Author Archives: john

Tristan und Isolde: A synopsis

In anticipation of seeing Tristan this September at the Met – with Nina Stemme singing and Simon Rattle conducting! – I’ve been studying the work, thoroughly, for the first time. I like to take different approaches to this, not just … Continue reading

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Village Person

Sometimes you get lucky, and it comes together: I am staying in a beautiful apartment in the far West Village in New York, seeing friends, hearing friends, and walking, walking, walking. Everything I’ve seen has been wonderful: Zorn and friends … Continue reading

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New translations of Karl Kraus

After decades of dribs and drabs, we are suddenly awash in English translations of Karl Kraus, the Viennese writer who’s been an on and off obsession of mine since I was a teenager. I became aware of Kraus through reading Schoenberg’s … Continue reading

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Take good care, Joey Baron and Harrison Birtwistle!

My favorite Boulez encomium so far is Gerald McBurney’s in The Guardian. http://www.theguardian.com/music/2016/jan/12/pierre-boulez-gerard-mcburney-a-pierre-dream Featuring this priceless bit: “Someone had told me on no account to mention Messiaen. So I did, and he immediately laughed, stopped and looked at me like … Continue reading

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Play Blue for Paul Bley

There’s a photo of Paul playing with Lester Young, and then of course the sessions with Bird in Montreal 1953, released on the Uptown label. The trio record with Mingus and Blakey. And then: The Hillcrest Club. “Fire Dave Pike!” … Continue reading

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Inside the mind of a record collector (it ain’t pretty!)

I didn’t realize that the recent Verve release The Complete Charlie Parker with Strings includes newly discovered alternate takes, that were not included in the big 10-CD Complete on Verve box! Why wasn’t I informed? How come when new Charlie … Continue reading

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We played here, we played there.

Actual Trio West Coast Tour poster Thank you to all the wonderful people and venues that hosted the Actual Trio on tour: the Bakersfield Jazz Workshop, Alex Cline and Steuert Liebig at the Open Gate series in L.A., Gregg Moore … Continue reading

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John Schotts are like bees: Pester one of us, the whole hive turns on you.

Thanks to Google Alerts, I have been summoned to the cause. Lenny & Larry – you have awakened a sleeping giant. True, having just been awakened, it’s somewhat groggy and only dimly aware of what’s going on, but after a … Continue reading

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Roberto Gastelumendi is making a guitar

 I met Roberto Gastelumendi through Dan Seamans. Robert is an innovative and virtuoso woodworker and builder; his furniture pieces, surfboards, skateboards, iPhone cases are like Hundertwasser designs in wood. This amazing creation is his first guitar, awaiting sanding, routing, and everything … Continue reading

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A little thought of no importance about Schoenberg’s Second String Quartet

(from my listening diary, and not fact-checked) December 31, 1936 (“I was hoping we could finish by 10:00 PM…”) Hollywood, CA; private recording produced by Alfred Newman Kolisch String Quartet: Schoenberg – Second String Quartet in F# minor, Op. 10 … Continue reading

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