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This cartoon version of Patrick Jarenwattananon demonstrates what I'll be doing often this spring

When it rains, it pours!  I haven’t been writing much here at the blog, mostly because I’ve been busy preparing for Montreal, attending class, and writing my MA thesis.  Expect something to chew on in the next week or so.

In the meantime, I’ve been asked to present even more research in the next two months!  All in all, I have four presentations on my spring calendar, and would be honored if you came to check out any of them:

1) The Jazz Journalism Association presents the research of three jazz scholars under 30: yours truly on Jack Teagarden, Paul Brady on Django Reinhardt and Jared Negley on Sonny Sharrock.  The panel will be hosted by David Adler and Howard Mandel.  Tuesday, March 9, 6-8 PM at the New School.

2) The aforementioned presentation at the McGill Music Graduate Symposium.  March 12-14 at McGill University in Montreal, Canada.

3) The same presentation, “Rhythmic Dissonance in the Early Improvisation of Jack Teagarden” at the University of Cincinnati Music Theory and Musicology Society‘s 2010 Graduate Student Conference.  April 9-10 in Cincinnati, OH.

4) A roundtable discussion and overview of my research at the Institute of Jazz Studies, part of their monthly Jazz Research Roundtable series.  April 21, 7-9 PM at the Institute of Jazz Studies in Newark, NJ.

I hope to see some of you there — maybe even meet you for the first time.  In the meantime, bear with me as I try to keep my head above water while continuing to provide you with jazz-related food for thought.

I was just informed yesterday that a paper proposal I submitted to the McGill Music Graduate Symposium was accepted!  So I’ll be heading to lovely Montreal for the first time next month to talk about rhythmic complexity in Jack Teagarden’s early recorded improvisation.

If you’ve got any good jazz tips for me while I’m there, please do share.  I will be sure to post my thoughts on my first conference paper presentation experience once it goes down next month.  As of now, I am honored to be participating, super excited to present and nervous about paring this down into something that people will actually be willing to sit down and listen to for 20 minutes … wish me luck!

Remember this guy? He's really good.

Blizzard be damned!  Tonight, I’ll be at the Village Vanguard to help put together WBGO‘s live broadcast of the Gerald Clayton Trio — featuring Joe Sanders on bass and Justin Brown on drums — at 9 pm .  If you’re snowed in (or just far away) you can check it out on our live audio/video stream and chat about the performance with yours truly, as well as Josh Jackson and Patrick Jarenwattananon.

I have raved about Clayton before, and I’m excited to see him in action leading a trio.  The scary thing is that the guy is making his debut at the Vanguard at age 25 … the same age as me.  We actually attended the same high school summer jazz camp together (along with fellow jazz wunderkind Aaron Parks) way back in 2002.  I may not have followed the same path as he did, but at least mine will lead me to hear him play tonight!

So join us — either in person or online — for some fantastic music despite the crazy weather.

In my Sunday afternoon jazz internet perusal, I found a couple of interesting links that are worth sharing.  They’re both related to my own personal search for self-expression both through music and writing.

First was this insightful manifesto from Chris Kelsey (from whom I borrowed the awesome image to your right.)  Chris offers a definition of true artistry:

The great­est play­ers don’t play out as a socio-political state­ment; they don’t play in as a way of mak­ing debat­ing points. The most rad­i­cal thing an artist can do is to for­get about who or what he’s up against, and just con­cen­trate on being him­self. That’s the only real source of power.

After digesting Chris’s piece, I found myself reading through this thorough examination of the music journalism world at popmatters.com (via Jazz Chronicles.)  There, Jason Gross offers a balanced but optimistic recap of the ups and downs of 2009.  It offers some measured suggestions for how music journalists should move forward, most notably:

… lots of writers are finding themselves in the same situation where they’re doing all of the right things in terms of social media and adding interactive components to their articles, but sometimes finding that it’s still not good enough. The answer to that is not to give up on these new Internet wrinkles, but to keep embracing them and trying them out in different places and in different ways—not just because editors expect it, but also because it really is the best way to engage with online readers today and tomorrow. Readers are roaming around these sites looking for interesting things, and unless you’re there as well, showing off your writing goods, many of them won’t care about or know about what you’re doing.

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New Orleans Style and the Writing of American Jazz History by Bruce Boyd Raeburn

As I mentioned earlier, the year 2010 will see me delving deeply into the still-emerging field of jazz academia.  As a part of that process, I’m going to be reading a lot of books and articles.  Furthermore, I am going to be summarizing and commenting on their contents for my own research.

Given that, I thought that Lubricity would be a good place for me to share these thoughts, and provide a place for others to share their own opinions on the subjects that these books discuss, all of which are relevant to the current issues of jazz writing to which I have always paid particular attention here at the blog.

The first book that I’ve been reading, New Orleans Style and the Writing of American Jazz History by Bruce Boyd Raeburn, has been a real eye-opener.  The book takes a look at how “New Orleans style” has been codified.  He cleverly posits that the rigid understanding of the style that began to develop in the late 1930s — instrumentation, repertoire, etc. — was influenced primarily not by New Orleans musicians, but by record collectors: a white, educated, leftist parallel culture that developed alongside recorded jazz. Read the rest of this entry »

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