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The epitome of hipness

The epitome of hipness

One of the important thrusts of this blog, and my own nascent career in jazz, is the way that the music is represented in writing.  The internet is, of course, the place where I see most jazz writing, and after three months I’ve gotten a feel for the general writing style of the many blogs I follow.

During this time, I have noticed a few posts peppered with a word that completely distracts me from the content of any sentence in which it appears:


I first remember seeing the word come up in a post by Howard Mandel (last paragraph) and sort of rolled my eyes, in the way I used to roll my eyes at my parents’ hopeless lack of hipness.  But days later, one of my favorite musician-bloggers Andrew Durkin used it to self-identify.  Another young jazz musician and blogger whom I greatly admire, Darcy James Argue, has used the term a few times as well.  The culmination came on Thursday, when uberjazzmetablogger Patrick Jarenwattanananon used it in A Blog Supreme’s Lester Young tribute.

So is jazzer an acceptable noun to describe jazz musicians now?  After the jump, I will discuss the origins of my own issues with the word.  And there’s a picture of cucumbers.  Post your take in the comments, please! Read the rest of this entry »

As summer begins to wind down, so has my productivity at the Encylcopedia of Jazz Musicians.  I still managed to get two more up this month, though.  Both are individual masters with very personal styles, although those styles are very different.

The first is Vic Dickenson.  Here’s Vic in the famous 1958 Sound of Jazz TV broadcast with Red Allen:

The other is Carl Fontana.  This is him playing one of his signature standards, I Thought About You:

Plug either of these guys into The Google and you’ll get a bunch more great videos of them playing.  Most of the video of Vic is him later in his career, however, and certainly not at his best — both of these musicians are worth a few bucks on downloads as well.  I’d recommend The Great Fontana for Carl and Live at the Roosevelt Grill for Vic.  Read more at the page to see my take on what makes these two so important to the jazz trombone tradition.

Since starting Lubricity a couple of months ago, I’ve started to get the lay of the land as far as where people are at in dealing with jazz over the internet.  It’s really just starting to become useful as a way of connecting with others and discussing what’s going on with our various experiences in jazz today.  Writers and fans are weighing in, musicians are trying to generate buzz for their work, and other people still have absolutely nothing to do with it.  Jazz is still finding its footing on the internet, but it hasn’t figured it all out just yet.

More recently, I’ve started working with Josh Jackson as an intern for his weekly new music show at WBGO, The Checkout.  WBGO gets a lot of flack from many modern jazz purists, claiming that it skews its programming too much towards tried-and-true music from the past at the expense of newer, more adventuresome artistic endeavors.  Of course, there is a grain of truth in the criticism, but my boss Josh Jackson is the perfect counterexample; The Checkout is evidence of that.  Read the rest of this entry »

I promised that I’d follow up my appreciation for Canada with a recap of the Toronto trip and the reason that I went: to look through Joe Showler’s collection of Jack Teagarden materials, living in his old house in the Toronto suburb of Etobicoke, Ontario.  Teagarden, the subject of my MA thesis at Rutgers, is that guy blowing the trombone at the top of the page.

This coincides with my first front-page feature at, a collection of the various trombone biographies that I have written for the Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians.  This enterprise has taken up most of my summer, and in a certain sense built up to this visit to Toronto over the weekend.  Since enrolling in the MA in Jazz History and Research at Rutgers, I have delved into the early history of the jazz trombone, which has resulted in a surprising reinvigoration into my interest in jazz across its entire century-plus of history.

Read the rest of this entry »

I mentioned this briefly in my last post, but the Village Vanguard is doing something really cool, and it’s happening again tonight.  (Again, for the sake of full disclosure, it also bears mentioning that I have been involved with WBGO as a Production Intern for a couple of weeks now.)

J.D. Allen is in residency there this week, and tonight his trio, featuring Rudy Royston on drums and Gregg August on bass, will be recorded and webcast by WBGO and NPR Music.  If you’re in the NYC area, it will also be broadcast live on WBGO 88.3 fm.  Josh Jackson of WBGO and Patrick Jarenwattananon of NPR’s A Blog Supreme will be hosting a live web-chat as well.

I am really excited to hear the show.  Last month, when the same team put together the multiplatform megacast of the Fred Hersch Trio (click the link to see archived video!) I tagged along with Josh Jackson to see the whole project in action, having recently begun an internship with Josh and his excellent WBGO show The Checkout.  Tonight, I’m going to sit back in my living room with a Flying Fish ESB Amber Ale and enjoy the show in my easy chair.

I’m especially looking forward to this performance as a big fan of the piano-less trio.  Back in San Francisco, my absolute favorite regular gig was with drummer Zach Hash and a bassist (Eric Vogler, Dave Lockhart and Rob Ewing each played on one night or another, we never had a regular bassist.)  It’s a liberating experience as a horn player to be able to stretch into the harmonic realm normally occupied by pianists and guitarrists.  J.D. Allen is a master of this format, so it should be a pleasure to hear.

So come join me, Josh, Patrick, and whoever else shows up on the live chat at 9 pm sharp.  Seriously, click the link.  You will be witnessing one of the hippest things that has happened to jazz in this wild world of New Media.  Props to WBGO, NPR, J.D. Allen, the Village Vanguard and everyone else who’s making it happen.

I’ve just returned from an inspirational weekend trip to Toronto, my first time North Of The Border.  I was there to take a look at the posthumous collection of the recently-deceased Jack Teagarden scholar Joe Showler (discussed in my first post.)  My host was Showler’s friend and fellow Toronto-based record collector John Wilby, who runs the Jazz Oracle record label.

By a wonderful coincidence, that same weekend, my favorite Canadian jazz blogger Peter Hum posted some exerpts of an e-mail conversation that we had awhile back in Part II of his piece on younger jazz fans (Part I here.)  On my trip to Toronto, I also had some very interesting conversations along those same lines with John, who is Peter’s age but has had a different experience as a jazz fan, having discovered the music through his father’s collection of 1920s 78s.  John is an example of a non-musician with an excellent ear for the music, proving Peter’s point that you don’t have to play jazz to dig it.

This confluence of Canadian-inspired events has brought me back to Blogland after a couple of weeks away from the keyboard.  Later, I’ll post more about my experience poking around the ridiculously exhaustive Teagarden collection that Showler amassed during his lifetime; first, Peter’s observations deserve a response.

Read the rest of this entry »


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