[JPL] Soccer Has Defenders, Jazz Has `Compers'

DPolletta at aol.com DPolletta at aol.com
Tue Jul 18 11:47:09 EDT 2006

In a message dated 7/18/2006 11:12:51 AM Eastern Daylight Time, 
Bobby.Jackson at ideastream.org writes:
Zwerin wrote and Sonny allegedly said,

"The importance Rollins gave to good comping can be illustrated by the
fact that Hall is white. It is reasonable to assume that any white
musicians hired to accompany top-quality African-American improvisers
are the best around."

Sorry Michael Zwerin and Sonny.  I'm lost on the significance that
because Hall is white makes him best to accompany top quality
African-American improvisors>

My GUESS (emphasis on word guess) is that just as Miles Davis took heat for 
hiring Bill Evans into this band instead of black pianist, Zwerin is inferring 
that Hall would have to have been particularly outstanding to be hired by 
Rollins, who MAY have been subjected to a similar criticism.from his fellow black 
musicians or fans.  Rollins would be able to rebuff the criticism by pointing 
out Hall's obvious skills, just as David did with Evans.  In his biography, 
Davis discussed how much comments from blacks about hiring a white pianist for 
his band hurt both him and Bill.  

I don't think the point that Zerwin is raising the idea  that Hall, by being 
white is a better comper. He is stating (I guess) that recalling the mood of 
the times, in which some black jazz musicians were accused of willfully 
excluding white players solely on because of their race, Rollins would be going out 
on a limb to hire a white player.  So if Sonny hired a white guy, he'd better 
be damn good.

Dan Polletta

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