Sunday Wax Bits - JazzWax

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November 27, 2011


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Rab Hines

The cover might seem odd, but I have that Vido Musso release (the back cover of the CD is equally fun - a sportscar loaded up with a sax, bass, drums and, of course, bongos), and the music ain't bad a-tall. It has several Kentonites on it, including Maynard Ferguson, Chico Alvarez and Milt Bernhardt.

Besides, that neckscarf look is bound to be back in fashion soon.

Alan Kurtz

It's too early in the season to say, "Bah, humbug!" But I must sound a note of caution about George Russell's Teen Age Dance Party, released in April 1956. It's available for free downloading via mp3 files:

Having sampled as much as my low tolerance for kitsch permits, I'm in disbelief. While the Lydian theorist was associated with MGM during this timeframe, the arrangements are so utterly unlike his that they must surely be the work of another hand. Can anyone truthfully say they hear even a TRACE of George Russell here?


mmm...I am afraid this George Russell is an homonym, this record is never mentioned in any of George Russell's discography. It seems to date from 1956 (, at that time Russell was under contract with RCA who published his first record 'Jazz Workshop' with Art Farmer, Hal McKusick and Bill Evans.
Ducan Heining doesn't mention any recording by Russell for MGM either.
Perhaps this Russell rather was George H. Russell a guitar player who worked for MGM in the 50s, but I don't have any evidence of that and I am certainly mistaking...puzzling.

The passing of Paul Motian is really sad...speaking of him, he played the drums on the aforementioned record by George Russell, it was very early in his career and he does a fantastic job.



John L Reynolds

The comment about La Faro is interesting - who would have the nerve to criticize Evans so directly? But if you listen to the passion and drive of LaFaro's playing, it's not difficult to understand. I have heard about the album Explorations and the argument between LaFaro and Evans during the sessions - apparently about Evans' drug use - that created tension during the session. It's an insight into the fact that you can't deal with the music with all your heart and soul, and dismiss the intensity when something gets in the way - like Evans' attitude, I suppose.



Thanks for the "heads up" regarding The Wrecking Crew film and the most fabulous Regent Theatre in Arlington. A great place to hear live music (Rebecca performs there annually around Valentine's Day), watch unique and cutting edge movies, and it is managed by one cool guy, Leland Stein. We didn't know about this Dec 17 event and we intend to go, thanks to you!


Ed Leimbacher

When it comes to Andrea and clothing, it's True, less is More. (As for le Disco, bring on the Wrecking Crew!)

Ah, but Paul? Always poetry in Motian, even if more urban than urbane. Bill took the low road (drugs) and Scott took the highway, and they both got lost. Paul just stayed street and delivered the goods.

Doug Zielke

Forgive my speculation on an event so long past, but perhaps Scott LaFaro was just frustrated watching Evans' talent going to waste. And a sad goodbye to Mr. Motion. Luckily, he left jazz fans with an abundant discography.

Bill Kirchner

For much more on LaFaro, see the recent biography written by his sister, Helene LaFaro-Fernandez: JADE VISIONS: THE LIFE AND MUSIC OF SCOTT LAFARO.


RIP to Motian, and very interesting to hear his insights on the dynamics of the trio. However, to those who say Evans had a 'talent going to waste' and that 'Evans' attitude' stood in the way of the music, I think that is simply BS. Disagreements are a natural part of ensemble music of any genre. But kudos to Motian for delivering such a long and consistently awe-inspiring musical legacy.

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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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