Jazz beyond Jazz: August 2010 Archives

#Jazzlives -- the Twitter campaign aimed at demonstrating that there is a big and enthusiastic audience for live jazz -- is one year old. What has it wrought?

First: What is #jazzlives and how does it work? To participate in the campaign, audience members at live jazz performances "tweet" - write a post on their Twitter account-- about who they heard and where they heard them, including "#jazzlives" in the total 140 characters. You can view all #jazzlives posts as a "stream" on various websites and blogs, including this one. You can also view #jazzlives "tweets" by going to Twitter.com and searching on #jazzlives. You don't need a Twitter account to do this. But if you want your own #jazzlives stream, please leave a note in the "comments" box at the end of this post, and you'll be sent details.

August 26, 2010 12:57 PM | | Comments (5)
Amazing, historic, never-before-public recordings from an under-documented, under-appreciated but highly developmental era of jazz and new music comes to light! Complete sets and interviews from the international stars who gave birth to world jazz and downtown improv at the Manhattan arts loft Soundscape will be broadcast by WKCR-FM  and archived online starting Sept. 6 -- and are also at the core of the subscription-based CMS Archival Project, recently launched by the Creative Music Studio (Woodstock, NY, circa 1971 - '84). And oh yes: audio clips have emerged of Edgard Varese conducting Charles Mingus et al in "free" electro-acoustic improvisation, 1957. This should all be big news to musicians, musicologists, listeners and anyone interested in contemporary American culture, as these sounds got us to what we hear now.

August 23, 2010 9:01 AM | | Comments (1)
"La Raza Latina," composer-pianist Larry Harlow's hour-plus Latin big band extravaganza, drew thousands to Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors' penultimate concert last week, proving that driving, multi-layered live music has staying power decades after its creation. "A Salsa Suite" featured vocalists Ruben Blades and Adonis Puentes, choreographed couples and a 40 piece band with strings and extraordinary soloists on trumpets, congas, flute, saxes and violins. Harlow conducted the music he'd recorded in 1978 but never performed before.  Salsa -- combining Afro-Cuban rhythms and singing styles with big band jazz pyrotechnics -- lives! But you knew that, right . . . ?lharlow.jpeg

The suite's theme was self-celebratory, and the crowd which had waited hours, stretching as far as eye could see up Amsterdam Avenue for Damrosch Park to open, was eager to dig it. From VIP seating the audience seemed overwhelmingly 50ish and older, but flocks of younger listeners in back, without view of the stage, danced up a storm and were reluctant to leave at the end of the concert's three-hours.
August 20, 2010 10:23 AM | | Comments (2)
Hail NPR.org for putting 14 Carefusion Newport Jazz Fest sets on the 'net, and Wynton Marsalis for live-streaming from France's Marciac Jazz Festival video of his Modern New Orleans concert. Back-to-the-future, as broadcasts allow music fans geographically anywhere (and now any time) to get in on the action.
August 9, 2010 11:31 AM | | Comments (5)
In Italy jazz is an object of serious study and practice, aspiration and envy, emulation and celebration, creativity and commercial draw. So I found last week at the Siena Jazz Summer Workshop and Tuscia in Jazz fest in Soriano nel Cimino. 

At both sites there were top-notch players of several generations from the US teaching young acolytes, offering life lessons a step or two beyond the fundamental mastery of instruments. Specially convened ensembles mixing players of diverse experience from multiple countries caught the attentions of all-ages audiences at free performances held in medieval courtyards and town squares. Posters on the ancient walls of hilltop villages such as Montalcino, producer of some of Italy's finest wines, heralded jazz concert series I'd missed, featuring local as well as international headliners.

There's something happenin' here, no doubt about it. The harvesting of interests planted decades (centuries?) ago in the creation and appreciation of a world-wide vernacular music emphasizing melodic improvisation and rhythmic engagement? The emergence of a sophisticated but not elitist or exclusionary audience? Cultural evolution proceeding in the context of traditions dating back to pre-Renaissance? All of the above, fine cuisine and sweeping belvederes, too? A long report follows.
August 3, 2010 4:46 PM | | Comments (2)



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