Jazz beyond Jazz: May 2009 Archives

Taylor, the pianist beyond genre (age: 80) and still-groundbreaking music of Davis, the trumpeter/conceptualist (dead 18 years) are at major Manhattan venues this week, continuing to provoke and gratify. Cecil Taylor performs at the Blue Note tonight (Thursday, May 28) while "Miles From India," mixing veterans of Davis' electric bands with South Asian improvisers, has a four-night stand at Iridium. And last Monday, Davis' prophetic On The Corner was revisited at Merkin Concert Hall.
May 28, 2009 1:15 PM | | Comments (1)

Miles Davis intended On The Corner to be a personal statement, an esthetic breakthrough and a social provocation upon its release in fall of 1972. He could hardly have been more successful: the album was all that, though it has taken decades for its full impact to be understood.

May 28, 2009 12:07 PM | | Comments (3)
Dean of post-jazz Muhal Richard Abrams,  doyenne of vocalese Annie Ross and George Avakian, who invented jazz albums and reissues, popularized the LP and live recording, are among eight 2010 Jazz Masters named today by the National Endowment of the Arts. New York-based pianists Kenny Barron and Cedar Walton, exploratory reedist Yusef Lateef, big band composer-arranger Bill Holman and vibist Bobby Hutcherson complete the list of the NEA's new honorees, who receive $25,000 grants and significant honors starting next January with ceremonies and a concert at Jazz at Lincoln Center.

Founded in 1982, the Jazz Masters program has recognized American musicians (and since 2004, non-musician "jazz advocates") for career-long achievement and pre-eminence and influence. This year's fellows are highly regarded professionals who have been productive, hailed by critics and love by aficionados for decades, if seldom visited by huge commercial success or mainstream fame. The relative exception is Ms. Ross, who has cut a fashionable figure since her emergence in the late 1950s (as in this clip singing her signature song "Twisted," later covered by Joni Mitchell) and participation in the vocal trio Lambert, Hendricks and Ross. Her acting career includes a starring role as a saloon singer in Robert Altman's film Short Cuts (based on stories by Raymond Carver).
May 21, 2009 12:25 PM | | Comments (0)
My column in May's City Arts NY urges Adam Rudolph's conducted Go: Organic Orchestra improvs and the Mixology Fest (both at Roulette) and the 14th annual Vision Festival as ways to break out of conventions and celebrate spring. (In order to read the column, you have to zoom in on "Jazz"). 

I should have also mentioned guitarist Marc Ribot's concerts all over town inspired by his 55th birthday, alto saxophonist Roy Nathanson's Subway Moon cd-book release party (which was May 15) at Joe's Pub. There's just so much to do here in the big city. . . .

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May 21, 2009 6:05 AM | | Comments (0)
No major, mainstream, corporate-supported jazz fest will occur in New York City this summer, according to today's New York Times report confirming my posting of  April 15.

Festival Network principal Chris Shields, purchaser in 2007 of the production company headed by George Wein which staged June jazz concerts at major mid-town Manhattan venues for 37 years, blames the economy and his own over-ambitious plans for the suspension (if not demise) of events which kept New York the focus of the jazz world, first with name sponsorship from Newport and Kool cigarettes and for 24 years as the JVC Jazz Festival-New York. The NY jazz fest was one of a baker's dozen jazz fests supported throughout the U.S. each summer by JVC-America. The company says it is "has chosen to take our promotional activities in a different direction, and one that will no longer include jazz event sponsorship."
May 20, 2009 7:56 AM | | Comments (4)
Women in music behind-the-scenes deserve note -- and Julie Coryell, who died May 10, was a force in as author of Jazz-Rock Fusion -- The People, The Music, published in 1978, and as the inspiration of her then-husband guitarist Larry Coryell starting in the '60s.

Obituaries of Ms. Coryell call her a singer, actress and songwriter, but many jazz fans first encountered her in a framed portrait that graced the front and back covers of Lady Coryell, Larry's breakthrough recording of 1969. The couple was also depicted in Adam and Eve-like splendor (with two children who I assume are who are NOT their sons Julian and Murali, both of whom grew up to become guitarists) on Coryell, also released in '69.
May 17, 2009 11:26 AM | | Comments (2)
Why don't women feel welcome as jazz listeners? My posting hit a nerve with Facebook "friends" and commentors including ArtsJournal's Mind the Gap blog, which takes up the issue of "comfort when it comes to experiencing art" and rightly understands I was thinking more about "psychic comfort" than anything limited to the physical.

What about it, readers -- how much are you willing to suffer to hear what you want?
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May 15, 2009 10:31 AM | | Comments (5)
Amanda Ameer, blogger behind artjournal's Life's a Pitch, was bummed by the low number of women at pianist Brad Mehldau's recent Village Vanguard performance (but glad about the audience's wide age-spread). She cites jazz women instrumentalists as being rare, too. What's up with this, she wants to know. Send her "the literature on this topic."

Well, there isn't any --  jazz commentators have to depend upon anecdotal experience and personal observation as basis for their speculations and analysis about jazz audiences, as so many other topics. From my perspective, though, women don't dislike jazz -- throughout my life I've been involved with women who like it plenty. Of course, I select all my friends for that trait, but my interactions have also included undergraduate students in my NYU classes on American music over the past 23 years, and my mother who, never before an avid fan, in her early '80s has taken up jazz appreciation courses (and complains that most of the presentations harken to an ever-more-quickly-receding Swing Era).

The problem is that no one in the jazz world, with the exception of jazz educators, has pleasantly invited women to partake of the music. Rather than being marketed to, women have been neglectfully, perhaps unconsciously, shut out.
May 12, 2009 7:24 PM | | Comments (11)
The Jazz Journalists Association -- of which I'm president -- has announced finalist nominees in 42 categories of excellence in jazz music, recording, presenting and journalism at a new website, www.JazzJournalists.org -- which also  details who's playing at the Jazz Standard (NYC) cocktail barbeque where winners will be announced on June 16, 3 - 6 pm. and lets you buy tickets to the event.

What's a Jazz Award? I'm deep into it, but why should you care?
May 8, 2009 10:30 AM | | Comments (0)



Archives: 342 entries and counting

Interviews & Articles

On The Corner program notes, Merkin Hall concert 5/25/09 

Miles Davis intended On The Corner to be a personal statement, an esthetic breakthrough and a social provocation upon its release in fall of 1972. He could hardly have been more successful: the album was all that, though it has taken decades for its full impact to be understood.

more A & I


About this Archive

This page is a archive of recent entries written by Jazz beyond Jazz in May 2009.

Jazz beyond Jazz: April 2009 is the previous archive.

Jazz beyond Jazz: June 2009 is the next archive.

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