Virtual Charlie Parker jazz fest (online video)

Fearing Hurricane Irene, New York City has suspended public transportation and cancelled everything -- but not my  online video Charlie Parker Jazz fest, a humble audio/video standin for the live sets scheduled but not-to-be in Harlem and the East Village, Saturday and Sunday, Aug 27-28. Monday, Aug. 29 is the 91st birthday of the immortal alto saxophonist, called "Bird" (short for "Yardbird"), who legendarily died of the fast life in 1955. He and associates including trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie -- with whom he plays "Hot House" in one of … [Read more...]

Labor Day Jazz & Blues fests coast-to-coast; how many listening?

jazzfest crowd

Jazz and blues festivals occur in America coast-to-coast over Labor Day weekend -- how many listeners will the music engage? Capacities vary: free multi-day fests in Chicago and Detroit attract tens of thousands each, and the free Memphis Music & Heritage Festival; River Front Jazz Fest in Stevens Point, Wisconsin; Franklin Jazz Festival outside Nashville, Tennessee;  Big Muddy Blues Festival at Laclede's Landing near St. Louis' Gateway Arch, and 23rd Annual DC Blues Festival at Rock Creek Park's Carter Barron Amphitheatre in … [Read more...]

Trademark “Miles” image? Estate sues jazz club


The Miles Jazz Cafe, a low-key, off-the-mainline music loft in midtown Manhattan, is being sued by the estate of trumpeter Miles Davis for copyright infringement, citing use of the musician's silhouette as "free-riding on the goodwill associated with the Miles Davis marks" in a way "likely to mislead the public." The perpetually photogenic Davis was represented by a silhouette on album covers of his early 1960s Columbia albums Seven Steps to Heaven, Sketches of Spain and Quiet Nights. Compare the logo of the bare-bones third-floor room run … [Read more...]

Jazz audience surveyed, segmented


The jazz audience can be described by its parts: hip, participatory young artist/musicians, less experienced and cost-conscious but willing social butterflies, mid-aged and older cultural omnivores and dull-but-desirable comfort seekers, according to a segmentation study sponsored by the Jazz Audience Initiative. Some of this has been reported by NPR's A Blog Supreme as "Actually Useful Information About the Jazz Audience" (thanks, Patrick Jarenwattananon), but these categories which the study used to characterize the varied behavior … [Read more...]

My live reviews, Newport Jazz Fest via NPR broadcast #newportjazz

st coleman

I just got the bright idea of live/remote coverage of today's music at the Newport Jazz Fest - tweeting briefly but fleshing out comments here and on Facebook -- wherever people respond. Follow me @jazzbeyondjazz or #newportjazz and hear the broadcast: I'll start at 2:45 pm - with Regina Carter's Reverse Thread performance -- and probably quite at 5, before the New Orleans finale -- unless it's really fun and working out -- To kick things off: two profiles of fest-producer George Wein, produced by … [Read more...]

Saint Agnes Varis gave $ to jazz, opera & Democrats, dies age 81

agnes varis

Agnes Varis, a major progressive philanthropist funding the Jazz Foundation of America, Jazz at Lincoln Center and the Metropolitan Opera while fighting for reduced health care costs through perscription of generic drugs and supporting a broad array of Democratic and women's issues, died of cancer July 29 at age 81. She was officially honored as "Saint of the Century" by Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana Mitch Landrieu at the JFA's annual benefit concert "A Great Night in Harlem," at the Apollo Theater in 2009. According to the New York … [Read more...]

UNESCO names pianist Herbie Hancock “goodwill ambassador”


Pianist Herbie Hancock has been appointed a "goodwill ambassador" by UNESCO. The 71-year-old multiple Grammy winner, Chicago-born child prodigy, Miles Davis' keyboards man ushering open-form improvisation, electronic instruments and studio procedures into the past half-century of jazz-based music and talent scout with global interests joins an international coterie that currently includes Nelson Mandela, Pierre Cardin, Claudia Cardinale, Forest Whitaker, Jean Michel Jarre and royal personages from Belgium, Jordan, Morocco and Thailand. A … [Read more...]

Vionlinist Billy Bang on being a “tunnel rat” in Viet Nam

Violinist Billy Bang, died at age 63 on April 11 of cancer, was a composer of enduring, affecting music based on his military service in Viet Nam. Prayer for Peace, Vietnam: Reflections and Vietnam: The Aftermath deal directly, bravely and beautifully with Bang's thoughts and feelings about having been a tunnel rat -- a small soldier dropped into darkness to sniff out what, or who, was a danger underground. Go to my NPR interview with Billy and click "listen."   … [Read more...]

NEA wants to end Jazz Masters program

The National Endowment of the Arts' FY-12 Appropriations Request has just been posted, and cuts $21 million to return to its 2008 funding level. Among program "modifications": the establishment of "American Artists of the Year awards," which will "remove specific reference to Jazz, Folk, and Opera" and give discipline awards annually in two categories:Performing Arts: Dance/Music/Opera/Musical Theater/Theater  Visual Arts: Design/Media Arts/Museums/Visual Arts (including crafts)This evidently means the end of the Jazz Masters Fellowships, … [Read more...]

Short end of Jazz Times’ good news

The quick revival of magazine Jazz Times by Madavor Media is a good thing, but freelance contributors whose work has already been published are being told that they'll be paid only 50% of amounts due."Those checks are going out this week," according to an email sent by Lee Mergener, JT's editor-in-chief who is being retained during the transition in ownership, along with managing editor Evan Haga and two ad representatives. Mergner's memo continues, "Madavor only acquired the assets, not the liabilities, of the company, leaving JazzTimes' … [Read more...]

2009 JJA Jazz Award Winners

The whole list is posted at, along with photos of the Jazz Journalists Association's 13th Annual Jazz Awards presentation, held Tuesday in New York City.A full report, with video, very soon. Subscribe by Email | Subscribe by RSS | Follow on Twitter All JBJ posts | … [Read more...]

Domino effect of JVC Jazz Fest failure on Jazz Times?

New speculation on the jazz magazine crisis: Having no summer advertorial supplements for JVC Jazz Festivals (which aren't happening) may have hugely hurt JT's seasonal revenues. How could the loss of three consecutive monthly multi-page inserts, all expenses paid for by the client, not shake a publication's income stream?Complete disclosure: I edited the JVC Jazz Festival program books in the 1990s, when they were inserts into Tower Records' free monthly magazine Pulse!, and for a year when JVC America, responsible for the Japanese owned … [Read more...]