Heroes: Musicians and Their Influences

From our our archives, here’s an interesting item from June 18, 2004.

If you’re looking for a good read, pick up the July issue of Downbeat. It’s being promoted as the “70th Anniversary Collector’s Edition” and the focus is a feature called “Our Heroes” in which more than 70 musicians talk about their primary influences. Here are a few highlights:

 Sonny Rollins on Coleman Hawkins: “I first saw him play on 52nd Street. I used to put eyebrow pencil on my lip to make a fake mustache so I could get in. We’d stand in the back, and it was like looking at a god playing.”

 Joe Zawinul on Art Tatum: “He always sounded like two piano players. The story goes like this:

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Record Stores, A Birthday, And Some Nostalgia

I miss record stores. There was a time, living here in the New York area, I could sneak out of my office at lunchtime and visit a different record store every day of the week, for several weeks without repeating myself. Just in my area of Long Island and Queens, there was Titus Oaks in Hicksville and Huntington and, if I wanted to be adventurous, Brooklyn; and Radio City in Hempstead, and later another one in Hempstead; and Infinity in Wantaugh; and several Mr. Cheapos; and a guy named Kenny who had one on Union Turnpike in Fresh Meadows and another on Hillside Avenue in Jamaica; and one on Northern Boulevard in Little Neck, and several more, whose names and locations are all muddled together in my memory. Read more

Song For My Father

A Jazz Memoir By Al Perlman

Jazz was always in my life. It was my father’s great love. I grew up in a tiny first-floor garden apartment in Bayside, Queens, five of us with one bathroom, a small kitchen, two bedrooms, two closets, a living room and another family living in equally cramped quarters directly above us. There wasn’t much space and my mother made it even smaller by banning us from the living room. This was our “show” room to be kept in pristine condition and used only when we had guests: We weren’t permitted to sit in it or talk in it or eat in it or do anything in it. My mother kept plastic on the furniture and took it off only when there was company. The one exception was when my father was home and wanted to listen to jazz. That’s where he had his great big Fisher console with the hi-fi and radio.  Read more

The Gift Of Hindsight

One of the pleasures of having an extensive jazz collection is that it gives you the opportunity to go back and review the history of jazz in real time, as it was happening. This is particularly the case when you look at old issues of Downbeat or Metronome, or review old liner notes, an art form that began approaching extinction with the advent of the compact disc format. In any case, allow me to share some interesting stuff from my archives.


Downbeat, January 18, 1962

Review: John Coltrane, Africa/Brass, Impulse 6


This record was a departure for Coltrane: The first time he ever played with a brass section. It is now regarded as a classic, rightfully so, particularly the title cut, which makes up the entire first side of the album. At the time, however, the Downbeat reviewer, Martin Williams, didn’t see it that way.  He gave it only two stars, out of a possible five. Here’s a sample from the review:

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The Value of A Reliable Dealer

As promised, we spent the past couple of days catching up on eBay, looking ahead and looking back. Here are some of the items we’re watching over the next couple of days:

Curtis Fuller, Volume 3, Blue Note 1583

We take note any time we see an item from the Jazzrecordcenter for two main reasons: (1) They are probably the premier jazz dealer in the world and (2) Because they sell with integrity, knowledge and credibility. In addition to this Curtis Fuller LP, click “View Seller’s Other Items” for some more nice records, including George Wallington, The Prestidigitator, East-West 4004 and Read more

Infinity Records on Long Island — A Favorite



            Went to my favorite local record store the other day, Infinity Records on Long Island, and walked away with some nice things. Joey, the owner, always seems to be able to find nice jazz and he’s usually fair and reasonable with the prices. He also knows what he’s doing, unlike some dealers who rely on outmoded and outdated price guides and wind up dramatically overpricing records. Anyway, I hadn’t been to the store in a few weeks, so there was a lot of new stuff to choose from. Here are some of the morsels I bought: Read more

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