Meet David A. Orthmann
I joined All About Jazz in: 2000
What made you decide to contribute to All About Jazz?
I wanted the freedom to initiate and write articles about jazz without being subject to excessive editorial guidance. There are any number of artists whose work I admire. And it's important to me to attempt to expose their work to a wider audience.
How do you contribute to All About Jazz?
I write live performance, record, and book reviews. I also contribute the "Rhythm In Every Guise" column about jazz drummers.
What is your musical background?
In my teens and twenties, I studied drums for 10 years and played an a variety of ensembles. I haven't touched the instrument for over thirty years.
What was the first record you bought that you would still listen to today?
Dave Brubeck's Time Out.
What type of jazz do you enjoy listening to the most?
The older I get, the more I realize that pigeonholing the music is futile, and stylistic boundaries are fluid. However, I must admit that stylistic terms to appear in my writing. I try to avoid them whenever possible.
Aside from jazz, what styles of music do you enjoy?
Rock, singer songwriters.
What are you listening to right now?
In preparation for an essay, Shelly Manne's The Three and The Two on Contemporary Records. Thad Jones' Seven Classic Albums on Real Gone Jazz. Ehud Asherie's Lower East Side on Posi-Tone.
Which five recent releases would you recommend to readers who share your musical taste?
Ehud Asherie Lower East Side Posi-Tone Records.
Chloe Brisson's Blame It On My Youth Self produced.
Charles Owens A Wealth In Common 32 Bar Records.
Eliot Zigmund Trio EZ Standard Fare SteepleChase.
Rich Perry Time Was SteepleChase.
What inspired you to write about jazz?
About 15 years ago, a friend of mine asked me to write for a local jazz magazine. At first I was reluctant, but I accepted his offer and have been actively writing about the music ever since.
What do you like to do in your free time? Any hobbies?
I follow a number of social and political issues. For the most part, however, listening to and writing about jazz takes up most of my free time and discretionary income.
What role does jazz music play in your life?
The music is one of the most important parts of my life. Frankly, I can't imagine life without it.
How does writing about jazz contribute to the music itself?
This is a question I can't even begin to answer. I can say, however, that I've always avidly read jazz criticism and will continue to do so. There's something really thrilling about reading a critic/writer who has an individual perspective on the music. Whether I agree with their conclusions or not isn't important.
What do you like most about All About Jazz?
I like the freedom picking my own subjects and writing about the without undue haste. I takes time to do the work to the best of my ability, and I've always appreciated the luxury that AAJ affords me in this respect.
What positives have come from your association with All About Jazz?
I believe that the positives are more spiritual in nature. There's a lot of satisfaction to be gained from exploring the music through repeated listening, note taking and careful writing. Despite the frustrations, it's worth the effort.
David A. Orthmann at All About Jazz