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This weekend, I’m hanging out at Fort Adams State Park with the WBGO/WGBH/NPR Music team, broadcasting this year’s Newport Jazz Festival. Day one is over, and I talked with NPR’s Patrick Jarenwattananon last night for a recap. You can check that out over at A Blog Supreme.

We’re back in action again today, with the Ben Allison Band rocking the stage as we speak (UPDATE: the weekend is over, but you can see our day two recap at A Blog Supreme.) Tune into until 7:30 this evening for more great music, and also dig the NPR Music coverage, where most of what we record is being archived for your listening (and re-listening) pleasure by the NPR Music team.

For the trombonists in the listening audience, I especially recommend tuning in for Conrad Herwig‘s Latin Side of Herbie at 5:20 PM. As many of you know, Herwig has been my teacher and mentor at Rutgers since last year. As a bonus, you’ll get to hear me talk with Josh Jackson on the air to introduce the set. To hear my dulcet tones in action, tune in a little after 5 and catch the (sure to be wild) ending of Ken Vandermark’s Powerhouse. Josh and I will be on to introduce Conrad shortly thereafter.

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!

The recent post at Twenty Dollars (via A Blog Supreme) has REALLY struck a chord with me, so to speak.  This is because of my personal experience with both jazz and nerddom, each of which had a deep impact on my childhood and adolescence.

Growing up, I was no stranger to geek culture.  My parents signed me up for Portland Public Schools’ TAG (Talented and Gifted) program in first grade, so I got out of school early once a week to play math games and conduct chemistry experiments.  My older cousins read fantasy and sci-fi novels voraciously, and turned me onto Magic: the Gathering by age 10.  The first CD I bought was “Bad Hair Day” by Weird Al Yankovic.  I wore bright yellow sweat pants to my first day of middle school.  That should give you an idea of my status at the time: big-time, card-carrying DORK. Read the rest of this entry »

As mentioned previously, I have been asked to join in with Patrick Jarenwattananon at NPR’s A Blog Supreme (and some other fine young jazz aficionados) to suggest five new jazz albums to check out.  The choices are geared toward new music that could be a starting-point for young listeners who have, for whatever reason, decided that jazz isn’t for them.  If you’re one of those people, stop reading this now and go check out my picks for A Blog Supreme‘s Jazz Now series!

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 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!

This guy is really, really good

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 »

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 »

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.

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