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Last spring at Rutgers, I took a course entitled “Jazz and Film.” In it, we discussed the historical relationship between the two American art forms, analyzing critical and popular responses along the way.
One of the most interesting classes came towards the end, when we dug into the widely-watched PBS documentary Jazz by filmmaker Ken Burns. I remember when the series came out on PBS — I was in high school at the time — but I didn’t watch it. I remember my jazz band director expressing both fascination (with the detailed storytelling) and disappointment (with the over-reliance on Armstrong and the dismissal of jazz after 1960.)
Revisiting those controversies proved to be an enlightening exercise. Eight years after the fact, the conversation spurred more impassioned discussion than anything else that we covered in class. The debate even spilled over onto the Jazz MA program’s listserv, with many other students chiming in. Generally, reactions fell into one of two camps: “Jazz” was good, because it exposed a lot of people to the music’s tradition; or “Jazz” was bad because it twisted and misrepresented the music’s history to conform to the Albert Murray/Wynton Marsalis political agenda. Read the rest of this entry »
This week at A Blog Supreme, Patrick Jarenwattananon has brought together a few of the jazz youngsters writing about the music online to recommend recent releases to the listening public. He’s calling it Jazz Now, and I’m honored to be on the list of contributors. They include:
—Patrick Jarenwattananon, NPR Music
—Lucas Gillan, AccuJazz
—Sebastian Helary and Justin Wee, Nextbop
—Dean Christesen, RVAJazz
—Alex Rodriguez, Lubricity (look at me! I’m famous on the Internet!)
—Adam Schatz and James Donahue, Search and Restore
—Lars Gotrich, NPR Music
—Mike Katzif, NPR Music
—Josh Jackson, WBGO
Some other bloggers are already joining the fun: Secret Society and Jazzblog.ca are the first I’ve seen to catch this, but I’m sure many more will follow. This is great company to be keeping — all of these guys really know their stuff.
Like Patrick, I’ll add links as they go live. Again, I’m really excited to be a part of this, and I hope that you take a listen to some of these things. If anything stands out, please let me know in the comments. And if you’re finding Lubricity for the first time, be sure to add me to your RSS reader!
I had the pleasure of attending a show at the Jazz Gallery last night. Yesterday morning, I received a text from the Blogger Supreme that he’d be in the city checking out Ambrose Akinmusire‘s quintet there (Gerald Clayton, right, played especially well — more on that later.) The suggestion couldn’t have come at a better time, because I was in need of an excuse to get out of my apartment. So I rounded up a couple of friends and met him at the show.
I’ve lived in the New York City area for over eight months now, but I’ve only made it out to hear live jazz a couple of times in that span. Part of it has to do with the fact that I’m a cash-deprived graduate student, part of it has to do with the fact that I didn’t have a group of jazz-loving friends to see shows with at first, but I think most of it has to do with my own unwillingness to experience jazz from the perspective of the audience member. Slowly, that’s starting to change. Read the rest of this entry »
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 »