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New Podcast! The Baton: A John Williams Musical Journey

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3 hours ago, Gurkensalat said:

Just finished the episode about The secret Ways. Very interesting and informative, and the music in this movie is already starting to sound like early 70s Williams. I especially hear Images in the main theme, but also shadows of the Desaster movies and Eiger Sanction. The association to Jaws was a bit far fetched for me, but also nice. Keep up, the podcast is great!

Thanks! I knew the Jaws comparison was a stretch, hence the disclaimer.

 

My knowledge of JW's work from the early '70s is limited, but I do know the music from Images well and I kind of agree about the melodic similarities. Can't wait for The Eiger Sanction to hear if you are right about that as well.

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On 2/15/2019 at 7:33 AM, tannhauser said:

Hey Jeff, great work on this podcast.  I'm really enjoying listening to it, and look forward very much to hearing future episodes!

Thanks!

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Really enjoying this podcast, thanks Jeff. One favour to ask - please could you always tell us which movie you’ll be covering in the next episode? It means I can watch the film and remind myself of the score before the podcast comes out. 

 

And which film are you covering next week?

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On 3/28/2019 at 1:37 AM, scoreman36 said:

Really enjoying this podcast, thanks Jeff. One favour to ask - please could you always tell us which movie you’ll be covering in the next episode? It means I can watch the film and remind myself of the score before the podcast comes out. 

 

And which film are you covering next week?

You bring up an interesting point. I wasn't mentioning the next film because I wanted to "tease" the next episode. But, I can start doing that in upcoming episodes. Thanks for listening!

 

"A Guide for the Married Man" posted today. Next week is "Fitzwilly."

On 3/31/2019 at 6:36 AM, rough cut said:

Finally got ’round to adding this to my subscription list. Looking forward to giving it a listen.

Better late than never.

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As I said before, I appreciate your project, Trumpeteer, but I can't really listen to your episodes very much, because it irks me a bit with the relative frequency of errors (I've sampled a few of your programs). For us hardcore Williams researchers, we need to have total faith in the knowledge level of whoever is communicating the material (at least on one's own level, or higher), and you're not quite there, even if you've done your best to research through available online resources. I'd probably be more into it if it was by Miguel or Townerfan or Jon Burlingame or Jeff Eldridge or others of that caliber.

 

BUT....this is mostly the case with the early period that you're into now, since that is one that I am so deeply involved with myself. I think it will ease itself out more when you get to the mid 70s and beyond. You're clearly enthusiastic about this, which can't be faulted. But it's not something for me, unfortunately.

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Sure, I'm well aware that would be more helpful than a sort of general comment, but it would be a lot of work. If a window opens up at some point, I'll see if I can add some useful corrections to the episodes, and at the very least some selected examples (usually more details and assertions than any big, gaping errors). :)

 

Also -- to reiterate -- I do LIKE your project. Very much so. Anyone attempting such projects get an A from me in initiative. Just not totally sold that you're the right person for it, OR that you come best prepared for the more obscure stuff. I like to be brutally honest about stuff, so I hope you don't take it too personally. I think you should be fine from the late 70s onwards.

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I'll get to the examples and corrections, no worries. I was well aware that my comment would be construed as 'controversial' when I posted it, but I've always believed in total honesty. I tried to put it politely, at least, and balance it with the positive.

 

I must say that I think it's a fairly natural thing, however. The podcast, as is, is fine for most JW fans. However, for those of us who obsess over the obscure details of his life and career (especially the early part), we meet any communication of that material with an extremely high sense of scrutiny. I remember I -- and a few others -- likewise criticized one of those JW books over many of the same issues. I think the author was also a member here, and I told him the exact same thing.

 

In any case, Jeff -- just consider my comment as feedback from a grouchy and OCD-inflicted Williams researcher, and keep doing what you do! :)

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1 hour ago, Thor said:

I remember I -- and a few others -- likewise criticized one of those JW books over many of the same issues. I think the author was also a member here, and I told him the exact same thing.

 

Which book would that be? I doubt you're talking about Audissino's de-thesised book, since that seems extremely accurate from what I've read.

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I'm sympathetic to your OCD Thor because I feel it with Goldsmith, and I correct a lot of people's misinformation shared about his early work in various places. But I do try to offer specific suggestions about what is incorrect, rather than a frustrating blanket statement about inaccuracies -- you've gotta tell folks what stuck out as incorrect if you're going to correct them! Otherwise you're just telling someone they're generally wrong about a lot of things and leaving it at that. I can't imagine something more frustrating than that, as a podcast producer.

