main: September 2007 Archives
"Jazz in the Global Imagination: Music, Journalism and Culture," the day-long, public and free symposium at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism auditorium on Saturday, Sept. 29, is evidently the first international conference of jazz journalists to take place in the U.S. Why did we wait so long?
Even if there's been one before, the slam-bang panel discussions sponsored as final compent of the 10-day Columbia/Harlem Festival of Global Jazz by the Center for Jazz Studies at Columbia, in partnership with the Jazz Journalists Association, will be historic for writers, readers, listeners and musicians of a certain persuasion, me among them. In fact, full disclosure: I'm proud to have consulted to trombonist-composer-improviser-educator-MacArthur fellow George E. Lewis on this project, which brings more than 30 renowned, accomplished senior and emerging journalists from Japan, Russia, Turkey, South Africa, the UK, continental Europe, Canada and Mexico besides the U.S. together in contemplation of the big issues: the intersections of arts reportage and analysis with globalization and new technology, improvisation and fast-morphing traditions.
Zawinul (1932-2007) is a world-renowned keyboardist-composer who considered himself in the lineage of classic musicians emerging from his birthplace, Vienna, Austria. Once backstage after a performance circa 1980 he stormed at Down Beat editors who'd come at his command to "discuss" a bad review of Weather Report's just-released album 8:30 -- "You do not give Beethoven two stars! You do not give Zawinul two stars!" No, he wasn't Beethoven, but his music lives beyond his personal mortality -- so yes, Joe Zawinul is one of the immortals.
Guelph, Canada - a pleasant university town nestled in the forrested low meander of the mis-aptly named "Speed River" is invigorated by its weeklong jazz festival, scholars' colloquium, and $4 million research grant from Canadian governmental forces, devoted to study of music improvisation's relation to social change and community-sustenance.
Since such last gasps of New York's summer jazz convocations as the
Charlie Parker Jazz Festival -- my trip to the Chicago Jazz Festival -- this week's colloquium at University of Guelph titled "People Get Ready: The Future of Jazz is Now!" coinciding with the 14th annual Guelph Jazz Festival -- and the first international conference of jazz critics to be held in the U.S., "Jazz in the Global Imagination: Music, Journalism, and Culture" produced for the Columbia-Harlem Festival of Global by George E. Lewis, newly named director of Center for Jazz Studies of Columbia University (with my consultation) scheduled for all day September 29, there's oodles of interesting news, good stories, music and events worth reviewing and previewing.