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Bebop Spoken There

John Tynan: "Go ahead, call me reactionary. I happen to object to the musical nonsense being peddled in the name of jazz by John Coltrane and his acolyte Eric Dolphy." - (Downbeat November 22, 1961).

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McCoy Tyner: "If anyone want to know how the three of us - Elvin, Jimmy and me - felt about John [Coltrane], listen to the music and you can hear the love and respect we had for each other. The music can really speak more than any of us." - (Melody Maker, August 19, 1967).
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Today Tuesday April 25

Evening
Playtime Collective w. Martin Kershaw (alto); Graeme Stephen (guitar); Mario Caribe (bass); Tom Bancroft (drums). - Jazz Café, 25 Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5DW. 8pm. £10/£8 (conc.). JNE/Schmazz.
Maine Street Jazzmen - Royal British Legion Club, West Jesmond Ave. Newcastle NE2 3EX. £5. 8:30pm.
Charles Gordon (solo piano) - Redwood Bar, Vermont Hotel, Newcastle. 10pm - midnight. Free.
Lickety Split - Fox Inn, West End Terrace, Hexham. 9:00pm. Free (bucket collection).
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To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Monday, March 02, 2015

Book Review: The Best Gig in Town - Jazz Artists at the White House 1969-1974 by Edward Allan Faine

There's no shortage of jazz literature - I've a floor to ceiling wall full of them (interspersed with Chandler and Elmore Leonard) - so do we really need more?
If the tome is unique then the answer is yes.
This book is unique.
Much has been written about Richard Nixon's Presidential time in office - Watergate and all that jazz or, to be more precise, Watergate without all that jazz.
Here the jazz is given centre stage and, although Watergate is touched on, emphasis is on the bands, artists, and distinguished guests of honour who appeared in the East Room.
It's quite a roster of talent: Duke Ellington; Henry Mancini; MJQ; Al Hirt; Peggy Lee; WGJB; Bobby Short; Pearl Bailey (twice); Billy Taylor (twice); Pete Fountain and Frank Sinatra.
Each concert has a chapter devoted to it, the background, the evening, the bigwigs (heads of state from France, Italy, Germany, Mexico, Iran, Ivory Coast, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Apollo 10 Astronauts) and press reports in the aftermath. 
Needless to say some performances were better received than others - Peggy Lee overran and drank too much! Pearl Bailey blagged a White House chair and, on her next visit, tried to blag the Steinway!
It's a great read and, whilst it might not be another exposé of "Tricky Dicky", for the jazz person, it's a fascinating look at the inner circles of American politics and, in particular, the choices Mr P and his advisers made.
Obviously the artists booked were "clean" upstanding Americans - even Frank, with all his baggage, was an obvious choice for a gig when the Italian Prime Minister was the guest of honour. Sinatra changed his political allegiance as frequently as he changed bow-ties in his bobbysoxer years!
It's a book well written and well referenced - at times I felt I was sitting midst the blue-rinsed matrons and the portly governors and ambassadors listening to some of the finest music of the era.
The Best Gig in Town - Jazz Artists at the White House 1969-1974 by Edward Allan Faine  is now available on Amazon. (UK Link.)
Lance.

2 comments :

  1. on my wish list to read after your excellent review!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes, mine too! Sounds fascinating .....

    ReplyDelete

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About this blog - contact details.

Bebop Spoken Here -- Here, being the north-east of England -- centred in the blues heartland of Newcastle and reaching down to the Tees Delta and looking upwards to the Land of the Kilt.
Not a very original title, I know; not even an accurate one as my taste, whilst centred around the music of Bird and Diz, extends in many directions and I listen to everything from King Oliver to Chick Corea and beyond. Not forgetting the Great American Songbook the contents of which has provided the inspiration for much great jazz and quality popular singing for round about a century.
The idea of this blog is for you to share your thoughts and pass on your comments on discs, gigs, jazz - music in general. If you've been to a gig/concert or heard a CD that knocked you sideways please share your views with us. Tell us about your favourites, your memories, your dislikes.
Lance (Who wishes it to be known that he is not responsible for postings other than his own and that he's not always responsible for them.)
Contact: lanceliddle@gmail.com I look forward to hearing from you.

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