Interview: Lennie Niehaus (Part 1) - JazzWax

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November 09, 2009


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Geez, how do you get a hold of all of these jazz greats? Are you planning on compiling these interviews into a book? Excellent!

Ed Leimbacher

Man oh man, I've been hoping you'd get to Niehaus since I discovered your most excellent blog (which is too small and squirrelly a word for the masterful interviews and features you lob at us fans just about daily!). Go, Marc, go! (And please get everyone hooked into Niehaus's great small group albums of the Fifties, so handily reissued via Lone Hill Jazz.)

Larry Kart

Hope you got to ask Niehaus about his studies at Cal State with composer Ernst Krenek (though those occurred before he joined Kenton). I've always wondered, as an admirer of both men's music, whether Niehaus was just one student in a largish general music studies course or whether there was more specific contact/influence between Krenek and Niehaus. Again, there are aspects of their music, harmonic and rhythmic, that suggest that the latter might have been the case, although Niehaus certainly was capable of being Niehaus on his own hook.

Gladys  (Holcombe) Chase

+Did you know that as a young child Lennie had to practice his music in a neighbor's garage because his father did not want jazz music to be played in their house?
I am a cousin of his and would like to give him a picture of him and his sister (who was an accomplished pianist) when they were both quite young.

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  • Marc Myers writes regularly for The Wall Street Journal and is author of "Anatomy of 55 More Songs," "Anatomy of a Song," "Rock Concert: An Oral History" and "Why Jazz Happened." Founded in 2007, JazzWax has won three Jazz Journalists Association awards.
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