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WELCOME

If this is your first visit, welcome to my blog of memories and observations. If you wish to be notified of new posts, enter an e-mail address above, and click on "Submit." As we move through a seventh year of this venture, I thank all who have made regular visits, as well as fellow bloggers who have found Stomp Off worth linking to. Doing this sort of thing is time-consuming, but I try to post fresh material at least once a week—let me know what you think. There is a Commentary option at the end of each post and a Guest Book can be reached by scrolling down and clicking on the quill image. I welcome your observations, reaction and/or suggestions in either spot—or both. As for blog content, the most current posts are on the home page, starting at the top. Earlier items are listed by month, year and title in the archive index. To zero in on a particular key word or subject, use the search option that is located directly beneath the blog's masthead. Most images can be enlarged with a mouse click, and there are links to some of my favorite blogs, etc. Since visitors have come from 150 countries, a translator with numerous languages is located below. You can at any time revert to English with a click at the top left of this page:

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12/8/08

A link to Olbermann's commentary on Obama's betrayal

Here is a link that will take you to Keith Olbermann's sad but excellent commentary on the latest Obama disappointment: his giving in to the GOP crooks and betrayal of the American people who listened to his empty words, placed their trust in him, and gave him their vote. Click here to go there.

Olbermann on Obama's betrayal (12/08/10)

The following commentary by MSNBC's Keith Olbermann was aired on December 7, 2010, a day when it became abundantly clear that President Obama has, indeed, sold the American people a pile of bullshit and adds betrayal to his history of hypocrisy. Like so many others, I am embarrassed to have given him my vote in 2000. He will never get another from me.


10/27/08

Keith Olbermann commentary- 10/27/2010: Parade of GOP and Tea Party lunatics.

This will stay here until Tuesday, when the polls close. If you thought the Bush years wrecked our country, you ain't seen nothing yet. I hope Stomp-off's non-American visitors bear with me for posting this, but if these hateful people take over the U.S. government, we will all have to suffer the consequences. If you do decide to watch this commentary, please be advise that it runs 20 minutes!


10/26/08

'tis Autumn

From my apartment's windows, Central Park (my front yard for nearly half a century) tells me that Autumn 2010 is here. The bridge seen just to the left of the cranes is the Triboro, now unwisely renamed the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge—I have yet to hear anyone call it that, however. Now, why did Mt. Sinai Hospital have to erect that eyesore of an unimaginative building? Click on the photo to enlarge it.

8/27/08

A SHAMELESS PLUG FOR MY BESSIE SMITH BOOK
Please click on Bessie to make readable.



7/22/08

KEITH OLBERMANN'S COMMENTARY ON THE
TEA POTTY"S SHERROD WITCH HUNT

Let us hope that this is brought to President Obama's attention.

6/29/08

Joya Sherrill 1927 - 2010

Joya Sherrill (1963 photo by Chris Albertson)

This evening (tuesday) I made a stop at one of my favorite blogs, Villes Ville, and learned the sad news thatI Joya Sherrill left us on June 28, 2010. You may recall that Joya sang with Duke Ellington's Orchestra off and on between 1942 and 1959. I took this photo of her in 1963, at a summer afternoon lawn party thrown by Jackie Robinson and his wife as a benefit to raise bail money for SNCC. Many performers were there, including Quincy Jones and Billy Taylor, The Dave Brubeck Quartet, and the Ellington Alumni Orchestra, led by Mercer Ellington. It is interesting to note that Villes Ville has a photo by LIFE taken on that same occasion. I was there with William B. Williams and a WNEW crew—we recorded the afternoon's music (big band, and all), but I didn't know what became of the tapes until 2013, when they were located in a "lost" box at the Royal Library in Copenhagen.

Here are two more photos from that afternoon. Willie B was the MC and you'll spot our host behind him.

William B. Williams and Jackie Robinson
(Photo by Chris Albertson)
WNEW disc jockey William B. Williams
(Photo by Chris Albertson)

6/17/08

Thought I would share this....

I went to my kitchen window just now (June 17, 2010) and liked the way this evening's sunset was treating my view. Here you see the Plaza Hotel with  the Chrysler Building on the left and the Empire State Building on the right. The front garden is, of course, Central Park. Click on picture  to enlarge it (and see how unfocused I was).

5/16/08

Glaser and Avakian re Kershaw (Readable size)

Here, in a more readable size, are the four letters that reference the $64,000. Click on images to enlarge them.





