Monday, May 31, 2010

ROIO of the week : Bud Powell - Relaxin' At Home, 61-64

Here's the (for the time bein') last one in our little series of rare Bud Powell recordings. Cover art included. Enjoy!

Earl Bud Powell, Vol. 4 - Relaxin' At Home, 61-64  (Mythic Sound MS 6004-2)

Bud Powell (p, vo) Francis Paudras (brush -2)
Francis Paudras' home, Rue De Boursault, Paris, France, 1961
1.Christmas Song
2.Groovin' High
4.La Marseillaise

Bud Powell (p) Francis Paudras (brush)
Paris, France, 1962
1. In The Stage Door Canteen
2. Monopoly

Bud Powell (p, vo -1, p -2,3) Francis Paudras (brush -2,3)
Francis Paudras' home, Rue De Clichy, Paris, France, 1963
1.Darn That Dream
2.Crossin' The Channel
3.Lady Bird

Bud Powell (p, vo -1/4, p -5/9) Michel Gaudry (b -7/9) Francis Paudras (brush -1/4,7/9)
Francis Paudras' home, Rue De Clichy, Paris, France, early 1964
2.Relaxin' At Camarillo
4.Gone With The Wind
5.I Know That You Know
6.How High The Moon / Ornithology
7.Una Noche Con Francis
8.In Th Mood For A Classic
9.I Wanna Blow Now
** also issued on Mythic Sound MS 6004-2.

Bud Powell (p, vo) Francis Paudras (brush)
Francis Paudras' home, Rue De Clichy, Paris, France, early 1964
1.Lady Bird (alt. take 1)
2.Lady Bird (alt. take 2)
3. Be-Bop
** reissue of Mythic Sound MS 6004-1 + 3 bonus tracks.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

James Ellroy : The Hilliker Curse Update

Apparently the new James Ellroy book will be published on September 7th. Mr. Ellroy will be touring in the fall and apparently will pas by in NY, SF, LA, London, Finland, Italy and possibly France.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Hank Jones RIP

Bad news again and it hits hard. Hank Jones left us at the age of 92. I had the opportunity to see him a few times the last years each with Joe Lovano in 4tet or duo. Here's the NYT obit and a shorter one from Jazztimes.

Friday, May 14, 2010

ROIO of the week : Bud Powell - Birdland 30.09.1964

We continue our Bud Powell saga, here with a recording from Birdland in 1964. It's taken from a bootleg on Mythic Sound, scans of the cover art are included.

Here are the details, enjoy!

Bud Powell (p) John Ore (b) J.C. Moses (d)
"Birdland", NYC, September 30, 1964

The Best Thing For YouMythic Sound MS 6009-1

'Round About Midnight-

I Want To Be Happy-

Polka Dots And Moonbeams-


Body And Soul-

That Old Black Magic-

Hallucinations (Budo)-

It Could Happen To You-

Lullaby Of Birdland-

ButtercupMythic Sound MS 6009-2

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wayne Shorter receives Honorary Doctorate at NYU

May 12, 2010

New York University President John Sexton today bestowed an honorary doctorate on award-winning jazz saxophonist, composer, and NYU alumnus Wayne Shorter at NYU's 178th Commencement Exercises in Yankee Stadium.  Over 25,000 graduates, faculty, staff, and guests attended the morning ceremony.

The following citation was read in conferring the Doctor of Fine Arts degree, honoris causa, on Wayne Shorter:

"Wayne Shorter—pivotal figure in the history of jazz, unique composer and astonishing improviser, your work of five decades has helped shape a fundamental transformation of modern music. Your early teenage brilliance on the tenor saxophone earned you a nickname, ‘The Newark Flash.’ One of Art Blakey’s renowned Jazz Messengers, you won the DownBeat magazine ‘New Star Saxophonist’ award in 1962, and two years later joined Miles Davis and his quintet—following his excursions into electric jazz. With your colleagues from Weather Report and later your own groups as a leader, you in large measure helped define the genre of jazz fusion and modern jazz. Your compositions are considered standard repertoire by jazz musicians from around the world. Informed by your far-reaching intelligence and deep interest in philosophy, literature, and film, your music knocks down walls between classical and jazz and embraces peers, critics, and fans alike in a consensus of awe. You have earned 9 Grammy Awards and 13 Grammy nominations, and you are a designated ‘Jazz Master’ of the National Endowment of the Arts. We proudly salute you, a 1956 Bachelor of Music Education graduate in our Steinhardt School, as the singular musician roundly considered to be the greatest living composer of jazz.

