You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2010.

To celebrate Django Reinhardt’s 100th birthday this past Saturday, I am pleased to bring my friend Paul Brady on board to write the first guest column for Lubricity!
Paul is an expert on all things Django: he is currently completing his M.A. in Jazz History and Research at Rutgers University, where he has written a thesis entitled “Django Reinhardt The Jazz Musician: His Abilities; His Influence; His Legacy.”  Paul is also a member of the Hot Club of Detroit, a group of young musicians dedicated to furthering Django’s legacy by combining his music with contemporary jazz.  Their new record, It’s About That Time (Mack Avenue), will be coming out in April.  In this essay, Paul offers some criticism to those who have created the mythology of Gypsy Jazz at the expense of historical fact and the spirit of jazz improvisation: 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.)

A scene from the 2009 NEA Jazz Masters Ceremony

Over at A Blog Supreme, Patrick Jarenwattananon has a beautifully-articulated essay that really sums up my thoughts about this weekend, and my hope for the future of jazz.

Between carving my way through the Winter JazzFest, discussing the future of jazz at the Jazz Journalists’ Association mini-conference, digging Conrad Herwig‘s Latin Side All-Stars at the Blue Note on Monday night alongside enthusiastic Japanese and European tourists, and meeting Hilma Carter (Benny Carter‘s widow) at the Institute of Jazz Studies yesterday, I’ve had the fortune of seeing the joy and vitality that our common interest — jazz — brings to so many people.  We still have a long way to go in connecting those dots — Patrick touches on that challenge as well — but we are certainly moving in the right direction.

Obviously, there are lots of people who are helping to bring the jazz community together, but one person who I met this weekend, Michael Ricci of (who has graciously offered to syndicate Lubricity through his AAJ News Center) deserves a special mention here.  Spend a few minutes poking around over there and you’ll see the myriad of possibilities that his site has to offer for jazz musicians and fans.  And keep coming back — he’s got big plans for 2010!

Again, if you haven’t already, go read Patrick’s essay!

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 »

While you’re here, I thought it would be worthwhile to point you to my latest (and perhaps last) contribution to

The Dozens: Top Twelve Trombone Tracks

I penned the reviews for them in the fall, and it’s finally up for all to see!

In case you’re too lazy to click the link, my twelve (actually 13 since I got two in one track) terrific trombonists are (in chronological order by recording): 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 »

Jack Teagarden's New Year's Greeting courtesy of Michael Steinman at Jazz Lives

Happy New Year, everyone!

If you’re reading this, that means you’ve figured out that my “lubricious hiatus” is officially over — call it my “New Year’s Resolution” to return to the blogging life.

For now, I expect things to be about the same as they were before my break in October: posts about once a week, short essays on whatever is inspiring me to contribute to the online jazz discourse.

Since my retreat into academia, I’ve developed a keener sense of my commitment to academic discourse about jazz.  This semester, I’m going to be especially engaged in academic analysis that explores the history of how jazz has been represented in writing — in particular, the career of that goofy-looking trombonist on the Down Beat cover, Jack Teagarden.

Feel free to subscribe to my RSS feed, follow me on Twitter, or leave a comment below to welcome me back to the jazz internets.  More content coming soon …

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