Rifftides: October 2006 Archives

From time to time, John Birchard of the Voice of America news staff shares with Rifftides his impressions of musical events in the District of Columbia and environs.

Can a ghost band make art? For example, does one consider a Glenn Miller Orchestra led by Sam Donahue capable of creating music that stands the test of time? How about the group led by Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter that featured Wallace Roney in the role of Miles Davis? Is their collaboration to be considered on the same plane as the Miles Davis Quintet? If not, why not?

The crowd that gathered for the second set by Louis Hayes and the Cannonball Adderley Legacy Band Featuring Jeremy Pelt (try fitting THAT on the marquee) at the KC Jazz Club at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (one long name deserves another) in Washington, DC last night didn't seem to be mulling over such questions.

Whether they washed up on a wave of nostalgia--a number of gray heads in the audience could have been around back in the day for the Adderleys' own group--or were there out of curiosity, they were treated to an hour and a half of tunes associated with Julian and Nat, served hot and tasty.

The set started with the Quincy Jones composition "Jessica's Day". The ensemble was tight and snappy, the solos bore promise of a good night. Though forty years have passed since Louis Hayes was a young up-and-comer, he still can drive a band, no matter the tempo. Next on the menu was "Lisa" by the late Victor Feldman. Hayes gives Pelt considerable solo space and the trumpeter uses it well. He reminds me of Freddie Hubbard in his attack and the confidence he exudes. Pelt was featured again, this time in a Harmon mute, on "Naturally" (spelling?). The rhythm section stayed with a feeling of 2/4 throughout, Hayes on brushes.

Julius Tolentino is a suitable stand-in for Cannonball. I had not heard the altoist before and on his feature "Bohemia After Dark", he called up images of the Far East and snake charmers. Nicely done. Apparently, Tolentino is new to the band. When Hayes introduced him to the audience, he called him "Julian Tarantino", which caused the rest of band to burst into laughter. Seems it's happened before.

The set continued with Bobby Timmons' "Dat Dere", a showcase for bassist Gerald Cannon, whose funky walking solo brought yells from the audience, and for pianist Rick Germanson, whose offering was appropriately soulful. Nat Adderley's "Work Song" closed the evening with Tolentino evoking Julian's spirit And, again, Jeremy Pelt showed why he's a star on the rise, with a swaggering, blues-inflected solo.

Does Louis Hayes front this band because he loves the music and wants to share it, or is it because he recognizes that he can earn a living from being the only surviving alumnus of a famous jazz group? Maybe it's both. The fact is this is a very good band, playing strong material well. If last night's audience is any indication, the public approves.

Having raised the question whether this is art or commerce, my vote is for commerce--but it surely is enjoyable commerce.

Your Washington correspondent,
John Birchard

For a Rifftides review of a CD by Hayes and the Cannonball Adderley Legacy Band, click here.

October 31, 2006 1:05 AM | | Comments (1)

Continuing the Adderley theme, a Rifftides reader who identifies himself as El Destiny, sent the following message, which includes a link.

This article includes a rare mp3 of Cannonball Adderley jamming with a novelty act of singing squirrels. The article tells the story of jazzman Don Elliott and partner Sascha Burland recording the track in an attempt to compete with Alvin & the Chipmunks. (Who had their own troubles with record labels...!)

Within the article are several links, including one to an MP3 of Cannonball playing "Yardbird Suite" with Elliott's and Burland's Nutty Squirrels.

October 31, 2006 1:04 AM | | Comments (1)

After reading the Rifftides item about Josef Skvorecky's novel The Bass Saxophone, the British bassist, composer and leader Graham Collier wrote:

Some years ago I suggested to BBC radio that they adapt The Bass Saxophone, which they duly did with my music. Art Themen, best known as a tenor sax player, played the bass sax for the occasion. He owned a bass saxphone, which helped, but I asked him for this gig because--as I had seen in other collaborations with him--he had the rare ability to "act with his instrument." This he did and the adaptation won a Sony Radio award.

The first time I heard Art play the instrument it shook the floor--and the people standing outside a nearby pub. I suggested that what I'd heard would do for the part where the boy in The Bass Saxophone was playing the instrument for the first time, but that for the final sequence--where he rides over the oom-pah band "like a dancing male gorilla"--he would need to practice. Which he did, and the end result was amazing. Art can be heard on bass saxophone in similar vein in my 1994 CD Charles River Fragments (Jazzprint).

