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My new writing gig

Posted on December 7, 2020 at 18:08:56
John Marks

Posts: 6184
Location: Peoples' Democratic Republic of R.I.
Joined: April 23, 2000

FWIW & YMMV, I am now writing not only for my own blog The Tannhäuser Gate, I have a new online writing gig, believe it or not, for a car insurance company's media subsidiary.

Hagerty Insurance is the major insurance company for collector and special-interest cars. They have a very vibrant media operation. Their printed magazine is printed in press runs of 600,000 (according to their media kit).

My (online and emailed) columns will discuss various genres and styles of music in the context of Qobuz playlists I will be putting together. My first column covers jazz. The next two, female vocalists. The one after that, piano.

Putting together these lists is both fun, and it also is an object lesson in how idiosyncratic my own tastes are. I am amazed that nobody (so far) has dinged me for choosing three Creed-Taylor-produced albums in a row... but before you scream, please check out the albums. Hint: the first is "Jazz Samba."

Even if you already know all those albums, I think that taking a look at this column will be worthwhile, in that I bravely attempt a general definition of what "jazz" is. There are of course exceptions to every kind of rule, but, having a workable definition IMHO beats "Jazz is whatever you feel it is."




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RE: My new writing gig, posted on December 7, 2020 at 19:31:19

Posts: 136
Location: East Tennessee
Joined: July 8, 2000
June 10, 2007
Best of luck with your new gig. I'll have to check it out.

Nostalgia is history removed of the burdensome weight of reality


RE: My new writing gig, posted on December 7, 2020 at 20:36:08

Posts: 3734
Location: New Jersey
Joined: March 22, 2006
Great news John! I know you will do a superb job. The proof is already in the pudding.


Thanks!, posted on December 8, 2020 at 05:11:38
John Marks

Posts: 6184
Location: Peoples' Democratic Republic of R.I.
Joined: April 23, 2000
The Tommy Flanagan album is a treasure, as is the Aaron Diehl.

So far (fingers crossed) the Peasants With Pitch Pipes have not surrounded my dwelling while carrying Crucifixes, garlic bulbs, wooden stakes, and silver bullets, all because I recommend THREE albums produced by Creed Taylor.




RE: My new writing gig, posted on December 8, 2020 at 07:45:29

Posts: 1406
Joined: May 12, 2002
Haggerty does a very nice job with their magazine and other member updates. Cars, music and stereos will go together well!


My new writing gig, posted on December 8, 2020 at 08:49:55

Posts: 852
Location: AK
Joined: December 11, 2003
Wishing you every success and congratulations on scoring the gig.

May you save every decaying pipe organ in the United States.

Also hope you may receive a discount on your insurance.


RE: My new writing gig, posted on December 8, 2020 at 10:04:22

Posts: 90
Location: British Columbia
Joined: April 19, 2003
Thanks for this very nice and, as always, informative piece. I am just starting to appreciate jazz and this is a wonderful playlist. Your writing is as entertaining as always and I look forward to more examples from your new gig.



Then, you are exactly the kind of reader I was writing for!, posted on December 8, 2020 at 12:55:16
John Marks

Posts: 6184
Location: Peoples' Democratic Republic of R.I.
Joined: April 23, 2000
Thanks so much.

One of the nicest bits of praise I ever received was, after I presented violinist Arturo Delmoni in recital at the First Baptist Church in America, the head of libraries at Roger Williams University came up to me, and about my mini-lecture before the recital, he said, "You really are a natural-born teacher!"

As destiny would have it, it's really the best I can do at repaying my mentors and teachers in music. Dunno about "natural-born," but for 26 years I was a visiting lecturer at Thomas More College in NH. I might have been just visiting, but I don't think anyone ever could have accused me of "phoning it in."

The next two Hagerty Media columns will be annotated playists of Female Vocal, and the one that follows will be Piano.

Thanks for reading and listening,



RE: My new writing gig, posted on December 10, 2020 at 12:10:28
Posts: 885
Location: Maine
Joined: August 16, 2011
Hi John,
Congrats on your new gig!
I need some help in the Jazz area. I don't know if you remember these little green catalogs you would get in the mail, Mapleshade.This was a company,still around on the web,that sold Jazz cd's and various audio tweeks. Never saw any stuff on Stereophile,but I think I should thank Stereophile for putting them on their mailing list if thats how it works.
I bought a few of their cd's and my turntable projects ceased.The sound was so good I gave the sampler to a buddy at New England Music in Scarboro Maine.They loved it and used it for demos.
It looked like a couple of album covers on your message might have been in that catalog.So what I'm trying to say is I need some Jazz tips on what to get because these cd's are incredible! I am going to try to get the site for you here but it's easy to find.If not here where is your new gig again.......thanks alot Mark Korda


RE: My new writing gig, posted on December 10, 2020 at 12:18:49
Posts: 885
Location: Maine
Joined: August 16, 2011
John,, the last ones a town, Mark


Best Wishes John (nt), posted on December 10, 2020 at 20:25:06
Bill the K

Posts: 7895
Joined: June 3, 2006



Thoughts on the origins/definition of jazz, posted on December 11, 2020 at 15:53:09
Brian H P

Posts: 765
Location: Oregon
Joined: December 18, 2012
Wynton Marsalis once observed that the ONLY major features distinguishing jazz from other improvisational musics are the swing beat and the consistent use of the the minor third and seventh "blue notes" in the melody.

