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My second article for the Newark Star-Ledger runs today:

All-Star Newark Arkestra Kicks Off This Weekend’s Lincoln Park Music Festival

By Alex W. Rodriguez for the Star-Ledger

Thanks to a tweet by freeform, I was just hipped to this recent article in the Wall Street Journal by jazz writer Larry Blumenfeld about New Orleans wunderkinds Christian Scott and Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews. It’s well-done, so give it a read.

… done yet? OK, now for my take: I can see where Blumenfeld is coming from, citing their similar New Orleans musical pedigrees and holding them up as exemplars of young musicians expanding the style and reaching out into new, albeit different, musical horizons.

But having just listened through both of their most recent CDs — Andrews’s Backatown and Scott’s Yesterday You Said Tomorrow — in the past month or so, I don’t believe that the comparison holds up upon closer examination. Maybe it’s just my bias towards kickass trombonists, but if anything these two are a study in contrasts in how to leverage a privileged New Orleans musical heritage. Read the rest of this entry »

Tonight, WBGO and NPR host their monthly Live @ The Village Vanguard series. Like Jimmy Heath (see my last post,) this month’s guest is an octogenarian jazz legend, pianist Barry Harris.

I won’t be on site this time, but I’ll be tuned into the webcast from my recliner, so don’t hesitate to say hello in the live chat.

Look, everyone: I’m a professional jazz journalist!

Heath Brothers Present Spirited Show at Newark Museum

By Alex W. Rodriguez, Guest Columnist for the Newark Star-Ledger

Young Ornette Coleman

So it’s been weeks again since an update here — this seems to happen when I take on new projects away from the internet (which, according to Prince, is over? I suppose that makes this post somewhat irrelevant …)

But you, dear reader, can actually help me out with this particular project. Although the details are not fully finalized, I do know that I need to compile about 5-6 hours’ worth of great music played by jazz icons in their early careers. I figure that the collective wisdom of my readership can help me out with this one.

Please, leave a comment below if you have any favorite tracks that meet these criteria:

1) The artist is a jazz icon, a major figure in the music’s history who is immediately recognizable.

2) The recording(s) were made during the first few years’ of that artist’s recording career.

3) The recording(s) are issued somewhere on CD.

Thanks for playing — I am curious to see what kind of responses I get. Thanks also for your patience as I get my act together enough to start bringing some stuff back to the blog. Lots of ideas, just no time to write … yet. As always, stay tuned.

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