Urban Realism and Treme

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"Life is glorious and vibrant and joyous at points, but it is essentially tragic. That's not a unique David Simon perspective." So sayeth David Simon, (pictured left; right is a Mardi Gras Indian portrayed by Clarke Peters), executive producer with Eric Overmyer of Treme, in a long interview on Salon conducted by Matt Zolar Seitz.  The HBO series about New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, which ended its second season last Sunday night, is unique as a musical drama for its grounding of psychologically acute and entertaining … [Read more...]

Parameters of jazz now

The Winterjazzfest held at three venues in Greenwich Village last Saturday, a smorgasbord of almost two dozen acts offered up to attendees of the Association of Performing Arts Centers conference, gave a hint of some sounds to be heard around the U.S. in the months to come. What I witnessed was diverse, engaging, virtuosic but not didactic. The musicians seem to know they've got to be audience-friendly, or go without. So they've tailored their acts for clarity, balancing familiarity and novelty but not dumbing down.  … [Read more...]