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AAJ Staff By

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For those who live in the Northern Hemisphere, May can be an auspicious time. Mother Nature has provided a brilliant alternative to incandescent light, something flowers, ducklings, and young children don't need any explanation to understand. Neither should you. It doesn't fade until late evening, folks.

Then just imagine what it's like to live in Finland, where the long midnight has finally faded and noon is now a way of life. Spring is truly something glorious. Unless you're Finnish, you probably haven't heard of pianist Samuli Mikkonen... not everyone can get to Jyväskylä’s Jazz Bar for his gigs. Ah, but there's the catch. Our very own Matthew Wuethrich did just that . With Samuli Mikkonen + 7 Henkeä fresh off the presses, Matthew caught the group in person and passed the good word along.

Yes, there is a point in all this Finnishness. Mainly it's two things. First, now is the time if you want to get out and experience jazz during its living process of creation. Second, now is as good a time as any to cross some boundaries.

Boundaries were never part of the equation with the Vision Festival , slated to run Wednesday through Monday (May 21-26) in New York City. We celebrate its inclusive "Arts for Art" theme, bringing adventurous jazz together with dance, poetry, film, and visual art. Whether or not you make it in person, we invite you to check out the 25 interviews we've racked up with Vision Fest musicians over the past four years.

Boundaries are hard to draw in San Francisco's geography, let alone the Bay Area's happening jazz scene. Our very own Forrest Bryant has stepped up to lead our fifth print publication into the world. AAJ: San Francisco celebrates May with its inaugural issue, available online as well as in paper form around the Bay. This issue's theme is jazz from south of the border, with articles on percussionist John Santos, pianist Omar Sosa, and the late drummer Mongo Santamaria.

Few record labels have cut as wide a swath (and crossed as many boundaries) as Blue Note Records since its founding over six decades ago by Alfred Lion. We celebrate Blue Note this month with a threefer by Vic Schermer. First, Vic spoke with Bruce Lundvall , the current captain at the helm, about the state of the art. Second, he got in touch with author Richard Cook , whose new book on Blue Note reveals a spirit of celebration. And last but not least, some words on the book itself, touching on the poetry of the music and the inner workings of the jazz machine.

We try to bring a wide range of material to you every month, and we apologize to the tens of hard-working contributors we can't mention in this space. We would also like to acknowledge your role as readers in helping us build and grow. You can stay in constant touch (and offer feedback at any time) through the AAJ Bulletin Board , the interactive hub of the site.

Last but not least, we would like to acknowledge everyone's efforts in helping us build our Jazz Venue and other directories. This is yet another way you can share your love for the music with like-spirited folk. Best of all, anyone can tap into this resource to find an event happening somewhere nearby tonight.

Get out and get into it.

(Then, when the sun finally sets, put something on the CD player, cozy up next to your computer, and give us a big hug .)


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