[Dixielandjazz] Studs Terkel and Barrett Deems
james at jiming.demon.co.uk
Wed May 7 05:20:13 PDT 2003
According to the 'Acknowledgements' foreword to Studs Terkel's book,
'Giants of Jazz':
"I am especially indebted to Jack Tracy, editor of Downbeat, for his
generosity in allowing me free access to the files of that excellent
"Finally, may I express my gratitude to the following artists who so
graciously offered me time, conversation and information: Duke
Ellington, Count Basie, Billie Holiday, Stan Kenton, and Dizzy
The book itself was published by the 'Jazz Book Club', an English
enterprise of the 1950's that I don't know much about (and would be
interested to learn more about). They also published Mezz Mezzrow's
extraordinary "Really The Blues"- a book that deserves more discussion
(if only to finally dismiss it as a load of entertaining but
Studs's book is made up of journalistic profiles of Joe Oliver, Louis
Armstrong, Bessie Smith, Bix, Fats Waller, Duke Ellington, Benny
Goodman, Count Basie, Billie Holiday, Woody Herman, Stan Kenton and
It closes with these comments (which may seem a little bland now; but
remember, this was 1957) and which demonstrate quite a sound
understanding of the history of jazz to that point. Come to think of it,
they are not unlike the commentary to Ken Burn's recent TV series:
"...but these twelve lives do not tell the whole story of jazz. There
have been many giants...
"Coleman Hawkins, whose mastery of the tenor saxophone helped establish
it as a major instrument of jazz. He brought to it a richness and warmth
of tone hitherto unheard.
"Lester Young, considered the father of the "cool school" of jazz. A
pioneer, he introduced a new style at the tenor sax
"Charlie Parker, a flowing mountain of ideas. As composer,
instrumentalist and improviser, he inspired more modern jazz musicians
than any other in all the history of this music.
"Art Tatum, the half-blind piano virtuoso. His technique at the keyboard
was unparalleled. He was the complete master of the instrument. Perhaps
more than any other artist did he influence jazz pianists.
"Earl Hines, who brought a fresh approach to the jazz piano. In
discovering new dimensions to this instrument, he helped establish the
jazz pianist as a solo artist.
"Jack Teagarden, whose trombone was the first to offer more than the
gutsy, barrel-house sound. He brought unprecedented warmth and deep
feeling to this instrument. With his arrival from the Southwest, a new
style of trombone playing came into being.
"Gene Krupa, the first to bring the drums into prominence...Fletcher
Henderson, whose imaginative arrangements did so much to popularise
jazz... Lionel Hampton, of limitless energy and fire, who was the first
to lift the vibraphone to a position of stature in the world of
jazz...Sidney Bechet, master of the soprano saxophone, who for three
decades has kept alive the New Orleans tradition... Ella Fitzgerald, a
jazz singer of consummate taste, remarkable range and brilliant style.
Her warmth and talent reach out to millions who would otherwise be
strangers to jazz...
"These - and the many unwritten about - have contributed much to the
richness of our lives.
"Jazz has come a long way. In the beginning it was frowned upon by
"respectable" people. It was the music of gamblers and their women...of
night-lifers...of the half-world...of the wretched and the dispossessed
who lived on the razor's edge of life.
"Today it is accepted as the music of all America - and of much of the
world. Its language is universal...it speaks in the tongue of joy and
In message <3EB73953.40906 at bealenet.com>, fred spencer
<drjz at bealenet.com> writes
>Jack Tracy was Leonard Feather's co-author of "Laughter from the Hip.
>The Lighter Side of Jazz", published in 1963 by Horizon Press, and
>reprinted in 1979 by Da Capo, which has no further information about
>him in the"blutb". Regards.
>JimDBB at aol.com wrote:
>>In a message dated 5/5/2003 5:00:34 PM Central Standard Time, JackleeT
>>>Feisty as ever, always on the lookout for injustice, accessible to
>>>anyone who says hi, Studs is a treasure--he has made a big mark on
>>>the city he loves.
>> Where do I know the name, Jack Tracy, from? Weren't you, aren't you
>>a jazz critic-writer or entertainment writer?
>> Jim Beebe
>>Dixielandjazz mailing list
>>Dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com
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