main: June 2009 Archives

Did you miss the "festivity" of June jazz concerts in major Manhattan venues -- or did you find ways of coping without them? There's so much fine music -- jazz and beyond -- in nearby festive settings, many of them out-of-doors, that the absence of a 38-year-old institution doesn't seem to have made much stir. Perhaps you didn't even notice? 

Here's my most recent City Arts - NYC report on how George Wein responded to his perennial presence in New York City's jazz summer being suspended, upcoming classic jazz alternatives in Kent, CT, Katonah NY and Tanglewood, MA -- plus notes on promising "world music" events coming up free in Central Park, Battery Park, Prospect Park and the late August Charlie Parker fest, uptown and downtown.
June 30, 2009 1:10 PM | | Comments (0)
I love My Youtube! -- now hosting video clips from my handy new Kodak go-anywhere device of jazz celebs, players and presenters at the Jazz Journalists Association's 13th annual Jazz Awards party at the Jazz Standard (NYC) June 16, shot by debuting cinematographer R. Mandel.

Brief bits of Hank Jones, the Charles Tolliver Big Band, Jane Bunnett's Spirits of Havana, flutist Frank Wess, trombonist Roswell Rudd, Blue Note's Bruce Lundvall, singers Mark Murphy and Kurt Elling. A worthy Jazz Foundation pitch and SESAC toasts all the nominees! So easy to edit I'm going to re-view early Godard for jump-cut tips. So easy to upload I'm going to rethink reporting, interviewing and self-publishing strategies and techniques.
June 29, 2009 11:16 AM | | Comments (2)
Bob Koester, owner-operator of Delmark Records and the Jazz Record Mart, is celebrated in the New York Times' Arts & Leisure section today. He's documented and marketed South and West Side soul, AACM innovation, trad jazz and the Mississippi Delta blues revival. I'm among the many music fans who grew up in his sway -- and include my 12-best list of albums Koester brought to life.

June 28, 2009 10:09 AM | | Comments (3)
Kitty Margolis, Bay Area jazz singer, Facebook and in-person friend, fired up followers re guest blogger Paul Lindemeyer's comments on jazz's historic bias towards men, which I contextualized with reference to Michelle Obama's White House jazz night. Here's what Kitty's people wrote (names obscured except for her own and Alfonso's -- they ask to be id'd) -- 
June 26, 2009 10:35 AM | | Comments (5)
There are "powerful reasons . . .we ought to consider" for why musicians and listeners "tend to be a brotherhood," according to a self-described "middle-aged white male swing-to-bopper." He's identifying, not justifying . . .Then the First Lady upsets the paradigm. She brings her daughters to the gig.

I've got pressing deadlines, but luckily several lengthy, thoughtful responses to recent blog postings, so here's one of a series by correspondents of Jazz Beyond JazzPaul Lindemeyer ia a multi-talented reeds musician/big band leader/author of Celebrating the Saxophone, Hearst Books, 1996, and offers thoughts on the ever-popular topic of what women want  from jazz, in public dialog that was begun on this blog not long ago.  His views do not necessarily represent my own, and I wonder if they're supported by the experience of Michelle Obama, whose personal testamony to the meaning of jazz in her own life since childhood visits to the jazz-overflowing home of her maternal grandad called "Southside" brought happy tears to my eyes.

 First Lady first; Mr. Lindemeyer therafter: 
June 23, 2009 5:37 PM | | Comments (5)
Saxophonist Steve Wilson and I talked about "Jazz and the Class Divide" at Dartmouth College, and here's the entire half-hour clip on

Wilson, a gentleman and a great player, was touring with the Blue Note 7, the band anchored by pianist Bill Charlap that's been a big thing because Blue Note refers to the record label celebrating its 70th year in business in 2009. I get a couple chuckles out of watching myself, especially when I lose my point. . . but I do pick it up (Oh yeah - - Cecil Taylor can quote Messaein without hardly trying!). Well anyway, between the two of us some points were raised. I hope you'll enjoy this talk. Please let me know about that with which you disagree.
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June 19, 2009 6:46 AM | | Comments (1)
Jazz Beyond Jazz was named Blog of the Year by the Jazz Journalists Association at the Jazz Awards on Tuesday -- and Tina Marsh, driving force of Austin creative music, died that day, too.

I'm immersed in follow-up on both these and related issues, but details and new posts are guaranteed. As 91-year-old Hank Jones said upon receiving the JJA's award as Pianist of the Year, "This Award is an incentive to do better ."
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June 18, 2009 11:35 AM | | Comments (1)
Forecasts vary in the wake of collapses of Jazz Times and the JVC Jazz Festivals. Brilliant Corners exults that mid-brow music is so over and revels in New York's Vision Fest,  while Jazz Chronicles asks what comes next -- possibly something good?

