Interview: George Avakian (Part 1) - JazzWax

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March 15, 2010


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John P. Cooper

These should be 5 great segments with George Avakian.

Please consider doing Dave Dexter next. Incredible career.

Ross Firestone

Mark, I think older NYC jazz record collectors would like to know that Jeff Atterton recently passed away. For many years the tall, lanky Englishman was the resident jazz record guru at the Sam Goody's store on West 49th Street in Manhattan, an unmistakable presence as soon as you walked through the door. As anyone who ever chatted him up will remember, he had a droll, rather ironic sense of humor about the state of the world and a great passion for jazz, which he seemed to feel made up for everything else that was lacking. Jeff was always enormously helpful to the many customers who sought him out, locating obscurities for advanced collectors and steering neophytes toward the good stuff and away from the crap. When Goody's went under, Jeff moved over to the King Karol shop on West 42nd Street, which wasn't his kind of place at all, then down to the more congenial J&R jazz record store, located at that time a block behind the main drag that houses the rest of the J&R empire. Among Jeff's friends were many of the musicians whose playing he loved. PeeWee Russell gave him some of his oil paintings, which with characteristic generosity he bequeathed to the Institute of Jazz Studies. When I was working on my biography of Benny Goodman Jeff voluntarily set me up for an interview with his old pal Jess Stacy, which was a lovely experience for me and very helpful to my book. He will be missed.

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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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