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Re: [ARSCLIST] Yet another great box set from Mosaic

Hi Aaron:

Can you cite some albums or songs you like? Thanks!

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- From: "Aaron Levinson" <aaron.levinson@xxxxxxxxxxx>
To: <ARSCLIST@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Sunday, April 20, 2008 12:41 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Yet another great box set from Mosaic

Tom & Milan-

I will mention someone else who falls into the wildly underrated category: Earl Bostic. That guy was a saxophone
colossus but his association with making a bunch of schmaltzy records for King in the latter part of his career doomed him to obscurity. That cat was a wizard- he could so much horn it was silly! A master technician and capable of playing in any style you can imagine but bad taste can really ruin your critical appraisal. Coltrane cites him as one of the players he really looked up to. Bostic actually invented the multiphonics technique on the sax which is one of the most advanced ideas anyone ever came up with for what was long considered a single note instrument!


Tom Fine wrote:
Hi Milan:

Back at you -- I agree with your statements, very much so. To my taste, Lester didn't really go down the tubes until his last year -- for instance he should have not been filmed for "The Sound of Jazz," it's very sad to know that's the image most people have of him, same with Billie Holiday. He was spotty in his last years but Norman Granz seemed to get the good spots more often than not. In my opinion. Lester's genius was in thinking like a singer in how he phrased and understanding why a "cool" (although try playing a transcription of one of his solos and see how "cool" your chops feel) legato delivery worked over a punchy jump-beat. This is the whole rock guitar-hero thing in a nutshell. Lester also anticipated one of the secret-sauce R&B ingredients by laying slightly behind the beat at times. Zoot Sims and Stan Getz made no bones about whose style they copied, and they were damn good too. What I don't like is the phoney "binary" setup some jazz critics make between Young and Hawkins. Both guys were geniuses and both styles were awesome (and actually more similar than not, so the "vs" narrative is contrived anyway). I think the vast majority of the sax guys who came later, including a couple of cult-worshipped icons, were pikers in comparison. Plus, almost _none_ of those later guys could get out a memorable solo in under a minute, the requirement of the 78 era.

Another under-appreciated saxman is Harold Land, but that's another discussion for another day!

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- From: "Milan P. Milovanovic" <mijel@xxxxxxxx>
To: <ARSCLIST@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Saturday, April 19, 2008 2:32 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Yet another great box set from Mosaic


Couldn't agree more with these statements. Lester Young is certainly one of
most under-appreciated soloist in jazz history. Even today, there is big
wall of disadvantageous thoughts about his art, based primary on some
critical observations originated back in 1950s where his playing is
described as overwhelmingly into alcohol. The fact is that Lester was among
the most sensitive players ever born, with deep sense for injustice, largely
gifted when hearing and musical ability is concerned. Even booklets on some
of the latest box sets about his music (Verve, 1999) is written with these
"drinking problems" involved largely (I wonder if author of those liner
notes ever listen to material) and nothing more.

Also, you are perfectly right about 3.5 (or 4.5) minute recording time of 78
records. Charlie Parker once sublimated saying something like... if you
can't tell something in 3-minute period, there is nothing you can tell in 10

Best wishes,


----- Original Message ----- From: "Tom Fine" <tflists@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: <ARSCLIST@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Saturday, April 19, 2008 12:20 AM
Subject: [ARSCLIST] Yet another great box set from Mosaic

Mosaic has been on a great roll lately. Their latest box set of the first
Count Basie/Lester Young recordings (1936-1940) is truly awesome:

First of all, a good bit of this material hasn't been in print since the
late-middle LP era (and most of those anthologies I have from that era
don't sound very good). And another good bit was never issued before,
although some of that is incomplete takes and other flotsum and jetsum.
The restoration is great, where they had good grooved sources the sound is
excellent and even where they had not so good sources they did better than
most of the LP anthologies that include some of this material. The booklet
is also superb. Lester Young is under-appreciated, in my opinion. Basie
has a deserved spot in the Jazz Pantheon.

It's interesting to hear how Basie and company could boil tunes down to
3-minute essences for 78's. In a lot of ways, I like this jazz better than
a lot of the over-extended stuff that came later. Big-band stuff suffered
a lot without the discipline of short sides, not that you _can't_ write,
arrange and most importantly play a great 5- or even 10-minute tune, it's
just that few could and fewer did. Meanwhile, when you strip it down to
the 78 or 45 side, a real gem is just packed to the last second with
leap-out-of-the-speakers goodness. It's too bad that the newfangled
Magnetofon never made it over here in the late 1930's. So much good music
was made in the last decade of 78's and almost all of it would sound
better if it had been recorded on tape. The flipside of course is that
those tapes might well be dust now, whereas the laquers and metal parts
are obviously still playable, even if they don't sound great.

-- Tom Fine

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