Correspondence: The Stamp Of Jazz

Jazz Stamp

Jazz historian, composer, arranger, bandleader, educator and short sleeper Bill Kirchner writes: You've probably seen—or will see—the new "Jazz" U.S. postage stamp just issued. A year ago, I was a paid consultant on the design of it. The graphic artist's original design included a trumpeter, saxophonist, pianist, and bassist—no women, no singer. I successfully lobbied for a female singer--my foremost contribution to American culture (smile). This was the stamp … [Read more...]

Billy Bang, 1947-2011

Billy Bang

The violinist Billy Bang, who created himself as a jazz musician out of the trauma of the Vietnam war, died yesterday at 63. Inhabited by his combat experiences, his emotions wounded, Bang found relief and rehabilitation by returning to the violin he had studied as a child. He pursued an intensity of expression that helped him evade his demons. He became one of the most centered players in the free movement, inspired by John Coltrane and by the violin playing of Ornette Coleman and Leroy … [Read more...]

Toots And Grace

The first section following the introduction of my 1989 book Jazz Matters is titled “A Common Language.” It ends with this: Like every art form, jazz has a fund of devices unique to it and universally employed by those who practice it. Among the resources of the jazz tradition available to the player creating an improvised performance are rhythmic patterns, harmonic structures, material quoted from a variety of sources and “head arrangements” evolved over time without being written. … [Read more...]