Archive for September, 2012

Doug Ramsey on Overton, Monk, & Jack Reilly

I’m overdue (due to the nasty recent JLP blog virus) in linking the invaluable Doug Ramsey’s blog post on Overton, Monk, and Jack Reilly from 2+ weeks ago.  Enjoy.  I also recommend Doug’s recent posts on Hampton Hawes, among others.  As followers of this blog may know, I’m assembling what will probably become a book on Sonny Clark (pieces one and two for Paris Review Daily and a longer third piece for Tin House), and Hawes will figure deeply into that story.


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Nina Simone & Jazz Books for the Time Capsule

Nina Simone

Yesterday I was on North Carolina Public Radio’s State of Things show, hosted by Frank Stasio, to talk about Nina Simone, who grew up in Tryon, NC.  During the show I described drummer Arthur Taylor’s book, Notes and Tonesas a “time capsule jazz book.”  A friend emailed to ask what other jazz books I’d put in the time capsule.  Here they are:

Whitney Balliett’s “Collected Works” and “American Musicians II.”

A.B. Spellman’s “Four Lives in the Bebop Business,” republished as “Four Jazz Lives.”

Paul Berliner’s “Thinking in Jazz.

The collected jazz writings of Nat Hentoff, in all formats including his liner notes, a collection that hasn’t been assembled or published, yet, unfortunately, but is essential.  Like Balliett and Spellman what separates Hentoff is that his story of jazz is not just a story of the recordings, but a record of the human beings in their own voices.  (I volunteer to edit Hentoff’s jazz work into a massive compendium, which would immediately become perhaps the most indispensable non-audio jazz document in the literature).

Michael Ondaatje’s novel about Buddy Bolden, Coming Through Slaughter.

Sue Mingus’ memoir, Tonight at Noon.

Art Pepper’s memoir, Straight Life.

Robert O’Meally’s anthology, Jazz Cadence of American Culture.

Robert O’Meally’s introduction to Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finnin which he calls that novel the first “blues” novel.

Rafi Zabor’s novel, The Bear Comes Home.

Robin D.G. Kelley’s biography, Thelonious Monk.

Pannonica de Koenigswarter’s, Three Wishes.

Dan Morgenstern’s, Living with Jazz.

Ben Ratliff’s, The Jazz Ear.

Lawrence Gushee’s Pioneers of Jazz: The Story of the Creole Band:  Gushee did the impossible.  He documented the undocumentable.  The Creole Band was a New Orleans band that existed entirely west of the Mississippi, mostly in vaudeville theaters on the West Coast, a band that was never recorded and perhaps never played in New Orleans.  Gushee spent 20-30 years scouring locals newspapers in the western US and he put together this mind-blowing history of a band that was only a myth before his work.

-Sam Stephenson



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Chaos Manor in Brooklyn Book Festival September 20

Chaos Manor, last year. Invisible Dog Art Center in Brooklyn. Photo by Kate Joyce. September 16-17, 2011.

For two and a half months a cast of colleagues (thank you Chris Sims and Dan Partridge) and associates have battled a nasty virus that struck this blog.  It was never a threat to readers, we’re told, it simply paralyzed things.

Now, we’re back, and the first note is an update on Chaos Manor, which will be a Bookend Event of the Brooklyn Book Festival again this year, Thursday September 20 at 8pm  Last year’s experimental multi-media extravaganza is followed this year by the first public reading of a more conventional play based on similar material, written by Jaymes Jorsling, who took part in all of last year’s workshops.  The event is directed again by Christopher McElroen, and presented by Brigid Hughes and her Brooklyn-based literary journal, A Public Space.  Again this year the event will be at the Invisible Dog Art Center.  More information can be found on A Public Space’s site.

-Sam Stephenson

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