The most quintessentially LA writer since Raymond Chandler.
Jonathan SharkeyAt Charlie O’s, it’s a bebop house, let’s face it. But when Brick Wahl comes in, he wants the real deal, so I open up for him. I won’t hold back! Whenever Brick Wahl’s around, I have to play no holds barred. He’ll say, ‘Oh I sure like that, man.’ He was a drummer, you know that? He’s the real deal. He’s not a jive dude, you get him in a conversation, no bullshit about him at all. I tried to thank him for giving me a pretty nice write-up, tried to pay for his wife’s dinner and buy his beer — he got PISSED! I never made that mistake again. He was just doin’ his gig.
Charles Owens to Greg Burk, July 2011
This guy writes from the heart, and he means what he says…unique attributes on the L.A. scene.
Tony Gieske, jazz journalist (R.I.P.)
Ay Brick I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciated the review you wrote on Azar’s performance from last month. It reminded me of the way writers use to express themselves. Keep up the good work!
Phil Ranelin, trombonist
I have only read three of your posts so far, but that is enough for me to decide you are my favorite Jazz writer! You have the soul of a Jazz musician…your prose is Inspired Jazz music! Your aim is dead-on….You achieve your goal every time you write, I have no doubt. One could not play or write at that level even one time, unless that is where they live. I am following the blog now, and do not intend to miss any of your Precious Posts! I hope I don’t seem like I am gushing, but I am blown away by the level of Truth, Honesty, and writing skill. And, there is no ego in your work, it is pure!
Cal Bezemer, pianist
I am happy to recommend Brick Wahl as a writer of exceptional integrity and skill. Mr.Wahl is much like the musicians and other people he is intrigued enough to depict: he is utterly dedicated to his craft and motivated by the pursuit of truth and beauty.
Few music writers are so “on the scene” that they become OF the scene. He has a beat and he patrols it with eyes wide open and ear to the ground. He knows every square inch of the scene. Through his dedication and ubquity, he has become an indispensible part of Los Angeles’ culture.
Few writers are invited into people’s homes lest they use their access to pen a reality-show, pants-down view of the world.
Brick is unique in that he is utterly trusted and welcomed by the people about whom he writes.
Never a shill and always interesting, Mr Wahl can be counted on to bring authenticity and passion to whatever assignment you are wise enough to throw at him.
Hugh Schick, trumpeter/composer
I gotta tell you, man. I’m up at near 5AM ’cause I can’t sleep and I’m reading your blogs. Fuck, you’ve become my favorite writer over the past year or two. This stuff is awesome. Funny, tragic but always immediate and real. Don’t thank me for the kind words. I thank you for your words. Just plain great. See ya around.
Paul Grant, writer
Brick Wahl has been writing brilliant, insightful short stories and essays, for decades. But it was as LA’s Top Jazz Journalist at the LA Weekly, (who described him as inimitable), that I first came to know, read and thoroughly enjoy his edgy, knowledgeable, well crafted, humor-filled, unpretentious print and online jazz reviews. He describes his visceral reactions to the music and is able to make me feel like I was really listening in the room with him. His reviews and all his writings are never a prosaic or literal but full of the color (and smell) of the whole experience he relives with the reader. This dude can write. A true natural.
Chuck Manning, saxophonist
Brick Wahl is a perceptive, instinctual and imaginative writer. This combination is rather unusual, especially for one who writes jazz criticism or commentary. I have known Brick’s writing on a weekly basis for years when he wrote for LA WEEKLY (Brick’s Picks). I was the fortunate recipient of a number of kind recommendations written by Brick in a way that was never repetitive (like a good jazz solo) and was constructed to infuse the subject with perhaps more magic than the player himself realized was present. Jazz journalism is hard. The guy can flat out write.
Jon Mayer, pianist
Rock”n”roll Ralph’s could be the first chapter in a novel. Seriously. You are a gifted writer.
Beverly Kelley, Prof. of Communications, CLU
Brick is an exquisite writer. He writes with the same passion for music that his subjects posses. His use of language is superlative, always cutting to the gist of a subject without flowery prose, at the same time informing his readers in a manner that all can understand. He writes from the heart but his brain is always engaged, Brick is truly a wonderful storyteller!
Jennifer Leitham, bassist
“Rock’n’ roll Ralphs” is SUPERB!
Gary Eisenberg, trumpeter/writer
Brick is an insightful writer/critic who is a truth-seeker. He is not impressed with “famous names”, but rather seeks out what matters artistically; ie, the essence of a performance: what the artist is attempting and how successful the performance is. He researches the subject matter at hand, and is honest. Not every critic can genuinely claim that about himself.
Elliott Caine, trumpeter
The simple — Brick’s integrity as a writer-reviewer is highly valued by the arts community. As important, he speaks from knowledge and familiarity of the art form – he writes about what he knows. I value his opinions and insights!
Michael Dolphin, Central Avenue Jazz Festival
Brick is the Real Deal and will tell it like it is!!! My favorite thing about Brick is that ,unlike most critics, he is not a wannabe/Hack Musician,, just a devout fan,and never pretends to be anything but, he will always call it as he sees/hears it,,, Thats right!! Actual truth as it pertains to Art; What a concept!!!!!!
Bill Markus, bassist
In one word? Brick is crazy! And his craziness makes him say and write things others don’t have the courage to. That’s refreshing. Dangerous, silly and stupid as well, but refreshing nevertheless.
Katia Moraes, vocalist