Mr. JazzWax, aka Marc Myers, tracked down the venerable baritone saxophonist Danny Bank, one of the few Charlie Parker sidemen still with us, to talk about Bird. Among Bank’s anecdotes:
“One morning, sometime in 1951, I think, I took out one of the Sonatas for Woodwind by Hindemith and used it to practice. That night, after I played on two or three recording dates that day, I went to Birdland to hear Charlie play.
“As soon as he saw me come into the club, he started to pay the Hindemith Sonata I had played earlier while laughing through his mouthpiece. Bird had been listening to me through the walls! His ear was so amazing that he played what I practiced from memory when he saw me that night.
I just discovered that I had a defective link to Ethan Iverson’s Do The Math, the blog of The Bad Plus. I fixed the link. Use it to see Iverson’s tribute to the late British critic Richard Cook and read Cook’s evaluation of one of Horace Silver’s milestone recordings. I was startled to see how young Cook was. Dead at fifty. Enjoy life, folks.
The veteran Pennsylvania jazz broadcaster Russ Neff has launched a blog. Like his program, it’s called My Favorite Things. Neff’s first postings are based on archive interviews with George Shearing and Ray Brown.
If you’ve had nothing better to do, you may have been following every detail of the mens-room adventures of Idaho Senator Larry Craig and the apparent suicide attempt of film personality Owen Wilson. Society of Professional Journalists President Christine Tatum doesn’t mention Craig in her most recent Freedom Of The Prez posting, but this paragraph applies to his ordeal.
I completely get the public personality-or-official lecture delivered in Media Law 101. Heck, I even get the far more advanced versions gleaned over the course of my career. You cast yourself into the limelight or get yourself elected to public office, and you ask for the scrutiny. You ask for the criticism, the leering, the praise, the fawning, the constant flashbulbs, the boatloads of letters and e-mail and the stupid guy begging for an autograph while you’re in a public restroom. Once you enter that white-hot public spotlight, you can’t leave it whenever you choose.
She deals directly with the unfortunate Mr. Wilson’s being circled not only by the tabloid sharks but also by an appalling number of supposedly responsible journalists.
But journalists. What’s their responsibility when an Owen Wilson has a breakdown and asks the media (and, by extension, the general public) to allow him to heal in private? He’s no Paris Hilton, Lindsey Lohan or Nicole Ritchie driving under the influence on public streets. He’s not even a Britney Spears, who has an incredible knack for taking her wackiness public.
Might this be a time when we let a prominent person who apparently struggles with depression have the solace and privacy he needs? I certainly hope so.
So do I. To read all of Tatum’s posting, go here.