Weekend Wax Bits - JazzWax

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May 26, 2012


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In spite of one of the all-time worst album covers, "Oil & Vinegar" contains some excellent jazz. McKenna eschews the usual approach to "Cherokee" and plays it as a lilting medium tempo waltz. Of course the walking bass and swing rhythm soon take over and there are even a few bars of stride, but all in three; the seldom heard verse appears as a coda. Wilbur stretches out on two originals with a band including Frank Foster, Danny Mixon and Billy Hart. Great stuff.

Ken Dryden

Marc, thanks for addressing the frequent lack of thought by new artists and their publicists in pitching their CDs to concern to jazz journalists and broadcasters.

Other problems include: incorrect song titles/composers/lyricists and poor spelling (saying you sat in with Lou Tabaken [sic] is a good way to get ignored).

Dave McKenna hated the 'Oil and Vinegar' LP, telling me "It sounded like it was recorded in a toilet and I was never paid." The remainder of the McKenna solo piano and Little Quartet sessions were issued on another Honeydew LP titled 'Natural.'

Jim Lendworth

The better title for McKennas LP would have been VEGAN VAMPIRES FROM OUTER SPACE.

Unbelievable. And fun. Cheers.

Jeff H.

Hi Marc... Thanks for hinting us to the new "Quintet at Massey Hall" CD. Anyway, the complete concert (Bud's trio numbers included), and without Mingus' overdubbed bass-line has already been issued here:


This is the real thing, though it's sounding a bit thin too (as you wrote above); but it's much better than the vinyl with the weird bass-duet and the off-pitch tracks.

Hope that helps.

Cory Weeds

Marc, I once did a post similar to this about musicians sending me press packages and got ridiculed for being cruel and unsupportive. I loved your article. Nice work, people including myself need to hear the honest truth!

Jim Eigo

Thx for the props Marc.

Bill Kirchner

Your advice to publicists and musicians has a lot of good points. However, based on my recent experience with my newest CDs "Old Friends" and "One Starry Night" (Jazzheads), I've concluded that you're damned if you do and damned if you don't. I got four rave reviews from you, Doug Ramsey, Thomas Cunniffe, and Steve Cerra (all bloggers), but the CDs have been totally ignored by the print media, in spite of my (twice) e-mailing a well-written press release with an easy download, clear credits, and well-written liner notes by Larry Kart.

Last week, I inquired to one prominent reviewer and got the following reply: "I am sorry that I did not get to the music you sent. The number of CD's that I now receive in the mail is overwhelming. Digital downloads are a low priority. Most musicians/record labels that provide digital downloads for quick reference and convenience follow them up with physical CD's. Although I fully admit that I can't get to all the physical CD's either."

So they complain about being deluged with physical CDs, but blow off downloads if you don't provide CDs. I give up.

I've concluded that much of the jazz press (especially the younger, under-40 contingent) is in constant search of The Next Big Thing, except when paying required homage to newly-deceased icons. You, Ramsey, Cunniffe, and Cerra are among the notable exceptions, which makes you all the more valuable.

Last fall, I pointed out to a young jazz blogger that there was virtually no coverage of baby-boomer jazz musicians in his blog. He admitted that that's true, and that he simply didn't know any of these people. He keeps promising to call me to get my advice on such matters; I'm still waiting.

Orson Welles, who knew about such things, said it best: "Never expect justice in this world. That is not part of God's plan. Everybody thinks that if they don't get it they're some kind of odd man out. And it's not true. Nobody gets justice--people just get good luck or bad luck."

John Cooper

Irving Townsend - never saw a photo of him until now.

Nice to know what some of the 'invisible people' look/looked like.


jOhn Cooper

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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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