Steve Reich @ Carnegie Hall @ 75, with devotees

Composer Steve Reich, age 75, knows secrets of correlating pulsating rhythms and interlocking layers of sycopated melodic patterns which he's eager to reveal in every work he writes. His musical signature is so unwavering it might veer into self-parody, but for the vigor and commitment of his performers. At Carnegie Hall last night four energized new music ensembles poured enthusiasm, precision and a sense of discovery into four recent Reich pieces, making their Master's overlays, cycles and cells variously delightful, ominous, rockin', tense, … [Read more...]

Jazz lofts as they used to be

Composer Steve Reich said, "Without John Coltrane, there would be no minimalism." The topic was Hall Overton, the man who arranged Monk's music, treating jazz as contemporary "classical" composition. The occasion was a panel discussion sprung from an exhibit at the NY Public Library of the Performing Arts about the Jazz Loft hosted by photographer W. Eugene Smith from 1955-1964 (this is Smith's shot of Overton with Monk in the Loft).Read about it in my new City Arts column. … [Read more...]

Meet the Composer grants — not for improvisers

Pursuant to online debates about whether grants and fellowships are good for jazz -- here's a report on the non-profit Meet the Composer's choice of 31 recipients for $300,000 towards realization of commissions. Only one jazz-related project among them: composer-guitarist Joel Harrison, commissioned by the Brooklyn-based organization Connection Works, to write for a large ensemble. However, three principals of the new music collect Bang on a Can, as well as celebrated veteran composers Meredith Monk and Steve Reich, and the music theater artist … [Read more...]