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Jazz writer Ira Gitler has passed. #2977243
02/24/19 04:25 AM
02/24/19 04:25 AM
Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 6,194
Glendale, Ca.
D
Dave Ferris Offline OP
MP Hall of Fame Member
Dave Ferris  Offline OP
MP Hall of Fame Member
D

Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 6,194
Glendale, Ca.
I read on the great NYC pianist Michael Weiss' Face book page the sad news. He posted a remembrance :
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In November of 1999, to celebrate the publication of Ira Gitler's updated Encyclopedia of Jazz (with Leonard Feather) there was a party held in his honor at the home of Henry Luce III, the philanthropist and son of the founder of Time Magazine.

Ira hired me to play solo piano. The Luce home was a duplex on Sutton Place. The elevator opened directly in their apartment - you get the picture. Before I played a note, it wasn't long before I saw that the guests were a who's who of jazz Ė Randy Weston, Hank Jones and Max Roach are the ones I remember, but there were many more.

In the middle of one room conspicuously sat the grand piano which I was supposed to play. As the evening progressed, all of these great musicians including the aforementioned pianists were milling around socializing and none of them were going near the piano. I knew that if I sat down to play the room would get quiet, so it felt very awkward to break the groove of the party, plus I was scared to death.

After a while Ira's wife Mary Jo said "when are you going to play!!" Ira was very cool and understood my trepidation. After awhile I sat down to play and Ira requested anything by Bud Powell, so I proceeded with a medley of Bud. I finished with Parisian Thoroughfare then got up from the piano. I turned around and standing a few feet behind me, his arms crossed and with a very serious expression, was Max Roach! To this day I have no idea what he was thinking.
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I've read countless liner notes, reviews and interviews over the year by Mr. Gitler and he one of the most astute, informed, yet down to earth and accessible writers on the music I've ever read. In the link below it was said he had written over 700 liner notes for albums dating back to the Prestige label in the early '50s.

He was there on the scene for the birth of Be Bop with Bird, Diz, Monk and Bud. I can't begin to imagine all the music he has heard, plus all the legends he has known and hung out with.

An excellent video from his 2017 Jazz Master NEA award a few years back.
https://www.arts.gov/video/nea-jazz-masters-tribute-ira-gitler

He lived, loved and championed the music ! RIP.

KC Island
Re: Jazz writer Ira Gitler has passed. [Re: Dave Ferris] #2977245
02/24/19 04:38 AM
02/24/19 04:38 AM
Joined: Sep 2011
Posts: 7,598
S. Ca. USA
I-missRichardTee Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member
I-missRichardTee  Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Joined: Sep 2011
Posts: 7,598
S. Ca. USA
Did he invent the descriptive expression, "sheets of sound"?


You don't have ideas, ideas have you
We see the world, not as it is, but as we are. "One mans food is another mans poison". I defend your right to speak hate. Tolerance to a point, not agreement
Re: Jazz writer Ira Gitler has passed. [Re: I-missRichardTee] #2977251
02/24/19 07:28 AM
02/24/19 07:28 AM
Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 2,540
athens, greece
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yannis D Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member
yannis D  Offline
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Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 2,540
athens, greece
I remember some of his iconic liner notes i used to read before i even put the record on. It's a special talent to put the listener into the mood even before his actually listens to the music itself.
Writing about music -contrary of what Frank Zappa said...- is a very important thing to do and requires knowledge, talent, vision and persuasion.
RIP


Be grateful for what you've got - a Nord, a laptop and two hands
Re: Jazz writer Ira Gitler has passed. [Re: yannis D] #2977286
02/24/19 01:37 PM
02/24/19 01:37 PM
Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 4,123
Redondo Beach, CA
zephonic Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member
zephonic  Offline
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Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 4,123
Redondo Beach, CA
As a youngster in Europe, liner notes and reviews were an essential part of bringing the world of Jazz to life in my imagination. I didnít live in America, but the writings of folks like Ira Gitler, Orrin Keepnews and Stanley Crouch definitely added visuals and context to the music and musicians they described.

RIP Ira Gitler.


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