pease Ae Frazier
ut style is more than the way a person dresses or writes. It can also be the way he
walks—like, say Cary Grant, all gliding grace; or Robert Mitchum, with that hubris in his haunches;
or Broderick Crawford, with those quick little steps transporting that bulk of a body. Style is individual-
ity, the personal touch, the hallmark.
And sometimes style is the way a man plays games. It is Joe DiMaggio or Willie Mays catching
a fly ball, the way Ted Williams swung a bat, the wizardry on ice of Bobby Orr, the esprit de corps
of the Montreal Canadiens hockey team, the float-like-a-butterfly-sting-like-a-bee behavior of
Mohammad Ali in a boxing ring. It is Jimmy Brown taking the flare pass and off to glory on Sunday
afternoons in the fall and winter of the years when he was So very, very special.
Turtle Bay, that enchanted enclave hard by the United Nations on the East River in New York
City is style, too—all style. And while it has nothing—nothing specifically, that is—to do with either
Herbie Mann or the music he produces in this album, it really has everything to do with it, for style,
as the lady might have said, is style is style is style. So simply set it down, using only one side of the
paper and keeping a neat margin, that Turtle Bay is used here as a symbol summoning up style. Cer-
tainly no other parcel of real estate anywhere in the world is more stylish—maybe as, but surely not
Do you understand everything up to this point?
What, in essence, has been said up to this point, and perhaps a little too windily, is that
although there’s nothing about Turtle Bay in this music—or nothing programmatic anyway—, there's
everything about it. In other words, both this music and Turtle Bay have style—and also, of course,
elegance and taste. Which brings up something else.
This is that style is never faddish, never trendy-contemporary, true, but not a passing fancy,
a whim, a here-today-gone-tomorrow phenomenon. It doesn't become dated. Thus, though Manhat-
tan is becoming more and more an affair of skyscrapers, low-rise Turtle Bay doesn’t seem outmoded.
The charm is everlasting. That is to be said also of the music in this album. Duke Ellington once
observed that there isn’t popular music or classical music, not venerable music or music that’s mint-
new. There is only good music or bad music. Mr. Mann's music doesn’t happen to be bad music.
While we’re into this thing and if you’re not doing anything for lunch, | suppose it might be
a good idea to go the whole hog and point out that, just as you can suggest the innate style of one thing
by citing the different but nevertheless innate style of another, you can apply the same law to lack of
taste or ugliness or mediocrity or whatever you prefer to call it. By that | mean that the third-rate is as
much of a piece as is the first-rate. Thus, such lapses from grace as ankle-length socks, white-on-
white shirts, silvery neckties, lapels on fake breast pockets on men’s jackets, and mammoth cufflinks
aren't really all that different from bad music or a thing yes, a thing—by Mrs. Irving Mansfield, or the
singing of Florence Foster Jenkins or an outfielder with two left feet.
Once, asked by the Prince of Wales what he thought of his coat, Brummell recoiled in horror and
reduced the prince to tears. ‘You call that thing a coat?” he said. Mrs. Mansfield and a man in an
irridescent suit have a lot more in common than either of them probably realizes. For one thing,
neither of them has any taste. Nor do most of the shiny new apartment-house complexes. .
So Turtle Bay and Herbie Mann—like, in a way, two peas in a pod. But that should be evident
when (1) you listen to this music, and (2) you get some idea of the enduring old charms of Turtle Bay,
which, ideally, you should see. Meanwhile, you might look up one of the greatest essays ever written.
It is E. B. White’s portrayal of New York City as viewed from—naturally—Turtle Bay, where he lived
for so many years of grace.
ATLANTIC SD 1642
photo: Joel Brodsky
Turtle Bay, SE N.Y., a dist. of E. Manhattan
borough of New York city, along East R.
N of 42nd St. Site of United Nations’ hq.
—The Columbia Lippincott Gazetteer of the World
hat this is all about — Turtle Bay and the
music in this album—is style. Style and, of course, taste,
too, absolutely unassailable taste—and not just in the
music, either, but in a lot of other things, like, for in-
stance, apparel and athletic performances and the way
people walk, even, in fact, style in parcels of real estate,
or, anyway, parcels of real estate like Turtle Bay,
though, naturally, there aren’t many.
Style takes a lot of different forms. It was, for
example, the late Freddie Cripps, brother of Sir Stafford,
traveling from London to Vienna to be fitted for his cus-
tom-made underwear. It was also William Rhinelander
Stewart not venturing out in the evening until his valet.
had ironed his rumpled folding money. And, of course
and above all, it was the Beau — Beau Brummell —
taking five hours to dress. Style was the Regency dandy,
Lt. Colonel Kelly, who died while trying to rescue his
favorite boots from the flames that enveloped his home.
Style was Max Beerbohm not daring to dangle
a child on his knee lest he spoil the incomparable
crease of his trousers. It was Gerald Murphy, the proto-
type for Dick Diver in his friend Scott Fitzgerald’s novel
Tender Is the Night. And, naturally, Tender Is the Night
is itself style, all style, as, for that matter, so is Calvin
Tomkins’s Living Well Is the Best Revenge, which is all
about Gerald and Sara Murphy in the South of France
in that time of blessed innocence and matchless taste.
Printed in U.S.A.
STEREO | DOWN SIDE