Monday, December 22, 2008

Jean Shepherd, The Man Who Told A Christmas Story -- long, well-written appreciation by Donald Fagen

"Listening to Shep, I learned about social observation and human types: how to parse modern rituals (like dating and sports); the omnipresence of hierarchy; joy in struggle; 'slobism'; 'creeping meatballism'; 19th-century panoramic painting; the primitive, violent nature of man; Nelson Algren, Brecht, Beckett, the fables of George Ade; the nature of the soul; the codes inherent in 'trivia,' bliss in art; fishing for crappies; and the transience of desire. He told you what to expect from life (loss and betrayal) and made you feel that you were not alone."


"Not long ago, in the absence of any books, films, music, etc., that seemed to give off any light, I started looking back at some of the things that used to inspire me as a kid, including some of Shep's old shows, now available on the Internet. Hearing them almost a half-century down the line has been a trip. Despite the tendencies I've already mentioned (plus the gaffes one might expect from a wild man like Shep ad-libbing before the age of political correctness), much of the stuff is simply amazing: The guy is a dynamo, brimming with curiosity and ideas and fun. Working from a few written notes at most, Shepherd is intense, manic, alive, the first and only true practitioner of spontaneous word jazz."

<< Home

Powered by Blogger

.post-title { display: none!important; }