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My Final Report

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I stood there at graveside in the cold morning mist, collar of my dark blue, (but not too warm coat) turned up-in an effort to--ahh hell, I don't know--I saw it in a film noir flick once--let's just say--that it looked appropriate for the occasion--"the occasion"? The laying to rest of my mother-my mother of soul-of laughs-of tears (the very same that I'm drowning in as I write this bit of text about my mother who I never thought that I had the mother that I now know that bequeathed to me the key to all the doors where the ...


Septuagenarian is Not a Sexual Proclivity!

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Backstage at a concert I was doing a few years back, I heard the house announcer getting ready to bring me on, doing his thing. As I'm checking to see if my fly was zipped I heard the words (not in any particular order): jazz, clarinet, septuagenarian and Mort Weiss. I remember thinking--what the f**k? OK, I was asked to write something about a now-well-known little break I took from the scene for 40 years, and that upon returning in 2001 led Scott Yanow, critic, reviewer and internationally acclaimed writer and jazz historian to proclaim that ...


Love... Sorrow... Jazz... and Death

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When we think of an art form, the tendency is to look in every and all directions except inward--wherein all answers lie, although shielded and hidden from one's self and any that choose to be within your sphere of understanding and passion. Why must it take years of self- study and searching the myriad avenues and paths that lead directly to one's innermost feelings of hope, love, fear and despair? And reaching that destination, only to find that every hope and dream that you dare dream is not enough--not enough to quench the thirst of your passions that any & ...


A Brief History of Ragtime to 3/4 aka A Waltz Through the Cosmic Thought Process

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Opening!Screaming through the quagmire of being, I see--nay, feel--justification of the heat of singularity of thought. Yearning of (and for) all energies spinning--not only in the dance of Shiva, but in the fulfillment of a manifest destiny of understanding and love that gives forth its eternal fires of hope and the many tomorrows that can & will exist in the immutable paradigms of reception and order, thus bringing together the complete schism of an entity of pre- and/or post-existence on the plains of destiny thereof. Enabling the existence of the mere act of existing itself, to be put ...


Mort Weiss: A Giant Step Out and Back

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A while back, flamboyant and forthright clarinetist Mort Weiss sent an email saying he was going to make a free form album. Frankly, it was hard to believe as no-one had been more against free form jazz than Weiss. For around two years he had been taking free form apart, decrying many players and the genre, implying it was, “Emperor's New Clothes" or worse, and now, finally, had he really come round to liking it and even performing free form? Sure enough, a couple of months later, Weiss duly dispatched himself to a studio where he laid down tracks for ...


Mort Weiss: In Twilight... Not!

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If we, citizens, do not support our artists, then we sacrifice our imagination on the altar of crude reality and we end up believing in nothing and having worthless dreams... --Yann Martel, The Life of Pi The Internet has done a bang-up job of bringing everything and everybody closer together. An immediate effect of this “closeness" is that I have become acquaintances and even friends with many of the jazz artists and other industry professionals appearing in these electrons that would not have been possible lest these electrons worked their magic across this rock upon which we ...


I Hear a Clock ... Ticking

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Hello, once again. Still above ground and taking nourishment while most any of my contemporaries who haven't left the building as of yet are listening to smooth jazz, taking their Lithium and writing with crayons. Having shared that thought with you, last month I had my 78th birthday--another strange custom (why do people celebrate one's arriving at a year closer to their death?).But I digress, having said that, I guess I could be thought of as an elder statesman of jazz (yes, I said statesman). For any of you reading this who would like to know more about ...


Mort Meets the Mob

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Hello again. This remembrance takes us back to the early 1960s when I went under the name of Mort Wise and my band's name was The Wisemen. Go ahead and Google Mort Wise And The Wisemen, and you'll probably come up with the recording we did (on a 45 rpm) called “Wild Boy." Also, you might read the AAJ article/profile Mort To Come, which takes one back to a literal “What Makes Morty Run" experience (knocked me out!). So, at this juncture you have me heading up show bands, on tenor sax, working and playing in and around Hollywood, Los ...


Mort Weiss: I'll Be Seeing You

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Clarinetist Mort Weiss is a character. That much is readily evident by reading his All About Jazz column, The Mort Report. He is opinionated and passionate, both driving forces that easily season his playing in such a way that when Weiss plays, he's readily recognizable. Since returning to recording in 2001 after nearly 30 years away, Weiss has recorded a number of well-received CDs bringing him to what he considers his most fully realized release, I'll Be Seeing You. Stylistically, Weiss is somewhat of a missing link within the post-swing jazz clarinetists. He lies somewhere between notable ...


Mort Weiss: Mort to Come

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Mort Weiss is a clarinetist with attitude. He has also achieved what few would dare--taking a break from music for almost 40 years and then making a successful comeback. Every man is a sum of his parts, his life story put together like pieces of a jigsaw. For some, the puzzle is simple, pieces slot together easily with all the clichés: steady home, school, college, first instrument, the break, career, marriage, kids, life, more or less in that order. For others creating the overall picture is hard because the pieces do not fit together easily. Such is Weiss' life.


Why Do I Write These Articles?

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The following will be an exercise in candor. I like to see my name in print on a Major--the major jazz web site. And I hope it will further better my record sales. I like to think that folks/people are finding things of interest in my remembrances that I've accumulated within my persona over a long life time--most of which was lived in and around the highly complex (yet very simple) world of jazz. And last but not least, it gets my dick hard! What that leads to is yet another story--albeit a very short one. To have reached the ...


Reefer Madness and Me

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How the above title turned me on to the love of jazz. It was 1939 and I was four years old and my parents took me to my first moving picture show that being the above (I kinda had eyes for Gone with the Wind) and to hear Clark Gable say that filthy word at the end of the movie--but they had other plans--maybe because the title on its release was Tell your Children. It was financed by a church group as was Ed Wood's Plan 9 from Outer Space--hmmmm. Whatever, but when it got to the part were this ...


Mort Weiss: Mort Weiss Meets Bill Cunliffe

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If it is a Mort Weiss recording, bebop cannot be very far away. Competent bop clarinetists are as scarce as hen's teeth, the most critically accepted being Tony Scott, Buddy Defranco and Weiss. Weiss' most recent recordings, Mort Weiss Meets Sam Most (SMS Jazz, 2006) and B3 and Me (SMS Jazz, 2006), reflect his solid bop reverence. Weiss' Mort Weiss Meets Bill Cunliffe brings the clarinetist into orbit with pianist Bill Cunliffe, another jazz musician sympathetic to Weiss' bebop cause. Miles Davis' “The Theme" kicks off the disc, Weiss playing accurately, at a high velocity, seeming to ...


Mort Weiss: Raising the Bar: The Definitive Mort Weiss

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In late 2006, clarinetist Mort Weiss told his unusual story to R. J. Deluke in an exclusive interview for All About Jazz, appropriated titled “Mort Weiss: Sets Sail with Clarinet." His narrative is the timeless, archetypal journey of the hero's circular route to hell and back--much like that of Homer's legendary mariner, Ulysses, except that in Weiss' case, the outcome was far from known. With Raising the Bar, Weiss completes his journey, and provides impressive if less than definitive closure to his story. Despite all of the qualifiers which, in Mort Weiss' case, could be advanced to issue ...

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