Tone Is The Thing

On February 26, 1917 the Original Dixieland Jazz Band recorded the first jazz records "Livery Stable Blues" and "Dixieland Jazz Band One-Step" in that middle building on the 12th floor: RCA Victor Studios, 46 W. 38th Street in the Garment District just west of Fifth Avenue, Manhattan -- August 21, 2o14 -- photo by Mark Weber

On February 26, 1917 the Original Dixieland Jazz Band recorded the first jazz records “Livery Stable Blues” and “Dixieland Jazz Band One-Step” in that middle building on the 12th floor: RCA Victor Studios, 46 W. 38th Street in the Garment District just west of Fifth Avenue, Manhattan — August 21, 2o14 — photo by Mark Weber

The Thursday Jazz Radio Show

December 31, 2o15 Jazz @ Noon every Thursday (starts at 12:07 after the satellite news) Host MARK WEBER KUNM Albuquerque, USA 89.9 FM (Mountain Standard Time) also streaming on the web KUNM.org Current time zone offset: UTC*/GMT -6 hours (*Coordinated Universal Time)/Greenwich Mean Time)

TONE IS THE THING

Tone has become more and more important to me, at this stage
of my life. The sound has become

central to my aesthetic preference.

Now I know why our teachers so long ago always stressed tone.

Certain other things have changed, as well:

I was telling Bobby Bradford how I have become able to single out notes
so much better now than when I was younger —– that I can literally hear a
note and walk across the room to the piano and nail it, whereas, when I was younger
I had to search to locate it, and I had trouble finding the key center, and maybe that
was because I heard so much more in a note than now, could hear all the over-tones
and all everything that that one note encompasses (there is a universe of sound in one note) —–
Bradford concurred that yes our hearing gets more exact with age, probably because
we lose parts of our hearing apparatus.

Also, at the same time I have become sensitive to loud sounds (I’m avoiding calling
them noises) —— I hope I’m not coming down with hyeracusis, that condition that
Charlie Haden was afflicted in his last years —- I have come to call my situation
incipient incipient hyperacusis and pray it never fully recipients.

I guess I like what they call a mellow tone. It all comes back to my philosophy that
an artist’s path is toward calm. To reach serenity, tranquility, quietude, calmness,
to leave
all the agitation of the world behind.

I’m proud of my ability to listen.

But, enough about me.

When the occasion arises that someone asks how to listen to jazz I tell them two
things. (We’re at a concert in this.)
1) listen to at least one song during the concert
with you eyes closed.
2) Single out one instrument and either pretend you are that
instrument or listen closely to how that musician is collaborating with the rest of the band,
only focus on that one instrument. I don’t bother to tell them that over time they’ll eventually
learn how to listen to all 4 or 5 or 6 instruments in the small group jazz contrapuntal universe,
that just comes naturally with practice.
Listening takes practice.

Ornette Coleman & Prime Time coming off stage of Hollywood Bowl -- June 19, 1982 Playboy Jazz Festival -- photo by Mark Weber ------ I recently reread THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE SPOT: ORNETTE COLEMAN AND THE NEW YORK JAZZ FIELD(2006, 2014) by David Neil Lee, and distance (50+ years) is ideal for historical perspective. This study endeavors to quantify how the opinions and conventions and peer pressure and the dynamics of right place, right time, came together, for better or worse, and how Ornette withstood the powder keg barrage simply because he truly had something of worth to add to jazz. The ground zero paragraph (among many) in this very good book happens on page 34: "The more populist tendencies of hard bop, the art music experiments of Third Stream, and the tempered bebop style of cool jazz were all attempts to forge a jazz identity that could move outside of the influence of Charlie Parker. The idea of a technical development of jazz, onward and upward, was stalled behind a barrier of technique."

