1933 on ARC Test

Candy and Coco "Kingfish Blues" 1934 on Vocalion

Dick McDonough "Honeysuckle Rose"1934 on Test recording

Frank Trumbaier & His Orchestra "S'Wonderful" 1936 on Brunswick

Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys "White Heat" 1937 on Vocalion

Katy Grey and her Wampus Cats "Baton Rouge Rag" 1937 on Vocalion

Jon Sodja's Swingtette "Limehouse Blues" 1937 on Varsity

Kansas City Five "Love Me or Leave Me" 1938 on Commodore

Benny Goodman and His Sextet "Wholly Cats" 1940 on Columbia

Slim Gaillard And His Flat-Foot-Floogie-Boys "Palm Springs Jump" 1942 on Columbia

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Jimmy Knepper--Storyteller

In an interview, Charles McPherson talks about the influence Charlie Parker had on trombonist Jimmy Knepper. I nod internal agreement, but also think: Knepper found musical pathways that are not available to any other instrument. To me, he was among the most expressive trombonists; one who used tremendous technique in service of the music, not in service of the technique.

Knepper was quoted as saying ''in a lot of ways, [jazz is] just shallow, superficial and pyrotechnical.''  Maybe that's why it was so important to him to prove that jazz could be played that was not shallow, superficial and pyrotechnical for its own sake.

Piling on the ironies, although Knepper sounded great in any setting, I believe he was most expressive in the musical context provided by the man who assaulted him and almost ended his career: Charles Mingus. Mingus' music gave a kind of scope that freed Knepper. The stops, starts, changes of tempo and mood, freedom to explore less "refined" tonal directions, provided a dramatic stage on which Knepper thrived. 

Yet, in 1981, Knepper told Downbeat: ''It was very depressing to think that I'm linked with this guy for the rest of my life." 

I have no problem with the contradictory nature of all this. It gives the lie to the easy assumptions that people make about personality and art.

Before getting to Mingus music, let's start with Knepper in a more straight-ahead context, Here he is in a 1957 release, A Swinging Introduction from September 1957 with Knepper (tb), Gene Quill (as), Evans (p), Teddy Kotick (b) and Dannie Richmond (d). The tone is there-a good deal of vibrato; harmonically it's squarely in the bop idiom, but with some unusual interval leaps and a subtly dramatic quality.

Here he is in his first Mingus recording, Tijuana Moods, recorded the same year-1957. He responds well to this rhythmic environment, which is both more demanding and looser. He also begins to explore the trombone's tonal palette.

Here's Jimmy on Gentleman's Agreement (1983) with Danny RIchmond, drums, George Adams, tenor sax, High Lawson, piano. Mike RIchmond, bass. Knepper 's statement is solid and contains almost all the elements we find in the Mingus context. Still...

In this final tune, the title track from Tonight At Noon (1961), It sounds as if Knepper has completely internalized the resonance of this Mingus group. Everything he plays sounds like it comes from a complete emotional commitment.

Thanks, Jimmy.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

"Influence," Prince & Some Jazz Guys

There's been an enormous response to the death of Prince. An internet search leads me to think that he's been eulogized in every major media outlet in the U.S. and many abroad. Consistently, the emphasis is on his musical genius and his influence on popular culture. A common riff is that "pop music will never be the same," but details of what this means are sketchy.

The interplay between persona/projection/charisma and the music itself is always complicated. In the case of Prince, the music is both collaborator and counter-foil to the gender ambiguity of his look and style, the contrast between his stage presence and his reclusiveness and the tension between his Jehovah's Witness-straightness and his sexual explicitness.

These kinds of tensions were present in the work and very public lives of Ray Charles, James Brown and Michael Jackson. However, the cultural impact of these three resides more completely on the bedrock of their music. Prince is reckoned to have done everything supremely well; everything being the key word. Time will tell us if his eclecticism begat something musically new and reproduce-able, or if his influence will ultimately derive from his persona.

In the case of jazz, media saturation has always been quantum levels lower, especially for black musicians, and the paradigms I describe above were unlikely to play out as publicly. Still, there are parallels to be seen in jazz careers. Below are five important figures in jazz and brief descriptions of how I think the personal and the musical interacted to determine the scope and area of their influence.

