Tremé, the musical

Lovers of jazz, jazz beyond jazz, jazz before jazz are all watching Treme, right? The HBO series about New Orleans three months after Katrina sets a new standard for celebrating America's roots music where this should happen -- on tv. … [Read more...]

Jazz lofts as they used to be

Composer Steve Reich said, "Without John Coltrane, there would be no minimalism." The topic was Hall Overton, the man who arranged Monk's music, treating jazz as contemporary "classical" composition. The occasion was a panel discussion sprung from an exhibit at the NY Public Library of the Performing Arts about the Jazz Loft hosted by photographer W. Eugene Smith from 1955-1964 (this is Smith's shot of Overton with Monk in the Loft).Read about it in my new City Arts column. … [Read more...]

Central Brooklyn Jazz Festival goes to roots, future, justice

My column in City Arts highlights the 40-event Central Brooklyn Jazz Festival, taking place throughout April "from Flatbush up Fulton Avenue through the neighborhoods of Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Bedford-Stuyvesant and Ocean Hill to Bushwick . . . the area that gave birth to Max Roach and Randy Weston some 80 years ago." It's booked with lesser-known yet highly active African-American jazz musicians; on Saturday I talk about "Where is Jazz Going?" at Medgar Evers College (2 to 6 pm) in distinguished company. … [Read more...]

Mike Zwerin, jazz journalist, musician, bon vivant dies at 79

A trombonist in Miles Davis' Birth of the Cool band, memoirist whose The Parisian Jazz Chronicles set a standard for wit and candor in self-examination, and writer for the International Herald Tribune and Bloomberg News, Mike Zwerin died April 2 in Paris, where he'd lived since 1969. Recipient in 2009 of the Jazz Journalists Association's Lifetime Achievement in Jazz Journalism Award, Mike was an inspiration ever since I read his reports from the jazz scene in the Village Voice in the 1960s, and I'm glad to say I got to … [Read more...]