blame it on jetblue.

Forgive me readers, for I have sinned.

I lured you in with a promise of regular dispatches yet then turned away. Well, I was on my way back down to New Orleans to start a three-month (mostly) stay. I'd just heard Mos Def at Brooklyn Academy of Music, kicking off the "Brooklyn Next Festival" (which runs through 2/24), for which he led a well-honed big-band including not just a jazz-based rhythm section -- pianist Robert Glasper, bassist John Benitez, and drummer Chris Dave but also -- not coincidentally to my ongoing focus (the primacy and reach of New Orleans roots), a New Orleans-style brass band from Chicago called "Hypnotic". The fact that the bottom end of Mos's music was held down by electric bass and tuba is a point I may return to.

And I wanted to relate a bit about the panel discussion I led at BAM, also part of the "Brooklyn Next" affair, wherein I shared not just my affection for the Brooklynites Cecil Taylor and Betty Carter, but for the loose collective of jazz musicians who gathered in my borough in the late 1980s and early '90s -- Steve Coleman, Greg Osby, Cassandra Wilson, Geri Allen, Graham Haynes, sometimes Dave Holland, among others -- and searched for a musical consciousness free of then-nascent neo-traditionalist fundamentalism. (I'll get to all that, promise.)

Ah, but I was on one of those Jetblue flights. And who'd have thought that the airline that gave me free TV, an armchair remote, and cheap headphones would ever let me down! That emailed apology/confession from Jetblue founder David Neeleman didn't do much for me (even its "Passenger Bill of Rights" fell short; I'll wait for a free round-trip, thank you.

February 22, 2007 1:24 PM |


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