"Wayne Shorter—esteemed alumnus, an American original, your masterful music interweaves the popular and progressive as you soar into flights of genius that make your life’s work a unique echo of the eternal. By virtue of the authority vested in me by New York University, I am pleased to confer upon you the degree of Doctor of Fine Arts, honoris causa.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Pacific

May 7, 2010

War epics on screen skip mass slaughter of civilians
by Charles Burress, Special to The Japan Times

SAN FRANCISCO ­ Does the history diet fed to Americans by Hollywood promote an unhealthy national memory? The latest screen epic about American heroism in World War II ­ the HBO miniseries "The Pacific" ­ is clouded by an unintended irony.

Creators Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, who teamed up also on "Band of Brothers" and "Saving Private Ryan," have sought to strengthen the authenticity of Hollywood renderings of World War II. But while such portrayals may give us a keener appreciation of the courage and suffering of U.S. troops on the battlefield, they also add further weight to a lopsided World War II history that leaves the dishonorable part of America's wartime behavior buried deeper in national amnesia.

In what may be added irony, the widely reported premier of "The Pacific" came but four days after the little noticed anniversary of one of the darkest events in American war history ­ the March 10, 1945, firebombing of Tokyo. The two-volume World War II history "Total War," by Peter Calvocoressi, Guy Wint and John Pritchard, describes the massive napalm attack on Japan's capital as not only "the greatest air offensive in history" but also "deliberate, indiscriminate mass murder."

The raid by B-29 bombers probably ranks as history's largest mass killing of civilians in a short time span. The estimated death toll of 100,000 exceeded the immediate deaths in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima or Nagasaki, or the Dresden firebombing.

"The street was filled with blackened corpses," air raid survivor Haruko Nihei recently told a U.C. Berkeley audience on her first trip to tell her story in America. "There were so many of them that it was hard to walk on the streets."

Then an 8-year-old girl, Nihei survived after falling in the panicked tumult and being covered by other people. When she came to, she found the bodies on top of her were "black as charcoal."

The U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey said at the time that "probably more persons lost their lives by fire in Tokyo in a six-hour period than at any time in the history of man." The inferno was so intense that fleeing victims burst spontaneously into flame and were boiled alive in canals into which they had plunged to escape. Their agonies were no less severe than those suffered at Hiroshima.

Confronting U.S. mass killing of civilians in WWII ­ particularly the Tokyo firebombing ­ is important now, not just because Americans should remember both the good and bad about their history. The U.S. has trouble winning hearts and minds in today's war against terrorists in part because the terrorism blood on America's own hands leaves it vulnerable to effective enemy propaganda and charges of hypocrisy.

In the aftermath of 9/11, Osama bin Laden cited Hiroshima, as if to say the World Trade Center deaths represented only a small taste of the type of warfare that the U.S. had long ago sanctioned.

America was far from the first to bomb cities. The tactic began as early as the 19th century with bombs dropped from balloons over Venice. Indiscriminate killing of noncombatants from the air began, according to many historians, in the 1930s. The Japanese bombing of civilians in the Chapei section of Shanghai in January 1932 "horrified much of the world and anticipated the mass bombings of populations a decade later," wrote Cornell University historian Walter LaFeber. The most infamous early example, immortalized in a painting by Picasso, came five years later in 1937 when more than a thousand people died in the German bombing of Guernica.

The Japanese military embraced the tactic during the Second Sino-Japanese War, bombing several Chinese cities. The most destruction came from repeated air raids on Chongqing, China's wartime capital after the 1937 fall of Nanjing. Aerial attacks on Chongqing in May 1939 alone claimed an estimated 5,400 lives, according to Mark Selden, a Japan specialist at Cornell.

In WWII in Europe, bombing tolls mounted, beginning with German air raids on Warsaw in 1939 and Rotterdam in 1940. German bombing of British cities in the eight months following September 1940 claimed about 30,000 lives. British bombing of German cities began in 1942 and was later joined by the Americans. About 45,000 were killed in raids on Hamburg alone in July and August of 1943. Nearly as many were killed at Dresden in February 1945.

The concentration of carnage saw a significant escalation when America sent waves of bombers over Japan, especially in 1945. In attacks on 66 Japanese cities, including Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the number of civilians killed by American bombs was "probably close to four hundred thousand," estimated MIT historian John Dower.