W.C. Handy: His compositions, chiefly St. Louis Blues and Memphis Blues, were widely performed; he organized an orchestra that hovered between ragtime and jazz and he did have some influence within the world of popular music. However, his organizing and entrepreneurial skills brought him much wider cultural renown, to the point where he is widely known as "Father of the blues;" a phrase that both overstates and misplaces his musical importance.

Jelly Roll Morton: His work in the 1920's as pianist, composer, arranger and synthesizer of influences marks him as musically influential in jazz. However, his "re-discovery" and narration of jazz history through the Library of Congress recordings-inaccurate or not-broadened his influence into the larger cultural sphere. His gold teeth, braggadocio and pimp-style also played a part in keeping his name elevated above other contributors, like James P. Johnson.

King Oliver: A trumpet player who was influential musically in the late 19-teens to mid 1920's. You might liken him to Sidney Bechet in that respect, but unlike Bechet-a strong, sometimes volatile character who carried on for many years-Oliver's health issues, a lack of personal charisma and business naivete greatly shortened his career. Oliver's wider cultural impact has been largely relegated to "the man who brought Louis Armstrong to Chicago."

Duke Ellington: His work remains a perennial influence in jazz (not a word he cared for), but he has achieved wider cultural renown. Aside from songs and jazz compositions for his orchestra, he wrote film, television and sacred music and was compared with America's best "classical" composers. His persona is relevant. Ellington seemed perfectly comfortable performing for the rabble and for royalty and his elegant and somewhat enigmatic personal style had a lot to do with bringing him wider cultural acclaim.

Charlie Parker: The co-creator of Bop presents an interesting case. The jazz community acknowledges him as arguably its most influential musician. During his life, he was acknowledged by members of the wider cultural, non-jazz elite as an artist of the highest calibre. Yet, while his name took on a meme-like character ("Bird lives" graffiti) and many in the non-jazz community may say they have heard his name, the trappings of wide cultural renown aren't there. What do I mean? Streets, schools and scholarships very rarely if ever, carry his name. Chic chefs, fashion trend setters, politicians, advertisers and mainstream media seldom, if ever, refer to him as a cultural touchstone. Had his drug use not been so widely known, his place in the wider culture would probably be very different.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Review: Miles Ahead

Writer-director-producer Don Cheadle took this gig seriously. The cinematography, costuming and editing of the film are strong and Cheadle's performance throughout is impeccable. He completely inhabits the persona of the "late Miles." Also to his credit, Cheadle lets the relationship between Miles' musical genius and being an utter bastard play out, without resorting to childhood flashbacks or other filmic devices meant to lead us to psychological "insights." 

The first part of "Miles Ahead" gives hope that with the charismatic, controversial genius Miles Davis at the center of the movie, and so well portrayed, there will be enough inherent drama without the film resorting to cinematic cliches. But, while there are moving and satisfying scenes throughout, melodrama starts to creep in and the length of time devoted to car chases and trumped-up plot devices vitiates much of the original promise. The power of the performances of Cheadle and Emavatzy Corinealdi, who portrays Frances Davis, become subsumed in a dense layer of sub-plots that, in the end, don't add up to much. 

Here's the jazz snob portion of our review: I didn't like the fact that Miles-in-the-film says he rescued Trane from walking the bar. Trane was years away from that. I also don't like that they had Miles playing what looked to me like a sliver-plated Bach trumpet. Someone can tell me if I'm wrong and that it was a Besson Brevete. To his credit, Cheadle mostly did a good miming job and seemed to actually play "Fran-Dance" in one scene.

The scene with Miles and Gil Evans in the studio made Evans completely passive and Miles the creative presence. By all accounts, Miles was a good collaborator and they didn't need to overcompensate like that. In fact, the white characters were invariably shmucks and or thieves when, as noted above, Miles collaborated well with musicians of any race. After taking heat-in real life-for having the white Bill Evans in his band, Miles said:"I don't care if a dude is purple with green breath as long as he can swing." Having Miles say that in this film would have been inimical to its racial approach. You don't have to overdraw the difference between racist thug cops and Teo Macero and Gil Evans, but you can have more balance than this movie does.

