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deltdrum 03-09-2011 02:24 AM

Cool School Project Please Help!
 
So for one of my classes at U of I, I have to do a research project on Jazz from the 50's and 60's. It doesn't really have any requirements, but the main point of the project is to introduce the class to the school library's archives (the Leonard Feather Jazz Collection). There's all kinds of stuff down there ranging from Ella Fitzgerald's handwritten letters to Lionel Hampton's personal vibes.

So I was just curious, what would be the first thing that you guys would start digging through to write about? I'm nothing special when it comes to writing, but I figure that it might be cool to work on something that a fellow drummer suggested...

toddbishop 03-09-2011 02:59 AM

Re: Cool School Project Please Help!
 
It's hard to say without knowing what's there- I would just root around until you find something you feel like you can write about. As for the actual writing part, 90% of the work is stating the obvious- identifying your idea, doing your research, and making a simple description of it. My problem was always feeling like I needed to provide some major insight, but it really isn't necessary. Just tell people what's there, along with any little ideas that occur to you as you do the work.

GRUNTERSDAD 03-09-2011 03:06 AM

Re: Cool School Project Please Help!
 
start by telling everyone what you thought Jazz was all about in the 50's and 60's. Then after doing your research, tell them what you found that opened your eyes.

deltdrum 03-09-2011 05:06 AM

Re: Cool School Project Please Help!
 
Oh I will have no problem getting something on paper. What I meant was, if you had access to one of the worlds largest jazz archives, what would be the first thing you would start hunting for?

IDDrummer 03-09-2011 05:14 AM

Re: Cool School Project Please Help!
 
Well, they have the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival there every year. Maybe you could find out how Lionel came to be such a big influence at University of Idaho. I've often wondered that, myself, though I never took the time to explore it. Idaho isn't really known as a hotbed of cultural diversity, so it seems interesting to me.

DrumEatDrum 03-09-2011 05:26 AM

Re: Cool School Project Please Help!
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by deltdrum (Post 812106)
Oh I will have no problem getting something on paper. What I meant was, if you had access to one of the worlds largest jazz archives, what would be the first thing you would start hunting for?

Personally, I'd be looking for anything with Zutty Singleton and others who were among the 1st known drum set players on record.

But that's is more dealing with the 20s/30s than 50s/60s.

deltdrum 03-09-2011 11:55 AM

Re: Cool School Project Please Help!
 
God we had an identical assignment (without archives though) on the 20's and 30's earlier this year. That would have been fun to do..

mattsmith 03-09-2011 12:39 PM

Re: Cool School Project Please Help!
 
I would write a paper to directly correspond to Feather himself who has info all over the Internet. His 50-60s history was never especially cutting edge. He was even dismissive of some of the bebop music continuing to record instead Ellington, Louis Armstrong and others like it was still the late 1930s. In fact it could be said that he sided with a counter movement of jazz critics who thought the bebop guys weren't really playing jazz and that jazz ended with swing. Especially telling is Feathers all time top ten who include mostly older guys, although some like the incredible pianist Art Tatum deserve every bit of recognition they can get. He was off and on with Miles Davis who hated his guts, never got Coltrane or Ornette Coleman and would take Buddy Rich and Jo Jones over Tony Williams any day (his opinions). There just wasn't any changing this guy's view once it was already there. And he would state his opinions forcefully and didn't care what anyone thought. Personally I agree with about 35% of his overall jazz view, although the guys he really likes were great iconic musicians.

IMO I would write the paper following Feather's own path during that time. This includes his production relationships with Ella Fitzgerald (see Norman Granz) his blues compositions and strong professional relationship with Dinah Washington and the other collaborations with Billie Holiday and Sarah Vaughn. His favorite player of that era was probably still the saxophonist Lester Young, although most of his best work had been in the late 1930s with Count Basie. He was confused by Dave Brubeck although he loved Desmond and he followed Duke Ellington to the end.... and wrote liner notes for several of Buddy Rich's albums including Mercy Mercy. He loved the Pacific Jazz Rich band.

A key year in your paper would be 1959. Holiday and Young both died that year, and he made his peace with Miles when Kind of Blue came out although Miles still wanted him to die. This was also when he sent his very famous History of Jazz to the publishers.

Yeah follow Feather's path during this period and your paper will be the cool one in the class. Everybody else will Wiki hard bop like mad and none of that had much to do with Feather.

toddbishop 03-09-2011 06:49 PM

Re: Cool School Project Please Help!
 
He's the guy who said Cecil Taylor "could've achieved an equivalent effect using a sledgehammer", or something like that. A lot of people wouldn't disagree, but you want your writers to look a little deeper than that, so I never read him much. You could attack his shortcomings, but you might learn more if you try to figure out what he did know, and write about that.

mattsmith 03-09-2011 11:24 PM

Re: Cool School Project Please Help!
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by toddbishop (Post 812333)
He's the guy who said Cecil Taylor "could've achieved an equivalent effect using a sledgehammer", or something like that. A lot of people wouldn't disagree, but you want your writers to look a little deeper than that, so I never read him much. You could attack his shortcomings, but you might learn more if you try to figure out what he did know, and write about that.

Yeah I have never liked his criticism so much. There certainly wasn't much objectivity there and he was as close minded as they come. Nowadays he reads more like a tabloid. But I was thinking that if this is about the Feather Archives, then it would be cool to center on the icons that crossed Feather's path during that time and whose stuff might be found there. Nothing wrong with learning more about Holiday, Vaughn and Young.


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