Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

782

Orrin Keepnews: Classic Producer of Classics

R.J. DeLuke By

Sign in to view read count
"What we did with the club scene when it was flourishing was bitch about it mainly, says Keepnews in his typical forthright style. "But the fact of the matter is when you look at it now, the club scene was an essential part of the dissemination and development of the music. There is no easy way for an artist to get new exposure. Having somebody make a record and have that record get heard and get appreciated and get bought—that's not a natural sensible way for artists to develop.

He adds that nightlife in the United States in general has changed. "If everybody had always stayed home with the television set and the computer, there's a lot we would have missed out on, he notes. "I'd sure be a lot happier if there was a lot more club activity in the world, in terms of the recognition and development of new talent. And it is a problem. It definitely is inhibiting the development of the next round of talent. Yes, there's a lot more academic attention being paid to jazz. It's not the same thing.

He adds, after pause for thought, "I guess what I'm saying is that it's dependent on people like me to be more creative in our ways of finding and developing talent. Then he ads with a laugh, "I think I've become to damn old to get into that rat race again.

Despite the self-effacing comment, Keepnews admits he has some irons in the fire still, projects he doesn't want to speak about yet. He's leery of some young musician getting plaudits that may be too big and to live up to early on, simply because the Keepnews name is attached to the project. "Unfortunately, my name has been associated with a lot of valuable people. That's not unfortunate; it's what I'm proudest of. But unfortunate in the terms of anything I want to do starting yesterday, today and tomorrow. I'm not trying to be cute about it. I just feel that it's protectively necessary to be kind of mysterious about what I hope to be working with.

At 84, why is he still working at it? His accomplishments are many.

"Working on a certain kind of reissue project is a very gratifying thing, he says of projects like The Keepnews Collection. "The knowledge that at least a reasonable number of people find continuing validity in what I had done, have been doing for a long time, was doing a long time ago, I appreciate the hell out of that kind of recognition.

But with all that, "I haven't figured out any way to stop listening. And if you keep listening, chances are you're going to hear some things worth hearing. At least I hope so.

So in the future? "I just plan to keep on trying to be myself, laughs Orrin Keepnews, an American classic. And he has the last laugh.

Selected Discography from The Keepnews Collection

Flora Purim, Butterfly Dreams (Milestone, 1973)
Joe Henderson, Power to the People! (Milestone, 1969)
Cannonball Adderley, Cannonball Adderley Quintet in San Francisco (Riverside, 1959)
Chet Baker, Chet (Riverside, 1959)
Kenny Dorham, Jazz Contrasts (Riverside, 1957)

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Julian Priester: Reflections in Positivity Interview Julian Priester: Reflections in Positivity
by Paul Rauch
Published: December 8, 2017
Read Aaron Goldberg: Exploring the Now Interview Aaron Goldberg: Exploring the Now
by Luke Seabright
Published: November 24, 2017
Read Pat Metheny: Driving Forces Interview Pat Metheny: Driving Forces
by Ian Patterson
Published: November 10, 2017
Read Bill Anschell: Curiosity and Invention Interview Bill Anschell: Curiosity and Invention
by Paul Rauch
Published: November 9, 2017
Read Tomas Fujiwara: The More the Better Interview Tomas Fujiwara: The More the Better
by Troy Dostert
Published: November 6, 2017
Read "Richie Cole: Blue Collar Bebopper" Interview Richie Cole: Blue Collar Bebopper
by Rob Rosenblum
Published: August 1, 2017
Read "Lew Tabackin: A Life in Jazz" Interview Lew Tabackin: A Life in Jazz
by Rob Rosenblum
Published: April 6, 2017
Read "Joe La Barbera: Experiencing Bill Evans" Interview Joe La Barbera: Experiencing Bill Evans
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: May 17, 2017
Read "Matthew Shipp: Let's Do Lunch!" Interview Matthew Shipp: Let's Do Lunch!
by Yuko Otomo
Published: January 16, 2017
Read "Clarence Becton: Straight Ahead Into Freedom" Interview Clarence Becton: Straight Ahead Into Freedom
by Barbara Ina Frenz
Published: January 19, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!