4/21/08

My one-night stand at WBAI tonight



If you have followed my posts regarding WBAI, you already know that I once worked there, became the manager, and left to go with the BBC. You will also know that I recently tuned in for the first time in many years and that I find much of what I heard to be cause for alarm. Why? Because WBAI is beginning to sound like other stations, rather than the alternative that Pacifica meant for its stations to be. Having thoroughly surfed the radio dial and found nothing of substance, pacifist Lewis Hill created the Pacifica Foundation shortly after WWII, and started KPFA-FM in Berkeley, California. The concept was unorthodox and simple: No commercials, no unreasonable time restrictions, just a live microphone for free discussions and disparate worlds of thought, a place from which emanated unbridled artistic and political expressions, a radio station unaffected by current trends or ratings. The impossible dream? Of course not...or was it? Today, WBAI is a little bit like a fine vintage of Chateau Mouton-Rothschild into which cherry Kool-Aid is being dripped. Albeit barely so, the wine is still discernible, but its bouquet is gone.

One might say that Bob Fass, who was first heard on WBAI in the early Sixties, is the personification of Lew Hill's concept. By the mid-Sixties, when I became the station manager, he had been fired by my predecessor, but that was a big mistake for Bob was born to be heard on WBAI. No other station would find acceptable his free-flowing ad-lib approach to broadcasting and no other host could come close to making that concept work as well as it has for almost half a century. Yes, Bob survived his firing. He heard my first Report to the Listener and concluded that my idea of broadcasting might differ from that of the former manager. He was right and, thus, reinstated as the station's voice in the night. Back then, we usually signed off at midnight and fired her back up in the morning. It was not the law, nor did it make much sense, so we shelved the Star Spangled Banner tape and became nocturnal.

Things have not gone smoothly for Bob in the past decades. He was arrested and placed on some kind of probation for something silly that displeased a clueless management or board, and he survived at least one coup, but he is still there, still not getting paid a penny for his work and still not appreciated by the ever-changing powers that be. Bob's show, Radio Unnameable, has not changed much except that it is more predictable than it used to be, but we can chalk that up to an era where things are more foreseeable. There was a time when people like Bob Dylan, Lenny Bruce, Arlo Guthrie, and most wanted radicals popped in to do things that only a Pacifica station would allow—sometimes things that only could be done on Bob's show. Actually, that term. "show," doesn't cover it—Bob turned his airtime into events, we used to call them "happenings," and how fitting a term that was!  

I've said enough here. I hope you can tune in tonight, April 22nd, at midnight (New York time) and hear me stumble down memory lane with Bob and whoever might pop in. Well, popping in isn't as easy as it used to be—now one has to produce an ID and get the nod from security, but I have my passport ready.

Whether you are in Times Square, Teaneck, Tacoma, Toledo, Tokyo, Timbuktu or Oz, you can hear Bob's Radio Unnameable at midnight on any Thursday, streaming around the globe at WBAI.org.

Of course you know it sounds best on a Mac!

2/28/08

Somniferous Oscar show



Monday, February 28, 2011

I thought Sunday night's Oscar Awards show was the most boring I have ever seen—and I have watched them for many years. The hosts were awful, he looked like he really didn't want to be there, she...well, what was that dreadful song she did so dreadfully?

The kids from Staten Island were pleasant, but the did not live up to the hype given them on New York stations. It was nice that Randy Newman won, but that song was weak compared to his earlier work, which I still love. Apropos love, there was Lena Horne, but YouTube amateurs could come up with a better tribute than the one they threw in there.

An afterthought—although it should not have been that: I was very pleased to see "Hævnen," a Danish film by Susanne Bier, receive the coveted statue. I have yet to see the film, but its on my list. Many years ago, when I lived in a downtown Copenhagen back house—past the garbage cans, three flights up, and a few blocks from the royal palace, Danish films were mostly ignorable. They had gone from Carl Dreyer's cutting edge (so to speak) "Joan of Arc" (starring Asta Nielsen), in the twilight of the silent era, to reach a nadir with "De Røde Heste" (the red horses) a film that starred—among others—a young actor with whom my mother had a brief fling, but that's all you need to know about that wasted celluloid. I lost interest in Danish films until 1987, when an Oscar went to, "Babette's Feast". It is based on a book by Isak Dinesen and it is as enjoyable today as it was  24 years ago. I get hungry just thinking about it.

