ustxtxb_obs_2003_05_09_50_00029-00000_000.pdf

Page 25

by

Community Radio Progranoxis.3 DE-versitll For R Culturaito Diverse at P.O.Box 2116 Austin, Texas 78768-2116 Mat Us On The Web Ratio Da La Comunidad wvvw.koop.org To help us honor Maury Maverick, Jr.’s spirit, his commitment to social justice and civil liberties as we launch The Maury Maverick, Jr. Fund For Cantankerous Journalism Join Molly Ivins and The Texas Observer Tuesday, May 20, 2003 7 PM 9 PM at the home of Herschel & Loretta Bernard San Antonio Please reply by May 15 to the Observer: 512/477-0746 307 W. 7th St. Austin, TX 78701 contribution requested of $1,000 $500 $250 $100 $50 $35 BENEFITTING Texas Observer Jazz, continued from page 25 musicians faced in their careers, including poverty, prejudice, competition with other musicians, parental objections to the playing of such music, and drinking or drug addiction. For example, Fats Waller’s father “strenuously” opposed his son’s dropping out of school to perform professionally and could not understand how such a bright boy could not comprehend “simple algebra.” Terkel reports that Fats always had a clever response to any question: “maybe it’s because my head’s all filled with music. An’ it ain’t got any room left for all those x’s an’ y’s an’ q’s.” As both Terkel and Appel assert, music and humor always went hand in hand with Waller, and the former’s description of Fats’ “tongue-in-cheek versions of pop songs” is right on: what made his performances “click was his ‘happy frog’ kidding of the drippy lyrics.” Whereas Appel’s book offers the special feature of 127 full-color reproductions of paintings, photographs, record labels, and sculptures, the Terkel book yet provides readers with tasteful, revealing line-drawings by Robert Galster. The artist has faithfully captured the recognizable appearance and even something of the inner spirit of Terkel’s thirteen jazz musicians: Oliver, Armstrong, Bessie Smith, Beiderbecke, Waller, Ellington, Goodman, Basie, Woody Herman, Gillespie, Parker, and Coltrane. The Galster drawings were included in the 1957 edition of Giants of Jazz but not the 1975 revision of Terkel’s book. It is good to have such sketches restored in the latest edition. Necessarily, the first printing of Giants of Jazz did not include a chapter on John Coltrane and did not mention other figures who would only come to prominence after 1957. Aside from not containing the Galster sketches, the 1975 revised version of Giants of Jazz and the new edition differ only in that the latter drops a sample list of New Music, which included recordings by Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, Eric Dolphy, Cecil Taylor, and Fort Worth native Ornette Coleman. In Terkel’s chapter on Coltrane, he does note that ‘Trane “was listening to younger musicians like Ornette Coleman and Cecil Taylor, people who were using many of the styles that fascinated him.” In his Jazz Modernism, Alfred Appel does not mention Coleman at all, perhaps because Appel felt that, as he observes of Coltrane and Dolphy, Ornette, with his so-called “free jazz,” has “eschewed the salient characteristics of 1920-1950 classic jazz: accessibility; humor; a capacity for joy; the Great [white] American Songbook, the backbone of jazz multiculturalism . . and the goals and ideals of racial integration.” However, Coleman definitely does exhibit a sense of humor and a “capacity for joy,” if not the other characteristics Appel lists, so that at least in this regard the Texan too is a jazz modernist. For his part, Studs Terkel believes, as the title of his final chapter has it, that “jazz is the music of many” and that “its language is universal … It speaks in the tongue of joy and freedom.” Both Terkel and Appel make this point vividly and for this reason alone both of their books are valuable reflections on an American music that continues to inspire artists in every fieldamong others, television series, film, dance, drama, poetry, detective novelsjust as it goes on moving listeners around the world and in every walk of life. Dave Oliphant is a poet and writer in Austin. BORDER JOURNALISM CONFERENCE Homelands Productions invites you to attend a one-day conference on border journalism on May 15, 2003 at the Hotel Camino Real, Tijuana Mexico. Sam Quinones, author of True Tales From Another Mexico will be the keynote speaker. Panels will focus on working binationally and cross-culturally, gaining access to government information, and using the internet to improve coverage. Come hear some of the best in the business explain how they get their stories. Stay on for the Fourth Meeting on the Border Environment also at the Hotel Camino Real. For more info, e-mail Barbara Ferry at [email protected] . 5/9/03 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 29