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First Google Images search result for "Not a Genre." Awesome.

UPDATE: I’m bumping this up in case you missed it over the weekend … with a few minor edits:

Now that I’ve calmed down a bit after my somewhat-jumbled thoughts about Winter JazzFest, I want to spend a few hundred words here and try to hone in on a more important point about my aural experiences and conversations last weekend. Much electronic ink has been spilled in the wake of last weekend’s JJA panel on the “State of Jazz Journalism Now” and although I did manage to get a few words in edgewise during the panel, upon reflection, a clearer vision of what I want to say has begun to emerge. Read the rest of this entry »

Today we celebrate the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  King displayed a deep appreciation for jazz and understood its symbolic role in the struggle for civil rights.  In honor of his memory, allow me to share one of my favorite jazz-related quotes, courtesy of Dr. King:

Now, jazz is exported to the world. For in the particular struggle of the Negro in America there is something akin to the universal struggle of modern man. Everybody has the Blues. Everybody longs for meaning. Everybody needs to love and be loved. Everybody needs to clap hands and be happy. Everybody longs for faith. In music, especially this broad category called Jazz, there is a stepping stone towards all of these.

King’s insights always remind me of what we in the jazz community are always aspiring to do: illuminate the “stepping stones” that the music offers us in understanding human suffering, faith, dignity and joy.  As the music continues to resonate all over the world, may it continue to convey these deep truths that Dr. King felt when he heard it.

2011 UPDATE: David Demsey and Bruce Jackson of William Paterson University have recently uncovered some new historical information about this famous excerpt. The quote is usually attributed to a speech that Dr. King gave at the 1964 Berlin Jazz Festival. The only problem: King wasn’t at the festival. As it turns out, King had been asked to share his thoughts as a foreword for the festival’s printed program, which gave rise to this quotation. Demsey and Jackson’s research will appear in this month’s issue of Down Beat.

A Pair of Pizzarellis at Shanghai Jazz

By Alex W. Rodriguez for the Star-Ledger

This week’s preview features shows by Bucky Pizzarelli, John Pizzarelli, Hot Club of Detroit and Joe Lovano.

UPDATE: I am re-posting this after taking some time over the weekend to think it through, and added some further thoughts at the end. A more coherent follow-up is also available here. Some of the responses have been very insightful, and I’ll try to keep up in the comments below.

This weekend marks the third year that I will have had the pleasure of attending New York’s Winter JazzFest. As I wrote about my first JazzFest experience in 2009, the inundation of music was exciting, overwhelming and ridiculously fun. 2010 was no different (part 1 and part 2 of last year’s report) and I am quite stoked about checking out this year’s effort (I only made it to Friday this time around …)

Read the rest of this entry »

Jazz Notes for the Week of Jan. 5

By Alex W. Rodriguez for the Star-Ledger

Alongside my brief preview of Winter JazzFest, this week’s column features three Jersey shows: Alex Wintz at Shanghai, Cecil Brooks III at his West Orange club Cecil’s and Lee Hogans at the Zimmerli Museum in New Brunswick.

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