Rifftide featured in Do The Math
Rifftide: The Life and Opinons of Papa Jo Jones as told to Albert Murray, edited by Paul Devlin. Another essential jazz book. The final time I saw Paul Motian I gave him this volume and he was thrilled: like any drummer of his generation, Paul adored Jo Jones. A few years earlier I had asked him about Jo Jones vs. Gene Krupa. Paul growled, "They are pretty fucking different!" To this day, Krupa owns more real estate than Jones, a classic example of institutional racism.
In Rifftide we hear plenty about what it really meant to be on the sharp end of racism. It's so important to read and remember these stories when attempting to parse today's racial minefield.
Kudos to Paul Devlin for taking on this monumental project, which began with gaining Albert Murray's trust, followed by listening and transcribing boxes of tapes made from 1977 to 1985. But that was still only step one of the venture. Devlin writes:
A tremendous amount of cutting, pasting, and shuffling was required to get this text into its present form. Every tape contained every topic in the seven chapters. The profiles of various people in “People I’ve Rubbed Elbows With” were spread out all over the tapes (in more or less full form; they were not stitched together). The largest challenge was finding ways to put like with like.
Rifftide is an easy, fun read that I'll keep returning to.