Ornette Coleman & Prime Time coming off stage of Hollywood Bowl — June 19, 1982 Playboy Jazz Festival — photo by Mark Weber —— I recently reread THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE SPOT: ORNETTE COLEMAN AND THE NEW YORK JAZZ FIELD(2006, 2014) by David Neil Lee, and distance (50+ years) is ideal for historical perspective. This study endeavors to quantify how the opinions and conventions and peer pressure and the dynamics of right place, right time, came together, for better or worse, and how Ornette withstood the powder keg barrage simply because he truly had something of worth to add to jazz. The ground zero paragraph (among many) in this very good book happens on page 34: “The more populist tendencies of hard bop, the art music experiments of Third Stream, and the tempered bebop style of cool jazz were all attempts to forge a jazz identity that could move outside of the influence of Charlie Parker. The idea of a technical development of jazz, onward and upward, was stalled behind a barrier of technique.”

Gary Foster - Alan Broadbent Quintet: April 19, 1980, Chaffey College, Alta Loma, California ---- Steve Solder, drums; Putter Smith, bass; Danny Embree, guitar; Alan Broadbent, piano; Gary Foster, alto saxophone -- photo by Mark Weber

Gary Foster – Alan Broadbent Quintet: April 19, 1980, Chaffey College, Alta Loma, California —- Steve Solder, drums; Putter Smith, bass; Danny Embree, guitar; Alan Broadbent, piano; Gary Foster, alto saxophone — photo by Mark Weber

Two drummers and a trumpet player: Bobby Brooks, Clarence Johnston, Harold Howard -- June 18, 1983 Los Angeles -- photo by Mark Weber

Two drummers and a trumpet player: Bobby Brooks, Clarence Johnston, Harold Howard — June 18, 1983 Los Angeles — photo by Mark Weber

Joanne Grauer Trio w/ Pinky Winters at Two Dollar Bills, Franklin Avenue, Hollywood -- April 18, 1980 -- Al Cecchi, drums; Wolfgang Melz, bass; Joanne Grauer, electric grand piano; Pinky Winters, vocals -- photo by Mark Weber

Joanne Grauer Trio w/ Pinky Winters at Two Dollar Bills, Franklin Avenue, Hollywood — April 18, 1980 — Al Cecchi, drums; Wolfgang Melz, bass; Joanne Grauer, electric grand piano; Pinky Winters, vocals — photo by Mark Weber

Roger Mancuso -- August 24, 2o12 -- photo by Mark Weber

Roger Mancuso — August 24, 2o12 — photo by Mark Weber

At the table next to mine: Al Cecchi, Dave Frishberg, Bob Hardaway, Wolfgang Melz ---- April 18, 1980 -- photo by Mark Weber ---- Bob Hardaway had such a beautiful Lestorian tone on tenor sax, straight out of the West Coast cool easy sound . . . . . . I sure wish he would have made more records, he spent most of his career in the show band of Ray Anthony and made only one album under his own name, of which we'll be spinning today. He was also in the section of Woody Herman's band in 1956 (Third Herd), and married to Pinky Winters.

At the table next to mine: Al Cecchi, Dave Frishberg, Bob Hardaway, Wolfgang Melz —- April 18, 1980 — photo by Mark Weber —- Bob Hardaway had such a beautiful Lestorian tone on tenor sax, straight out of the West Coast cool easy sound . . . . . . I sure wish he would have made more records, he spent most of his career in the show band of Ray Anthony and made only one album under his own name, of which we’ll be spinning today. He was also in the section of Woody Herman’s band in 1956 (Third Herd), and married to Pinky Winters.

Guitarist Mary Pizzarelli and her father Bucky in Santa Fe ---- July 29, 2o11 -- photo by Mark Weber ---- Just to let Bucky know we're thinking of him (he had a stroke in early November)

Guitarist Mary Pizzarelli and her father Bucky in Santa Fe —- July 29, 2o11 — photo by Mark Weber —- Just to let Bucky know we’re thinking of him (he had a stroke in early November)

Roy Haynes looking at one of Scott Virtue's paintings that was done during concert ---- November 16, 1997 South Broadway Cultural Center, Albuquerque -- photo by Mark Weber

Roy Haynes looking at one of Scott Virtue’s paintings that was done during concert —- November 16, 1997 South Broadway Cultural Center, Albuquerque — photo by Mark Weber

Rehearsal at Outpost ---- J.A. Deane's Out of Context: Tom Guralnick (soprano), Alicia Ultan (viola), Mark Weaver (tuba), and Dino's hand signal -- November 21, 1997 -- photo by Mark Weber

