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June 19, 1957

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Take One Concert, Shake Well. . .



GOD, it's hot! I'm sitting here knocking down a container of iced coffee (America's most controversial and worst prepared summer drink) while trying to jell a few coherent thoughts on last Saturday's jazz concert. It isn't easy, and the heat isn't the only reason this is so. Every time I get myself involved in a thing of this sort, I come away with a montage of impressions that range all the way from brief film-clips of hordes of the backstage hangers-on who seem to infest all jazz shows being for once tossed out on their duffs, to herds of grandstanding photographers who likewise show up at all these affairs and who seem to think jazz was created to be a subject for low-key black-and-whites. I ran into one zealot festooned with Leicas who came backstage to complain that the "photographers" weren't allowed on stage. I asked him why he doesn't try the same stunt at the Met or a legit show or perhaps a recital at Town Hall, and also whether he didn't feel that his 35mm plague actually hurt the audience's enjoyment of the show. His answer was a piercing sniff and a comment to the effect that what the audience felt was entirely irrelevant. I've worked enough shows to realize that this is one of the most effective ways for a freebee to parlay a $1.10 seat in the bleachers into a spot just below the stage apron, where he remains rooted throughout the evening six rows in front of the poor fools who shelled out $5.90 per and who are now getting a fine view of a drugstore plastic gadget bag and endlessly bobbing pinheads. I have no objection to legitimate photo coverage of those events by authorized people, but I do resent very much the "amature" clickers who swarm like flies at a hog-killing every time a tenor-man opens his case. I know of at least two clowns (husband and wife) who always buy the cheapest seats they can get. They never sit in them, though, since they immediately plant themselves directly below the apron and swing their unloaded $4 Japanese cameras into the approved position. They both loathe photography, but they like front seats. Got, it's hot! The concert went over well, I think. However, it must be made very clear that neither myself nor The Voice is in the jazz business. Last fall when Ed Fancher and I got into a casual conversation over a pizza one night about things we would enjoy doing, a plan for a whole series of informal fiascos began to loosely evolve. The jazz shows have only been the beginning events. Actually, all we do is to think of something we would enjoy seeing ourselves, and then we try to organize it so we can. We also charge prices we would want to pay at the box office. Naturally, we haven't made much money, but we did hear Billie Holiday. There has been talk about doing the same thing in other fields, such as theatre. If you have any ideas about what you would like to see or hear at reasonable prices, let us know. It was great hearing the "Little Orphan Annie" theme song rocking out over Seventh Avenue at 2am. Which reminds me - try a glass of cold milk, a jigger of vodka, one teaspoonful of Ovaltine, one teaspoonful granulated sugar, crushed ice. Briskly shake in Orphan Annie Shakeup Mug. It makes even Daddy Warbucks seem benevolent.


Copyright: 1957 The Village Voice

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