In the 2003 documentary "Fog of War" Robert McNamara, who served in World War II under the architect of the bombing campaign, Maj. Gen. Curtis LeMay, quoted LeMay's postwar assessment: "If we'd lost the war, we'd all have been prosecuted as war criminals."

McNamara, who later became U.S. Secretary of Defense, added, "I think he's right. He, and I'd say I, were behaving as war criminals."

But if the U.S. was guilty of war crimes, then weren't Japan, Germany and Great Britain also guilty? All of them rained bombs indiscriminately on civilians. America may have done so with the largest kill ratio, but virtually all laws against killing of innocents are not conditional on the number killed.

International law on bombing cities at that time was not clearly established. A Hague Convention that was drafted in 1923 explicitly banned aerial bombardment of civilians but was never ratified. The League of Nations unanimously passed a resolution in 1938 outlawing aerial bombing of civilian populations, but Japan and Germany by then had withdrawn from the league and the U.S. had never joined.

The most relevant agreement was the earlier Hague Convention Respecting Laws and Customs of War on Land of 1907, which had been ratified by the major combatants of WWII. It forbade bombardment of "undefended" towns, bombardment without prior warning and destruction of enemy property not demanded by military necessity. But those who ordered the later bombings in Asia and Europe, though they were accused by their adversaries of violating international law, typically said they had met the required conditions.

At the Tokyo war crimes trial, bombing of cities was not one of the charges brought against the Japanese defendants. Nor was it charged against German leaders at Nuremberg. "Aerial bombardment had been used so extensively and ruthlessly on the Allied as well as Axis side that neither at Nuremberg nor Tokyo was the issue made a part of the trials," recalled Telford Taylor, chief prosecutor at Nuremberg.

So, should anyone be blamed? One Japanese scholar said the 20th century's ghastly record of civilian slaughter from the air had its origin in Japan's attacks on Chinese cities.

In the book "Bombing Civilians," Tetsuo Maeda, who retired in 2007 as a professor of international studies at Tokyo International University, wrote, "The sudden horror from the skies that took place in wars of the 20th century had its roots in tactics used by the Japanese forces during the Asia Pacific War. This horror boomeranged back to Japan in extreme form with the disasters of Hiroshima and Nagasaki."

The argument that "Japan started it" is often expressed, especially by American patriots, in the many debates over "victors' justice" at the Tokyo war crimes trial and American misdeeds in the Pacific war. Can earlier Japanese bombing in China ­ along with German and British bombing in Europe and the uncertainty of international law at the time ­ exculpate the later American bombing of Japanese cities?

International laws of war, though not precisely defined, are generally viewed as including more than just signed treaties and agreements. Many scholars and jurists, including the judges at Nuremberg, have held that nations are bound also by "customary laws of war," regardless of what particular treaty was signed by what country.

The indiscriminate slaughter of noncombatants violates customary laws of war as well as universal moral values. It sickens the human soul. Saying "Somebody else did it too" is no excuse.

All nations that bomb civilians are guilty and should account for their actions, and I believe the U.S. owes a special accounting. The scale and intensity of American bombing crossed a new threshold and, in the view of some critics, turned the bombing of cities into America's chief weapon in concluding its war against Japan.

"If others, notably Germany, England and Japan led the way in area bombing, the targeting for destruction of entire cities with conventional weapons emerged in 1944-45 as the centerpiece of U.S. warfare," Selden wrote.

It was the Tokyo attack that "initiated the U.S. government's embrace of urban terror bombing as a legitimate form of warfare," wrote Cary Karacas, an assistant professor at the College of Long Island who studies bombing of civilian populations.

In 1945, U.S. Brig. Gen. Bonner Fellers described the U.S. air raids over Japanese cities as "one of the most ruthless and barbaric killings of noncombatants in all history."

The U.S. ­ and especially Hollywood's shapers of national memory ­ have a special responsibility also to make amends for past omissions and tell the full truth about the past. A more forthright confrontation by Americans with their own war crimes would not only provide a model for other nations with dark pasts but also undermine the ability of America's present enemies to win recruits for committing similar crimes against the U.S. and its allies.