On The Goldsmith Odyssey there are three of us pooling our resources and knowledge together, and agonizing over the factual details of every different episode, and it indeed IS quite difficult with the 50s and early 60s stuff in particular to do research and get all the facts right. Despite our efforts, we've still had to edit out the odd error here and there, after the fact (after recording but before publishing). And I think there was even one time (maybe more) we let an error through to the finished episode and had to correct it on a later podcast episode (maybe regarding Lud Gluskin at CBS? I forget now.)

 

It's a lot of work to produce and edit a podcast, let me tell you. Now we are being a little more thorough in a lot of ways than Trumpeteer is, but we have more people, more time, and more resources. For a solo 'cast getting released every freakin' week(!) I think he's doing an admirable job. We recently realized that our ambitious every-two-weeks schedule for The Goldsmith Odyssey was just too stressful and decided to inaugurate a new three week schedule when Jens stepped aside for David to join us as new co-host. I really have no idea how Trumpeteer manages to put out a new ep with such frequency.

 

Yavar

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4 hours ago, Jurassic Shark said:

 

Which book would that be? I doubt you're talking about Audissino's de-thesised book, since that seems extremely accurate from what I've read.

 

No, not Audissino's. I can't remember it off the top off my head. It seemed to be a hodge podge of various online sources with poor credibility.

 

Quote

I'm sympathetic to your OCD Thor because I feel it with Goldsmith, and I correct a lot of people's misinformation shared about his early work in various places. But I do try to offer specific suggestions about what is incorrect, rather than a frustrating blanket statement about inaccuracies -- you've gotta tell folks what stuck out as incorrect if you're going to correct them! Otherwise you're just telling someone they're generally wrong about a lot of things and leaving it at that. I can't imagine something more frustrating than that, as a podcast producer.

 

As you're probably aware, I'm a podcast producer myself, and I've been doing it for longer than you (60 episodes so far). I totally agree with your sentiment here. Get to the examples! But I felt it was important to air my general views about the project first.

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Hmmm...a few days later, and I feel kinda shitty about this.

 

Jeff, I want to apologize for saying you're "not the right man for the job" etc. It's not very constructive feedback, and it's very atypical of me. I does indeed come off as rather aggressive 'gatekeeping', as Falstaff said.

 

I'll return later with some more constructive comments and corrections instead.

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What are Thor's credentials exactly? Its not like you can have a degree in John Williams. 

 

I consider him a trusted source, much like Miguel and Jeremy, but that certainly doesn't exclude anyone else.

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1 hour ago, Trumpeteer said:

The newest episode of my podcast features the score to 1971's "Jane Eyre," the third and final time Delbert Mann and John Williams would work together. This episode features fellow JWFan member @Yavar Moradi as he talks about why he counts "Jane Eyre" as his favorite John Williams score. We also have a good discussion about whether to count the main theme as a love theme or not, and the music it inspired about 30 years later. Hope you enjoy!

Great episode!

The transition material heard at about 53:28 really anticipates Max and Liesel from The Book Thief.  A pity Williams has not fully expanded on this musical idea.

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28 minutes ago, Yavar Moradi said:

It was fun to appear on someone else's podcast for the first time, and I'm glad I could add something to the episode on my favorite Williams score. :) Glad folks are enjoying it!

 

Looking forward to this - it will be nice to hear you talking about something else than Goldsmith! ;)

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Just now, bollemanneke said:

Can't wait to listen to this one! I just started a podcast about the Brontë sisters, so your episode couldn't come at a better time.

 

Whoa, interesting! Hook us up with a link to that, why don’t ya?

 

Yavar

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Fair enough:

https://klara.be/thebrontes

 

Also, I just started listening to the prologue of 'the baton' and just want to say this is a fantastic idea. A heartfelt thank-you and I sincerely hope you'll manage to cover his entire career. This is truly a unique project that can't be underestimated.

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32 minutes ago, bollemanneke said:

Also, I just started listening to the prologue of 'the baton' and just want to say this is a fantastic idea. A heartfelt thank-you and I sincerely hope you'll manage to cover his entire career. This is truly a unique project that can't be underestimated.

