main: September 2009 Archives
Welcome to City Arts, which bucks a trend by evolving from being a monthly section in NYPress and other Manhattan neighborhood free papers to becoming New York's Review of Culture, a new twice-monthly stand-alone print edition and website. Beside my column, there are season previews of classical music, mustn't miss museums exhibits (Kandinsky! Blake! Monet! O'Keefe!), books, dance, theater, and lesser known film series. Welcome to the fray, brave young journal, and may you thrive.
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I'm a Chicago homie -- long removed but never really gone -- so don't expect objectivity, but a recent visit proved my native metropolis is #1 in America and maybe everywhere for its active, creative, meaningful, almost-economically-viable, neighborhood-rooted, exploratory and world class jazz. I say this even as my dearly adopted New York City kickstarts as freshly energized a fall season as any I recall.
Jazz is the lifeblood of Chicago in a way it ain't in NYC, at least not right now. Jazz-soul-blues is Chicago's street music. Chicago's citizens -- not just its visitors -- seem to consider jazz this music their personal due. It's what you hear at O'Hare going in and out of town.
On September 17,New York kicks off a fall season more highly charged with new creative energies than any in memory. An army of mostly young, skilled, ambitious and devoted musicians is making itself heard in the East Village, Soho, Brooklyn, on the Lower West Side and in the clubs -- while benevolence is cast by the first ever performance -- at last -- of Ornette Coleman at Jazz at Lincoln Center, Sept. 26.
Buzz about who played live jazz where marked with the hashtage #jazzlives flew throughout cyberspace this weekend -- catch it all here. The impromptu campaign produced anecdotal evidence that a young and vigorous audience for America's modern vernacular creative music does indeed exist, spreading enthusiastic word via the social network Twitter of sets at Chicago, Tanglewood, Los Angeles (x2), Detroit and Stevens Point (Wisconsin) jazz festivals and gigs in New York, Tokyo, etc,. far and wide.
Audiences for live jazz from East Coast to West, North border to South, all points between and some beyond are using Twitter and the hashtag #jazzlives to buzz about bands and venues they like. A campaign begun to encourage "anecdotal evidence" that demonstrates a vibrant listenership for America's indigenous music has resulted in hundreds of brief messages -- some with links to photos of crowds, video and podcasts. No final count yet; this weekend could be big with jazz fests at Tanglewood, Detroit, Chicago, LA, Philly, Aspen, Vail, etc. And this experiment isn't statistically relevant, just a volunteer shout-out. But people all over have big ears and broad tastes, as their little tweets demonstrate. Count yourself in by tweeting (Twitter accounts are free), using #jazzlives -- as individuals have in the following samples --