Rehearsal at Outpost —- J.A. Deane’s Out of Context: Tom Guralnick (soprano), Alicia Ultan (viola), Mark Weaver (tuba), and Dino’s hand signal — November 21, 1997 — photo by Mark Weber

We were sitting in the front and when I pointed to Bennie Maupin's bass clarinet and said to my sister-in-law Paula: "Bitches Brew" she thought about it a minute and then her eyes widened and I said that's the bass clarinet on Miles' record ------ Sweet Basil's, NYC -- September 1, 1996 -- Andrew Hill Quartet: Pheeroan Aklaff, drums, Rufus Reid, bass; Maupin, soprano & tenor saxophones and bass clarinet ------photo by Mark Weber

We were sitting in the front and when I pointed to Bennie Maupin’s bass clarinet and said to my sister-in-law Paula: “Bitches Brew” she thought about it a minute and then her eyes widened and I said that’s the bass clarinet on Miles’ record —— Sweet Basil’s, NYC — September 1, 1996 — Andrew Hill Quartet: Pheeroan Aklaff, drums, Rufus Reid, bass; Maupin, soprano & tenor saxophones and bass clarinet ——photo by Mark Weber

Assemblage by Frank D. Van Zant ---- Thunder Mountain Park, Imlay, Nevada -- July 6, 1991 -- photo by Mark Weber

Assemblage by Frank D. Van Zant —- Thunder Mountain Park, Imlay, Nevada — July 6, 1991 — photo by Mark Weber

Elvis on San Mateo ---- November 5, 1997 Albuquerque ----- photo by Mark Weber

Elvis on San Mateo —- November 5, 1997 Albuquerque —– photo by Mark Weber

14 Comments

  1. Just so your readers know: Bob Hardaway’s uncle was Bugs Hardaway, the cartoon artist who created the image of Bugs Bunny. I worked with Bob on the show Sugar Babies at the Pantages theatre in 1982, the last time Bob played oboe. During that run (with Mickey Rooney and Ann Miller) he complained to me about not wanting to spend the time making oboe reeds when he could be playing jazz. He did have a marvelous velvet sound on his Link mouthpiece. He was a soft-spoken laid-back guy who worked on the periphery of the music business, but seemed happy about it.

  2. Christopher Garcia

    December 28, 2015 at 5:46 pm

    Hey Mark, did you ever scan that photo of Zawinul and Ornette backstage at the bowl

  3. Gary Foster informed me that his erstwhile colleague Bob Hardaway was married to artist Julie MacDonald in the 1960s. She had spent some time with Charlie Parker in the spring of 1952 when Bird was in Los Angeles for the Tiffany engagement with Chet Baker. Her subsequent sculpture of Parker’s head is quite renowned and was the subject of a newspaper feature by British journalist Richard Williams.

  4. Great photos. Like the Roy Haynes photo I remember him from documentary on Charlie Parker. He was a drummer for Parker? Liked your comments on tone Mark. Tone is volume mixed with key mixed with the instrument? What makes a tone? Charles Ives’s UNIVERSE SYMPHONY is supposed to be about tones, I guess the blending and harmony and synthesis of tones he used to depict the starry sky and all of creation?

  5. Wonderful as always. Happy New Year my dear friend. Hope to see you in 2016. xoxoxo Sheila

  6. *Clarence Johnston, besides being an A-List drummer was also a photographer, he was always trying to get me
    to go work the boxing matches at the Olympic, said I could make some money there with my camera —– I have lost track of him —– when I knew him he was drummer for Freddie Redd and mostly for the marvelous pianist Jack Wilson, among others . . . .

    • Hey Mark,
      I still play gigs with Clarence from time to time. He’s still swingin’ and never changes.
      Have a happy New Year!

