Fred Goodman's new book, Fortune's Fool: Edgar Bronfman
Jr., Warner Music and an Industry in Crisis, offers a searing indictment of the executive's business decisions and a stark portrait of how the music industry wound up in its current state. Here's a passage from Fred's book:
"One reason the record industry has been hit so hard by the Internet is that the CD was not a beloved product. Audio arguments aside, its only selling point was convenience. Its appearance marked the end of great album graphics, and it never inspired the passion that the vinyl LP did. CDs just weren't as much fun to own, and when MP3s appeared, CDs were easy to abandon. Today, as nice as it is to be able to go online and hear virtually whatever I want whenever I want, I miss the experience of buying a music product worth owning: filling a terabit storage device with ten thousand music files isn't anywhere near as engaging as wandering through a great record store or even a good used bookstore. [Photo: Fred Goodman]
"That is the business record companies should be in: creating products and online services that add value to recordings and excite people rather than writing off a generation that never had anything worth buying. Until then, media companies—even with some measure of online rights protection—won't have any real spur to growth. And there will never be another Ahmet Ertegun [pictured]."
Fortune's Fool is a smart, easy read filled with insights and behind-the-scenes anecdotes. For a music lover, it's a look inside the sausage factory, and what you learn isn't pretty. You'll find Fortune's Fool here.
Ayako Shirasaki. Last Wednesday I had an opportunity to hear pianist Ayako Shirasaki perform solo at Smalls in New York. She played two sets with enormous sensitivity and grace, including a moving rendition of Turn Out the Stars in tribute to Bill Evans on the night of his death 30 years ago. To hear Ayako's performance, check Smalls' site here. Her current album is Falling Leaves at iTunes or here.
Hank O'Neal. If you dig photography and first-hand jazz stories, dig legendary photographer Hank O'Neal's blog. Last week Hank featured a terrific post on John Lewis here.
Radio roundup: David Brent Johnson [pictured] of Night Lights' fame on WFIU just posted a podcast of his recent show, Jazz From Monterey: 1958, the Birth of a Festival. The show features recordings from the first Monterey Jazz Festival and includes Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Dave Brubeck, Gerry Mulligan, Cal Tjader and Jimmy Giuffre. You'll find David's podcast here... Jazz musician Bill Kirchner's Jazz From The Archives show tonight will feature pianist-singer Franck Amsallem. Bill [pictured] will spin recordings of Amsallem with bassists Gary Peacock and Johannes Weidenmuller, drummer Bill Stewart, saxophonist Tim Ries, singer Elisabeth Kontomanou, and others. The shows airs tonight at 11 p.m. (EDT) here.
Oddball album cover of the week. Gerald Wiggins was a sharp pianist with impeccable taste. This 1956 album, on the appropriately named Dig Records, features a surrealist landscape by drummer Johnny Otis. At the top is the Gerald Wiggins trio in powdered head coverings. It's all too cool for school.