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OK, it’s been too long since I’ve posted anything at the blog — again — but rather than shut things down entirely (as I did in September) I am trying a slightly different strategy for combating the chain of events (too busy to read other jazz blogs, focus my writing energy elsewhere, too tired to write at the blog, get further out of the loop …) that keep me from posting.

Every so often, I will attempt to re-present interesting facets of the academic discussions that occur during my classes in the M.A. program in Jazz History and Research at Rutgers University. Last week, I lead a class discussion on the influential call to arms by jazz scholar and American Studies professor Sherrie Tucker, entitled “Deconstructing the Jazz Tradition: The ‘Subjectless Subject’ of New Jazz Studies.” Now, that might seem like a mouthful of academic jargon, but it was actually quite an inspirational read (unfortunately, the text of the article is not freely available online, but you can buy a copy here if you’re interested.) Read the rest of this entry »

I’m finally recovering from my whirlwind weekend in Montreal, where I attended the McGill Graduate Music Symposium, a three-day graduate student musicology conference put on by the McGill Music Graduate Students Society. It was the first time in my brief academic career that I attended a conference like this, and I had such a blast that I came a step closer to embracing my inner nerd.

Read the rest of this entry »

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.

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

Come on, jazz bloggers!  It’s been way too quiet on my RSS reader for the past few days … a thoughtful reminder about CD packaging, a nice interview with Gunther Schuller, some back-and-forth between critics and composers … meh.

So I thought I’d take advantage of this lull and ask you, (what’s left of) my readers, to point me in some new directions on the Jazz Internet.  Take a look at my blogroll to the left, and let me know if there’s anyone that’s not listed there who I should be checking out.

Thanks in advance for your recommendations!

(UPDATE: Thanks to Elsa, I was reminded to stop by Nextbop, which has an interesting piece up by Anthony Dean-Harris.)

I’m finally starting to recover from my weekend of extreme jazz consumption at the 2010 NYC Winter JazzFest.  For some initial thoughts and a recap of my Day One experience on Friday, click here.  For some other excellent Winter JazzFest recaps, check out Ben Ratliff, Nate Chinen, Ben Allison, Jacob Teichroew and Hank Shteamer.

Having attended Winter JazzFest last year, Friday had pretty much been in line with my expectations.  Great music, solid crowds, high energy, good times.  But I also knew that this was the first year that the festival had expanded to a second day, and was going to feature five venues rather than Friday’s three.  It was clear that they were upping the ante — especially with such top-notch groups as Ben Allison, The Claudia Quintet, Gretchen Parlato and Vijay Iyer in the lineup.

Still, I had no idea what I was in for.  The NYC Jazz Scene flat-out kicked ass on Saturday, and everyone — promoters, musicians, arts presenters, and especially jazz fans — played a part in making it happen.  Congratulations to everyone for making it go over as well as it did!

Click through for the play-by-play of my Saturday night at NYC Winter JazzFest: Read the rest of this entry »

New York City’s only jazz festival has come and gone, and I was there.  So were a LOT of other people.  My one-word impression: wow.

For a comprehensive and well-written account of the two-night jazz extravaganza, check out Ben Ratliff’s review for the New York Times.  Nate Chinen, Ben Allison, Jacob Teichroew and Hank Shteamer also have some spot-on reflections.

The general theme of those reviews is that the festival was a huge success, attracting not only brilliant music but amazingly enthusiastic audiences.  I couldn’t agree more — Saturday’s crowd was especially mind-blowing.  The combination left me with more moments of jaw-dropping jazz-fan euphoria than any event that I have attended in a long time.  To borrow a phrase from Vijay Iyer, tossed out at the end of his set at Le Poisson Rouge that featured one of the liveliest audiences of the evening: “And they told me jazz is dead…”

Yeah, not so much.

Click through for the play-by-play of my Friday night: Read the rest of this entry »

Conrad Herwig: Amazing musician and teacher

This year has blessed me with a series of steps forward for which I am very grateful, many of them related to my work in jazz documented here from May through September.  I thought that a look back at this past year, the first in which I have really found a home in the jazz community, would be a good way to start my 2010 blogging odyssey anew.

2009 began with a big move:  just after Christmas, I drove from California to New Jersey, arriving on January 2nd.  Along the way, I stopped for lunch in Vernon, TX, Jack Teagarden’s hometown, which I learned was completely in the absolute middle of nowhere and smells like cow pies.  My girlfriend Marina joined me for the trip, and we celebrated the new year inauspiciously at a Days Inn in Roanoke, Virginia.  Read the rest of this entry »

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