      Chuck

  7. ———————-playlist———————————-
    The Penultimate Show of 2o15 JAZZ
    KUNM Albuquerque
    December 31, 2o15
    Host MARK WEBER

    1. Art Pepper in duet with Ben Tucker (bass) “Blues In” — 28dec56 COMPLETE ALADDIN RECORDINGS
    2. Joanne Grauer Trio (Buddy Clark, Mel Lewis) — “Mood for Mode” — July 1957 (Mode Records)
    3. Lucky Lucy Ann “Doncha Go Way Mad” –12july57 (Marty Paich, Bob Hardaway, Dick Noel, Tony Rizzi, Buddy Clark, Mel Lewis)
    4. Al Cohn – Bill Perkins – Richie Kamuca — “Blixed”(Bill Potts) — June 1955 cd THE BROTHERS! (Mosaic re-issue)
    5. Brian Kellock Trio — “Lennie’s Pennies” (L.Tristano) –Nov.2000 cd LIVE AT HENRY’S
    6. Art Pepper Quartet (Russ Freeman, Ben Tucker, Chuck Flores) “Diane’s Dilemma” 1956 ibid.
    7.JJ Johnson “My Old Flame” –19feb58 cd THE TROMBONE MASTER (Columbia)
    8. Fred Katz & His Jammers “To Blow is to Know”(Katz) –12march59 (Don Fagerquist, trpt; Gene Estes, vibes; Leroy Vinnegar, bass; Lenny McBrowne, drums; Freddy, cello) cd FRED KATZ & HIS MUSIC (Fresh Sound)
    9. Bob Hardaway Quartet (Bob, tenor; Larry Bunker, vibes; Marty Paich, piano; Max Bennett, bass; Art Mardigan, drums) — “Irresistible You” –21jan55 —– cd LOU’S BLUES (Bethlehem)
    10. Peggy Lee w/Quincy Jones Orch (17-pc band w/Pete Candoli, Al Porcino, Dick Nash, Benny Carter, Bill Green, Plas Johnson, Jack Nimitz, Bill Perkins, Dennis Budimer, Max Bennett, Stan Levey: all L.A. 50s cool ear hotshots)– “Los Angeles Blues” –19may61
    11. Maynard Ferguson Octet PLAYS BILL HOLMAN’S ARRANGEMENTS — “Finger Snappin'” –27apr55 (Conte Candoli, Milt Bernhart, Bob Gordon, Ian Bernard, Herb Geller, Georgie Auld, Max Bennett, Sid Bulkin, Ian Bernard)
    [at this break I revealed my all-time 4 favorite baritone saxophonists: Bob Gordon, Lars Gullin, Jack Nimitz, Arlen Asher]
    12. Coleman Hawkins Quintet (Kenny Burrell, Ray Bryant, Wendell Marshall, Osie Johnson) — “Groovin'” –7nov58 cd SOUL (Prestige)
    13. Lennie Tristano solo — “C Minor Complex” –c.1960 (Atlantic)
    14. Hal McKusick Quintet (Billy Byers, trombone; Eddie Costa, piano; Paul Chambers, bass; Charlie Persip, drums; Hal > alto ballad feature) — “Don’t Worry ‘Bout Me” –27dec57 (Prestige)
    15. Mundell Lowe Quartet (Dick Hyman, piano; Trigger Alpert, bass; Ed Shaughnessy, drums) — “I’ll Never Be the Same” — 27aug55 (Riverside) THE MUNDELL LOWE QUARTET
    16. John LaPorta Octet “Blues Chorale: 1st Variation” — Dec.1957 cd THEME AND VARIATIONS (Fantasy)