Maybe filmmakers are right in thinking there's not enough drama in the jazz life to sustain an audience's attention for 90 minutes; maybe the exigencies of the form mean they do have to cook the books. If life was fair (hah!), critics would be forced to say what they would put in the film instead of car chases and one-dimensional foils. Ok. How about filling that time by having the audience sit in the theatre with nothing on the screen, just listening to the music of Miles Davis (and this from a guy who's a member of SAG). Ay, caramba; quelle idee.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Caution: Ear Expansion May Cause Aesthetic Discombobulation

I went to a show at the Outpost 186 on 3.24.16. The group was an adventurous cohort that included: 

Charlie Kohlhase/Alipio C. Neto – saxes / Daniel Rosenthal – trumpet, flugelhorn / Bill Lowe – tuba / Curt Newton - drums

They played almost all original material and some by John Tchicai. As a group and as soloists, the musicians demonstrated their command of jazz innovations of the last 60 years-angular heads, group improvisation, harmonics overblowing, dissonance, bi-tonality, world music influences and non-swing rhythm section approaches.

After this solid musical foray, I went to a friend's house to continue my aural immersion.
Rob put on Cannonball Adderly's 1961 Riverside album "Know What I Mean," And, although a great admirer of Cannonball, I found his playing conservative and unadventurous. 
Then, I asked for some Lee Morgan and he put on "Search for the New Land" from 1964. Lee and Wayne are brilliant, but the tunes less so. The title track, an extended composition, aims high, but is not substantial; much pentatonic noodling, tremolos, ostinati. The other tunes are more squarely in the Lee hard-bop mold, but they seem kind of tepid in the light of compositions that Ornette and others had been producing and compared to what I heard earlier that night at the Outpost. 

The moral of the story: when your ears have been recently opened up, be prepared for some disjunctions when you listen to your old musical pals. 

Friday, March 18, 2016

St. Paddy's Jazz Show

Many Irish-Americans have been great jazz players. A partial list would include: Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey, Bunny Berigan, Larry Binyon, Dick McDonough, Chauncy Morehouse. Spike Hughes. Bill Harty. Jimmy McPartland. Muggsy Spanier. Eddie Condon. Joe Sullivan. Lou McGarity. Corky Corcoran. Joe Mooney. Zoot Sims. Anita O'Day. Gerry Mulligan, Dave McKenna, Jim Lanigan, Sam Donahue, Harry James, Brian Lynch, Kenny Davern, Snoozer Quinn, Joe "Red" Kelly, "Peck" Morrison, Joe Sullivan, Turk Murphy. Buzzy Drootin , Ed Shaughnessy...

The DuPlex Mystery Jazz Hour of 3.17.16 featured some of these folks.


Red Nichols "Rose of Washington Square" from "Basin St Blues" 1929 on Fabulous

Husk O'Hare and His Footwarmers "My Daddy Rocks Me" from "The Austin High Gang" 1928 on MCA

Red Nichols 'n His Five Pennies "I'm Just WIld About Harry" from "Basin St Blues" 1930)

McKenzie and Condon's Boys "Jazz Me Blues" from "The Austin High Gang" 1928 on MCA

The Charleston Chasers "Beale St Blues" from "Basin St Blues" 1931

Eddie Condon's Friends "Blues My Naughty Sweetie Gave to Me" from "Condon's World of Jazz" 954 on CBS

The All Star Band "The Blues" from "Basin St Blues" 939 on Fabulous

Dorsey Brothers Orch. "Dr. Heckle and Mr. Jibe" from "Condon's World of Jazz" 1933) on Brunswick

Chris Connor "Everything I Love" from "Chris Connor" (Jazz, 1957) on Bethlehem

LP Billy Taylor "So In Love" from "Billy Taylor Introduces IRA Sullivan" 1956) on ABC-Paramount

Chris Connor "All About Ronnie" from "Chris Connor" 1957 on Bethlehem

Bobby Hackett "Swing That Music" from "Live at the Roosevelt Grill" 1969 Phontastic

Bob Haggart & Buzzy Drootin "Big Noise From Winnetka" from "Newport Jazz Fest" 1964

Gene Krupa w. Anita O'day "Let Me Off Uptown" from "Drummer Man"  1956 on Verve

Benny Goodman w. Harry James "Peckin'" from "Great Jazz Brass" 1937  on RCA Camden

Brian Lynch "Tribute To Blue (Mitchell)" from "Tribute to Trumpet Masters" (Jazz, 2005) on Sharp Nine Records

Monday, March 14, 2016

Alto Sax Roots Program

Tab Smith
The Duplex Mystery Hour of 3.10.17 on WZBC featured important alto players from the 20's and 30's: Trumbauer, Redman, Procope, Dorsey, Hodges, Carter, the Jones, Jefferson, Brown. The last part of the show includes early recordings of Charlie Parker with Jay McShann.



