I spoke with Phil several times over the past three years—most notably for my five-part interview series. In each case, he was kind and highly informative about his recording sessions and the musicians with whom he worked.
Several times we talked about the possibility of a Wall Street Journal profile but we couldn't land on a hook—a key event celebrating him that would make an interview pitch timely and possible. I'll miss Phil. He was one of the good guys.
For Part 1 of my five-part interview with Phil Ramone, go here. Then follow along to the next part using the link above the post's red date.
On Monday (April 1) I will be at Richard Stockton College in Galloway, N.J. for a talk about the unlikely reasons why jazz styles shifted so often between World War II and Watergate. I also will be presenting images and music clips to illustrate points at the Campus Center Theater from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. My host is superb saxophonist Michael Pedicin, who is associate professor of music at Stockton and coordinator of the college's jazz studies program. If you're in the area, I hope you can make it (101 Vera King Farris Drive). Admission is free. For more information and directions, go here. For my new book Why Jazz Happened, go here.
Why Jazz Happened. Ian Tiele wrote a swell review of my book Why Jazz Happened in the March issue of the IAJRC Journal:
"Myers leaves nothing out when he describes the circumstances that changed the development of jazz and how the music was affected by such diverse happenings as technical advances in broadcasting, the advancement of the Civil Rights movement, the various AFM bans, changes in the way that consumers listen to music, the concept of the “studio musician” and the origination of the West Coast style of jazz playing. We even see how the rise of rock ‘n' roll, British pop bands and the use of electronics greatly influenced the way that jazz was served up for public consumption."
More on Beverly Kenney. Following my post last week on Kenney—complete with a clip of the ill-fated singer on Playboy After Dark—many readers wrote in asking for more information. JazzWax reader Ed Frank provided this link.
Doc Pomus documentary. I told you about Raymond De Felitta's 'Tis Autumn: The Search for Jackie Paris. I told you about Denny Tedesco's The Wrecking Crew. Now I'm telling you about William Hechter and Peter Miller's AKA Doc Pomus. This documentary about the fabled disabled songwriter who penned A Teenager in Love, Save The Last Dance For Me, Hushabye, This Magic Moment, Little Sister, Lonely Avenue and many more details his physical struggles and creative triumphs. I watched it flying back from L.A. last week and it's terrific. Hey, you heard it here first. For a taste, go here and click the "trailer" tab. For the festival schedule, go here and click the "screenings" tab.
Gregory Corso at Newport. JazzWax reader Jimi Mentis spots Beat poet Gregory Corso in this Gerry Mulligan-Art Farmer clip from Jazz on a Summer's Day (at 1:18)...
What was that song? Many JazzWax readers emailed last week asking about the instrumental song that kicked off the Astrud Gilberto clip I posted. It was Tyree Glenn's Sultry Serenade—also known as How Could You Do a Thing Like That to Me, recorded by Frank Sinatra on his 1954 10-inch LP Swing Easy.
Hal Blaine on Bond. Last week Wrecking Crew drummer Hal Blaine sent along this link to a post on the late trumpeter Derek Watkins, who played on the soundtrack of every James Bond film. Fabulous video clips as well for those seeking insights into what 007 studio work was all about.
Words About Music. Perhaps the dumbest and most ill-conceived game show in the history of television was Words About Music, which aired in Los Angeles on KCOP in 1956. The premise was songwriters would come on, pitch their new tunes and be criticized by a panel of "experts." First up, Sammy Cahn. The show was pulled after two episodes after Oscar Levant made negative comments about Marilyn Monroe and Richard Nixon. Here it is, courtesy of Bret Primack...
Bill Kirchner, live. If you're in New York on April 17, catch arranger-composer-saxophonist Bill Kirchner with vocalist Carol Fredette and pianist Marc Copland. They'll be performing A Beautiful Friendship at the Players Club, 16 Gramercy Park South, at 7 p.m. For more information, go here.
CD discoveries of the week. Pianist Shamie Royston's debut CD Portraits features mostly originals that pack a lot of heart. On each track, Royston unleashes brooding, penetrating melodies that build with frisky melody lines and thick, rolling chords. She's joined by husband Rudy Royston on drums, Ivan Taylor on bass and vocalist Camille Thurman on In This Quiet Place. Royston also chose Horace Silver's Summer in Central Park, which she executes beautifully, and her husband Rudy's Ruby Goes to School, a tender song that remains on the move. An engaging and embracing first album.
In the spirit of Matt Dennis and Page Cavanaugh, pianist Beegie Adair has released A Time for Love (Green Hill). If you're unfamiliar with Adair, she's a throwback to an earlier age when Beverly Hills and Lake Tahoe lounges filled up at sundown with patrons eager to unwind with whiskey sours and lush and jazzy interpretations of standards. Adair's touch is flawless, and her mission is to turn songs you know into long, seductive strokes. Once upon a time lounges had their place, along with gin, gentlemen and elbow length gloves—bridging the gap between jazz and pop. On this album, Adair makes sure we never forget.
Oddball album cover of the week.
Here's another early LP of mood music—"blended to mix graciously with social gatherings." Except here the background looks a bit like the "Prehistoric Man" diorama at New York's Natural History Museum.