  8. —————————-playlist————————–
    Reindeer Can Really Fly Jazz Radio Show
    December 24, 2o15 ——KUNM Albuquerque
    Host MARK WEBER
    1. Heath Brothers “Our Little Town” (based on “O, Little
    Town of Bethlehem” — 1981(Columbia) Lp GOD REST YE MERRY JAZZMEN
    2. Pony Poindexter + 6 saxes (Phil Woods, Gene Quill, Dexter, Billy Mitchell, Pepper Adams, & Pony on soprano) “Rudolph the Rednose Reindeer” — 10may62 (Columbia) Lp JINGLE BELL JAZZ
    3. Bobby Timmons Trio “Winter Wonderland” –24nov64 (Prestige) cd CHRISTMAS COLLECTION
    4. Sahib Shihab Quartet (Walter Davis Jr, Santi Debriano, Victor Lewis) — 7july88 “Silent Night” (Uptown)cd AN UPTOWN CHRISTMAS
    5.Dave McKenna solo piano “Silent Night Holy Night” –Feb.97 cd CHRISTMAS IVORY
    6. Count Basie Orchestra “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” vcl Carmen Bradford, tenor solo Doug Lawrence — July 2014 (Concord) cd A VERY SWINGIN’ BASIE CHRISTMAS!
    7. Lord Buckley “Scrooge” –12feb59 (World Pacific) Lp
    8. Fred Katz “Vintage 57” –26may1959 album FRED KATZ AND HIS JAMMERS
    9. John Rangel (piano), Cal Haines (drums), Jon Gagan (bass) “Toyland” Dec.2o12
    10. Claudio Roditi & Don Sickler “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” –27jan85 cd UPTOWN CHRISTMAS
    11. Harry the Hipster Gibson “T’was the Night Before Christmas Boogie” –c.1976
    12. Dave McKenna solo “Jingle Bells” ibid.
    13. Yusef Lateef “Spartacus” –5sept61 cd EASTERN SOUNDS
    14. Lockjaw Davis “The Christmas Song” –31jan60 cd CHRISTMAS COLLECTION ibid.
    15. Bucky Pizzarelli Guitar Quintet “Davenport Blues”(Bix) –1974
    16. Johnny Coles-Frank Wess Quintet “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” –11feb85 cd UPTOWN ibid.

  9. Mark:

    I love you for your continual amazing posts and pics. The latest is truly amazing. Let me hip to you to something. About 12 years or so ago I went to see Bennie Maupin with Jack DeJohnette at Kuumbwa in Santa Cruz. At the time a sax player named John Purcell was living and teaching at CSUMB in Monterey. As you probably know Purcell played and recorded with Jack. We are bullshitting in the back, as I took couple of lessons from him and had gotten to know him. As the concert ends he says, “Hey, ya wanna go backstage and meet Bennie and Jack?” Uh, yes John, I’d fucking LOVE to. So I’m wettiing my pants and we go back and he introduces me to Jack and Bennie. And Bennie gives me that huge warm smile and says “What do you play?” And I say woodwinds, and I know all your recordings and we launch into a long conversation about the bass clarinet. He was very surprised at my knowledge and was very warm, we talked for an hour or more. I did ask him specifically about the bass clarinet he played on Bitches Brew. It is not the horn shown in your picture. At the time in the late 60’s and early 70’s he was playing a low e flat bass clarinet, the smaller of the two bass clarinets commonly seen. The low C, pictured in your photo, is an orchestral instrument (shoot me if you already know all this…..) and Bennie got into that later, saying he was merely dabbling with bass clarinet at the time of BB. Once he got serious sometime later he started experimenting and finally went the bigger horn route. Of course we now know him as one of the greats on bass clarinet. Dolphy had the early prototype low C bass clarinet that Selmer introduced in the 50’s if I’m not mistaken. And there is a lot of debate as to which horn sounds better. Paul McCandless has played the low C Selmer most of his career, yet Bob Mintzer prefers the low E flat. At one time I had one of each, but sold the smaller horn and keep the bigger one, which has served me well all these years. I just had it rebuilt and am planning to write some new stuff for it.

    Take care…….Markos

    I think I’ll pull out my Bennie discs and have a review over the next couple of weeks. Thanks for reminding me how much l love his playing and composing…..

  10. Digging your photos,writings and playlists as always. This quote from David Lee’s book keeps coming into my mind so I’d like to comment.
    The ground zero paragraph (among many) in this very good book happens on page 34: “The more populist tendencies of hard bop, the art music experiments of Third Stream, and the tempered bebop style of cool jazz were all attempts to forge a jazz identity that could move outside of the influence of Charlie Parker. The idea of a technical development of jazz, onward and upward, was stalled behind a barrier of technique.”

