You are currently browsing the monthly archive for April 2012.

In Los Angeles, An Immigrant’s Dream Becomes a Jazz Hub

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

This piece is a part of the Jazz Journalists Association’s Jazz Day Blogathon, celebrating jazz in local communities in honor of “Jazz Day.” Click the link for updates from all over the world!

Behold: A white piano trio that is not full of shit

This morning, I finally caught up with the jazz internet hoopla surrounding the Toronto-based trio Badbadnotgood (BBNG). I will not link to any of their music here, because they have received plenty of attention already.

I will, however, link to Peter Hum’s excellent take.

Read that, and then come back to see why I even bothered weighing in: because this group exposes the racist underbelly that haunts today’s systems of music distribution and consumption, something that many jazz musicians have been diligently and intelligently resisting for decades.  Read the rest of this entry »

Image

Back home again at UCLA's Schoenberg Hall

Wow, that was a crazy month! And another begins, as I return to campus for spring quarter here at UCLA. This quarter system is a real trip . . . between the 10-week courses and the lack of seasons here in Los Angeles, there is a very different academic ebb and flow than the one became accustomed to on the East Coast.

But enough complaining — I am eager to take on some new courses and extremely grateful and humbled to have had the opportunity to present at last week’s EMP Pop Conference. Despite the fact that our panel was programmed at the same time as a gathering of powerhouse music writers (Greil Marcus and Ann Powers, anyone?) we had a solid turnout, including a number of my friends and former classmates at Rutgers. David Adler, Nate Chinen, and Phil Freeman all gave fantastic, engaging papers, and we had time for a lively Q & A session afterwards. Thanks also to the Music of our Heart for a nice blog recap.

I’d add a small quibble, though, to the characterization of the conference as a “Deep Hang.” I would call it wide, perhaps — the sheer size and buzz of the conference was invigorating, but the depth was uneven at best. There was plenty of deep thinking going on in some places, though: a fantastic roundtable conversation moderated by Greg Tate featuring Vijay Iyer, Jose James, Mazz Swift, and Butch Morris was one highlight. Morris held court for much of the session, defending the word jazz from its recent slough of detractors, and all four shared heavy insights into the role that cities have played in shaping their unique musical visions: “nodes in the network,” as Iyer eloquently called them. Guthrie Ramsay’s panel “Cities, Hegemonic Sound, and Blackness” was another deep and real take on issues of representation in African American music culture, and the closing keynote speech by ?uestlove was highly entertaining for its charming geekiness.

Best of all, though, was the simple act of reacquainting myself (just a little bit) with the city that I left behind last year. Attending the opening reception at Le Poisson Rouge, I caught a whiff of nostalgia for my first concert in the City, hearing Claudia Acuna, Jason Moran, William Parker, and others at the 2009 Winter JazzFest. And I had the pleasure of reconnecting with my three closest friends from Rutgers — Sean Lorre, Paul Brady, and Jared Negley — while catching the Gerald Clayton Trio’s impeccable set at the Jazz Standard. This confirmed the theory that I presented in my paper on Saturday: that “the hang” plays an important role in shaping music communities, and that jazz musicians are especially astute when it comes to making hangs happen.

As I return to my nose-in-the-books life here in Los Angeles, then, I’m exceedingly grateful to have stocked back up on the New York vibe, and hope that the spirit of the hang continues to help me along for another ten-week dive into the depths of academia.

Subscribe by e-mail

Twitter Updates

  • RT @JoeMande: You don't believe in labor unions. RT @Reince: This Labor Day, we honor all workers. 6 hours ago
  • RT @imaniperry: Oftentimes ppl who don't want to be seen as "like them" are trying to hold on to threads of perceived advantage. Not seeing… 6 hours ago
  • RT @nathanjurgenson: the copcam discussion is too focused on the resulting video, not enough on how wearing a camera changes the cop's perc… 3 days ago
  • RT @TheWorldStage: Check out @KamasiW and others at this weekend's free 3-day African Art & Music Festival in Leimert Park Village: http://… 3 days ago
  • RT @pdxPinay: Simply "talking about race" isn't the same as actively working to dismantle white supremacy, learning to be accomplices with … 3 days ago
April 2012
M T W T F S S
« Mar   May »
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
30  
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,699 other followers