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Surveying Jazz

AAJ Staff By

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In the leadup and aftermath of the US elections of November 2, we learned a lot about the social and cultural forces that fuel American politics. One of the tools which has come into increasing vogue—and become disturbingly useful to campaigns—is the opinion poll . It's hard to escape if you follow any type of media analysis, but there's much to be gained from examining the various economic, geographic, and cultural cross-sections of society. Those red and blue maps of the country tell us more than we'd probably like to admit about the ongoing divisions in American culture.

Fortunately jazz is not a life or death matter for most people, and so one can take a more relaxed (and less hype-ridden) approach to surveying its own unique diversity, which is something that makes it stronger. But some of the same rules apply: you can learn more from looking at an expanded population and breaking it down into its component parts. This November we performed our own survey of jazz around the globe, and here are the results.

The seeds of jazz have been planted all over the world, and its local and global outreach continues to expand. Our staff reported back on events in Cardiff , Helsinki , London , and Oslo , to name four European cities; plus Albany , Ann Arbor , Cape May , Los Angeles , and New York City in the United States. Dr. Judith Schlesinger even found a melange of fresh tunes on a cruise ship in the Caribbean .

Among thirteen interviews and artist profiles this month, John Kelman chatted with vibraphonist Matthias Lupri , who grew up in Canada, about Northern Lights and dancing ghosts in the sky. Andrey Henkin learned from South African pianist Abdullah Ibrahim (pictured) about martial arts and haiku. Matt Merewitz heard from Puerto Rican saxophonist David Sanchez about the difficulties of sharing internet space with a lawyer from California, and R.J. DeLuke got the lowdown on regrets and spiritual fulfillment from saxophonist Joshua Redman .

November was a big month for reviews, with 180 individual CD reviews (and counting), three book reviews (including Kyle Simpler 's reflections on Jazzwomen ), and six DVD reviews (including two opinions on Branford Marsalis' Amsterdam performance of Coltrane's A Love Supreme and one on Ellery Eskelin's European tour diary ). Notable historical box set reviews include Dexter Gordon's Complete Prestige Sessions and Albert Ayler's Holy Ghost .

Also check out multi-review articles by C. Michael Bailey on fresh releases by vocalists , John Kelman on Steven Bernstein's Diaspora Series , Budd Kopman on Between the Lines , and Nathan Holoway on Tzadik and European Jazz Innovators . We've also brought our holiday jazz page up to speed with fresh new recommendations of music just in time for the season, and there's more to come.

If all that sounds like an extended list, just remember that these are only the highlights of over 250 articles and reviews published at All About Jazz this month. We like to think that's a reasonable-size survey of what's going on in the world of jazz, but we promise you we can't tell you who's going to be the next president of the United States. That's somebody else's job.


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