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Tuesday, 16 October 2007


Saddened am I by a couple of items. I appreciate having my sermons being delivered more timely than a couple of days late. I wish the sermon had to do with photography. If I were to listen to a sermon on music I would much more appreciate a sermon that is more orthodox...think Mozart, Bach or Beethoven... than this reformed movement. However, since I have become deaf, I have lost faith and listen to music no more.

Hi Claire,
Saddened am I if you are deaf, although Beethoven was and could still "hear" music...in his mind. I hope you can read the music you love.

Sorry this was late; I got carried away on Sunday with "The Elements of Style."

"Sunday Sermons" are never about photography. That's the origin of that feature...it's an outlet for my impulse to write on other topics.

Finally, I don't know where in the world you might be, but here in America, jazz IS classical music!!

All best,

Mike J.

Thanks for that. Seem like some good recommendations so I was straight off to Amazon. As I searched through, seemed to be a lot of archive live jazz recordings resurfacing from various artists. I'll have to meander through them. At the same time i made up a long-term shortfall in my collection by ordering Cool Struttin'.
Seems most of my CD buying these days comes from "gap filling" - getting those records that I ought to have or loved long ago in other formats.


Just a quick note to anyone buying music: don't buy from iTunes or other music services. This may be obvious, but I feel like it bears repeating. You can usually buy full CDs from an online retailer for $10 or less (including shipping). This gives you a real, honest to goodness physical CD, with album art. You can rip the CD at any bitrate you choose and if technology shifts to an alternative music codec in the future, you at least have the option of re-ripping the CD. The size of lossless compression files may be impractical for most people today, but I doubt it will be long before iPods and other devices will be capable of holding all of your music in lossless format. Plus, there isn't any rights protection and you can play the files on any of your devices or computers. Online music download services may seem appealing because of the range of music available compared to your local record store, but between Amazon, retailers selling through Amazon and eBay, that argument falls flat. The only advantage to iTunes that I can see is if you tend to buy individual tracks (ugh*) or require instant gratification.

To each his own, but that is my two cents on the subject...


* Sorry, but purchasing individual tracks strikes me as (a) doing violence to the musician's concept of the album and the track's place within the album, (b) contributing to a perverse focus on hit singles rather than on the creation of an extended body of work with a consistent level of quality and (c) robbing yourself of the opportunity to discover songs you weren't looking for. I have often purchased a CD for a specific track and been very pleasantly surprised to find that I like other tracks on the CD even better.

Well I happen to be in a small town on Lake Michigan called Milwaukee. If you think that Jazz is classical music in America then I guess you are much further south than am I. or perhaps you just have an attitude.

Ah, yes. Jazz lover with an attitude. That's me all right!

Mike J.

From the heading I had thought there was a new Phaidon book announced.

Adam wrote: "Plus, there isn't any rights protection and you can play the files on any of your devices or computers." Oh, how sadly deluded in this high-tech age. Whilst not universally used, there are definitely CDs with DRM added that can screw-up playback on a variety of devices.

Mike--thanks for the suggestions. I too am thrilled by the confluence of music at this turn in time. A time where terms like "classical" and "jazz" matter little more than a way to compartmentalize a descriptive confine. Artists such as John Zorn, Anthony Braxton, Marty Ehrlich, the late Julius Hemphill, Aaron Copland....and Mingus/Dolphy have added greatly to the expansion of musical ideas and definitions. Seems to me creating specificity in description leads to other pidgeonholing descriptions such as Lee Friedlander was a portrait photographer and not a landscape photographer. Eggleston was a weird kitschy southern photographer and not a big tricycle wheel photographer. Annie Leibowitz is a well-paid photographer......with an attitude.....

Listening right now to Rollins' _The Bridge_, which I've heard bits of over the years on the radio and finally bought on 180g vinyl a few weeks ago. I was surprised to see that it was actually being offered in three pressings--standard vinyl, 180g, and 200g (at double the price of 180g).

_Cornell 1964_ looks like something to look out for.

Two interesting jazz recordings I picked up recently are from the Jazz festivals in Sopot, Poland from 1956 and 1957. This was the period known as "The Thaw" in Eastern Europe, three years after the death of Stalin. In 1956 Polish jazz musicians were learning mostly from bootleg recordings and shortwave radio broadcasts, so as jazz it's not all there yet (the Czechs are swinging harder than the Poles in 1956, but the Poles are starting to catch up by 1957), but the music symbolized freedom for its performers and its audience, and it's amazing to hear the enthusiasm in these performances.

It's also interesting to see how Europeans canonize American musicians. There's a performer named Big Bill Ramsey ("Big Bill who"?) who sang the blues number, "Caldonia," which some regard as the first performance of rock music in Poland. Ramsey seems to be an American who went over to Germany in the service and stayed after war, becoming a successful blues and jazz musician, so an American musician who didn't particularly have an American musical career as far as I can tell.

You can find them here--


Hi Mike,

Thanks very much for the Sonny Rollins suggestion. I bought it and like it a lot. Allow me to return the favor. Check out Matt Wilson's Arts and Crafts, "The Scenic Route".


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