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

Dr. Jazz drjazz at drjazz.com
Tue Jul 18 13:43:05 EDT 2006

Mike Zwerin replies:

The only one that got it was Dan Polletta.
That's exactly what I was trying to say. Miles and Bill Evans is another
good example of that. The white guy would have to be *much* better than any
black player who was available at that time and place - or at least *much*
closer to what that particular leader needed for his band of the moment -
for Sonny, Bird, or Miles to hire him. Otherwise it wouldn't be worth the
flack, and he might as well give the gig to a brother. Please tell Polletta
that I really appreciate his reaction. And my apologies to everyone else for
not expressing myself clearer.

At 11:47 AM 7/18/2006, you wrote:
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>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 
>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 
>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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