Charles Burress is a San Francisco Bay Area freelance journalist who researched war memory as a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Tokyo and Keio University.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Another book on Kind Of Blue

Richard Williams' new book, The Blue Moment: Miles Davis's Kind of Blue and the Remaking of Modern Music' is bein' discussed at NPR and one can read and download the review here.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Omega Minor - Paul Verhaeghen

Omega Minor, which was written by the flemish author Paul Verhaeghen and originally published in english
is now finally translated in french. I read it last year in the dutch version and it's one of those few books that still follows you all the way.

Vous pouvez lire quelques critiques publié  par Pierre Assouline sur son blog et également la critique par Le Soir ici.

Don't forget to check out the blog by the author himself which can be visited here.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Artie Shaw biography

The NYT had a review last weekend of a new Artie Shaw bio. Tought it might be of interest to some of you. Enjoy

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Band Of Brothers author accused of fabrication for Eisenhower biography

US academic world shocked as respected historian is said to have 'made up'
meetings with 34th US president

Paul Harris
The Observer, Sunday 25 April 2010

His book Band of Brothers – which chronicled the exploits of one company of
US airborne troops in second world war Europe – was turned into a highly
praised TV series.

But now American historian Professor Stephen Ambrose, who was President
Dwight D Eisenhower's official biographer and wrote or edited more than a
dozen books about him, is embroiled in a posthumous controversy. It is
alleged that he invented many meetings he claimed to have had with
Eisenhower, and even fabricated entire interviews with him. The revelations
have sent shock waves through the scholarly community in the United States.

The books written by Ambrose, who died in 2002, brought him popular acclaim,
and director Steven Spielberg used him as a military adviser on his 1998
Oscar-winning film Saving Private Ryan. Band of Brothers became a cultural
milestone when it was turned into a TV series on which Ambrose was a
producer. It was hailed for educating an entire generation about the
sacrifices of their forefathers. But it appears that Ambrose indulged in
some sort of fantasy about the extent of his relationship with Eisenhower.
In TV interviews, he claimed to have spent "hundreds and hundreds of hours"
with the former president. He even once said he would spend two days a week
working with Eisenhower in his office.

However, recently studied records of Eisenhower's meetings contradict the
notion that the pair had any lengthy face-to-face contact. "I think five
hours [in total] is a generous estimation of the actual time they spent
together. I personally would push it back to less than two or three," said
Tim Rives, deputy director of the Eisenhower Presidential Library in
Abilene, Kansas.

The discovery came to light almost by accident. The museum had been planning
an exhibition exploring the relationship between Ambrose and Eisenhower.
Rives found that the records showed that Ambrose and Eisenhower had met only
three times, and never alone. He found that on seven occasions when Ambrose
had claimed in the footnotes to his book Supreme Commander to have met
Eisenhower, his subject was either elsewhere in the country or holding
meetings with other people at the time. In one example, Ambrose claimed to
have had an interview with Eisenhower in Pennsylvania, when Eisenhower was
in Kansas. "The whole story kind of unravelled from there. It was quite a
surprise. We were not looking for it, so it sort of happened almost by
accident," Rives said.

Given that the lives of former presidents are meticulously detailed by their
staff, there is almost no chance Ambrose could have held interviews with
Eisenhower that went unrecorded.

Later claims by Ambrose in other books to have interviewed Eisenhower lack
specific dates or places, but were just footnoted as "Interview with DDE".
However, the range of subjects Ambrose claimed to have discussed with
Eisenhower increased to take in topics such as giving up smoking or the
Vietnam war.

Rives believes there is no way that Ambrose could have discussed such a vast
array of subjects in the tiny amount of time he actually spent with his
subject. "I find that very doubtful. That should be something that would be
a concern for scholars. It could cast doubt."

Ambrose claimed that Eisenhower asked him to be his biographer by ringing
him out of the blue in 1964. But Rives found letters from Ambrose to
Eisenhower introducing himself and then asking him to agree to Ambrose
writing his biography. This is not the first scandal over Ambrose's work. In
2002 he was accused of plagiarism in his book The Wild Blue. His publisher
issued an apology but Ambrose said he had merely failed to put some short
passages taken from elsewhere in quotation marks.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Rob McConnell R.I.P.

Rob McConnell died in a Toronto hospital on May 1st, from liver cancer. His health had been declining for the last couple of months. The valve trombonist, composer, arranger, teacher and leader was best known as the leader of The Boss Brass, a 22-piece jazz orchestra, and the Rob McConnell Tentet. He was 75 years old.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Kojak Main Theme

I recently obtained the entire series on dvdr, since only the first season is officially available and here's what's to be seen on youtube :