Sunday Wax Bits - JazzWax

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April 10, 2011


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Lewis Cowdrey

they sound stiff and boring because that is what they are. book some body real. otherwise dont call it blues. put the king of retro in a section and let him play whole notes behind a real singer. examples? Willie Pooch, Jimmie Burns, Lurrie Bell, any of the vocalists on riverwalk, Tommy Brown, Minnie Moore.

on another subject: I very much enjoy JazzWax

Doug Zielke

Don't get me wrong, I'm not a Marsalis hater. I admire and respect Wynton (and the rest of his family). He has actually done something for jazz while others just wring their hands and bleat that jazz is dying. However, Wynton and Eric or Wynton and Willie etc. leaves me bored as can be. I think it just looks like another formula to cash in on the squares. It only dilutes real jazz and doesn't do a thing for the artists that strive to play the genuine item.

Dick Cutler

While taking the 7 train between Flushing and Grand Central every day in the late 50s and early 60s I never rode as joyous a car as that one.Must have been too early or too late.

Jan Stevens

On the record, Wynton has stated how much he abhors jazz-rock or fusion as a genre. Yet he books a mainstream rock-blues veteran like Clapton. This is highly illogical, and must be all about the dollars. I wouldn't be surprised if it was Wynton himself who told Clapton to put on a tie, given his tendency to treat jazz like some sort of formal, dress-up conservative ritual. The observation that the music didn't mesh makes total sense. These men are from two different worlds, and Marsalis can't endorse fusion in any way, yet he books a once-great rock icon -- who's been playing the same riffs for over 40 years -- and thinks it can work. I smell hypocrisy..


I'm not a Clapton expert, but the videos that I've seen always showed him just standing in place and playing. Some musicians feel comfortable putting on a stage show while performing; for others it's a distraction that makes it harder to focus on the music. Audiences do tend to listen with their eyes; but for ear-oriented musicians it may be hard to understand why the music isn't enough. Charlie Parker and Johnny Hodges reputedly hardly blinked an eye when playing. But would we really have wanted to watch Bird writhing around like Koz and pantomiming sexual acts between his alto and Potter's bass? I've seen Bill Evans completely captivate an (admittedly small and sympathetic) audience while slumped over the piano in an seemingly catatonic state. Would it have helped if he were grinning the whole time like Tesh? Or how about if he put a candelabra on the piano, or played it with his feet?

John P. Cooper

There's a middle ground.

A musician once told me that once you are on the stage in front of an audience, you are in show business, not just the making music business.

John P. Cooper

"Marsalis should continue to invite rock legends into the jazz fold."


"That's pure brilliance."


John P. Cooper

"Music to Help You Stop Smoking".

Ethel Gabriel (lucky) strikes again!

Jery Rowan

It's interesting to read the highly subjective comments of the various jazz/blues fans who follow this blog. As if their take on an artist is the only one that counts.

While I've never been a giant Eric Clapton fan, I've read enough about him to know he's been an intrepid blues aficionado since the '50s, which makes him someone who's paid his dues and deserves to be respected in my book.

Ed Leimbacher

Just remember this mantra: Clapton is God, Taj Mahal a monument, and Marsalis a family--and only two of the three should meet.

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  • Marc Myers writes regularly for The Wall Street Journal and is author of "Anatomy of a Song" (Grove) and "Why Jazz Happened." Founded in 2007, JazzWax is a two-time winner of the Jazz Journalists Association's best blog award.

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