Weekend Wax Bits - JazzWax

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March 31, 2012


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Tommy Bolin was unhappy in Deep Purple and was regularly booed by the band's British fans. Musically he was more at home in his own band "Energy." This was a loud fusion band, more rock than jazz. Their sets consisted of long instrumentals featuring wild echoplex effects and sometimes exotic scales or time signatures. At the end a vocalist would join for some blues. Jeremy Steig was briefly a member and there are bootleg tapes of him playing manic 15 minute flute solos, barely pausing for breath. Energy was never properly recorded but you can get a pretty good idea from an album called "Tommy Bolin & Friends, Live at Ebbets Field, June 1974" which features three key members with a couple of added percussionists replacing the missing keyboard. Bolin also had a gentle side that surfaced in his ballads.


As for your oddball cover:

"Buon appetito!"

Tip for a reissue: Could also be the front cover for Lee Wiley, singing Cole Porter's "Find Me A Primitive Man" (Bunny Berigan would have been on trumpet) ;)


Dave James

With respect to the current state of music and listening, the impression I get from the interactions I've had with younger people is that music is mostly just white noise. The idea of sitting down for a listening session either individually or collectively and actually paying attention to what you're hearing and discussing it intelligently is absurd...it just doesn't happen. When so many elements of today's culture have become so disposable, I don't think anyone should be too surprised that it's come to this. There aren't any bread crumbs to follow because there isn't any bread.

Eric Hines

In regard to contemporary youth and music: I think the first thing you have to acknowledge is commercial music as important generational touchstone is a historical phenomenon. My youthful experience or your youthful experience of music aren't norms against which contemporary youthful experience is to be judged. I'd say we represented a set of outliers, actually.

Music did not really become important in defining cohorts of youth until the 20th century. Teenagers in 1860 or 1760 or 1066 didn't generally have "their" distinctive music which defined their experience within a particular historical cohort. And I don't think they were any the worse for it. In fact, defining cohorts of youth by any means didn't become really important until relatively recently. And, I'd argue, the main reason it did become important was because it was a great way to initiate pliable youth into a culture where they purchased their identities.

If the general culture of buying who you think you are/should be continues, I think from a listener's standpoint music is just as well out of it. Music as touchstone essentially draws loads of people who aren't interested in music as such (they're interested in symbols--of their rebelliousness, or intellect, or bestiality, whatever) into the music market. I think it's just as well they got their symbolism somewhere else and leave music more to those who actually think it's important in itself.


Dave -- I slightly have to disagree here: Education is the key; as a music teacher, I always invest a certain amount of time during a lesson in listening to music.

My students love that, and when they can see me listening, reacting to the music, they learn what big fun it can be just to sit down, "sit back and ree-lax", to say it with Jimmy Lunceford.

There's enough bread, it just needs to get spread.

James Cimarusti

Would love to meet a girl with the great taste in music like the one in the black and white photo. Shearing, Basie, and Julie London records will get me every time ;)

John P. Cooper

Originally titled - "Spartacus Goes High Figh".

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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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