Sunday, January 18, 2009


Drummer Leonard King is still upset. Yesterday, I received his comments to a blog I wrote headlined “Stay Away”. I told the drummer I’ve only criticized him twice, and overall I think he’s a sold musician. King dismissed those remarks. In his latest tirade, which I posted and responded to, Leonard accused me of not supporting local jazz musicians. That accusation is untrue, and proves Leonard neglected to research my career and contribution to Detroit jazz before he relied to my post.

If the drummer had done his homework before calling me a hack, he would’ve discovered I’ve given exposure to established Detroit jazz musicians as well as up coming musicians. Leonard also suggested I learn how to project love, which he implied would be the antidote for my cynicism. Maybe someday soon I’ll give that a shot.

For now, I will stick the formula that’s worked for me over the years, which is simply telling the truth, and refusing to mince my words. Since Leonard when out his way to give me advice, I feel obligated to return the favor. Before you accuse jazz journalists of being narrow-minded and unsupportive of the musicians they’ve taken an oaf to cover, I recommend you do your homework first.

Charles L. Latimer


You still don't get it. It isn't YOUR job to determine what ANY artist’s projects to their audiences regardless of the so-called genre. Musicians don't need so-called critics/journalists to explain a damn thing to anyone. Folks, such as you, decide arbitrarily to define the value or lack of value in musical performances. I want you to know that realistically I AM NOT JAZZ MUSICIAN.

In Detroit, variety has always been the spice of life as far as being a well-rounded musician, which is what I've become. Of course, you were not in attendance to all of the jobs I worked from 1960 to the present day. The reputation that I've achieved in all of these years is attributed to my eclectic nature in performing as much music as possible (the labels attached to music are ALWAYS arbitrarily done by people who are NOT musicians).

I'm the boss of my musical decisions regardless of whether I'm the bandleader or not.As for your cynicism: it doesn't do YOU any good. There have been others before you: Harvey Siders, Joe Goldberg, Ira Gitler, etc who have attacked musicians performances and assaulted their credibility. Society is not better off because of journalistic cynicism.

I have a suggested for you: perhaps you would project passionate love, for that which you claim to love, if you invested your time and money on those artists that YOU feel is worthy of being frequently supported throughout the communities. Of course, that isn't the job of the critic, is it? You called my email to you "nasty". If you read that blog you posted about me them maybe, you'll understand what "nasty" really is!

Leonard King Jr.


I get it. You're a sensitive dude. You hate critics. I get the impression you'll want to harm any musician journalist who dislikes your product. That makes you sort of a thug. Accusing me of don't supporting local jazz musicians is wrong. I've written full-page stories about Detroit jazz musicians such as trumpeter Dwight Adams, trombonist Vincent Chandler, pianist Tad Weed saxophonist Larry Smith. I’ve also profiled jazz bands as well ogranissimo, Urban Transport, Bop Culture and the Hot Club Detroit.

The Associate of Alternative Newspaper picked up my article about the new generation of jazz musicians in Detroit, which included vocalist Jesse Palter, saxophonist De’Sean Jones, and drummer Thaddeus Dixon. I've written about jazz musicians for the Metrotimes12 years. Roughly, a half-million people read the Metrotimes weekly. That's a lot of exposure for local jazz musicians. Despite your claim that I’m unsupportive, I'm doing my part.

You should know, I was the first jazz journalist in Michigan (perhaps even in the United States) to write a feature story headlined "Gibbs' Big Organ" about your colleague organist Gerard Gibbs. I own both Gibbs’ albums To Be or not To Hammond B3 and Livin’ and Learnin’. I have all James Carter albums and most of the albums the saxophonist has played on. I own every album Rodney Whitaker made, and I've paid my hard-earned cash to purchase your albums and to attend your shows. I guess you not considered being supportive.

In your last email, you asked me not to show up at anymore of your gigs. I believe that was unjust, but I’ll grant your request because the tone of your letters suggest you’re the kind of overly sensitive man who would single me out to the audience or jump off the bandstand to start a fist fight with me. The musicians and bands I mentioned I respect. I’ve gone to bat for them. I had to convince my editor their music and lives were worth covering. Understand I respect those musicians, but if they peddle a sub-par product or give a crappy performance, they'll hear from me. If that makes me a cynical jerk, than so be it.

Obviously, Leonard, we have different understandings of what a cynic is. To you, a cynic is an innately negative dude who fines it pleasurable writing spiteful articles, concert and album reviews about musicians. That disqualifies me. I write what's on my mind, and I accept the reality some musicians will hate my guts, which I’m certain you do. I standby what I write, and if necessary, I’ll heed the consequences.

Leonard, I didn’t know Lyman Woodard had busted ribs, and couldn’t fully participate in his album release party. This may seem insensitive, but I've seen jazz musicians in worst shape play their ass’s off. At the benefit concert for the late drummer Roy Brooks, for instance, pianist Teddy Harris, who was battling cancer back then, was hoisted onto the bandstand. Harris played like a man given twenty years more years to live.

I want to address your remarks about iconic jazz writers Joe Goldberg and Ira Gilter. To paraphrase you they were attackers. I’m certain Gitler and Goldberg encountered some disgruntled jazz musicians who hated them. Leonard, will you provide me with a list of articles and books written by Goldberg and Gilter and highlight the sentences and paragraphs where the writers slandered jazz musicians? I want to make sure you didn’t accidentally misconstrued what they wrote. The books, articles, and liner notes I read by the authors were candid and comprehensive not nasty.

I read Gitler'z book Jazz Masters of the 40’s. I didn’t read any disparaging passages about Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell, JJ Johnson, Oscar Pettiford, Kenny Clark, Max Roach, Dexter Gordon, Lennie Tristano, Lee Konitz, and Tadd Dameron, the bebop icons Gitler profiled. Gilter and Goldberg are good writers who’ve used their talent to help not malign jazz musicians.

In the last paragraph of you comments, you suggested I should learn to project love. I’d rather project the truth. -Charles
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