Ralph J. Gleason’s Legacy Honored

Looking back on where my music influences are derived from, I reflect upon the insightful music journalism of Ralph J. Gleason. His writings were lucid and authoritative nurturing the broader base of my music foundation. He created an increased dimensionality to grow my literary and sonic self with exponentiation. I marvelled at how engaging his interpretations were of both jazz/rock artists and their music. I discovered Ralph J. Gleason within the pages of Rolling Stone Magazine. He produced a spontaneity that has never been equalled in my music reading lifetime.

gleason-203x300Ralph J. Gleason was the Rembrandt who portrayed the San Francisco music scene with a rich set of oil paints that added texture and substance to the panorama. I admired his brushstrokes as he painted what was transpiring at The Fillmore West and elsewhere in the city. He transported me to a place I wanted to be an essential part of, where music melded with counter-culture.

I deeply appreciated his extensive knowledge of jazz. When I minored in music at the University of New Haven from 1972-1974 it was his liner notes for the Miles Davis, Bitches Brew album among his other writings that raised my level of jazz consciousness.

I am honored to share with my readers that today, May 24th, 2016 we are blessed with two major anthologies of Ralph J. Gleason’s written works (see below). I will be reviewing both of these books in the next few weeks. I will report back to you what I garner from favorite articles and topics anew.

I smiled broadly when  Steve Wasserman, Executive Editor at Large for Yale University Press told me on the phone, “what a labor of love it was to put together Ralph J. Gleason’s cannon of work…for a new generation to discover and interpret”. It is a result of the long term friendship between Steve and Toby Gleason this book is realized.

I anticipate the innate pride of Ralph J. Gleason’s son, Toby Gleason the accomplished editor and curator of his father’s music(plus more) treasure chest (1950-1975).

Music in the Air, The Selected Writings of Ralph J. Gleason by Ralph J. Gleason, Toby Gleason, Jann Wenner and Paul Scanlon

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This book is a collection of the writings that appeared in his newspaper columns for The San Francisco Chronicle, the alternative magazine Ramparts and some from his “Perspectives” column in Rolling Stone (which he co-founded and contributed to until his death in 1975).

 

 

Conversations In Jazz: The Ralph J. Gleason Interviews by Ralph J. Gleason, Toby Gleason and Ted Gioia

During his nearly forty years as a music journalist, Ralph J. Gleason recorded many in-depth interviews with some of the greatest jazz musicians of all time. These informal sessions, conducted mostly in Gleason’s Berkeley, California, home, have never been transcribed and published in full until now.e2798d8e052085dfc34efddb2e8f6ee8

This remarkable volume, a must-read for any jazz fan, serious musician, or musicologist, reveals fascinating, little-known details about these gifted artists, their lives, their personas, and, of course, their music. Bill Evans discusses his battle with severe depression, while John Coltrane talks about McCoy Tyner‘s integral role in shaping the sound of the Coltrane quartet, praising the pianist enthusiastically. Included also are interviews with Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Rollins, Quincy Jones, Jon Hendricks, and the immortal Duke Ellington, plus seven more of the most notable names in twentieth-century jazz.

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Third Man Books Announces Definitive Book About The Stooges As Told By Iggy Pop

Jack White’s publishing company, Third Man Books will release a much-anticipated book, TOTAL CHAOS: The Story of The Stooges / As Told By Iggy Pop sometime this winter.

It was a rare privilege to sit with Iggy as he downloaded the story of The Stooges. He’s an incredible storyteller with a fantastic memory and a great sense of humor, and he held nothing back. The Stooges were pioneers in sound, look, and live presentation, and along the way invented a genre-punk rock-and influenced countless others that followed. There was no precedent in rock music for what they did. They’re definitely the only group in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame who started out playing an amplified Waring blender, a vacuum cleaner, spring water bottles and a 200 gallon oil drum.Jeff Gold, Author of 101 Essential Rock Records

The author team Jeff Gold, Johan Kugelberg and editor/contributor Jon Savage are among the most respected music authors and historians working today. Total Chaos will also feature contributions from Jack White, Joan Jett, Johnny Marr and Third Man’s Ben Blackwell. Now that’s what I call curation!

I can’t wait to get my hands on this essential rock book! Where is the pre-order link, Third Man Books? 😉

Ticket To Write Update

The documentary, Ticket TWrite:The Golden Age of Rock Music Journalism is finally being released. It will run on Alabama Public TV in April/May. Digital downloads and possibly DVDs should be available by summer.

This documentary film explores the Golden Age of rock music journalism, from Crawdaddy magazine to MTV (1966-81). A time I remember fondly as a voracious reader and music collector.

Here is the latest extended trailer.

 

 

EMP POP CONFERENCE 2016

If you want to get your music journalism geek on this is the event for you. The EMP Pop Conference 2016 will be held at the EMP Museum in Seattle, Washington, April 14-17, 2016.

The Pop Conference is free and open to the public. Registration opens March 4, 2016.

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The EMP Pop Conference returns with its biggest roster of presentations yet, looking at the ways music lets us hear voices: singers, to be sure, whether virtuosos or idiosyncratic originals, but also other types of vocalizing. How do instrumentalists insert their selves into their music? When the dominant voices in our songs change, what changes with that, from personal identity to collective messages? A switch in voice—from croon to rasp to rap to Auto-Tune—alters everything it reaches.

