Nearly every waking hour is consumed by the task at hand–the settlement of a friend’s estate–but I manage to grab a few minutes here and there in an attempt not to fall too far behind events and ideas. In August, I wrote at some length about Maria Schneider’s CD Sky Blue. Today, I caught up with Francis Davis’s October 30 commentary in The Village Voice about Schneider’s relative importance as a composer. It is a thoughtful piece full of insights that, it seems to me, put her in proper perspective. Here is a key section that follows a keenly observed background paragraph preparing us to consider Schneider as a successor to Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus and Gil Evans.
Though some might deem it premature to advance Maria Schneider to the pantheon just yet, at 47 she seems to me to have all the qualifications, right down to a core of steadfast orchestra members: “Those guys play her music like they’d take a bullet for her,” another composer remarked enviously following a recent performance. Schneider’s new Sky Blue makes it easy to hear why.
To read all of Davis’s essay, go here.
Rifftides will be back in full swing as soon as possible. Among other things, I plan to watch and report on the rest of the new Jazz Icons DVD series. In the meantime, please stay in touch, either by comments (link at the end of items) or by way of the e-mail address in the right-hand column.