Charles River Fragments is also available as a digital download.

October 30, 2006 1:05 AM | | Comments (1)

Any day now could be the last good one of the year for cycling, so I said goodbye to work and took advantage of a late October afternoon so perfect that to have left it out there by itself would have been a shame. Deciding not to pit the road bike against heavy, skitterish Friday traffic, I left it in the shed and headed the mountain bike toward the system of canals that criss-crosses this agricultural valley. I dropped onto the path along a canal a block from my house and entered instant peace and quiet, except for the dogs that charge with intent to kill the moment they sense a cyclist.

Is there an animal psychologist out there who can tell us what it is about bicycles that drives dogs temporarily insane? Fortunately, there's a leash law that keeps dogs mostly behind fences in town. In the country, you can usually get up a head of steam and outrun a farm dog, but a couple of weeks ago, a big black brute roared out of a yard and was gaining on me. When he came alongside and started nipping, I yelled as loud as I could (that's loud), "Go home." To my relief--and from the expression on his face, to his astonishment--he went home.

Nothing like that happened today. The only annoyances were piles of mud dredged out of the canals by ditch riders cleaning up after a summer of irrigation, and the extra shirt I threw on under my jersey. The air seemed cool when I started, but the temperature quickly rose on the steep hills. Russet and red leaves along parts of the path crackled under my tires. A crow circled along in the clear sky above me for a few hundred yards, reprimanding me for some offense. Two horses looked up as I passed their pasture. Apple harvest was over in most of the orchards. One pear farmer apparently decided that his crop wouldn't bring him enough to make picking worthwhile. The pears lay beneath his trees where he let them fall, in the first stages of returning into the earth.

On a stretch up near the valley rim, a squirrel darted across the path fifty feet ahead. To my right, I saw a bigger creature move along the edge of an expansive lawn. The man paused to pump his air gun, then stalked the squirrel. He stopped, took aim, got off a shot, shook his head, and resumed gliding slowly along the edge of his property. Not wanting to distract him, I stopped and watched for ten minutes as he pursued his quarry with no less concentration than a sahib on safari. He took two more shots, but it was clear that the varmint had escaped. As he turned around, I said, "Hold your fire."

"Oh," he said, "I didn't see you."

"I know. I didn't want to startle you and be your next victim."

He felt like talking. He said he couldn't keep flowers and couldn't grow vegetables. The squirrels dig them up and eat them. They undermined a stone walkway he built. It was sinking, he said. He pointed to two pieces of equipment, a loader and a hay rake. One of his sons was storing them there, but he told him he'd have to move them, so the son found a buyer who gave him fifty dollars for the loader and a hundred for the rake, but the buyer hasn't come for them.

"You see that shed," he said. "I put that there years ago to store my tools while I built the house. I intended to tear it down when the house was done, but now it's full of my grandson's stuff. I told him he'd have to get it out of there next year. I want this area clear so I can plant it in lawn. That camper my son put there has got to go." His gaze swept over his property. "I've got a lot of lawn, two acres of it. That area there, I cleared," he said, pointing to a space ten by twenty feet bordered with creosoted timbers. "My other son had this old Mustang. It sat there for a long time, then some fella from Australia came along and paid him ten thousand dollars for it. Shipped it back to Australia with three or four other Mustangs. I guess they like old Mustangs down there.

"I've had this place since 1941. Retired from the mill fifteen years ago. Raised three kids here. After we had the first one, a daughter, the doctor told my wife she couldn't have any more children. Seven years later, we had a son. He was fine. She was fine. Shows you what doctors know. Fourteen years after that, we had another son. What happiness. She was fifteen when we met, I was seventeen. Got married when she was twenty and I was twenty-two. I love it out here. It's quiet. Away from the road. I've got a long driveway. Got that ditch running by. Nearest neighbor is clear over there, but his property runs right up against mine. We get along."

He gestured at the orchard across the canal. "The old man who owned that had property ran clear into town, down by the freeway where the mall is. He used to stop by here when he was in his eighties, and I'd say, 'I'm going in and get you a coke,' and we'd just sit here by the canal and talk, for hours sometimes. He's gone now."

