Pack Light

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Editor's Note—19-Nov-2003: We lost critical content from August 2003 in a recent server crash. Please forgive the broken links below.

To find an article or review, search here.

It's not exactly crystal clear where it came from, but there's no doubt jazz has gone everywhere. Critics and pundits have filled many thousands of pages discussing the origins of jazz, and noted filmmakers have turned the whole discussion into a bowl of gumbo. Let's face it: history is never simple. Don't listen to anyone who can answer the question in ten words or less.

Whatever has happened in the United States over the last eighty years, jazz has also spread across the world like an infection. Trace the pandemic and you'll find that it has gone on to plant roots everywhere: in Cuban son, Balkan gypsy music, Spanish flamenco, Hindustani ragas, and Brazilian samba. Of course, the old fashioned classic variety has stayed classic, and in the hands of today's adventurous musicians the jazz tradition continues to prosper.

That said, this month we present an unusual opportunity to travel to the many locales where jazz is celebrated today. Our Global Jazz section has expanded over time to include special coverage from ten US cities, as well as locations in Europe, Canada, Australia, and Canada. But the umbrella expands ever wider, with constant updates of concerts, festivals, recordings, and art tucked away in all sorts of places.

The current crop includes a massive burst from Australia, courtesy of Miriam Zolin's Notes From Down Under. Miriam interviewed Newmarket Music head Gerry Koster and pianist Sam Keevers. She also recruited Mick Paddon and Adrian Jackson to review 11 recent recordings. In Washington DC, our own Franz Matzner listened to drummer Cindy Blackman and multi-instrumentalist Jane Bunnett, who just so happened to bring her special interest in Cuban music to town.

In the recent history department, roving musicologist Derek Taylor looked into three volumes of live jazz by tenor saxophonist Billy Harper on the Danish Steeplechase label. Harper brought his quintet to receptive audiences in Korea, Taiwan, and Malaysia for each respective volume in the series. Turning toward the Indian subcontinent, Max Babi dedicates his Journey Into Jazz column to a consideration of justice in the music industry, oddly enough inspired by an astrophysicist's invitation to check out the local radio telescope. And if you continue southeast from there, you'll hit the country of Zimbabwe , where Thomas Mapfumo and Oliver Mtukudzi have carved out a niche between tradition and invention.

In what has turned out to be a regular event, our collection of exhibits in the art gallery just expanded by twelve, including photos of performers in Lugano, Switzerland; the San Francisco Bay area; Vancouver; Malta; New York; and New Orleans. We invite you to travel the world of images from the comfort of your easy chair. Or if you're curious about the summer's unusually busy season of jazz festivals, our roving squad of journalists touched down at destinations in New York; Newport; Montreal; New Orleans; Istanbul; and Jyväskylä, Finland.

It doesn't stop there. Along with images and text, we also bring you sounds from all over the world. If you'd like to tune into a radio station near you, our searchable international radio station directory just expanded by a generous 150 entries. Our Jazz Excursion radio program, available anywhere there's a plug for your computer, continues to host an eclectic playlist. It also features live appearances by jazz musicians—the next participant will be Javon Jackson, on August 29.

All that traveling and you didn't even have to get up for a drink of water. Pack light—we've taken care of the rest .

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