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Book Reviews

Live At The Village Vanguard

By Published: March 8, 2004
The only real disappointment in this book is the lack of any information or accounts of all the great "Live At The Village Vanguard" recording sessions, and the fact that the only real reference to the great Bill Evans, known widely for his Vanguard sessions, is in the caption to a photo of Bill in the later years. Alas, one of the few, if not the only real reference to the revered John Coltrane is also to be found in the caption of a photo of him playing. In the liner notes to Coltranes Vanguard sessions, Coltrane says "I like the feeling of a club, especially one with an intimate atmosphere like the Vanguard. It's important to have that real contact with an audience because that's what we're trying to do - communicate." He was obviously not alone in those feelings. Many musicians have recorded records there, from Coltrane, Evans, Dizzy Gilespie and Benny Green, to the more current crop of younger players like Joe Lovano, Brad Mehldau and Wes Anderson. One can only hope that eventually someone will come up with a history of at least some of those dates, and the events around them. Lorraine Gordon has carried on the running of the club since Max's death. Might she also aid in the next written history of this venerable nightspot, and fill in some of the missing pieces? The book Max Gordon wrote is humorous, earthy, and contains much of the history of the club. Unfortunately, there is still much to be said about the Village Vanguard regarding it's place in Jazz history.


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