Why of the Jazz Journalists Assn’s Jazz Awards

Why give Jazz Awards? See my new column in City Arts re the event Monday 6/14 at City Winery in NYC, produced by the Jazz Journalists Assoc. (Full disclosure: I'm deeply involved -- as left, last year presenting Kurt Elling his statuette for Best Male Vocalist, photo by Enid Farber. See us this year, streaming live video online at www.JJAJazzAwards.org, with satellite parties in Albuquerque, Berkeley, Chicago, Portland, Seattle, Scottsdale, and tweeting using the hashtag #jjajazzawards) … [Read more...]

Best beyond “jazz” CDs of 2009

My 10 top CDs of 2009 blow past conventions to enrich jazz, blues, new and unusual music. They're chosen from almost 1000 I received for review -- an abundance of fine releases since November 2008, the full year following Barack Obama's election to president.Maybe it's coincidence that fresh thinking, spirited energy and practical creativity runs high  at this moment in history -- or maybe it's that 2009's challenges require musicians like everyone else to find new answers to the tough questions: how to find joy amid gloom, work to … [Read more...]