 

Well re: "truly unique"... there was *one* other film composer podcast that got there a *bit* earlier. ;)
*cough* www.goldsmithodyssey.com *cough*

 

That said, Jeff's The Baton will certainly be the first such composer podcast to finish successfully, since he's putting out a new episode every week and solely concentrating on Williams's feature work (we are tackling TV and really basically everything we can find). I think within a couple years he'll be DONE (unless he starts a television appendix at the end, like the Odyssey is planning to do with Jerry's remaining radio works) whereas we will still be chugging away a decade and a half from now, hehe...

 

Yavar

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14 hours ago, Stefancos said:

What are Thor's credentials exactly? Its not like you can have a degree in John Williams. 

 

I consider him a trusted source, much like Miguel and Jeremy, but that certainly doesn't exclude anyone else.

 

Who the hell is Jeremy? Clarkson?

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45 minutes ago, Jurassic Shark said:

 

Now, tell us something only a trusted source can tell. :)

OK, I just finished the podcast and it was very nice. Great job Trumpeteer! Here are some slightly incorrect details though:

 

- JW spent four years in the Air Force, not two. The Air Force did not offer 2-year enlistments in the early 1950s. His enlistment ran from Jan, 1951 - Jan, 1955.

- JW was not drafted, he enlisted voluntarily. This is based on his service number: AF19389341; the prefix "19" was a geographical identifier that indicated the Airman had enlisted from one of several western states (CA, OR, WA, AZ, NV, others). Draftees from those states were issued a service number that started with a 56. At the time though (and during the 1960s-70s) it was common for young men to voluntarily join the military and pursue a specific job (i.e. the AF Band) to avoid being drafted and sent to a job they did not want; so, the voluntary enlistment is not surprising.

- JW also did not "lead" the band. He was a pianist who also served as an arranger, and obviously had the opportunity to conduct some, but he was not the band leader. The commander of the band (the "leader," as you might say) while Williams was there was WOJG (Warrant Officer, Junior Grade) Robert T. Neal. WOJG Neal also entered the AF as an enlisted member in Jan, 1951 - it's possible he and JW already knew each other from basic training, but not certain. They were not stationed together at any point before Pepperrell;  

- The AF Band at Pepperrell AFB would also have had either 36 or 45 members at the time, not a "12-man AF Band." He just didn't write for all of the players. 

 

These are mostly trivial details that I normally wouldn't even worry about, but since you asked. :) 

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6 minutes ago, airmanjerm said:

- JW spent four years in the Air Force, not two. The Air Force did not offer 2-year enlistments in the early 1950s. His enlistment ran from Jan, 1951 - Jan, 1955.

 

We've discussed this before, but I still believe that start date is incorrect. There are several things listed as 1951 activities in his life that have nothing to do with the air force. So it must run from Jan '52. So three years, regardless of how uncommon that may have been at the time.

 

6 minutes ago, airmanjerm said:

 - The AF Band at Pepperrell AFB would also have had either 36 or 45 members at the time, not a "12-man AF Band." He just didn't write for all of the players. 

 

True, although it was only a section of the band that performed on YOU ARE WELCOME. Can't remember if it was 12 or more.

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13 minutes ago, airmanjerm said:

These are mostly trivial details that I normally wouldn't even worry about, but since you asked. :) 

 

Damn, Jeremy, you're good! How do you know those details? Have you considered writing a book?

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1 minute ago, Thor said:

 

We've discussed this before, but I still believe that start date is incorrect. There are several things listed as 1951 activities in his life that have nothing to do with the air force. So it must run from Jan '52. So three years, regardless of how uncommon that may have been at the time.

 

 

True, although it was only a section of the band that performed on YOU ARE WELCOME. Can't remember if it was 12 or more.

You and I have agreed to disagree on the enlistment date in the past, which is fine, despite the news clipping I have that specifically states "Enlisting in January, 1951, John spent some time at David-Monthan AFB, Tucson, Arizona..." (etc.). As the other article states that his discharge was coming in Jan, 1955, that would be the natural end of the Air Force's standard 4-year enlistment. I understand he did some things during early 1951 that don't have to do with the AF, but as I've mentioned in the past: the AF doesn't control everything I do in my off-time (and they didn't in 1951 either). I've finished graduate courses from several states away while on active duty, studied with composition teachers via snail mail, and done many non-AF things during my active duty time. Most of my publications were completed in off-duty hours. It's possible (and likely) that's why some of the times overlap. 