Frank Trumbauer (C Melody sax) & Bix Beiderbecke "Trumbology" from "Trumbology" 1927 Okeh 

"Variety Stomp" Fletcher Henderson Orchestra: Victor, 1927 Fletcher Henderson -Piano, Arranger, DirectorJoe Smith, Russell Smith - trumpet (?) Some sources cite Tommy Ladnier on Trumpet, Benny Morton, Jimmy Harrison - Trombone Buster Bailey, Don Redman - Clarinet, Alto Coleman Hawkins - Clarinet, Tenor Charlie Dixon - Banjo June Cole - Brass Bass Kaiser Marshall - Drums"Victor 20944-BNew York, April 27, 1927

"Beebe" Jimmy Dorsey Clarinet & Sax Solo, Mannie Klein Leo McConville (tp),Tommy Dorsey (tb), Paul Mason (ts),Alfie Evans (as) Arthur Schutt {p}, Eddie Lang (g) Hank Stern (b), Brunswick New York 13 June 1929 

"Sweet Chariot" The Harlem Footwarmers - New York, 30.10. 1930-Alto Saxophone - Johnny Hodges; Arranged By - Duke Ellington; Banjo - Fred Guy; Baritone Saxophone - Harry Carney; Clarinet - Barney Bigard; Drums - Sonny Greer; Leader -Duke Ellington; Piano - Duke Ellington; Soprano Saxophone - Harry Carney; Soprano Saxophone - Johnny Hodges; Tenor Saxophone - Barney Bigard; Trombone - Joe "Tricky Sam" Nanton; Trumpet - Arthur Whetsol; Trumpet - Cootie Williams; Trumpet - Freddy Jenkins;

"Radio Rhythm" The Savannah Syncopators-1931 Rex Stewart-c/Russell Smith-Bobby Stark-t/ Claude Jones-Benny Morton-tb/John Kirby-t ba/Russell Procope-cl-as/Edgar Sampson-as/Coleman Hawkins-ts-cl/Clarence Holiday-g/Walter Johnson-d/Nat Leslie-arr.

"Chant Of The Weed" Don Redman & Orchestra -1931-Brunswick-Don Redman - alto sax, vocals Leonard Davis, Bill Coleman, Henry 'Red' Allen - trumpet Claude Jones, Fred Robinson, Benny Morton - trombone Edward Engle,  Rupert Cole - alto sax, clarinet Robert Carroll - tenor sax Horace Henderson - piano, arranger (Fletcher Henderson's brother) Talcott Reeves - banjo, guitar Bob Ysaguirre - bass Manzie Johnson - violin

"Savoy Strut" Johnny Hodges - (1933)-Johnny Hodges (A.Sax) and his Orch. Cootie Williams(tp), Lawrence Brown(tb), Harry Carney(bs), Duke Ellington(p), Billy Taylor(b), Sonny Greer(dm) recorded 21 March, 1933 Columbia

"Royal Garden Blues," John Kirby Sextet 1937 The John Kirby Sextet -Charlie Shavers (trumpet); Buster Bailey (clarinet); Russell Procope (alto sax); Billy Kyle (piano); John Kirby (bass); O'Neil Spencer (drums).

"Squabblin" Walter Page's Blue Devils from "Sweet and Low Blues"  James Simpson, Hot Lips Page (tp) Dan Minor (tb) Buster Smith (cl,as) Ted Manning (as) Reuben Roddy (ts) Charlie Washington (p) Reuben Lynch or Thomas Owens (g) Walter Page (tu-1,b- 1930 Vocalion 

"Down South Camp Meeting" and "Limehouse Blues" Fletcher Henderson - -Brunswick N.Y.C. 12.09.34-Russell Smith Irving Randolph Henry Red Allen (tp) Claude Jones Keg Johnson (tb) Buster Bailey (cl) Russell Procope Hilton Jefferson (cl as) Ben Webster (ts) Fletcher Henderson (p) Horace Lucie (g) Elmer James (b) Walter Johnson (d)

"Sophisticated Lady" Duke Ellington & His Orchestra: 1933 on Brunswick. Freddy Jenkins, Arthur Whetsel, Cootie Williams, t; Lawrence Brown, Joe Nanton, tb; Juan Tizol, vtb; Barney Bigard, cl, ts; Johnny Hodges, as, ss; Otto Hardwick, as, cl, bsx; Harry Carney, bs, cl, as; Duke Ellington, p; Fred Guy, g; Wellman Braud, b; Sonny Greer, d.

