The Red Count: The Life and Times of Harry Kessler

Harry Graf Kessler,1917

‘The Red Count’ – the man who inspired the name of the band.

The life of Count Harry Kessler (1868-1937), the famous Anglo-German art patron, writer, and activist, offers a vivid and engrossing perspective on the tumultuous transformation of art and politics that took place in modern Europe between 1890 and 1930.

In the first half of his career Kessler was one of the most ardent and well-known champions of aesthetic modernism in Imperial Germany, becoming a friend and patron to pioneering artists and writers of his day, most notably French sculptor Aristide Maillol, Belgian architect Henry van de Velde, English theater designer Gordon Craig, and Austrian poet and playwright Hugo von Hofmannsthal and, in his capacity as director of the Museum of Arts and Crafts in Weimar and vice-president of the German Artists League, served as a spokesman and lightning rod for embattled modern art.

In the aftermath of the First World War, in which he served as a soldier, propagandist, and secret agent, Kessler embarked on a public career as a committed internationalist and pacifist, a stance that led ultimately to his exile from Germany upon the Nazi seizure of power. Making use of the recently discovered portions of Kessler’s extensive diaries, one of the most remarkable journals ever written, Laird Easton explains the reasons for this startling metamorphosis, showing for the first time the continuities between Kessler’s prewar aestheticism and his postwar politics and highlighting his importance within the larger history of the rise of modern art and politics.

This lively narrative, the first English-language biography of Harry Kessler, provides a rich and fascinating portrait of the man whom W. H. Auden called ‘a crown witness of our times.’ [source: Amazon]

Get the book here:

Red Count - Harry Kessler

Harry Clemens Ulrich Kessler (23 May 1868 – 30 November 1937) was an Anglo-German count, diplomat, writer, and patron of modern art. English translations of his diaries “Journey to the Abyss” (2011) and “Berlin in Lights” (1971) reveal anecdotes and details of artistic, theatrical, and political life in Europe, mostly in Germany, from the late 19th century through the collapse of Germany at the end of World War I until his death in Lyon in 1937. [source: wikipedia]

Simon Allen delivers yet again

211 Park Drive

I just received Simon Allen’s alto take for ‘Pantheon of Greats’ and tenor take for ‘211 Park Drive’ – OMG – he is just so killing…I also really dig that he completely got into the uptempo Eb Blues and became ‘really fussy’ as he puts it. The result speaks for itself – ‘burning’ just as ordered! Next up…Sid Gauld on trumpet – what fun!

More on Simon:

Pantheon of Greats

Phanteon of Greats - lead sheet.jpg

I’m currently tracking ‘The Pantheon of Greats’ for the ‘A little book of Jazz’ project. Darren Williams has played awesome drums a while ago – at 220 BPM not an easy task…

I’ve recorded the bass track with my Tacoma Thunderchief, SE Titan Mic and UA LA-610, but not after some serious studies of Paul Chambers and Ron Carter Walking bass lines in Eb. It’s all about the open strings and how they naturally fit into the lines. Although I’m an Electric Bassist I’m trying to play walking bass lines like an upright player, i.e. there is a lot of walking up the neck on the G string, using open strings to get down to the open (or half) position.

Anyway, Simon Allen will play alto sax on Monday. Can’t wait to hear him rip it up!

Then, I know slightly stranger order, I’ll record either guitar or piano…let’s see who will be about.

The idea of the title came after reading ‘The Greatest Minds and Ideas of All Time’ by Will Durant – or