August 9, 2006

News & Opinion: Listening to S***

By: Jack @ 3:14 PM – Filed under: Innovation & Creativity

A while ago the WSJ had an article about John Hammond. For you non-music folks John Hammond literally discovered some of the greatest talents of the twentieth century. Little known people like Billy Holiday, Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, Count Basie, Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Ray Vaughan. This guy was there at the beginning of some great music, for example In two consecutive work days in the fall of 1933, Bessie Smith made the last records of her career and 17-year-old Billy Holiday made the first. Each session was produced by Hammond, then 22. What were you doing when you were 22?
How did Hammond find these people? Again, I quote Years before, I once asked Benny Goodman what it was like to be with John at those moments when you first heard Billy Holiday, Lester Young, or Charlie Christian. Goodman seemed amused at my naivet. We listened to an awful lot of s*** too, he said with a smile. Did John ever tell you that? How much s*** have you listened to today to find the next big thing? I know I havent listened to enough.
The article is reminiscences of Hammond by John McDonough who writes about Jazz for the WSJ and it was stimulated by a new book called The Producer: John Hammond and the Soul of American Music by Dunstan PrialGots to get that book!
Playing in the background Oh Yeah by Roxy Music