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Jazz Notes: Vinnie Cutro CD Release Party

By Alex W. Rodriguez for the Star-Ledger

photo by Geoff Countryman

Jazz Happenings for the Week of March 22

By Alex W. Rodriguez for the Star-Ledger

This week: Dave Douglas brings his jazz-brass-quartet project Brass Ecstasy to the Village Vanguard, Rufus Reid plays Whole Foods, Shamie Royston in New Brunswick, and Roy Haynes at William Paterson University.

I just read Ben Ratliff’s excellent critique of “Jazz: The Smithsonian Anthology” at the New York Times. I have disagreed vehemently with Mr. Ratliff on these electronic pages before, but this time he really hit the nail on the head. I have heard rumblings and grumblings about this project from my professors at Rutgers and various jazz scholars who have passed through the Institute of Jazz Studies — the general consensus seemed to be that in an effort to please everyone, the anthology ended up pleasing no one. Just read the piece, though — he astutely enumerates the compilation’s limitations, so there’s no need to repeat his observations here.

I do have one mild quibble with Mr. Ratliff’s assessment, however, which I’ll get into after the jump: Read the rest of this entry »

At the Portland Jazz Festival, Delicate Issues and Joyful Audiences

By Alex W. Rodriguez for A Blog Supreme/NPR Jazz

I forgot to link to this when it ran last month: a review of Anil Prasad’s 2010 book, Innerviews, for the JJA News website. Read the whole thing here — but most important, be sure to check out the Innerviews website, a much better platform for the incredible work that Prasad has been doing for the past 20 years. Lots of really fascinating stuff there!

John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble: Big Band Is Both Masterful and Innovative

By Alex W. Rodriguez for the Star-Ledger

Photo by George McNish

Jazz Notes: Diane Moser, Paul Motian, Cedar Walton, Savion Glover

By Alex W. Rodriguez for the Star-Ledger

This time, the title really does say it all.

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