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December 04, 2011


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Michael Steinman

A few very minor clarifications. The ten-CD SATCHMO box set is indeed available in the United States: check out the Louis Armstrong House Museum in Corona, Queens, New York or contact them at And my explanation of Mr. Costello's motives may be simplistic, but here it is: 1) he was annoyed by his record company's attempt to make more money off his fans than he thought was appropriate, and 2) he loves Louis Armstrong. The first suggests he is an ethical man; the second says he has taste and the courage of his convictions. It also takes a well-grounded sense of humor to tell someone not to buy your "product." That he's gotten a great deal of publicity for his act I wouldn't deny, but he deserves it.

Kent England

Mark Murphy is the vocalese master, not the greatest male jazz vocalist? Learn something every day. Keep singing, Mark.

A simple but crucial clarification will easily make clear the point that E. Costello is having with the price tag of his release: the box set has only one [and it's a 10" EP]. So, it's One CD with songs recorded on May 11th/12th, 2011 performances at the Wiltern in Los Angeles; One DVD of the performance of the May 12th; One 10" EP that features four songs only available in this set; One 40 pages hardcover book; One 20" X 30" concert tour poster (ugly poster btw!); One limited edition postcard signed by E. Costello. All of this in a box, edited in 1500 copies & numbered. To clarify further, it's not "3 disks + one vinyl" as reported on various printed or online publications. That said, I think he's absolutely right about the price (let's not forget the initial list price of $339.98!! + s/h) and we should consider his statement as sincere, realistic and surely coming from an "ethical man".

Cha Cha

Listened to all five hours of the Mark Murphy Jazz Profiles program. It boggles the mind how his career crossed genres such as pop, swing, fusion, straight-ahead/bebop, acid jazz and, compared to the Tony Bennetts and Frank Sinatras of the world, avant-garde. Mark even recorded country and r&b sides that were not included yesterday. Yet no matter what the styles, he nailed the songs while maintaining a jazz sensibility, always willing to take risks and pushing himself to the limits of expressiveness.

Larry Kart

Why was it an "oddball" move "to position [Julie London] as a singing seductress, pinup model or worse"? Given the way London sang and looked, what could have been more natural? And why "or worse"? Eeesh. Aren't we being more than a little retroactively PC here?

Yes, as we know from the famously down-to-earth tape of London rehearsing/recording, she was a very down-to-earth person. And she also was a very talented actress (e.g. see her opposite Robert Mitchum in Robert Parrish's excellent western "The Wonderful Country"). But I would bet that she was fairly comfortable with and/or amused by her image and considered it be an unavoidable part of what life had dealt her. A somewhat analogous case might be Angie Dickinson. Would one have wanted London or Dickinson to be (would they have wanted to be?), say, Jill Clayburgh? (And I certainly liked Clayburgh for what SHE was.)

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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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