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RIP Brook Zern 1941-2019   You are logged in as Guest
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nickgonzalezbrown

 

Posts: 2
Joined: Nov. 27 2020
From: London, UK

RIP Brook Zern 1941-2019 

Hi,

I was wondering if anyone wanted to discuss the American "flamencolugo" Brook Zern, who died last year. I'm sure some people on the Foro knew him, in person and/or through correspondence. I myself shared a brief, but memorable, correspondence with him back in 2016.

Brook maintained the website Flamencoexperience.com, which contained thousands and thousands of words' worth of interviews that he conducted and translated himself over the decades - including with Diego del Gastor, José Menese, and the widow of Manolo de Huelva.

It seems now that Flamencoexperience.com is GONE NOW!?!??! and it seems like the best place to read his surviving articles is on deflamenco.com.

So, my story: In 2016 I was starting to research Flamenco, and having trouble because of how few books are written on the subject. Brook's site was a wealth of material, so I reached out to him to thank him for his contributions.

I was living in New York City at the time and thought he did too, so I asked him about good venues in NYC, and whether he would be doing any lectures about Flamenco that I could attend.

Three days later, I got a really nice, long response from him that started with "Your writing style is lovely; impeccable and unobtrusively elegant. In my book, that counts for a lot".

He said he lived in Martha's Vineyard now (off the coast of Massachusetts), but next time he was in NYC he'd buy me a glass of vino tinto at Alegrías club on 14th Street.

On the subject of good books, Brook said he had some in digital form and could arrange to send me a thumb-drive - as well as tons of 'bootleg' recordings he himself made at juergas in Andalucía. He also offered to show me 'unknown' falsetas that Diego made up during lessons.

The message was also sprinkled with his characteristic self-deprecating humor:

"I was not invited to a recent conference about flamenco at NYU, probably because my resistance to fusion earns me the insider's clever epithet of "Taliban" while my special reverence for the Gypsy component of the art earns me the epithet of "racist" (it's a long story.)"

Brook and I exchanged another message, then I never heard back from him. Unfortunately, I never did get to meet him, receive the thumb-drive or hear the falsetas. (However, I did start going to Alegrías, and saw some amazing performances there).

I would check in with Flamenco Experience every so often, and was surprised to see reports of Brook's death the last time I Googled him this year. Sad news indeed.

_____________________________

"En la vida, amigos van y vienen, mujeres van y vienen, pero la guitarra siempre sigue."
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 28 2020 11:23:48
 
rombsix

Posts: 7372
Joined: Jan. 11 2006
From: Beirut, Lebanon

RE: RIP Brook Zern 1941-2019 (in reply to nickgonzalezbrown



Perhaps some of his family members are still around?

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Ramzi

http://www.youtube.com/rombsix
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 28 2020 16:05:16
 
Morante

 

Posts: 1539
Joined: Nov. 21 2010
 

RE: RIP Brook Zern 1941-2019 (in reply to nickgonzalezbrown

Hola

Brook and his wife used to rent a piso en Jeréz, being friends with Serva, Estela etc, so I used to go up to see them and have a meal together. He certainly knew a lot about flamenco and was a devout aficionado de La Niña de los Peines[;). I preferred La Perla, so we had many friendly arguments.

Once, everybody came to Cádiz to see me and I was astonished when Brook stopped before a heladería de Tom and Jerry: I don´t think I have ever tasted a worst ice cream but he loved it!

I, being a professor of Trout and Salmon fly fishing in a former life, had been an aficionado of his father, who was famous in this field, so we started on the right footing.

I imagine that Estela would have much more to say.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 28 2020 16:27:03
 
Ricardo

Posts: 12352
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: RIP Brook Zern 1941-2019 (in reply to nickgonzalezbrown

I had read and enjoyed his articles over the years and found them very informative, if extremely opinionated. For a long time I had lumped him in with all the “moronies”, ie, people that had once come from America to hang out with Don Pohren at his Ranch after reading his books (the only ones readily available on the subject in USA for many decades) where a soda straw view of flamenco centered firmly on Diego del Gastor and his friends.

But my opinion changed when I attended an event by chance in Washington DC Art Museum where a viewing and lecture of Rito y Geografia was held. I was just in the right time frame to catch it on the way to a gig. I was there early and talked to Brook about Rito DVD cleaned up series that I considered Gold....he admitted he was pushing the project along himself but the people involved got a promotion that permanently ended the project before completion. He had brought his Ramirez and asked me if I would do some playing demonstration instead of himself which I gladly did. He showed Pericon episode first, and a few of the Juerga in jerez clips and Diego of course, fernanda etc...his favorite stuff. He was a fantastic communicator, and as mentioned he is not afraid to put “himself down” as mentioned. In this occasion, after he showed a clip of Pepe Marchena, he stated that he felt his singing was not “puro” flamenco like he thought of his favorites like Fernanda etc...I remember squirming in my chair “oh here we go...”...but then he said he admitted his opinions to Fernanda herself and she told him that he was an idiot!

I find that attitude very rare in the flamenco aficionado world and my opinion of him went WAY up in that moment as the audience laughed with confusion. Anyway I talked to him more after the show and gave him my email and thanked him profusely for accomplishing what he was able with the DVD reissues. Not long after, when Esperanza Fernandez came to do Amor Brujo, the orchestra conductor who had been in attendance at the Rito lecture asked me, on Brook’s recommendation, if I would play for her a couple short recitals. So I have him to thank for that connection. Kitarist managed to dig up some articles of his somehow, but for sure he and his writings will be sorely missed.

