main: January 2010 Archives
Last weekend the World Saxophone Quartet and percussion ensemble M'Boom blasted 21st century conventions at Birdland -- this weekend Pierre Boulez conducts the Chicago Symphony Orchestra through Bartok's two piano & percussion concerto and Stravinsky's "The Firebird" at Carnegie Hall. Listening opportunities in New York City cover a vast range. Duh, right?
Mark Guest, guitarist, has organized a grassroots "Jazz and Blues for Haiti" benefit for Doctors Without Borders on Monday Jan 26 Jan 25 at Curras Nuevo Cuisine in Asheville, NC, a town he says "doesn't to my knowledge have an immediate Haitian connection." But Guest wanted to do something for people in crisis worth more than $10 bucks and knows how to leverage his skills; besides, he's felt nature's wrath himself, having been driven from Gulf Coast, where he and his wife lived "a beer-and-a-half from New Orleans' French Quarter" by Hurricane Katrina.
The jazz world's response the Haitian earthquake isn't overwhelming, but every bit helps. The Groove Collective benefit is tomorrow, Tues, Jan 19, at (le) poisson rouge in Manhattan; a Seattle community jazz fest is at multiple venues Wed., Jan 20, and St. Louis jazz musicians for Haiti gather at Sheldon Concert Hall on Tuesday, Feb 9. Last Sunday (Jan 17) St. James Episcopal Church in Jamaica Plain, Boston, added a "meditative jazz improvisation component" by pianist Ben Schwendener to its regular Night Song presentation of late Renaissance motets and chants, donating proceeds to "the people of Haiti" -- and in Asheville, North Carolina guitarist Mark Guest is planning a benefit concert (details TBA). Then there's Charles Mingus.
Just in -- Muhal Richard Abrams conducting the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, and Yusef Lateef on tenor sax with percussionist Adam Rudolph, fine performance photography by Frank Stewart from the National Endowment for the Arts' Jazz Masters concert. My post on the concert is here, and the images are below --
Jazz, defined by creativity, pushes boundaries -- a fact alluded to and demonstrated by two of the new NEA Jazz Masters at the gratifying if lengthy ceremony and concert held at Rose Theater of Jazz at Lincoln Center on Tuesday, Jan 12. Muhal Richard Abrams and Yusef Lateef were inducted into the canon that now recognizes 114 musicians and advocates of what House Congressional Resolution 57 (passed with Senate concurrence in 1987) calls "a rare and valuable national American treasure." Both men performed in ways that draw from but aren't constrained by the heritage/legacy/tradition of swing, blues and ballads often cited by the conservative end of the music's continuum as sine qua non for the four-letter, two-Z designation.
The Jazz Journalists Association's five days of programming in coordination with the Association of Performing Arts Presenters conference and Nat'l Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters events was a raging success on several fronts. Activities included the educational, informational, musical, productive and social. Overall, the JJA conference counted approximately 100 participants.
Just announced: WBGO, NPR and Sirius/XM are broadcasting live and streaming on the web tonight's NEA Jazz Masters ceremony and concert with W. Marsalis and the LIncoln Center Jazz Orchestra performing works by Muhal Richard Abrams, Bill Holman, Bobby Hutcherson et al. Pianist Cedar Walter will perform with singer Annie Ross, Kenny Barron will play solo piano and the great Yusef Lateef will duet with percussionist Adam Rudolph. Rocco Landesman, NEA chairman, co-hosts the proceedings. Tune in at 7:30 pm EST.
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Jazz journalists conferenced in New York City last weekend as arts presenters, National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters and musical showcases galore (including an audience-happy Winter Jazzfest and the debut of drummer Jack DeJohnette's hot new band) justified the very existence of the profession.
The Jazz Journalists Association has scheduled a multi-faceted professional conference for Jan 8 - 12 in NYC, concurrent with the Association of Performing Arts Presenters annual conference (which is producing a Special Focus on Jazz), the two-night multi-venue Winter Jazzfest, one-night but multi-stage globalFEST, and the Nat'l Endowment of the Arts's presentation of 2010's Jazz Masters. It's the first time the JJA (of which I'm president) has worked in conjunction with APAP and the NEA to bring the people who disseminate music news together with those who seek to make it.
Neil Tesser blogs about best of the year roundups on Chicago Music Examiner.com -- and is added to the blogroll. A gifted writer and broadcaster, an incisive cultural critic, Neil has been a close colleague of mine starting in Chicago in the '70s (remember them? Most readers, maybe not). We've worked simultaneously for the Chicago Reader and Down Beat, among other publications, and WBEZ-FM when it was an NPR jazz station, on the Chicago Jazz Festival programming committee and even co-frontlined a Critics Band (both playing reeds, highlight of our set was a segue from "Pipeline" into "Afro Blue." It's good to have him in the blogosphere.