So... the awards season is over. From the Golden Globes to the Grammys, the Winter Olympics to the Oscars, it's been a long and winding road. Among people competing for the various honors and annual awards, one of the more popular topics of conversation was: OK, let's say I am the winner--what then? Good question. Of those who believed they deserve the recognition (which is all of them) only those who had previously received one of the honors knew that the little statue at the top of the mountain doesn't really hold more career opportunities, more ...read more
What's wrong with today's live jazz scene? There has been a great deal of whining about the climate for live jazz these days. The complaints are sometimes accompanied by speculation about why jazz seems to have slipped off the radar, particularly in many major cities such as jny: Philadelphia. The complaints, however, are often unaccompanied by suggestions about fixing the problems, or any specific theories about why and how things have disintegrated. Before I go any further in presenting my own analysis of the situation, let me first make several confessions and clarifications. I am a ...read more
[Note: This article was first published by Music Norway] When asked, by the newly minted Music Norway, which brought two separate organizations together at the beginning of 2013--Music Export Norway (responsible for exporting the country's music to the world) and Music Information Center (responsible, for many things, including acting as an archive/information source)--to write a piece about the Norwegian music scene from an outsider's perspective, it seemed, at first, to be a truly daunting challenge...and no small honour. The music scene in Norway is so rich, so diverse, so huge that trying to answer some of the obvious ...read more
Though economic indicators suggest we are slowly emerging from the Great Recession here in the United States, repercussions could echo through the jazz world for a generation. The past five or so years of extreme cuts to public school budgets--especially the arts programs-- could mean a dearth of well-trained, young musicians.I am seeing students arrive proficient only in the basic instruments," said trombonist Chris Washburne, director of the jazz performance program at Columbia University. Finding a well-trained trombone player, for example, is darn near impossible."Delighted to hear it isn't just us," said drummer Carl Allen, director ...read more
The death knell has often been sounded for jazz and many would argue that the last revolution in jazz took place as the '60s handed the baton to the '70s, with the electronic-influenced jazz typified by trumpeter Miles Davis' ground breaking albums In a Silent Way (Columbia, 1969) and Bitches Brew (Columbia, 1970). Many believe that jazz has stagnated, or simply lost its way since then. On the other hand, there are those who believe that this era is the most exciting in jazz's 100-year history. If jazz did die somewhere along the way, then it sure ...read more
Ref: How Life Imitates the World Series (Penguin, 1983) by Thomas BoswellWell, that's over.$2.6 billion later, the U.S. presidential election is history. No more polls, no more red state / blue state electoral maps, no more trash-talking. Right on its heels, the BBWAA (Baseball Writers Association of America) announced the results of their voting for the league MVPs, Cy Young and other annual awards, and then issued the list of 2013's Hall of Fame candidates, which--gasp--includes known users of PEDs... here comes the hand-wringing. The only front-page election news left in 2012 will be the Grammy ...read more
To get into heaven, don't snap for a seven Live clean, don't have no fault Oh, I take the gospel, whenever it's possible But with a grain of salt --"It Ain't Necessarily So," from Porgy & Bess by George and Ira Gershwin Edward Kennedy Ellington celebrated his 70th birthday at the White House, where he received the first Presidential Medal of Freedom awarded by the newly inaugurated chief resident. Although Duke Ellington was a widely celebrated bandleader, and already recognized as among the greatest composers in American history, ...read more
Jazz reinvents itself every day, in any way, like a chameleon transforms Itself to match its surroundings. It is thanks to this ability that jazz's place in the world has been firmly cemented; from a musical point of view, there seem to be no physical or spiritual boundaries to what musicians can arrange with this ever-evolving genre, even if that means going against convention or even breaking with tradition.It comes as no surprise, then, that more and more bands resort to a bass/drums/piano trio as the foundation for their compositional process. Such a combination is not ...read more
Into my heart on air that killsFrom yon far country blows:What are those blue remembered hills, What spires, what farms are those?That is the land of lost content, I see it shining plain,The happy highways where I went And cannot come again. class="f-right s-img">--A.E. Houseman, A Shropshire Lad (1896)Vince GuaraldiA Charlie Brown ChristmasConcord Music Group2012 (1988)Is it possible that we could need yet another reissue of the A Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack? ... read more
When Yale professor Harold Bloom was interviewed by NPR shortly after publication of Jesus and Yahweh: The Names Divine (Riverhead, 2005), he was quite candid about his relationship with his own Judaism and Yahweh: Bloom: ... I may, as I say, lack trust in the covenant, but though I keep asking Yahweh to go away, I say so many times in this book, he won't go away. He haunts me. NPR: You really want Yahweh to go away? Bloom: Yes, I would love him to go away, but he won't. NPR: He ...read more
Recently I began doing a series of short CD reviews with WJSU-FM 88.5, a station broadcasting from the campus of Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi. The opportunity to do it came along within days of learning that KABC's parent company, Cumulus Media, Inc., had pulled the plug on the last remaining AM radio jazz programming in Los Angeles (yes, the very same town that nicely fills the Hollywood Bowl each year for the Playboy Jazz Festival). It seemed like a chance to stop complaining about the lunacy and do something.True, a short radio program on a Mississippi ...read more
For seven years now the rather laboriously named Istanbul Jazz Center (confusingly the logo includes the letters JC's," I don't know why) has been one of the major clubs of the Turkish city. Situated in the posh neighborhood of Ortakoy, in the shadow of the first Bosphorus Bridge, its schedule has featured major international jazz stars besides local talent; resolutely mainstream-oriented, it provided local audiences the chance to listen to high caliber musicians, from guitarist Mike Stern to pianist Kenny Barron, but also saxophonist Greg Osby and pianist Joachim Kuhn, with a prevalence of vocals including Mark Murphy and Flora ...read more
[Editor's Note: It's been quite a few years since Italian writer, music educator and general provocateur Francesco Martinelli last contributed to All About Jazz. Having recently returned home from Jazzahead! 2012 in Bremen, and with the current debates about the meaning, future and relevance of the word jazz" fresh in his mind, Martinelli posits an alternate meaning to trumpeter Nicholas Payton's recent BAM campaign.]Among the pile of the CDs collected during the hectic days of Bremen's Jazzahead! 2012--the biggest so far--I found myself looking at two compilations, the sampler prepared by Jazzahead! itself and the 12 Points 2012 ...read more
If you ask ten Americans what does it mean to be an American?" you might well get 10 different answers.So it goes with America's only original, indigenous art form.Wait... we have one of those?Yes indeed--although it's rarely given the National respect or attention it deserves.Thus, if you ask ten Americans what our only original, indigenous art form may be, the correct answer might not even make the list.Baseball, hot dogs and apple pie may represent America... but none of them originated entirely in this country, and despite the defense of ...read more
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