Ben Ratliff interviews Bennie Maupin

When I heard about Ben Ratliff’s new book, in which he talks with jazz musicians about their reactions to recordings they listen to jointly, I was extremely excited.  And I will acquire and read the book.  But I hope that this video is not representative of the book’s contents:

fora.tv/2008/11/12/Ben_Ratliff_in_Conversation_with_Bennie_Maupin

In this video, Maupin provides almost no analysis of any of the recordings.  The conversation gets reduced to historical anecdotes and things like, “That blew me away.”  This was very disappointing, and if I had paid to hear this conversation, I would want my money back.  Maupin cannot possibly be as unanalytical as this, and Ratliff therefore did a poor job of leading the conversation.  If the problem is that of not wanting to get too technical, then the interviewer and interviewee need to consult with one another prior to the interview about how that problem is going to be addressed.  And I wonder if Maupin really takes Ratliff seriously.

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Les grandes bouches

We have just heard a wonderful concert by a jazz vocal group from Toulouse called “Les grandes bouches.”  They performed in our little nonprofit café spectacles called La Tannerie in Agen.  The concert was undersubscribed, but as is ususally the case with real professionals, the group seemed to take it in stride and to enjoy themselves.  It was a great privilege to hear them in such intimate surroundings.  The streets of downtown Agen were virtually deserted on this chilly and drizzling night in February.   You can hear the group on Myspace:

http://www.myspace.com/lesgrandesbouches

Perhaps the greatest group ever to sing in this genre of harmonized jazz was French, the great Double Six de Paris.  I don’t know how many similar French groups have intervened between les Double Six and Les grandes bouches.

Music is life; life is music.  Music is an international language.  I have always been moved by the popularity of jazz in France.  Quite by chance, the region of France in which we live, Gascony, became home to the biggest jazz festival in France, the Marciac Jazz Festival, which occurs in the small town of Marciac, in a very remote corner of our department of the Gers.  I sometimes think that we were drawn here by some magnetic force, because the availability of music that I love is quite disproportionate to the small population living here.  But this also attests to the greatness of jazz music.