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Jazz Happenings for the Week of Dec. 22

By Alex W. Rodriguez for the Star-Ledger

Roberta Gambarini & James Moody (photo: Tom Pich)

WBGO’s Love for Moody WeekWBGO Blog

My first post at the WBGO blog is up today, highlighting the week of special broadcasting that the station has planned to pay respects to Newark native James Moody. Click on over and enjoy some highlights of our recent coverage.

One of the December rituals in the jazz writing community is for each individual writer to produce a list of “Top 10 CDs of the Year.” Although I find this process to be terribly self-indulgent, ascribing import to the writer that he or she may or may not deserve, I have also found the process of thinking back on the year through the lens of the musical soundtrack that accompanied it quite enjoyable.

So I give you, o faithful readers, the Official Lubricity First Annual List of Arbitrary Length Detailing a Number Of Excellent Jazz Musical Products To Which I Have Enjoyed Listening During The Past Year:

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Jazz Happenings for the Week of Dec. 15

By Alex W. Rodriguez for The Star-Ledger

This week: WBGO celebrates James Moody, Ralph Bowen plays in New Brunswick, McCoy Tyner and Gary Bartz at SOPAC, Dave Stryker at Shanghai and a potpourri of top-notch musicians at The Jazz Standard.

As I mentioned below, on Friday I reviewed a Kenny G concert at the Count Basie Theater in Red Bank, NJ. If you missed it, read the review here.

Believe it or not, I actually pitched this assignment to the Star-Ledger, because after years of uncritically accepting the rampant smooth jazz bashing of my peers in the jazz community, I thought I should at least take a listen for myself and see if the unrestrained anger directed at this man is justified.

My brief impression of the show was that Kenny G is a shameless but devastatingly effective self-promoter, a decent technician on his instrument, harmonically and melodically limited to pre-bebop diatonicism and blues riffs, and an amazing onstage communicator.

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Jazz Happenings for the Week of December 8

By Alex W. Rodriguez for the Star-Ledger

Kenny G is Musically Predictable, But Reliably Entertaining

By Alex W. Rodriguez for the Star-Ledger

There was a lot that didn’t make it into the review for this one … perhaps a Chinen-style blog follow up is in order — stay tuned.

Jazz Happenings for the Week of Dec. 1

By Alex W. Rodriguez for the Star-Ledger

Finally up-to-date with my blog links! This week’s links feature an all-star jam to honor Bob Cranshaw, Tony Bennett in Montclair, Rutgers and Princeton Jazz Ensembles. Fred Hersch solo at the Vanguard is this week’s Best Reason to Cross the Hudson.

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