alex smyo portraitThank you for stopping by my website.

I am a jazz writer, improviser, trombonist, and scholar currently based in Los Angeles, CA. To read more about me, feel free to check out this page: About Alex.

This website started in 2009 as my personal blog, Lubricity. Since then, I have written mostly about jazz and related creative improvised music here, and also posted links to the many pieces that I have written elsewhere on the internet. Even though updates are much less frequent these days, Lubricity lives on—click the Lubricity tab to read all posts, or filter them by category on the left sidebar.

Here’s what I wrote about Lubricity when I started the blog:

Lubricity is the quality of shiftiness or slipperiness, the ability to resist definition, and the capacity for reducing tension.  To me, it’s a perfect descriptor for jazz as it lives in our world today.

It’s also a tribute to the bebop musicians like Charlie Parker and Thelonious Monk who had a fascination with obscure multisyllabic words like “Epistrophy” and “Ornithology”.  Finally, it’s a tip of the hat to my instrument, the trombone, which requires a lubricious slide in order to be played effectively.

Join me in discussing the definition-resistant musical tradition we call jazz through my perspective as a young trombonist and aspiring jazz historian.

A question that continues to fascinate me about jazz was also on my mind when I started this blog a few years: What is Jazz? So, I made a page where anyone can post their answer to that question—please feel free to do so here: What is Jazz?

Since moving to Los Angeles in 2011, I have been working on a doctoral dissertation project in the Department of Ethnomusicology at UCLA, focusing on jazz clubs and the communities that surround them in California, Chile, and Russia. As part of that work, I have posted a very short survey on jazz space in Russia at this site–if you are reading this and know anyone with a connection to jazz in Russia, please share it with them: Где джаз в России? (that means “Where is Jazz in Russia?”)

If you’d like to be in touch with me, I can be reached by e-mail at — if you would like to send CDs for review or other promotional materials for new jazz, please e-mail me for a physical address.