I think it's irresponsible and delusional to believe that the demise of successful mainstream enterprises like magazines, commercial festivals and oh yes, the International Association for Jazz Education, another bete noir of Brilliant Corners' Boston-based Chris Rich (along with many others: baby boomers, jazz fusion, George Wein, Boston Jazz Week) is
  • a) a good thing, and
  • b) won't affect  smaller enterprises, whether individual musicians or collective avant-garde fests, not very far down the road. (Read Barbara Ehrenreich on the impact of the recession on the "already poor" and extrapolate: the Jazz Foundation of America is already trying to help more musicians in need with fewer dollars from donations).
June 13, 2009 11:37 AM | | Comments (5)
The founder of the Creative Opportunity Orchestra, a musicans' cooperative of composer-improvisers on the model of Chicago's AACM, is suffering late stage breast cancer. Beautiful Tina Marsh, age 55, whose disease was successfully treated in the '90s but recurred in 2008, is resting in a private home, with friends close by.

A pure-voiced vocalist who employs extended techniques in dramatic interpretations of songs such as Ornette Coleman's "Lonely Woman" with brilliant control for deep affect but who has also conducted a wild 'n' wooly ensemble through open structures to fine result and been described as singing "scat to the highest power," Tina has been a community-sensitive artist-activist in her adopted hometown for nearly 30 years. Having worked in musical theater on the east coast in the '70s, she attended the Creative Music Studio in Woodstock in 1980, and upon returning to Austin organized CO2 from the core of her first band, the New Visions Ensemble. Since then more than 200 musicians have participated in CO2 under her direction. 

June 11, 2009 2:44 PM | | Comments (2)
JazzTimes confirms rumors first reported here the 38-year-old monthly magazine's deep financial distress requires it to stop publishing. Its management hopes for a brand-sale and re-emergence. But in a longer email to freelance contributors, those same managers adopt a can't-help-you-pal shrug toward the brand's freelance contributors.

"The brand and operation will undergo reorganization and restructuring in order to remain competitive in the current media," according to the brief note on the mag's website. In the iteration of this message that went out to Jazz Times' contributors, though, that assertion was followed by words of dread to freelance writers and photographers: ". . . payments for previous assignments remain in limbo, as the JazzTimes ownership seeks the necessary financing."

Payments In limbo? What would a carpenter, plumber, landlord say? "I'll take the shelves back." "Your toilet's in limbo." "No rent, you're out!"
June 9, 2009 11:09 PM | | Comments (0)
An associate editor of JazzTimes "until a couple of weeks ago when I was laid off" has confirmed that the magazine is in deep trouble. "There was some hope of a new buyer coming to the rescue," he writes, "but as of my last contact with the guys it wasn't looking good." I'd heard previously that the proposed deal fell through.

"Hopefully that will still happen," this source continues, "but with the loss of JVC and other advertisers it's doubtful the magazine would be able to survive in its present format." Meanwhile, numerous writers and photographers have contacted me with tales of waiting on payments since last March. These are bad signs. A lot of jazz people are, like my correspondent, hopeful. We'd like Jazz Times to continue, to prosper and flower. More news when I get some. . . good or bad.
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June 5, 2009 6:26 PM | | Comments (1)
Koko Taylor, singer and survivor of the grittiest Chicago blues, died yesterday (June 3) at age 80 following surgery for gastro-intestinal problems. She may be best known for her first hit, "Wang Dang Doodle" which she recorded in 1966 and performed with Little Walter Jacobs on harmonica for the American Blues Festival in Germany in 1967, as featured here on Youtube. But the vocal track on the clip is too far off from the visual, so I prefer this video of a song I can't identify with raunchy rhymes and for the great good humor with which she talks about work life and growing up as a child of sharecroppers in Shelby, Tennessee. 
June 4, 2009 8:30 AM | | Comments (0)
Rumors abound that JazzTimes magazine is folding -- it's laid off employees, notified writers of waits for May payments, not shipped its June issue to the printers and failed to sell itself to a new publisher. A senior contributor says he was told not to write his next column until asked for it. These are rumors, I stress: I've emailed JT's publisher and editors for confirmation or denial, comment and clarification, without response so far. It wouldn't be terribly surprising, given the economic drift and hard times for print media. But the demise of JazzTimes would change the game for everybody -- musicians, readers writers, advertisers -- focused on jazz.
June 3, 2009 5:15 PM | | Comments (18)



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