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A Chorale-a-Day Keeps the Blues Away

Fradley Garner By

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To celebrate his 31st birthday, the New York-based, Canadian composer and soprano saxophonist Rob Mosher gave himself a challenge: writing 31 Bach-style chorales in 31 days. He started October 20, and at press time he was on target. "I'm a big fan of Duke Ellington's 'I don't need time, I need a deadline' approach," quotes Mosher. Every day he posts that day's chorale, so you can hear it on a keyboard as he blogs about it at robmosher.com and at kickstarter.com.

The ASCAP award-winner's work embraces jazz and classical idioms. Later, he'll record all 31 pieces, each one- to two minutes long, with himself on soprano sax; Micah Killion on trumpet and flugelhorn; Peter Hess on bass clarinet and tenor sax, and Nathan Turner on tuba. $3,100 has mostly been raised via kickstarter.com, to fund the quartet's recording and CD release. Why turn to the Internet for self-funding? Composers always have had backers, Mosher explains. "Bach had the church, Mozart had royalty, and Beethoven, later in his career, funded himself primarily through commissions."

"Sonny Brings the Presents to His Own 80th Birthday," by Dan Morgenstern, with photos by Fran Kaufman, is the cover story of the November Jersey Jazz. Published continuously since 1972, the 50-to-60 page journal of the New Jersey Jazz Society may be the country's oldest jazz society magazine. Morgenstern, America's honored jazz advocate and historian, is director of the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers University, Newark. Contributing editor of Jersey Jazz (Tony Mottola, editor), his "Dan's Den" column is also published at All About Jazz. The November journal is offered free to AAJ readers, as a pdf file, from November 15-20. E-mail me for a copy and please write "JJ OFFER" in the subject box.

"Jazzerati," a global listing of jazz-connected people, events, organizations and venues, is used by creator Donna Mercer (@ elementsofjazz.com) and her 12,650 followers on the social networking site, Twitter. Donna, a native of Philadelphia and jazz fan, started the project in 2008. The roster offers hot links in red that whisk you to the relevant Twitter page—first by the numbers 0-9 ("18th & Vine Jazz |18th&VineJazz | Portland, OR & NYC" is the first entry), then A to Z, starting with the first name of the person, or first letter of the organization, event, venue with a page on Twitter. First entry is: "Aaron Diaz | aarondiazuk | Birmingham, UK." Last is: "Zoltán Oláh | bassjazz | Budapest, Hungary." Donna adds daily jazz "tweets" (posts) to her Twitter account, but surprisingly, she tells me, she has received fewer than 10 new additions to her list of 1,500-plus page links. "That may increase, however, as more people such as yourself discover it."

Those Andrews Sisters go on resonating down the generations. Back in January 2008, Phil Glaser, an ex-patriate American book finder in Greater Copenhagen, posted on You Tube the "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B," a hit song from the 1941 Abbott and Costello film, Buck Privates. By November 4 this year, says Phil, 436,774 views had been clocked. In the comments box, roseyapple91 wrote that the video "reminds me of my childhood when my grandmother and I use to dance around her living room ... whilst granddad would sit in his arm chair and watch us ... whilst smoking his pipe."Cheryl C wrote, "My mom is 92 ... and has dementia. I have this song & Big Band songs on my computer. I play them for her every day, she perks right up and jams in her seat. She does love music."

Another Andrews, first-name Troy, is no relation to the singing sisters. "Trombone Shorty" of New Orleans won his nickname at age 7, "in a jazz funeral parade where he wielded a trombone that dwarfed him. An older brother shouted 'Trombone Shorty!' and it stuck," added writer Jackson Griffith in Sacramento NewsReview.com. Traditional groups like Preservation Hall Jazz Band perpetuate the early 20th-century New Orleans style. Younger, eclectic groups like the now 26-year- old Troy Andrews' sextet, Orleans Avenue, take aboard the rock and funk and hip- hop they heard as teenagers. Their latest album, Backatown, was released this spring on Verve Forecast Records.


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