Central Brooklyn Jazz Fest reiterates jazz/race divide

The Central Brooklyn Jazz Festival, during what the Smithsonian Institution promotes as Jazz Appreciation Month, is a powerful statement of hard core, grass-roots support for the music Congress has ratified as "a rare and valuable American national treasure." My City Arts column reports on how the fest and other Brooklyn jazz activities, despite best intentions, reprise the distances and suspicions people of diverse backgrounds hold about each other. … [Read more...]

Subotnick, Lillevan, Unsound make Lincoln Center an electric circus

Morton Subotnick re-mixes original materials of his prophetic and unprecedented late '60s  electronic music classic "Silver Apples of the Moon" with kinetic imagery by video artist Lillevan tonight (April 7) at the Rubenstein atrium of Lincoln Center -- as detailed in my column in City Arts - New York. It's free as part of the 11-day Unsound Festival, an extraordinary schedule of new and unusual multi-media works presented by the Fundcja Tone of Krakow with the Polish Cultural … [Read more...]

Black History Month Post-?-Racial String Bands

The Carolina Chocolate Drops are at least as entertaining as the 19th minstrel shows they cop songs and style from -- and just as confounding to any strict analysis of American attitudes about what's called "race" -- as noted in my new column in City Arts - New York. … [Read more...]

How does Keith Jarrett come to Carnegie Hall? Alone.

In my latest column in City Arts - New York, I share a few thoughts about the solo piano improvisations of Keith Jarrett. The headline's not mine, I don't get it -- but the music he performs at Carnegie Hall Jan. 16 may be transcendent, as far beyond jazz as his last album of solo concerts, Paris/London (Testament) or as with jazz as his duets with Charlie Haden, Jasmine. howardmandel.com Subscribe by Email | Subscribe by RSS | Follow on Twitter All JBJ posts | … [Read more...]

More on McFerrin, and the voices of New York

I already posted about Bobby McFerrin's Jazz at Lincoln Center performance of VOCAbuLarieS, his uplifting choral suite co-composed by Roger Treece -- but my new column in City Arts-New York goes further, noting other singers giving voice to Thanksgiving and other warm sentiments. And slightly belated happy birthday to Sheila Jordan, who recently celebrated her 82nd year performing at the Jazz Standard. She's a peach, and having her with us is something to be thankful for . . .  hhowardmandel.com Subscribe by Email | Subscribe by … [Read more...]

Randy Weston, Giant Standing

Pianist, composer, ensemble leader, now autobiographer -- at age 84, Randy Weston is a huge and undiminished presence. Read my column in City Arts New York about how he's just published African Rhythms, his life story, is signing it at Tribecca Performing Arts Center (NYC)  Oct. 30, and leads his 22-piece orchestra at that same venue in a 50th anniversary concert of his 4-part suite Uhuru Afrika, (lyrics by Langston Hughes) on November 13.  howardmandel.com Subscribe by Email or RSS All JBJ posts … [Read more...]

Jason Moran: Genius and/or very hard worker

The MacArthur Fellowship to pianist/composer/bandleader Jason Moran follows from that Foundation's ongoing trend to give $500,000 no-strings-attached to musicians who've demonstrated accomplishment and seem to promise more. Here's my City Arts-New York column  re what Moran's done and how things have changed since Monk, Bird, Dizzy et al brought modernism to jazz, without any dream of non-profit or governmental financial support.howardmandel.com Subscribe by Email or RSS All JBJ posts … [Read more...]

Summertime, and the listening should be easy

My latest column in City Arts-New York is now online, with pick hits for free August concerts in NYC. I don't suggest the season's not right for serious, substantial music, just that we would appreciate the surrounding circumstances being comfortable and hassle-free. Here's the opening graph, meant to set the tone and keep you reading -- and notes about the Caramoor jazz fest in suburban Westchester. … [Read more...]