Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history
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Way Out Walkout
A great many people walked out on Miles Davis and John Coltrane, two great men of music they had primarily come to see and hear, at last Saturday's jazz concert at Shrine Auditorium, thereby provoking a recurrent point of controversy in listener-ship.
The Miles Davis sextet was the main event of the evening, last on the program, eagerly awaited.
Without any formality they went into a way-out number. It went on and on, with Davis and Coltrane alternating on solo passages. After about 15 minutes a few people got up and left. Then more and more, particularly during Coltrane's solos. He probably blows more notes than any other saxophonist but they seemed meaningless and repetitious.
Most of those who got up and left doubtless felt that whatever it was the group was trying to convey wasn't coming through to them and they'd had it. After all, they'd applauded wildly for the polished, subtle Modern Jazz Quartet, which preceded them.
| A FEW FELT that Davis and Coltrane were throwing one away, that is, sloughing off, perhaps on the grounds that the audience consisted mostly of squares who didn't appreciate them anyway. |
Those who stayed, the majority of the 6,000 present, doubtless felt that those who'd walked out had been rude to a group of great artists who have the right to remain remote and can refuse, if they wish, to drop down to the level of ordinary people. The same thing can be said of certain painters and writers.
The aftermath of a concert is an interesting debate on whether an artist has a responsibility to his audience.
I don't know. In the realm of jazz, which I prefer to any other music, I don't insist that they play "Star Dust," but Coltrane lost me in his interminable blowing and I walked out too.
By the way, Sleepy Stein, who plays jazz records on KNOB, pointed out that there had been more jazz concerts in the last 90 days in the L.A. area than in the previous two years. It would be a shame to put a damper on the rise of a great institution. But they've got to cut those numbers shorter.
AHEM DEP'T -- A four page mimeographed announcement of the five weeks Peace Officers Basic Training School to be held in Riverside starting March 21 gives details on registration, costs, facilities and what to bring -- and, under general information, the line, "We assume no responsibility for lost or stolen articles."
RE THE MADNESS -- It hasn't happened yet but Seymour Mandel fears the time is near when someone will demand trading stamps with the premium received for turning in books of trading stamps . . . Paul Serote, who as director of the city schools payroll division disburses about $20 million a year, couldn't help noticing that the woman ahead of him at a market check-stand dumped her change in her purse without a glance, then held up the line while she counted her trading stamps to be sure she'd received the correct number.
SOMEONE somewhere, presumably, said it couldn't be done. Sending a limp paper napkin through the mail, I mean. Well, it can. It came through okay, addressed to me, the stamp canceled, the message intact: "Using a paper napkin for typing paper is like trying to cut your hair with a lawn mower." No name. But next time, please, no ketchup smudge. Bothers the postal clerks.
VOICE IN THE MOB
Chessman, Paar, what's all
What about the rest of us?
AT RANDOM -- Intake, the DWP employees' journal, reports a million to one shot. An unknown archer's arrow stuck in a 138,000 volt transmission cable near Laurel Canyon Blvd. and lineman John Wenzel had to scoot along the line on a rolling bosun's seat to remove it . . . Oops, the Citizen News yesterday had the headline "Ike Receives Warm Welcome in Chile."
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