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Welcome to my new blog, Lubricity. Check out the about page for more about this new endeavor. While you’re here, click that “subscribe to feed” button and follow me on RSS.
I hope that these observations about jazz give you some perspective on the music that isn’t available elsewhere. My first post below is a recent essay I wrote for a class in my Jazz History MA program, jazz and film. It marks where I am right now: at the beginning of my foray into the world of jazz writing and historiography. Expect a combination of essays, reviews and questions for the community in future posts. My goal is to speak about the jazz world from the perspective of its younger participants — people like me who grew up well after Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, John Coltrane, even Miles Davis had passed away. For us, these people are ghosts, but they speak to us in very real ways through music and mythology. Our perspective on these voices doesn’t yet have a strong presence in the jazz discourse, but I hope that will begin to change soon.
Also watch this space for information about the upcoming relaunch of the Rutgers Jazz MA website, which currently leaves a lot to be desired.
Whenever I watch a movie, I always lose track of time. Weeks, years, lifetimes, even generations can unfold before us in a movie theater in under three hours. I had originally planned to write about how the story of the trombone has been told in Hollywood films, but when I went to the archive to watch them, serendipity distracted me with a pair of VHS tapes about Jack Teagarden, the subject of my MA thesis. They were produced by Joe Showler, the preeminent researcher of everything Teagarden who passed away days after I began classes at Rutgers. Watching these tapes took me to surprising emotional depths. It was like meeting someone for the first time, and totally hitting it off. The striking nature of the experience led me to abandon my other project. Instead, I’m reflecting on the “meeting” to try to better understand the nature of my love of jazz, the telling of history, and the power of the motion picture.