"I Gotta Right to Sing the Blues" Billie Holiday, Frankie Newton tp; Tab Smith as & ss; Kenneth Hollon, Stanley Payne ts; Sonny White p; Jimmy McLin g; John Williams b; Eddie Dougherty ds; Billie Holiday vc; from The Commodore Master Takes  1939 

"‪In a Mellotone" Alto Saxophone,Johnny Hodges,Piano: Duke Ellington, Trumpet: Wallace Jones, Cootie Williams,Cornet: Rex Stewart, Trombone: Joe Nanton, Lawrence Brown, Juan Tizol Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone: Barney Bigard, Alto Saxophone: Otto Hardwick Tenor Sax: Ben Webster, Alto Sax, Baritone Sax, Clarinet: Harry Carney,Guitar: Fred Guy, Bass: Jimmie Blanton, Drums: Sonny Greer‬ on Victor 

"Blue Skies"  The John Kirby Sextet 1937) -Charlie Shavers (trumpet); Buster Bailey (clarinet); Russell Procope (alto sax); Billy Kyle (piano); John Kirby (bass); O'Neil Spencer (drums).

"I Wish I Were Twins" by Henry Allen and his Orchestra, 1934-Solos by Buster Bailey-clarinet, Hilton Jefferson-alto sax, and Henry "Red" Allen on trumpet and vocal. on Melotone 

"Rhythm Is Our Business" -Jimmie Lunceford (Willie Smith, vocal), Jimmie Lunceford - director, Eddie Tompkins, Tommy Stevenson, William "Sleepy" Sy Oliver - trumpets, Henry Wells, Russell Bowles-Trombones, Willie Smith, Earl Carruthers-clarinet, alto sax, baritone sax, Joe Thomas-clarinet, tenor sax, Edwin Wilcox-piano, Al Norris-guitar, Moses Allen-tuba, Jimmy Crawford-drums on Decca 

Jimmie Lunceford "Jazznocracy" same personnel

"Delhia" Pete Brown also Jimmie Gordon & his Vip Vop Band-Decca (1939)-Jimmie Gordon:Vocals Frankie Newton:Trumpet Pete Brown:Alto Sax Sam Price:Piano Poss. Zutty Singleton:Drums

"Sleep" Benny Carter and His Orchestra from "Melancholy Benny" (Jazz, 1939) Frankie Newton & Cafe Society Orchestra "Jitters"  (Jazz, 1939) on Vocalion 

"Keep A-Knockin'(But You Can't Come In" Louis Jordan And His Tympany Five--Decca 1939 Courtney Williams or Eddie Roane or Aaron Izenhall (trumpet), Lem Johnson or Josh Jackson or Eddie Johnson (tenor saxophone), Clarence Johnson or Arnold Thomas or "Wild Bill" Davis or Bill Doggett (piano), Charlie Drayton or Al Morgan or Jesse "Po" Simpkins or Dallas Bartley (bass), and Walter Martin or Eddie Byrd or Chris Columbus (drums).

 "Frankie's Jump"  Frankie Newton & Cafe Society Orchestra, Frank Newton, trumpet,.T. Smith, S. Payne & K. Hollen, reeds. K. Kirby, piano., U. Livingstone, guitar. J. Williams, string-bass. E. Dougherty, drums.1939 on Vocalion 

" I got it bad" Air Check from Savoy Ballroom -Jay McShann & Charlie Parker, Al Hibbler-vocal

"Cherokee" Jay McShann featuring Charlie Parker

" Hootie Blues" Jay Mc Shann - (1941) -Buddy Anderson, Harold Bruce, Orville Minor (trumpet) Joe Taswell Baird (trombone) John Jackson, Charlie Parker (alto saxophone) Harold Ferguson, Bob Mabane (tenor saxophone) Jay McShann (piano) Gene Ramey (bass) Gus Johnson (drums) Dallas, TX, April 30, 1941

"Jumpin The Blues" by Jay McShann same personnel 1941 Decca

Saturday, March 5, 2016

James Merenda on the Duplex

James w. TIcklejuice
Happy to host James Merenda on the Duplex Mystery Jazz Hour of 3.3.16. James is an accomplished pianist, alto sax player, composer, bandleader and educator. We played music from some of his projects and James also did some live playing in the studio.


