Interview: Buddy Collette (Part 5) - JazzWax

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May 21, 2010


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Doug Zielke

I've been waiting for Mr. Collette to relate some Mingus stories, so enjoyed Part 5. Here is a link with another bit of background on the infamous Town Hall Concert.

Ed Leimbacher

It's an interesting footnote in Jazz history that two of the West Coast scene's best were both named Bud/Buddy, that they were both multi-reed greats specializing in alto and flute, that they played together often in the Hollywood studios and shared space on several (many) albums, becoming friends in the process and mostly dodging the problems of black/white. There may be more parallels worth noting, but while we fans know that Bud quit the studios and became a fiery bopper again, public awareness of Buddy's later career is, I believe, much more circumscribed. It's been almost 50 years since that Mingus concert, Marc; what's happened since then? Am I the only ignorant one?

Rab Hines

I wanted to wait until the series was complete before thanking you for the interview with this excellent musician.

Mr. Collette has always struck me as one of the real heroes of the modern jazz scene, not the least because he stands as a corrective to the tired stereotype of the dissolute manchild that often comes to mind when the words 'jazz musician' are used. Garvin Bushell was another.

His work is long familiar, but there is little other material to flesh out the man; Central Avenue Sounds, his autobiography, and these interviews. A brief note says much about the man - in his autobiography it seems that every spare dollar and hour that he had was spent on a lesson of some sort, even when he was a well established pro, and there is only the briefest mention of his wife's alcoholism because it was necessary to explain another point. Far too many memoirs dwell on that kind of heartache to the exclusion of much else.

Thanks again for the time spent with this classy man, and I also recommend the double CD "Buddy Collette - A Jazz Audio Biography". It has much of the Central Avenue Sounds transcripts, and makes available a fascinating time, place and life.

Cheers and thanks to you and Mr. Collete.

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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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