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It has been an eventful week leading up to Wayne Shorter’s much-anticipated concert at Town Hall tomorrow night, his first NYC appearance since 2008.

I wrote a preview that ran in the Star-Ledger on Friday, so there’s that, but the beauty of the internet is that there’s oh so much more! Read the rest of this entry »

As a part of my M.A. degree at Rutgers, I have had the pleasure of interning at WBGO, the NYC area’s leading jazz radio station. Working closely with producer Josh Jackson, I have begun to learn the ropes for putting together their weekly showcase for new jazz trends, The Checkout.

Since it’s finals week and all, Josh decided to hand the reins over to me for this week’s show (well, Josh still helped, but I’ll take the glory anyway.) Tune in tomorrow night at 6:30 pm EST to 88.3 FM in the New York metro area, or listen online at wbgo.org. Wednesday morning, the show will be up at the website as well. While you’re at it, subscribe to the podcast.

UPDATE: Show just aired live! Thanks to everyone who listened. If you missed it, check it out here.

This week’s show will highlight some of the best student performances from last month’s Jazz Appreciation Month celebration. To frame the hour, I asked a few questions to four different students who are graduating from local jazz schools: Peter Yuskauskas from The New School, Jeremy Fratti from Jersey City University, Julian Smith from the Rutgers Mason Gross School for the Arts and Paul Brady from the Rutgers Master’s in Jazz History and Research. It will also feature music from the Julliard and Berklee student jazz ensembles as well as music by the four interviewees.

Enjoy the show tomorrow night, and feel free to let me know what you thought of it here. And while you’re at it, stop over and pledge a few dollars over at WBGO — your support will help shows like The Checkout continue to grace the airwaves and the internets.

Remember this guy? He's really good.

Blizzard be damned!  Tonight, I’ll be at the Village Vanguard to help put together WBGO‘s live broadcast of the Gerald Clayton Trio — featuring Joe Sanders on bass and Justin Brown on drums — at 9 pm .  If you’re snowed in (or just far away) you can check it out on our live audio/video stream and chat about the performance with yours truly, as well as Josh Jackson and Patrick Jarenwattananon.

I have raved about Clayton before, and I’m excited to see him in action leading a trio.  The scary thing is that the guy is making his debut at the Vanguard at age 25 … the same age as me.  We actually attended the same high school summer jazz camp together (along with fellow jazz wunderkind Aaron Parks) way back in 2002.  I may not have followed the same path as he did, but at least mine will lead me to hear him play tonight!

So join us — either in person or online — for some fantastic music despite the crazy weather.

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 »

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 »

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 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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