Gil Coggins Website

Recently learned of an important website dedicated to the great under-recognized jazz piano master, Gil Coggins.

Thanks to Sam Kulok for putting this together. The poetry and comments from Wilfred Coggins are valuable as well.

Gil Coggins plays behind one of Miles Davis’s greatest early ballad performances, “I Waited for You.”

James Primosch RIP

Sorry to hear of the passing of composer James Primosch. His memorable “Contraption” is played to hilt by Ryan MacEvoy McCullough.

Primosch was an occasional DTM reader and offered a few helpful suggestions over the years. When I finally heard some of his music, I was impressed enough to add “Contraption” to the marathon overview Write it All Down.

From an email exchange:

Iverson: “I particularly enjoyed your fast music, It seems to me that many modern composers can’t write fast and danceable music, but “A Gracious Dance” “Gigue” and “Contraption” [all from the set Pure Contraption, Absolute Gift] were great! If my own language was closer to this I’d def be analyzing “Contraption” to see how you got those sounds, that’s a wonderful 21st century novelty rag.”

Primosch: “Yeah, the fast music thing can be a problem. I remember in a lesson with George Crumb 40 years ago when he said how hard it was to write fast music that didn’t sound like it was stealing from The Rite of Spring. The piece he was working on at the time, his four-hand piano piece, does have some Sacre-esque moments.”

Jeremy Pelt’s Griot and 700 on Igor

Unless I am missing something, Griot by Jeremy Pelt is the first true follow-up to Arthur Taylor’s Notes and Tones, where a celebrated African-American jazz practitioner interviews other celebrated African-American jazz practitioners. These interviews stand in stark contrast to conventional profiles run by white-dominated organizations. Recommended: order here.

Thanks to Evan Haga for inviting me to write 700 words on Igor Stravinsky for Tidal, a kind of “who was Stravinsky” for the uninitiated. It was an easy assignment; Evan also did a good job with the final edit.

While working on the essay, I posted my top 10 Stravinsky list on Twitter. In chronological order:

1. The Rite of Spring
2. Les Noces
3. Pulcinella
4. Symphonies of Wind Instruments
5. Octet
6. Oedipus Rex
7. Symphony in Three Movements
8. The Rake’s Progress
9. Agon
10. Requiem Canticles

People complained most about Firebird and Symphony of Psalms not making the cut, but what can I say, there’s no accounting for taste. (They do get a mention in the Tidal overview.) I doubt Pulcinella would make most lists (a lot of it is a fairly straight transcription of old Italian themes) but that work is a personal touchstone, and certainly a thoughtful example of how to do a makeover just right.

Bond, James Bond

Like many American males, I recently thought it might be enjoyable to re-visit the Bond movies in order. I gave up because Thunderball and For Your Eyes Only were so bad as to be essentially unwatchable.

The most fun about this aborted project was relearning some of the early movie history I knew as a kid but had basically forgotten. Of course, broccoli is a designed vegetable — some kind of cross between kale and cabbage, just like cauliflower — and Bond movie producer Albert Broccoli was the younger son of the Broccoli family responsible for that vegetable’s invention. Broccoli was so impressed with the Ian Fleming books that he decided to invest the family fortune. Despite not knowing anything about moviemaking, Broccoli acquired the rights to Doctor No, with the option to make the rest of the series.

Amusingly, broccoli was a small factor in a few ways for the franchise in the beginning. Sean Connery was not a fan, and his rather “tough” attitude towards the complimentary bowl of raw broccoli outside of the casting room impressed director Guy Hamilton. And the famous opening gun barrel sequence? Albert Broccoli knew film designer Maurice Binder slightly as a boy, since Binder’s father was the first large-scale importer of broccoli into New York.

Broccoli - Wikipedia

April Streams

This coming Tuesday, I lead Simón Willson and Vinnie Sperrazza at Desmond White’s Underexposed. Mostly compositions from myself….7 PM…apparently I am playing a Rhodes, which is a first, at least in a trio context…

On April 29, I’ll be joining the Billy Hart quartet with Dayna Stephens and Ben Street at the Jazz Gallery.

I Keep Looking for Charles Willeford

The last of the pandemic DTM overviews is a major edit/re-build of my 2012 investigation of Charles Willeford.

My big essay “Nothing is Inchoate” is much improved (originally 2012).

NEW: I transcribed a radio interview discovered last year.

NEW: Three fine essays Ray Banks wrote about Willeford had vanished, with Ray’s permission I re-edited the lot into a single page.

2012 interview with Ray Banks.

2012 interview with Willeford biographer Don Herron.