 

Yes, it was 12 airmen-musicians on the "You Are Welcome" score, I just meant that the entire unit wasn't only 12 members.  

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Yes, airman, as I mentioned then, the date given in the article goes against other bits of information about JW post-high school, but pre-air force. Simply too much stuff to squeeze into 6 months (his first year at UCLA studies -- writing the piano sonata as a likely exam piece -- and the single semester at LACC). So untill I see his draft papers, I'll have to go with Jan '52 for now. After all, the article in question also has other errors.

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8 minutes ago, Jurassic Shark said:

 

Damn, Jeremy, you're good! How do you know those details? Have you considered writing a book?

Thanks! But no, sadly I am too busy to entertain that idea. I'm happy to contribute to the folks to do though.

 

I've been an active duty composer/arranger for the Air Force Bands for nearly 19 years now, and have served as the unit historian for several of the bands I've been in.

 

That article that floats around - the one that introduced everyone to the existence of "You Are Welcome" - was one I found back in 2001 or 2002 at the archives at March Air Reserve Base in southern CA while researching the history of our northern CA band - the USAF Band of the Golden West. In the 1990s, the AF Band at March AFB was deactivated and combined with the (smaller) group in northern CA to form one 60-member unit. So although we were in the northern CA Band, the March AFB Band was also part of our history. I ran across the JW article totally by accident, but it was definitely an interesting read.

 

Years of dealing with Air Force details (paperwork, rules, instructions, etc.) make it easy to look up enlistment (and other) details. Not a marketable skill, but it serves a little purpose here and there. :lol:

 

 

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3 minutes ago, airmanjerm said:

Years of dealing with Air Force details (paperwork, rules, instructions, etc.) make it easy to look up enlistment (and other) details. Not a marketable skill, but it serves a little purpose here and there:lol:

 

Are you saying you have the possibility to check the archives to find out exactly when JW joined the AF?

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4 minutes ago, Thor said:

Yes, airman, as I mentioned then, the date given in the article goes against other bits of information about JW post-high school, but pre-air force. Simply too much stuff to squeeze into 6 months (his first year at UCLA studies -- writing the piano sonata as a likely exam piece -- and the single semester at LACC). So untill I see his draft papers, I'll have to go with Jan '52 for now. After all, the article in question also has other errors.

 

But - he wasn't drafted. :lol::lol::P 

 

No worries Thor...I'll always leave room for errors in a 65-year-old article. The only other thing I'll mention is that the ID numbers 200000-399999 were used for enlisted Airmen who joined the AF in Jan, 1951 (the numbers 000001-199999 were used for US Army enlistees). The last six numbers of JW's serial number (389341) fall into that numerical category. 

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13 minutes ago, airmanjerm said:

Years of dealing with Air Force details (paperwork, rules, instructions, etc.) make it easy to look up enlistment (and other) details. Not a marketable skill, but it serves a little purpose here and there. :lol:

 

Feel free to let me know if you find anything concrete about enlistment details in your archives.

 

As I said, the article has other errors. For example, it says the family moved to LA in '47, but they actually moved there in '48. 

 

It also says that "Uncle Sam beckoned in 1951...", which could mean that the draft call was made then, but that he actually went in in Jan '52. It also (correctly) says that he was at UCLA before the draft, but we also know for a FACT that he spent his last semester before the air force at LACC, after a period at UCLA. So it's all a matter of putting two and two together.

 

The only possible timeline that makes sense is this:

 

Spring-50: Finishes high school

Autumn-50: Starts UCLA studies

Spring-51: Finishes a year at UCLA, with the piano sonata as exam piece. He later finishes the degree while at Pepperell, being 'Class of '53' at UCLA. The wind quintet could very well be another exam piece; Williams says he wrote it while he was there.

Autumn-51: One semester at Los Angeles City College. "Uncle Sam beckons" the same semester.

January-52: He goes into the air force

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14 minutes ago, Jurassic Shark said:

 

Are you saying you have the possibility to check the archives to find out exactly when JW joined the AF?

 

I can't check his S/N specifically because he is still alive and I'm not a next-of-kin; the Privacy Act of 1974 prevents looking someone up specifically. But I do have records (old regulations and historical data) of how the serial numbers were assigned (see the info I included above). 

 

JTWUSAF.jpg

 

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