Catching Up With Eric Felten

Felten 2Journalist, trombonist and bandleader Eric Felten continues his multifaceted ways. He has added internet television to his repertoire, presenting, interviewing and sometimes sitting in with prominent jazz artists. His latest Wall Sreet Journal op-ed piece recalls how a tax rule now nearly forgotten had a dramatic effect on popular music and the evolution of jazz. It begins:

These are strange days, when we are told both that tax incentives can transform technologies yet higher taxes will not drag down the economy. So which is it? Do taxes change behavior or not? Of course they do, but often in ways that policy hands never anticipate, let alone intend. Consider, for example, how federal taxes hobbled Swing music and gave birth to bebop.

To read Felten’s full story of the cabaret tax that kicked in near the end of the second world war, go here.

The Voice of America is best known for its shortwave radio broadcasts overseas. But the VOA is also active on the worldwide web with, among other things, its Music Alley webcasts. Felten hosts Beyond Category, a series of half-hour visits with jazz musicians who live in or visit Washington, DC, his home base. Recent guests have included Larry Willis, Donny McCaslin, Tia Fuller, Eldar Djangirov and Gary Smulyan. His latest subjects are pianist Bill Mays and bassist Tommy Cecil. Here is the entire segment.

For links to previous episodes of Beyond Category or to see the Mays-Cecil segment again, go here.

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  1. Joe Lang says


    Thanks for pointing out Eric’s interview series. I look forward to watching the Bill Mays-Tommy Cecil interview. For me, they made the best album of 2012 “Side BY Side: Sondheim Duos.”

  2. says

    A most enjoyable and informative Bill Mays/Tommy Cecil segment of Felton’s “BEYOND CATEGORY” . ERIC IS A RELAXED INTERVIEWER AND AN EXCELLENT JAZZ TROMBONIST.

    It behoves musicians to seek him out for a spot on the show.

    Tommy Cecil is a wonderful all round musician/bassist and plays great in this duo setting with Bill Mays’ very appealing jazz style that contains extraordinary impressionistic/romantic classical overtones.