Ragtime was a major ancestor, but not the only one. What happened in New Orleans, in the years right before and after WWI, was a fortuitous collision of several musical styles. Ragtime was well established as a sophisticated urban piano style. But then there were the rural guys who heard they could earn better money portering on the docks than chopping cotton -- THOSE were the guys who brought the blues to town, and started the first jug bands. Military marching bands provided a template for the early jazz brass bands, and before long just about every volunteer fire dept. and fraternal lodge had its own marching band -- because in New Orleans, everybody loves a parade. Cajun and Creole folk styles found their way into the mix, as did the influence of Gospel singing. European influences -- particularly in the use of counterpoint -- were always in the background.

And thus it all came together -- and continues to come together, as jazz is a mighty river fed by numerous tributaries. Musicians with open minds and ears have always understood that genres are fluid things which slop over into each other, and have always done their best to steal one another's best tunes and licks.


RE: Thoughts on the origins/definition of jazz, posted on December 12, 2020 at 09:28:45
Posts: 885
Location: Maine
Joined: August 16, 2011
Hi Brian, that Jazz explanation was better than the Ken Burns team! I like this certain music and I can't classify it; It is the music they used to play on the old NFL high lights . John Facenda was the narrator. I have the record but woudl like t find similar had a lot of baritone you remember?......Mark


Thanks for your contribution; I was way over my word limit, as it was, posted on December 13, 2020 at 09:48:11
John Marks

Posts: 6184
Location: Peoples' Democratic Republic of R.I.
Joined: April 23, 2000

Thanks for reading and thanks for your contribution.

Of course you raise valid points, but I was pressed for space.

The overlap between "the Blues" (whatever those are) and jazz is a very fruitful area for scholarship and therefore incomplete agreement. I plan to leave that at that.

You do mention one area that I have done a certain amount of research in, which the prevalence of brass instruments in a lot of jazz--"way back when," more recently, and now.

That too is complicated. There is an entire field of Musicology about Public Music, and much scholarship about the phenomenon of Brass Bands. I have seen a statistic that at the turn of the 19th to the 20th centuries, there were 30,000 brass bands in the US. Rhode Island seems to have been a hotspot, with cornet player Bowen R. Church memorialized by a statute in the largest public park in Providence.

One fact or factoid I have seen reported but I have never seen any primary documents supporting it is that at the end of the Civil War, the United States decided to ship all the war-surplus materiel all over the country, but that, perhaps because of lack of effective management communication, in cases at least, a city would receive a massive shipment of one category, such as blankets, and nothing else. Which then required unwinding.

Supposedly, that story goes, New Orleans got the lion's share of post-Civil-War Union Army brass band instruments, so the price of brass instruments in New Orleans was very low, hence the low cost of entry to a brass-instrument playing career.

I go (or I used to go) to musicological conferences, and in theory I could research this one, but, most journals don't want to be the first to publish an "independent scholar" whose formal credentials are in a different discipline.

One last point: at one of the last conferences we attended, there was a fascinating paper (I could not get to the presentation) about how in the late 19th century, bourgeoise Black families particularly valued music teachers for their children who either had been educated in Germany, or, even better, had been born in Germany.

After all, America's most feted opera singer of the 19th and early 20th centuries was Sissieretta Jones. She studied at the Boston Conservatory, and graduated from the New England Conservatory.

Three moves ago, I often used to walk past her unmarked pauper's grave--which since has been given a marker.

(BTW, "The Black Patti" is intended to draw an equivalence between Ms. Jones and Adelina Patti, the foremost soprano of the day. Kinda like saying, "John Marks is 'The Irish Pavarotti,'" (which he is not). Ms. Jones did not at all like the comparison; it was not something she would ever have said about herself. Welcome to the opera business, kid. Which omits a sad fact: Sissieretta Jones only sang in recital. She never appeared in an opera performance in the US because of Jim Crow laws, and therefore, she only sang in concert in Europe, from lack of experience in fully-staged, acted-out operas. Also, even though she lived well into the Gramophone era, she refused to record. I assume she doubted she'd ever get paid, or she feared that records would lessen demand for live recitals.)




RE: My new writing gig, posted on December 25, 2020 at 08:02:22

Posts: 1510
Location: Florida
Joined: January 11, 2004
Congrats Mark

Great gig with Hagerty

I have a company that formulates all-natural remedies for dogs and cats. Tons of power testimonials. I have written a lot of articles on why pets get sick and how to get them better, naturally. Since most people have dogs and cats, these could be well viewed articles


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