All That Jazz | Letters | Chicago Reader

All That Jazz 

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In Peter Margasak's piece on Arto Lindsay [Rock, Etc., June 27] a couple of errors were made; one factual, and another, admittedly, a matter of opinion.

First, Mr. Margasak claims that Arto Lindsay never recorded with the Lounge Lizards. In fact, Arto Lindsay did record with them and can be heard on the Lounge Lizards' debut album.

Secondly, Mr. Margasak says that Arto Lindsay's "art-school pretensions got the better of him when he founded the Lounge Lizards with faux jazzer John Lurie." Mr. Margasak, please! While it is true that early in John Lurie's and the Lounge Lizards' career the term "fake jazz" was often used to describe their sound and, if I'm not mistaken, it was a label that even Lurie embraced early on, it is, however, wrong and shortsighted to continue to use so pejorative a term all these years later. John Lurie has composed some incredibly wonderful music with the Lounge Lizards and for film (Jim Jarmusch's Stranger Than Paradise) for many years. While a good deal of it may not have broken new ground in jazz, he certainly opened a lot of eyes in the New York underground rock scene of the early 80s. Like many true jazz leaders, Lurie has always employed some of the best players in jazz and rock with the Lounge Lizards, some of whom have gone on to front their own bands or work with other notable musicians; Roy Nathanson and Marc Ribot immediately come to mind. I hardly think these musicians would refer to Lurie as a "faux jazzer." But if you insist on referring to Lurie as a fake jazzer, then so be it. I'd rather listen to the fake sounds of the Lounge Lizards than to the boring meandering of Kenny G or the pompous academic virtuosity of Berklee jazz graduates any day.

Jim Laugelli


Peter Margasak replies:

A splotch on an otherwise exemplary career. Arto Lindsay did indeed perform on the first Lounge Lizards album. Thanks for the correction.


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