James Merenda Trio “Falling In Love WIth Love”
from Live @ Acton Jazz Cafe (2015)
James Merenda Trio “I'll be Seeing you”
from Live @ Acton Jazz Cafe (2015)
James Merenda Trio “Time After Time”
from Live @ Acton Jazz Cafe (2015)

James Merenda solo saxophone in WZBC Studio "The Nearness of You"
Tickle Juice “Kovlom.Let Love Come”
from Roots to the Stars (Cats Have Knees Records 2013)
Ticklejuice “Don't Play WIth Dinosaurs” SINGLE (Cats Have Knees Records 2013)
James Merenda Trio “Time After Time”
from Live @ Acton Jazz Cafe (2015)

Friday, February 26, 2016

Jazz From Argo and ABC Paramount

A lot of jazz would not have been recorded if left to the "majors" (Blue Note, Verve, Columbia, Atlantic). That's where "off" jazz labels like Argo and ABC Paramount stepped in and took care of business. I featured their music on the Duplex Mystery Jazz Hour on WZBC, 2.25.16



"Excerpt From the Blues" from Happy Moods 1960  Ahmad Jamal (p), Israel Crosby (b), Vernell Fournier (dms).

Jackie/Roy "Walkin'" from Bits and Pieces  1957 ABC Paramount

"Five spot After Dark" from Meet the Jazztet-Art Farmer – trumpet Benny Golson – tenor saxophone, Curtis Fuller – tromboneMcCoy Tyner – piano Addison Farmer – bass, Lex Humphries – drums

Jimmy Raney "Last Night When We Were Young" from In 3 Attitudes 1957 on ABC Paramount

Lorenz Alexander "Trouble in Mind" from Sing no Sad Songs For Me 1961) ARGO

Don Elliott "I'm beginning to see the light" from "The Voices of Don Elliott" 1957)on ABC Paramount
Al Grey "Rompin" 45 rpm release 1961 on ARGO

Oscar Pettiford Orchestra "Speculation" from "Oscar Pettiford Orchestra in Hi-Fi" 1957 on ABC Paramount

"Time" from "Take a Number From 1 to 10. 1961, Benny Golson Octet/Nonet/Tentet Nick Travis (trumpet) Bill Elton (trombone) Willie Ruff (French horn) Hal McKusick (alto saxophone) Benny Golson (tenor saxophone) Sol Schlinger (baritone saxophone) Tommy Williams (bass) Albert Heath (drums)

Double Six oF Paris, "Stockholm Sweetnin'" 1961 on Phillips

Quincy Jones "Stockholm Sweetnin'" from This Is How I Feel About Jazz 1957 on ABC Paramount

The Call from Introducing Roland Kirk, 1961. Roland Kirk: tenor saxophone, manzello, whistle, stritch, Ira Sullivan: trumpet, tenor saxophone William Burton: organ, piano Donald Garrett: bass Sonny Brown: drums

Zoot Sims "Quicker Blues" from "Zoot Sims Plays 4 altos"1957 ABC Paramount

Vinnie Burke's String Jazz Quartet "A Night in Tunisia" from "Vinnie Burke's String Jazz Quartet" 1957 on ABC Paramount

Friday, February 19, 2016

Recorded in New Orleans in the 1920's

Celestin's Original Tuxedo Jazz Orchestra
New Orleans Owls

2/18/16 features music recorded in New Orleans in the 1920's. People might not recognize many of the names of the players, but they were grounded in the same musical atmosphere and in some cases, were the teachers of the people whose names we know so well-Jelly Roll Morton, King Oliver, Louis Armstrong,  Kid Ory, Jimmy Noone and others who left New Orleans in the teens and early twenties.

No doubt, there were many reasons why musicians stayed in the Crescent City. Some were content to teach, not interested in travel and separation from family, lacked the confidence to think they could make it "out there," or were temperamentally better suited to being a bigger fish in a smaller pond.

