[JPL] SAX Heritage/Walter Becker blindfold

Rick McLaughlin rick at rickmclaughlin.com
Wed Aug 9 23:33:36 EDT 2006

Hey Rick,

At the risk of getting myself into the middle of something bordering on
ugly, well, let me get myself into the middle of something bordering on

I have lurked on this list for a couple of years now, participated now and
again, and have really enjoyed the many interesting conversations about
music and yes, even those rare jazz programming conversations.  I even like
playlists if you can believe it.  Part of what makes this such an
interesting group is the wide range of individuals contributing - radio
programmers, critics, musicians, fans - tons of people who love the music
but view it from different angles.  Oddly, these angles have sometimes
massive ramifications.  I fall into the musician category, and here's how I
read the points you have listed below:

 - Demonstrative bite - I read this as "they are great pop artists but not
jazz musicians."  The whole paragraph reads that way.  This is something of
an important distinction to a jazz musician, as it turns out.

 - Pain in the ass studio musicians - Rick, I get that you are a fan, man,
and I'm psyched about that.  I know Harvey a little and respect him
immensely and I can tell you that any musician who has worked in the studio
as much as Harvey can tell the difference between cats who are easy to work
with, and well, those who aren't.  If he says it was rough to work with
them, I buy it hook-line-and-sinker.  Of course I would still totally love
to work with them - guys?  Donald?  Walter?  You there?  Need a bassist?
Really.  Yes I know you prefer that funny-looking sideways kind - what do
they call it?  "Electric bass?"  What a funny name.  But seriously - call

 - Re: your thing about W.C. Fields et al - man, I gotta say I just
personally did not connect with the point you were trying to make and, for
me, I even found it a wee bit offensive.  You know, go for it if you think
that's the right stuff to be saying and if it helps you make some kind of
point, but again, for me, this just did not resonate.

 - Re: your Grossman comment, "it took him quite a while to master the
instrument" - Miles was no dummy and Grossman is no dullard.  Grossman got
the gig because he could play and that's that (ok, historically speaking,
that may not be entirely that, but it's a conversation for another day).
"Screeching" as you called it, as it turns out, is a matter of opinion.  I
happen to like Grossman's playing on that record, and it has nothing to do
with his "mastery" of the instrument.  I think he plays some great,
interesting music and find it refreshing that it's something different.
Man, you are totally entitled to your opinion, I respect that.  On the other
hand, I would personally feel uncomfortable wielding phrases like "master
the instrument."  Just seems a bit on the rough side, and, you know I don't
really know your musical background, but I can say that I know quite a few
musicians who would feel as if your "mastery" comment, well that you are not
exactly qualified to make such a statement, you dig?  I mean, hey, you may
be the most burning guy in 12 states and I just missed that, and if I did,
sorry about that.  But even as a musician, I have to say that I just
personally wouldn't feel right about making a comment like that, especially
about someone who plays as incredibly as Grossman.  

 - Re: "Jazz snob" - Right.  Funny.  Sure.  Very funny.  Yep.  Oh, right -
it was part of your comedy routine!  Ok, now I get it.  Are you taking that
one on the road with you?

Ok, so the Dan, as it turns out, are funny.  I'm sure that Walter was
playing to the audience and trying to get a few laughs in the interview, and
well, I can imagine Lorraine laughing at several of the comments.  But
seriously, did you see the letter to Luke Wilson from Donald and Walter?
Now that's funny!  "Luke, could you do us a petite solid?"  Man.  Classic.


Rick McLaughlin

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