John Robert Brown

I am adding the writer and musician John Robert Brown’s website to the Other Places list in the right-hand column, and not just because he wrote this:

Occasionally a publication changes one’s thinking. Take Five is such a book. I am old enough to have attended several of Desmond’s concerts back in the 1950s. Doug Ramsey’s account rekindled my respect, taught me more than I had ever imagined about its subject, propelling me into a Desmondmania that set me on a revisionist crusade of buying old Brubeck CDs and raving to my friends about my re-discoveries.

Mr. Brown is, among other things, chairman of the Clarinet and Saxophone Society of Great Britain. Some of the articles on his site are devoted to reed players and instruments, and some are simply fascinating reading for people with a general interest in jazz and other matters. Here he is on interviewing Maria Schneider at a big convention of jazz people:

Her Thursday evening concert in the massive Imperial Ballroom of the Manhattan Sheraton, though pitted against three other simultaneous events, was signed ‘house full’. Currently, Maria Schneider is big news. I had arranged to meet her during the afternoon, after a radio interview, in a public area.
Though she had seen me waiting, and acknowledged me, I couldn’t get near for the many enthusiasts wanting to speak to her. When eventually we did meet (it took fifteen minutes), the interrupting fans made it difficult to greet her, and impossible to escort her to the interview lounge. Eventually Schneider coached me in the correct body language. “Look at me and keep talking,” she advised. “Then we won’t be interrupted.”

Click here to read the interview. Then, roam around Mr. Brown’s site. Don’t miss his disquisition on how to pronounce the name of the letter H. It’s under the “General” heading. And I couldn’t resist showing you this lead from an article in his classical section.

A Ford Transit van parked in a leafy side street in north Leeds catches my attention. Finished professionally in silver and black, it bears the words: The Keyboard Academy. The piano keys painted on the side of the vehicle leave no doubt that music teaching is involved. Plainly, this is no van ordinaire.

There’s no pun like a bilingual pun. It’s in a piece about a mobile piano school.

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