    I’m not entirely sure of what’s being expressed here by the author. But just the idea of moving outside of the influence of Bird gives the whole thing away. To not allow oneself to be deeply influenced on a feeling level by the great jazz innovators who came before is to reject the essence of jazz. There was always a natural line/evolution from one musician to the next. This rejection of, or inability to be influenced by Bird expresses hostility to Bird at worst, and at best it is artistically infantile in my opinion. I can’t take seriously any artist who is in that place. The other musician who underwent this treatment was Lennie Tristano. But you can’t fake jazz – so in the end the reality remains. Anybody can dig anything – that’s real – I have no problem with people’s tastes in music. But jazz is jazz – nothing else.
    Also, the development of jazz was not “stalled” at all – it just went underground (for lack of a better word) – in fact it was quite above ground!

    • Just want to correct my post – I was quoting Mark when I wrote “The ground zero paragraph in this very good book happens on page 34:” I haven’t read the book!

  11. Carol——-You could almost say that Bird wasn’t so much as expressing himself, as he was expressing the music. That he had gone beyond (or, maybe had never arrived at) the idea of individualism. He was pure music.

    I agree with you totally. I just thought that Mr Lee was quite astute in pointing out the prevailing notions of the times and the idea that you always had to be new. In this quote he was setting the stage for what the scene was at that time. The modernist party line, if you will.

    Ornette himself was always in the same stream as Bird, they both played on the line. And we could talk about that for pages upon pages.

    When I came on the scene in the early 70s the idea of being totally original was very big, and taken to extremes and now in reflection created a lot of contrived situations. Jazz is able to encompass a lot of approaches but for me the truest jazz is theme and improvised variations. In the writing world we’ve always had Ezra Pound’s dictum: Make it new.

    I’m going to say something possibly suicidal here, but, men for the most part are competitive. And women seem to understand naturally that we are all together in this, that individualism can be immature, and premature. But, again, jazz can absorb all that and everything.

    HEY, when are we going to do a transatlantic Live telephone interview on my radio show?

  12. Hey Mark – there’s a lot to respond to here – I’ll try.
    I don’t know exactly what you mean when you describe your impressions of Bird. I can agree that he was not an individualist in terms of setting himself apart from other musicians, but to arrive at a pure music state you have to be able to express your own soul. Bird had a beautiful soul – and it was in his music and his personal character from everything I’ve heard about him and can take in from his interviews. The beauty of jazz to me is that everyone can tell a story – every musician with a desire to play can get to their own thing. If anything sets Bird apart, it’s that he was an innovator – society has a long history of getting f**ed up with innovators! It’s interesting – you can say Prez raised the bar – but then along came Bird who raised the bar again – in part because he came from Prez – he was able to hear Prez and be influenced on the deepest level. It seems to me that this is what sets jazz apart as an art form – it will keep evolving. This brings me to the next point. I don’t think Ornette is coming from Bird on any deep level. I’m not putting him down – people dig him – but there’s no way that he is stretching out from a Bird influence. And that is key to me. To me, the natural line of jazz saxophone was stretching out from Bird, Prez, Warne and Lee. Lenny Popkin comes to mind as the one who took in everything about them, and continued on with his own voice.

    Your thoughts about competition. From my perspective, I can’t agree that “men are for the most part competitive” or at least not more so then women. This is a subject with many levels obviously and I’m sure that both men and women can shed much light on this. I’ve been on the music scene now for nearly 40 years and I’ve come to some conclusions of my own. The main thing is that given that men and women are different, we can learn so much from each other! When you hear the old timers talk about being competitive, at the heart is a healthy desire to really get to it for yourself, because you’re inspired! But it takes a lot of work! And the work has to be real. That is not an easy thing to get to for anybody – man or woman. It’s that continuous struggle that all artists face daily that can do a job on people! I think Lennie Tristano not only raised the bar as a musician, but also as a teacher. He helped probably thousands of people with this struggle. He took women as seriously as men at a time when that was not happening. There’s too much to write about that, but with that as a starting point, for me I’ve witnessed the evolution of how women and men deal with all this, and each other. I can say honestly that in my opinion, we’ve come to a point where all things are equal. What I see now is that it’s the rare individual regardless of gender, who can really get to this pure place with jazz – or anything for that matter.

    I don’t take lightly your offer of an interview – évidemment I like to talk! On verra (I’m hiding behind my french as you can see!).

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