Letters

08-31-00

Faizal Ali
Toronto, Ontario

Artistic differences: I'm writing concerning the review of John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman. Especially the last paragraph: "Take a listen, shake the head in disbelief, and shelve the disc forever. One listener in a hundred will press up against the stereo speaker to hear Coltrane's and Coleman's appreciative nuances, spurts of growth and catastrophic fuck-ups in experiments that assembly-line jazz fans hear as only white noise."

I am so discouraged to hear someone discrediting these two artists. Someone who has never listened to jazz likely will never listen to Coltrane or Coleman ever because of this author's views. There is so much to both of them.

Sam Smiley
Fort Wayne, Indiana

Trane wreck: This thoughtless commentary was perhaps the most amazing thing I have read for a long time, and for this I congratulate Dave McElfresh! He obviously took the things he could read from the backs of albums and whatever he could pick up from the backward minds of conservative jazz fascists and created the most ill-informed, uneducated and generally lame article possible. It is one thing not to like what John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman have done musically, which I can understand, but this fellow obviously has no clue how some of us have been affected by these two great men and their music, and to ignore this is belittling and unbelievable.

Take a read, shake the head in disbelief, and shelve the review forever.

Ben Bracken
via Internet

Disservice to music: I find it difficult to fathom how, after all these years of struggle, artistic perseverance, and ultimate love and acceptance of this music, a narrow-minded individual like Dave McElfresh accepts the job of taking us back 40 years in time, to square one. John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman referred to as "two flavors of awful"? Archie Shepp and Pharaoh Sanders as "impostors"? The reissues in question as "side-show material"? The beauty, power and genuine art of this music, pioneered by visionaries like Coltrane and Coleman, has been receiving audience and critical acclaim like never before. Thousands of young and older fans of David S. Ware, William Parker and Ken Vandermark are ardently supporting this music and are equally excited about reexamining the music of the past masters like Coltrane, Coleman and Cecil Taylor (who luckily continues his path in this music). Please do this music, this art form, a favor. Find someone who knows and is sympathetic to the music that he reviews. McElfresh obviously doesn't get it. Nor has he ever. His rantings are a disservice to this music and art in general.

Pat Frisco
Oak Park, Michigan

Sheriff Shoo-In

Joke's on us: "There's a new sheriff in town!" Unfortunately, this will be a Maricopa County pipe dream after the elections are all over ("Posse Galore," Robert Nelson, August 24). Once again, the uneducated, sensationalism-loving, refuse-to-be-informed voters who put Sheriff CowPoke in office will refuse to get rid of him. It just says so much about the population of Maricopa County that accused "inmates" and their families are smarter and better informed about this media whore than the regular populace. Anyone remember the "sting" that was orchestrated to catch public enemy #1 (the impressionable 18-year-old Mr. Saville)? Heard anything from CowPoke's office about the obvious entrapment they pulled off? Of course not. You won't see Pimp Joe making love to the Fox 10 News camera about this little ditty. Out shutting down meth labs? Naa! Sheriff Joke is trading hand sweat with another loser (remember Skippy the millionaire?) at a comedy house in Tempe. Like it or not, the Sheriff Joke's on us, because we've allowed him to think we have open checkbooks to pay for his folly. Here's the saddest thing: All of the candidates pretty much agree about what needs to be done, but because they choose to attack each other instead of consolidating and uniting for the greater good, Sheriff Puke will again be crafting another acceptance speech. I know you're reading this, sheriff, because you are such a narcissist. I will continue to ridicule you and speak out about your transgressions to everyone I deal with. I will also put my vote to the best use I can, and vote AGAINST YOU, even if I have to write my dog's name in on the ballot!

Sean Franklin
Chandler

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