Just my 2¢ worth.

1/27/08

A face in Central Park


Last night brought us more snow. When I looked down at Central Park this morning, I was greeted by a face. I thought I'd share it.


1/7/08

First snow of 2011


It's January 7, 2011 and Central Park has changed it's look, so I thought I'd share what I woke up to. A click on the image will give you a better look.

1/1/08

An apology...

They did not end up in the circular file! I apologize to visitors who wrote comments here in recent months and never saw them posted. I wondered why nobody had anything to say, but that turns out to have been my fault. This morning I discovered that nothing is posted unless I approve it, so I found and read all your comments (about 40), approving all but one, a spam. They are now all published where you placed them, and I will, little by little, respond to all that require an answer. Thank you all, very much. — Chris

The GO THERE archive

February 25, 2010
This is more a commentary than a recommendation. I am not quite sure what precipitated it—except that it has something to do with a recent discussion on jazz education—but one of my favorite fellow bloggers, Chris Rich, has suddenly decided to call it quits. The site, aptly named Brilliant Corners, is still running, kept alive by his friend and fellow poster, Matt Lavelle, who only gives a hint of what occurred.
Chris Rich is not someone I have ever met or spoken to, nor has it been long since I first stumbled upon his blog, but I have found his writing interesting in style as well as content. So, apparently have many other cyber nomads, for there is a mounting number of comments at Brilliant Corners.
I addd my own comment and, in so doing, checked the box that routes subsequent input to my mailbox, which is why I found one comment today that you will not see at Brilliant Corners. Mr. Lavelle obviously removed it. I have mixed feelings about the removal, although I have done the same when spammed or trolled, but I can understand Mr. Lavelle's decision. The comment in question is a typical hateful utterance from someone named Alan Kurtz, who may or may not still be writing for another jazz blog, Jazz.com. I will not quote from it, for there is nothing there of substance, but this sort of thing seems to be what Mr. Kurtz does. He comes off like a malcontent prig who delights in posting comments that say more about him than they do about the targets of his venom. I find it odd that he chooses to write about jazz, a subject that he clearly knows little about, stranger still is the fact that blog authorities have published his...well, someone called it "crap," and I'll go with that.
I join all who hope that Chris Rich has a change of mind.

January 24, 2010
Right now I highly recommend that you read a post on Chris Rich's blog, Brilliant Corners. This blog is consistently an interesting place to stop in for intellectual refreshment, but I find Chris's observations on "the Kelley Effect" to be particularly insightful. Please note that the Chris Rich piece to which I provided a link has been removed, apparently by the author. I wish I had preserved it.

In the pre-Marsalis/J@LC era, before corporate interests took some of the bombast out of live jazz enjoyment, we had in New York a wonderful community of great artists who represented both the past and the present. You didn't have to spend a fortune at Club Coca Cola or other cold tourist-oriented venues, you could hear the very best for a very reasonable price. Today, do you think you could catch a live show with even a fraction of the talent listed in the 1965 ad below? I don't think so. For that matter, could you even find so much genuine talent in one place today? Granted, we all made less money back then and the cost of living was considerably lower, but with the equivalent of four 2010 dollars in your pocket, don't waste time trying.
All this to lead into my next recommended link. It will take you to Marc Myers' excellent blog, JazzWax, where you will find a two-part 2008 interview with the late Art d'Lugoff, whose Village Gate was an eclectic, extraordinary breeding ground for talent. Here's the link, GO THERE!

Final comment on WBAI's Infomercial Marathon '10


Well, they finally ended their fund drive. The amateur doctors have taken their herbs and roots back to the village and one has to wonder if they didn't also make a deposit stop at their bank. This has in large part been a Guinness-worthy infomercial, dominated by a huckster named Natalie and—on the phone—her cigarette-voiced cohort, a Doctor Scott. They recorded this long, boring, "this is as good as it gets" pitch and replayed it morning, noon, and night. I wonder how much money the book and DVDs brought in, and how much of that went to WBAI? Perhaps all of it, perhaps these people are well-intentioned but misguided, but I have to wonder. Unlike early marathons, where the listeners knew at all times how things were going, there was no real accounting and the station never announced the final amount raised.


I commend David Rothenberg, Earl Caldwell, and some of the station's more serious hosts for not going the late night commercial route, and I hope management (if there is such a thing) re-evaluates the snake oil approach that for one month turned this important radio station into an unintended parody of everything its founders sought to counter.