In dozens of panels, all free to the public (though we strongly recommend advance registration), we’ll explore musical voices across genre and time period: soul singers and rock singers, singers of exotica and Mexi-Cajun blues. Panels on goth-punk wailer Siouxsie Sioux, warbling rapper Future, and pop-rock duo Hall & Oates. Synthetic “vocaloids” and challenges to female decorum. Singing across lines of color. Good bad singing and bad good singing. Vocal coaching. Southern accents.

Support for the conference is provided by the University of Alabama College of Arts & Sciences, on behalf of the Department of American Studies.

Ninth Anniversary with WordPress!

I’m very proud blogging with WordPress these past 9 years. What a victory for open source computing and freedom of expression. Did you know that one out of every four Web sites in the world today runs on WordPress?

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Thanks for flying with us. Keep up the good blogging!

 

The History of Rock and Roll, Volume 1, 1920-1963 by Ed Ward – Flatiron Books

One of the first music journalists I encountered on a regular basis in Rolling Stone magazine was Ed Ward. I loved his insightful record reviews. He had a significant influence on my album purchases in 1970, which was a foundation year in rock music.

I found his reviews articulate and representative. He avoided the critic egotist personality in his writing. I can pretty much say Ed Ward was a what he wrote, I actually heard kinda guy.

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Ed Ward will be publishing a definitive work with Flatiron Press, The History of Rock and Roll, Volume 1, 1920-1963 sometime in the Fall of 2016. I’ve added his book to my “must have music journalist list”.

I’m looking forward to your labor of love Ed 😉

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Congratulations Dennis McNally, Winner: ASCAP Music Writing Award, 2015

Congratulations Dennis McNally! I am elated for you that you received the ASCAP Music Writing Award, 2015.

Your book, On Highway 61: Music, Race, and the Evolution of Cultural Freedom offers us an invaluable historic music perspective.

I’m adding your book to my purchase list. When the time comes I look forward to arranging for an autographed copy from you 🙂

Ticket To Write – The Golden Age of Rock Music Journalism

I recall the time when I was first seduced by rock music journalism. I soon became a voracious reader of publications like Rolling Stone, Creem and the East Village Other. Rock music writing influenced my record buying habits, concert attendance and what I listened to on the progressive FM radio dial.

Rock journalists such as Lester Bangs, Ed Ward, Cameron Crowe, and Greil Marcus expanded my consciousness. They added to the depth of my cultural understanding of rock and roll.

The documentary, Ticket To Write covers the fifteen year period from 1966 starting with Crawdaddy up until the MTV video age in 1981. Many of my favorite music journalists are interviewed, discussed and portrayed in this film.

I have been writing about music since 1973 and these authors are my true heroes. Rolling Stone Magazine is still with us, many of the 60-70’s music magazines are not. Today we live in an age where digital music companies like TIDAL HiFi and Apple Music curate music with notable authors. Greil Marcus and Robert Christgau continue to extend music journalism in electronic and book published form.

I’m thankful that Edward Turner (Producer) and Raul Sandelin (Director) followed their passion to create such a necessary documentary. Plan to read more about the film and the people bringing it to the screen, Road Ahead Productions in future blog posts.

Preston Lauterbach, Memphis Music Journalist

Walking in Memphis with my feet 10 feet off of Beale is fundamental to the successful completion of my bucket list.

Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee was officially declared the Home of the Blues by an act of Congress in 1977. “Walking in Memphis” is a song by American singer-songwriter Marc Cohn, from his self-titled 1991 album. It has always romanticized my soul to experience Memphis.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I happened upon a forthcoming book (3/30/15) by Memphis music journalist/historian, Preston LauterbachBeale Street Dynasty. The book’s subject matter establishes a sharp contrast to the general perceptions held about the most iconic street in America. (USA Today, National Poll)

Robert Church, who would become “the South’s first black millionaire,” he was a mulatto slave owned by his white father. Having survived a deadly race riot in 1866, Church constructed an empire of vice in the booming river town. He made a fortune with saloons, gambling, and—shockingly—white prostitution. But he also nurtured the militant journalism of Ida B. Wells and helped revolutionize American music through the work of composer W.C. Handy, the man who claimed to have invented the blues.

In charting the rise of Memphis, Lauterbach adds to the rich library devoted to the “old, weird America” established by writers such as Michael Ventura, Peter Guralnick and Greil Marcus.

 

 

Anil Prasad – Innerviews

Last year I wrote an A-Z Music Journalist series of posts. I kept wondering if there was a music journalist I was overlooking.

I finally discovered who that music journalist was so I am pleased to share his interview writings with you.

His name is Anil Prasad and he was the first music journalist to have an online music magazine, Innerviews in 1994.

Anil is profound in the scope and depth of music analysis. The musicians he interviews appreciate the research he conducts and the insightfulness of his questions

His interview writings are captured in an eBook, Innerviews: Music Without BordersThe eBook is available as a free download and may be shared and retransmitted under a Creative Commons Attribution, No Derivatives license.