NOTES AND TONES: Musician-to-Musician Interviews by Arthur Taylor

NOTES AND TONES: Musician-to-Musician Interviews

Email this review


Seeking to present ""the real voices of musicians as they saw themselves and not as critics or journalists saw them,"" drummer Taylor taped these interviews with 27 noted black jazz people (mostly in Europe) between 1968 and 1972--which means that much of the material here (the politics especially) is severely dated. Nonetheless, Taylor did indeed succeed in getting more of an ""insider's view"" than usual; and the artists' loose, off-the-cuff, unguarded comments--on music, the music business, racism, on side issues from sports to fashion--make for more rewarding browsing than most interview collections. Taylor asks almost everyone about religion, drug use, Bud Powell, Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, the Beatles (scorned by most), the Black Panthers, integration, the word ""jazz,"" clubs vs. concerts, Africa, ""freedom music,"" electronic music, reviews. And the answers range from Art Blakey's ""our music has nothing to do with Africa"" to Hazel Scott's Africa-philia; from now-familiar tirades on racism-in-music and white exploitation to Charles Tolliver's intra-racial discontent. (""Do you think the black man will ever have the same rights as the white man in America?""/ ""Not a chance; he doesn't deserve them."") But Taylor also is admirably specific about musical matters--asking drummers how they tune their drums, asking about musicians' exercises or specific compositions. And the low-key rap-session format can suddenly lead to some funny moments with Miles Davis (whose main hobby is ""making fun of white folks on television""), to Ornette Coleman's feverish fear of homosexuals in the music-business, to Dizzy Gillespie on Stan Kenton (""that motherfucker couldn't even keep time""), to inflammatory race/sex-talk from Hampton Hawes, or to Nina Simone on fashion. So: lots of repetition, lots of blather--but also much that's eloquent, informative, and of keen interest to those who study the complex social history of jazz.

Pub Date: April 23rd, 1982
ISBN: 030680526X
Publisher: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan