The New Individualist - Fall 2005 Issue


Michael Stuart Kelly

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My copy of The New Individualist just showed up yesterday, and it was eye-popping =P~ , mind-engaging :-k -- and very heartening //;-)) . I think TOC has turned the corner and is on a roll, headed for better times. It must have been difficult, weathering the fall-off in contributions several years ago. Now that the economy is on the upswing, I'm sure they're breathing easier in their new HQ in DC. Maybe even celebrating. :D/

I especially liked the article on the "standards" -- the Great American Songs written primarily in the 20s through the 50s (with scattered, worthy exceptions since then). I was particularly interested since I have started a new project which may swamp everything else I have been working on. I'm going to be databasing and analyzing the standards and hits of the past 100 or so years, as well as the "best loved" classical melodies from Haydn and Mozart through Rachmaninoff (early 20th century). It is an outgrowth of my talk in San Francisco in March 2004 on "Serious Schmaltz and Passionate Pop: are there objective indicators of emotion in music?" (Of course, there are! Duh! :roll: )

But back to the article in TNI: he named so many good artists and their recordings of standards, but he left out a good number, too, so I'm going to write in and add to the list -- sort of a friendly addendum to the article, no biggie.

Looking over the new format and its fine content and style, though, I think it's clear that ARI is going to have to work very hard to equal or surpass this magazine. I'm sure we all feel their pain right now. :-({|= Anyway, I think it is a real coup for TOC.

REB

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  • 6 months later...
But back to the article in TNI: he named so many good artists and their recordings of standards, but he left out a good number, too, so I'm going to write in and add to the list -- sort of a friendly addendum to the article, no biggie.

REB

Wow, hey I've been a member of this board for over a month, and just now found this? What can I say, I am lazy.

Thanks for the props on my article, Roger. I'd be interested to see your addendum. Writing that article was a real ordeal: I went through about 100 CDs from my collection, 30 new ones I purchased just to round out my survey, and finally distilled everything down to that article.

The day after I finished writing it, in three days of marathon writing late at night with my screaming baby boy interrupting every half hour, I checked myself into the hospital finding out for the first time I had full-blown diabetes, with a blood glucose level of 496! So, when I tell people I sweated blood to get it written, I wasn't far off! Ha ha!

I still get compliments on that one; in the latest issue of TNI is a very kind letter to Bidinotto about it.

Fact is, while that article ran about 8 pages, Robert lopped off about 2,000 words. I consider an article like a slab of brisket: I give editors a little more than they need, and they can just trim off the excess fatback.

The whole thing became rather unwieldy (where do you stop, especially if you are passionate about your material?) So, what I did was try to get mentions in of other artists in the 10 reviews I settled on. When writing something of this scope, my method is to be inclusive, but not exhaustive. I tried to get different styles, both male and female vocalists, to give a reasonably good overview. In that, I believe I succeeded with the article.

There were some albums by contemporary artists I wanted to include, but could not, because of lack of space. Among these are Carly Simon, Neil Sedaka, Burt Bacharach, Monica Mancini, Tom Wopat, Barry Manilow, Brian Setzer, Michael Amante, Josh Groban, Marcie Castro and Rod Stewart; I'm sure there are others you could easily add.

Not saying I particularly liked or loved all of these: Simon is losing her voice and while the technically less gifted Danny Aiello made it on my survey because of honest and heartfelt love for the songs that comes through, fellow thespian Tom Wopat did not, despite being more musically gifted. One of the comments Robert edited out was in comparison to Aiello, I felt that Wopat was trying too hard to please the critics, and that if nobody had coined the phrase "Method Singing" (after the Stanislavsky acting method), I was going to do so to describe Wopat's brilliant, but mechanical, vocal performances.

Nonetheless, I'm pleased to find you found my standards article both entertaining and edifying.

Rob't

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