Pianist Teddy Wilson
’s concert appearances with Benny Goodman
in 1935 and Quincy Jones
’ employment as a corporate executive at a major label in 1964 appear to be foremost references in the popular music literature on the integration of African Americans. Yet the pioneering accomplishments of lesser known figures are often neglected in favour of the more overt activism of John Hammond
, Paul Robeson
, Helen Oakley and the likes. But the chances of there being a slew of other as enterprising yet unacknowledged trailblazers are many.
Considering the sheer vastness of the field, researchers and scholars in African American Studies have certainly succeeded in painting their subjects’ rightful place in the history of American popular culture. That said, in Odd Man Out
, Gladu argues that theirs is still an incomplete picture. His objective with this work is to add to their story that of Mr. Calvin Lampley, an oft-overlooked record executive.
This project started in 2007 after the publication of Gladu's review of jazz guitarist Pat Martino
’s El Hombre
on All About Jazz. Intrigued by the near absence of documentation on the life and career of its producer, he embarked on a self-imposed mission to uncover Lampley’s personal and professional life. As it turned out, Lampley, who had died the year before, was not only a record producer, he was also a capable concert pianist, popular music critic, inspiring teacher, prolific composer, respected radio show host, and a professional sports dilettante.Odd Man Out
is the author's take on Calvin Lampley’s locus in the American music history.