Ricardo

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CD's and transcriptions available here:
www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 28 2020 17:32:10
 
kitarist

Posts: 1076
Joined: Dec. 4 2012
 

RE: RIP Brook Zern 1941-2019 (in reply to Ricardo

quote:

Kitarist managed to dig up some articles of his somehow, but for sure he and his writings will be sorely missed.


Here is the link again, from archive.org:

https://web.archive.org/web/20171103072412/http://www.flamencoexperience.com/blog/

It is far from the whole website content because these snapshots appear to go only a level or two deep. However, because of the 100 or so captures through the years, there are still quite a number of articles.

To see that another way, go to https://web.archive.org/web/sitemap/http://www.flamencoexperience.com/blog/ and click on 2016 or 2017.

In the graphic (static image below), the outer disk has tiny slices representing all the archived webpages. As you hover over that outer disk, you will see all the webpages that are named like cat=xxx, and a few named p=xxx. Clicking on any brings up the content.

Each 'cat' page seems to have all/some of(?) the articles that were in that particular category. For example, cat=33 is 'women in flamenco' and it has 5 different articles in the 2017 version of that webpage. Or cat=257 is 'flamenco aesthetics' and has about ten longish articles on that subject. Other categories may have just one, like cat=7 'welcome', as do all the 'p=xxx' webpage.

Once you are on a particular cat or p webpage, you can see all the category names in a column on the right-hand side (easier to browse than by number).



Images are resized automatically to a maximum width of 800px

Attachment (1)

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Konstantin
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 28 2020 17:51:08
 
mark indigo

 

Posts: 3219
Joined: Dec. 5 2007
From: UK

RE: RIP Brook Zern 1941-2019 (in reply to Ricardo

quote:

Kitarist managed to dig up some articles of his somehow, but for sure he and his writings will be sorely missed.


I posted a couple up that I had saved on my hard drive. I spent hours on that site reading his articles, and some I saved and/or printed to read offline.

quote:

after he showed a clip of Pepe Marchena, he stated that he felt his singing was not “puro” flamenco like he thought of his favorites like Fernanda etc...I remember squirming in my chair “oh here we go...”...but then he said he admitted his opinions to Fernanda herself and she told him that he was an idiot!

I find that attitude very rare in the flamenco aficionado world and my opinion of him went WAY up in that moment

great anecdote! I never heard that before, but I got that impression of him from his articles he wrote and posted on his website.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 28 2020 17:57:31
 
kitarist

Posts: 1076
Joined: Dec. 4 2012
 

RE: RIP Brook Zern 1941-2019 (in reply to mark indigo

quote:

I posted a couple up that I had saved on my hard drive.


Oh that's right. Mark, could you link here to the thread where you did this? (I can't quite recall the subject line or when it was.)

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Konstantin
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 28 2020 20:12:41
 
mark indigo

 

Posts: 3219
Joined: Dec. 5 2007
From: UK

RE: RIP Brook Zern 1941-2019 (in reply to kitarist

quote:

Oh that's right. Mark, could you link here to the thread where you did this? (I can't quite recall the subject line or when it was.)

yikes! no idea! Whatever it was I will still have it on my hard drive though.... but also probably accessible through the wayback links you posted.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 28 2020 21:11:12
 
devilhand

 

Posts: 715
Joined: Oct. 15 2019
 

RE: RIP Brook Zern 1941-2019 (in reply to kitarist

quote:

Oh that's right. Mark, could you link here to the thread where you did this? (I can't quite recall the subject line or when it was.)


http://www.foroflamenco.com/tm.asp?m=327891&p=2&tmode=1&smode=1

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Say No to Fuera de Compás!!!
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 28 2020 22:01:38
 
mark indigo

 

Posts: 3219
Joined: Dec. 5 2007
From: UK

RE: RIP Brook Zern 1941-2019 (in reply to kitarist

quote:

Oh that's right. Mark, could you link here to the thread where you did this? (I can't quite recall the subject line or when it was.)


just remembered, it was Aurelio Sellés, and I threw in Manuel Agujetas for good measure

http://www.foroflamenco.com/tm.asp?m=327891&appid=&p=&mpage=1&key=agujetas&tmode=&smode=&s=#328045

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 28 2020 22:18:07
 
kitarist

Posts: 1076
Joined: Dec. 4 2012
 

RE: RIP Brook Zern 1941-2019 (in reply to mark indigo

quote:

ORIGINAL: mark indigo

quote:

Oh that's right. Mark, could you link here to the thread where you did this? (I can't quite recall the subject line or when it was.)


just remembered, it was Aurelio Sellés, and I threw in Manuel Agujetas for good measure

http://www.foroflamenco.com/tm.asp?m=327891&appid=&p=&mpage=1&key=agujetas&tmode=&smode=&s=#328045


Thank you Mark; and no, both of these were not in the archived webpages on archive.org/wayback machine.

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Konstantin
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 28 2020 23:01:41
 
Steelhead

 

Posts: 64
Joined: Nov. 20 2014
 

RE: RIP Brook Zern 1941-2019 (in reply to Morante

As a fellow fanatic fly fisherman, I also read Ed Zern and have his books. For his part, Brook, who had no interest in such things, once said to me, "So, my father named me after a fish [brook trout] -- ya wanna make something of it?"
Somehow I seem to have chosen a similar sobriquet.

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Steelhead
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 28 2020 23:04:25
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