Sunday, March 29, 2015

Mike Nock with Johnny Devlin

Mike Nock New Zealand Rock N RollI've been listening to a fair bit of Mike Nock lately and while trying to find some recordings by The 3 Out I came across this blog - Forgotten New Zealand 45s: Obscure vinyl singles from New Zealand - and a 17 year old Mike recording with Johnny Devlin.

The four tracks were recorded in June 1958 and released on the Prestige EP "How Would 'Ya Be." This is not the famous jazz label founded by Bob Weinstock, but a NZ label started by Phil Warren in the mid-50s that released Devlin's first recordings.

There's plenty of tinkling piano but no solos from Mike (Bernie Allen's tenor saxophone gets some room to blow) but nevertheless it's a nice find and a fun listen.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Ben Webster Blindfold Test - Down Beat 1958

Another Blindfold Test - this time Leonard Feather tests Ben Webster (b. March 27, 1909) with records featuring Harold Land, Bud Freeman, Georgie Auld, Paul Gonsalves, Chu Berry, Sonny Rollins, Bud Shank and Bob Cooper. More vintage magazine articles can be found here.

Leonard Feather Down Beat Magazine

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Nineteen + Conversations with Jazz Musicians NYC 1964-65

Garth W Calyor Jr
Nineteen + Conversations with Jazz Musicians: New York City 1964 1965 by Garth W. Caylor Jr. arrived in the mail a couple of weeks ago. The author shopped the manuscript to publishers in the 60s to no avail and it wan't until late last year that these interviews saw the light of day.

Nineteen + covers a nice mix of musicians from both the mainstream and the 60s avant-garde: Jaki Byard, Roger Kellaway, Jerome Richardson, Zoot Sims & Al Cohn, Herbie Hancock, Jim Hall, Art Farmer, Steve Swallow, Milford Graves, Bill Evans, Frank Foster, John Tchicai, Jimmy Giuffre, Ornette Coleman, Lee Konitz, Sunny Murray, Archie Shepp, Paul & Carla Bley, and Steve Lacy (I believe this is only interview to have been previously published - see Jason Weiss' Steve Lacy: Conversations - an excellent read).

The interviews took place in the artists' homes and there is a casual intimacy that I find very appealing. While none of the interviews are particularly in depth, each touches on different subjects and provide insights to their day-to-day lives, aesthetics, politics, art and the jazz scene and U.S. during the mid-sixties.

Several chapters end with a "+" - excerpts from the writings of Arnold Schoenberg, Bela Bartok, Jose Ortega y Gasset, Ralph Ellison, Maurice Ravel, D.T. Suzuki, Hermann Scherchen and Bruno Munari (among others) and photos from the author as well as prints of artworks from the likes of Georges Braque, Ellsworth Kelly, Willem de Kooning and Jasper Johns appear throughout.

A nice compact book (4x7 inches - 248 pages), easy reading and informative. I will be giving this repeated reads - highly recommended.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Lennie Tristano Down Beat Feature 1958

In this feature from October 30, 1958, Lennie Tristano (b. March 19, 1919) discusses his return to live performances and plans to open a jazz club as well as his thoughts on the scene in general. Never one to hold back his thoughts, interviews with Tristano make good reading and always make me think about things in a different light.
Click in the image to view PDF of full article. More vintage magazine articles can be found here.
Down Beat Magazine

Monday, March 16, 2015

The Persistent Challenge of Cecil Taylor: Down Beat 1965

From the February 25, 1965 issue of Down Beat comes Nat Hentoff's feature on Cecil Taylor (b.March 15, 1929). The two cover topics including Bill Evans, recording techniques, Taylor's interest in poetry and dance, the October Revolution and the economics of the avant garde. Click on the image to view full article PDF. You can find more vintage magazine articles here.

Nat Hentoff Down Beat Magazine

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Quincy Jones Blindfold Test - Down Beat 1959

For this Blindfold Test Leonard Feather had Quincy Jones (b. March 14, 1933) focus on big bands including Benny Goodman, Frank Ortego - Sy Oliver, Harry James, Machito, and Thelonious Monk. He's a tough critic but does give praise to altoist Willie Smith for his distinct sound.
More vintage magazine articles can be found here.
Leonard Feather Down Beat Magazine

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Ornette Coleman: First Beginnings - Down Beat July 1960

John Tynan writes with enthusiasm on hearing Ornette Coleman (b. March 9, 1930) for the first time and the mixed reactions Coleman's playing received. It's interesting to note that Tynan was an early advocate of Coleman yet he also famously referred to Coltrane and Dolphy as playing "anti-jazz" - I will post that article sometime soon along with Coltrane & Dolphy's response.
Click the image to view PDF of the full article. More vintage magazine articles can be found here.
John Tynan Down Beat Magazine