Thursday, February 5, 2015

no kick against modern jazz

"The interview is awfully good...I think you are too kind about Bob Dylan however . . . (I tried; even bought 2 records.)"
-- [Elizabeth Bishop, in a 1972 letter to fellow poet Robert Lowell]

[Stanley Kunitz, American Poet Laureate, in The New York Times in 1966] -- "There is no reason why popular art and a more selective, esoteric art can't cheerfully coexist."

[Keith Richards, in his autobiography, Life] -- "Passions ran very high in those days....There were micro-squabbles almost unbelievable to imagine now....The purists thought of blues as part of jazz, so they felt betrayed when they saw electric guitars...."

I have no kick against modern jazz

Unless they try to play it too darn fast

And change the beauty of the melody

Until they sound just like a symphony

That's why I go for that --

rock and roll music!

Any old way you choose it
It's got a back beat, you can't lose it
Any old time you use it
It's gotta be rock and roll music
If you want to dance with me
If you want to dance with me

--------------- 1957, Chuck Berry

[Robert Lowell in a Summer 1971 interview by Ian Hamilton in the Review] -- "Bob Dylan is alloy; he is true folk and fake folk, and has a Caruso voice.  He has lines, but I doubt if he has written whole poems.  He leans on the crutch of his guitar."

[Keith Richards in Life] ..."Commercial" was such a dirty word in those days.  In fact the slanging matches in the music press resembled real political fisticuffs:  phrases like "tripe mongers," "legalized murder," "selling out."  There were ludicrous discussions about authenticity.  Yet the fact is, there was actually an audience for the blues artists in England.

...And Muddy came on, acoustic guitar, Mississippi Delta stuff, and played a magnificent half an hour.  And then there was an interval and he came back with an electric band.  And they virtually booed him off the stage.  He plowed through them like a tank, as Dylan did a year or so later at the Manchester Free Trade Hall.  But it was hostile....

---------------------- "The folk music community has been shaken to its very roots ever since Dylan appeared at the Newport Folk Festival in the summer of 1965 with Paul Butterfield's Blues Band. 

Writing in Sing Out!, the nation's leading folk music magazine, Paul Nelson stated that Newport 1965 split apart the two biggest names in folk music, Pete Seeger (who had the backing of the crowd) and Bob Dylan (who was booed off the stage)....

...Why in the name of good folk music should anyone have to 'choose between' two such authentic (and different) artists as Seeger and Dylan?  Cannot we 'choose' both?"
        -- [Henrietta Yurchenco, in a Sound & Fury article, April 1966]

[Keith] -- "Passions ran very high in those days.  It wasn't just mods against bikers, or the loathing of the threatened trad jazzers for us rock and rollers.  There were micro-squabbles almost unbelievable to imagine now. 

The BBC was giving live coverage to the Beaulieu Jazz Festival in 1961 and they had to actually shut down the broadcast when trad jazz and modern jazz fans started to beat the shit out of each other, and the whole crowd lost control.  The purists thought of blues as part of jazz...."

{Words In Air - Travisano, F-S-G
Life, by Keith Richards with James Fox, Little Brown
Henrietta Yurchenco article, in The Bob Dylan Companion:  Four Decades of Commentary, ed.-Carl Benson
"Rock And Roll Music" - written by Chuck Berry, recorded in Chicago, released September 1957, included on the album, One Dozen Berrys.  B-side, "Blue Feeling."  Chess Records.  Producers:  Leonard Chess and Phil Chess.}


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