In listening to the music of those who stayed behind, I hear the main stylistic traits that others carried to the West Coast, Chicago, NY and other cities. For the most part, the players aren't pushing through musical barriers, but the N.O. feeling is there.


Original Tuxedo Jazz Orchestra “Black Rag” (1925)

Celestin's Original Tuxedo Jazz Orchestra “It's Jam Up”  (1927)

Armand J. Piron's New Orleans Orch “Red Man's Blues” 1925)

John Hyman's Bayou Stompers “Alligator blues” (1927)

Armand J. Piron's New Orleans Orch “Bouncing Around” (1923)

Johnny Miller's New Orleans Frolickers “Panama”  (1928)

Armand J. Piron's New Orleans Orch “Kiss Me Sweet”  (1923)

Monk Hazel & His Bienville Roof Orchestra “Sizzlin' the Blues”

Johnny Bayersdorffer & Jazzola Novelty Orchestra “The Waffle Man's Call”  (1924)

Jones And Collins Astoria Hot Eight “Damp Weather” (1929)

Louis Dumaine's Jazzola Eight “Franklin Street Blues” (1927)

Jones And Collins Astoria Hot Eight “Duet Stomp”  (1929)

Louis Dumaine's Jazzola Eight “To-Wa-Bac-A-Wa”  (1927)

Johnny DeDroit And His New Orleans Orchestra “New Orleans blues” (1923)

Albert Brunies & The Halfway House Orchestra “Maple leaf rag” (1925)

Anthony Parenti & His Famous Melody Boys “Creole Blues” (1925)

Fate Marable's Society Syncopators “Frankie and Johnny” ( 1924)

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

You ARE What You PLAY?

Whew. A non-academic book about jazz that references Rimbaud, Schopenhauer, Brahms, Proust, Faure...Larry Kart, author of Jazz in Search of Itself is not interested in dumbing down. I like that. I also like the interviews, the history he lays down and the scope of the music he talks about. And yet...

philosophical foundation of the book is that jazz is a medium for storytelling and it must be the story of the player-nothing second hand (revivalist) allowed. Kart believes that the capacity of jazz to deliver music completely reflective of its practitioner is what marks it as unique and is the touchstone for assessing the player's contribution. Fair enough. But he takes it a step further.

"We love Ben Webster and Don Byas, Buck Clayton and Bobby Hackett, not just because their music was beautiful in the abstract sense, but also because it told their [his emphasis] stories, revealing something essential about the kind of men they were."

"From the time he made his first recordings...Stan Getz has been writing an autobiography in sound...And the path traced by this sonic quest may be the best evidence we have of who Stan Getz was and is."

"I have never met Lee Morgan, but I would be surprised if he were not a witty, sarcastic, playful man."

His idee fixe simmering in the background makes Kart overreach in his analyses. He wants to both quantify and personify the playing and the jackets he tries to put on musicians fit too tightly. 

Yes, Sonny Rollins often provides his own commentary in a meta way, but can you say "No statement is allowed to rest unqualified by [Rollins] for more than a few measures..."? 

Were Hank Mobley's decisions "always ad hoc.. "? Will Mobley truly "not sum up his harmonic, rhythmic and timbral virtues and allow any one element to dominate for long"? 

Perhaps Tina Brooks did have an "airy, keening, often speechlike approach to the horn," but is it true that it "instantly identified Brooks as one of those musicians for whom feeling and sound were one."[Are there musicians for whom it is separate?] And yes, perhaps his playing was sometimes "melancholic," but it's hard for me to buy that it "seems to have predicted that [his] time with us would be brief." 

Is there a linkage between the "emotional language" and the person using or creating it? Well, yes, but in the same general sense that you are what you eat. But, to the degree that an improvised performance reflects life, it must reflect changing moods and circumstances. There's something self-contradictory about thinking that the music is the man and then trying to capture it in freeze frame-like characterizations. I can find ample playing by Rollins that is simply straightforward, plenty of Mobley solos with something other than ad hoc decisions and moments in Tina Brooks' playing that demonstrate a carefree joie de vivre.

This may represent an inherent limitation of criticism. You can describe the playing, you can quote and give your impressions of the player, but to overdraw comparisons between the player and the playing is, in the end, reductionist.

All of this said, mark me down as an admirer of Larry Kart. Unlike many jazz writers, he listens hard, takes risks and when he hits the mark, it's great stuff. I just think he wants to be a little too much of a myth-maker.