Dan's Den

DAN'S DEN

Inside the 5th NEA Jazz Masters Awards

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The 32nd class of National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters was formally inducted on January 14, 2013. Numbering just four, this was the smallest class since the threesome of 2003. The following year, new NEA Chairman Dana Gioia upped the ante to six and added the new category of the A. B. Spellman Jazz Advocacy Award, which writer Nat Hentoff was the first to receive.

For each of the next three years there were seven, ...

DAN'S DEN

Every Now and Den

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It's been so long since the last Den that it should perhaps be renamed, “Every Now and Den." But here I am with some of the events that stand out from the past five months or so, not necessarily in chronological order.I've never missed the annual Satchmo Summerfest in New Orleans, and the August 12 edition was, as always, a delightful experience, climate down yonder notwithstanding. Among the excellent seminar participants from up North were David Ostwald, who ...

DAN'S DEN

Goodbye Phoebe and Hello Timme

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Phoebe Jacobs, who left us on April 9, 2012 just a couple of months shy of 94, was a most remarkable lady who did so much for the music and its makers, as so well-documented in last month's Big Band in the Sky.I first encountered Phoebe when she was handling press and taking care of the musicians at Basin Street East. Our shared love for Louis Armstrong made us friends, as we remained for more than 50 years. ...

DAN'S DEN

A Swell Farewell...and Onward

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On April 13, Rutgers University-Newark threw a swell party for me on the occasion of my retirement as director of the Institute of Jazz Studies. I won't go into the social and musical details here, but do want to thank all my friends who showed up, and the many others who sent regrets--notably Sonny Rollins, whose gratifying message was read by Dr. Clem Price, director of the Rutgers Institute of Ethnicity, Culture and the Modern Experience.Clem did such ...

DAN'S DEN

Discovering Discover and Doing a Double-Header

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It took me only 27 years to discover the annual Discover Jazz Festival in Burlington, VT, but now, having attended part of the 28th, I must say it was about time! Burlington, where Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream was whipped up, is a charming college town. For 10 days in June, the festival dominates the community, featuring concerts by major artists and loads of free music performed outdoors at stages in the heart of town. The main ...

DAN'S DEN

Sonny Brings the Presents to His Own 80th Birthday

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Sonny Brings the Presents To His Own 80th Birthday Sonny Rollins threw himself an 80th birthday party at New York's restored Beacon Theater on September 10 --he was born on the 7th-- and it was he who brought the gifts. And what a cornucopia! This was one of those rare times when you know that you're in the best of all possible places in the world. In inspired form, from first note to last, he never left ...

DAN'S DEN

A Hot Night in the Old Town

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What might well be the most spartan jazz club anywhere (if you didn't know it was there, you'd walk right past it) is The Stone, way down at Avenue C and East 2nd Street in Manhattan. Founded by John Zorn, the avant-garde composer, arranger and record producer, as a venue for intrepid music, it's a new kind of jazz club where no refreshments or merchandise is sold, only music, and all nightly revenues go to the musicians. The door charge ...

DAN'S DEN

Big Awards Day in Gotham

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It's been a while since we last met in my Den, so I thought I'd share a very special summer doubleheader with you.June 16 was a big jazz day in New York. It began in mid-afternoon at the Jazz Standard, with the 13th Annual Jazz Journalists Association Jazz Awards. Arriving not long after starting time, I found the joint already jumping with jazz scribes, nominees and acolytes, most of them on line for the club's very good food, ...



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