I extended my hand. We exchanged names. "I ride by here now and then," I said. "We'll talk again."

"We sure will," he said. "You take care."

I rode home feeling good. The dogs seemed friendlier.

October 28, 2006 1:05 AM | | Comments (2)

Jazz expresses a yearning for freedom that survives the worst oppression. In his essay "Red Music," the Czech novelist Josef Skvorecky wrote about an urge that even the most brutal tyranny cannot fully extinguish. Skvorecky grew up under Nazi occupation in World War Two. He was a budding tenor saxophonist in a dance band with other youngsters. They were infected by the "forceful vitality," the "explosive creative energy" of jazz. He and his young friends did not regard themselves as protesters,

...but of course, when the lives of individuals and communities are controlled by powers that themselves remain uncontrolled--slavers, czars, fuhrers, first secretaries, marshals, generals and generalissimons, ideologists of dictatorships at either end of the spectrum--then creative energy becomes a protest.

Jazz was a sharp thorn in the sides of the power-hungry men, from Hitler to Brezhnev, who successively ruled in my native land.

"Red Music" prefaces a volume with two short Skvorecky novels, Emoke and The Bass Saxophone. The latter is the story of a boy whose life is ruled equally by the Nazis and his fascination with jazz. He dreams of the music and of figures who to him and his friends are demigods, among them Louis Armstrong and the bass saxophonist Adrian Rollini. He discovers a bass saxophone, plays it, then hears it played in a solo so powerful that he arrives at an epiphany. It is a simple story told with complexity and beauty. The Bass Saxophone is about what Skvorecky calls "the desperate scream of youth" that, as I wrote years ago in a review of the book, "is always inside us when we have been touched with the indelible truth of art." You will find an excerpt from The Bass Saxophone on Skvorecky's web site, but I urge you to read the entire novel. My review of it is included in Jazz Matters: Reflections on the Music and Some of its Makers.

Also in Jazz Matters is a story told by the Polish writer Leopold Tyrmand, who, like Skvorecky, was a captive of both Naziism and Communism. A forced laborer in Germany, Tyrmand chanced upon a Nazi soldier who was also a jazz fan. At the risk of dire consequences to both of them if they were caught, they rowed a boat to the middle of a river and spent an afternoon taking turns at the oars, listening to forbidden Benny Goodman records on a windup phonograph.

I thought of the Skvorecky and Tyrmand stories when I read Nate Chinen's New York Times article about Tomasz Stanko, the Polish trumpeter who was captured--and freed--by jazz when he first heard it half a century ago.

"The message was freedom," he said one afternoon last week in a Midtown Manhattan hotel room. "For me, as a Polish who was living in Communist country," he continued in his slightly broken English, "jazz was synonym of Western culture, of freedom, of this different style of life."

To read the entire interview, go here. Stanko's new recording is Lontano (ECM). He is one of dozens of Eastern European musicians who, since the collapse of Communism, have joined the top ranks of jazz musicians in the world. He, George Mraz, Emil Viklický, Robert Balzar, František Uhlíř, Adam Makowicz, the late Aladar Pege, Laco Tropp and many others kept the music alive underground during years of subjugation and proved that in art, talent and the human spirit trump race and nationality.

October 27, 2006 1:05 AM | | Comments (0)

The latest DVD recommendation has joined the other new Doug's Picks in the right-hand column.

October 25, 2006 1:05 AM | | Comments (0)
. . .this is my dilemma. I'm a guy who makes things up as I go along so nothing is ever finished--there are so many layers. So when you solo, yeah, you might get into one thing, but then, hey, everything has implications! You can hear the next level. And that's how I feel about improvising--there's always another level. --Sonny Rollins
October 24, 2006 1:07 AM | | Comments (1)

In the right column under Doug's Picks, you will find three recommended new CDs and a book of photographs to keep you company. Soon to come: a new DVD pick.

October 24, 2006 1:06 AM | | Comments (0)

Sonny Rollins, Sonny, Please (Doxy). A canny balance between new compositions and show tunes he loved in his youth. The great tenor saxophonist proves that since 2001's Without a Song, and following the loss of his wife two years ago, his strength, imagination and intensity are undiminished. Steady work together has finely attuned Rollins and his five bandmates. His solos, laced with allusions and quotes, are notably cheerful. Stephen Foster is on his mind. "Oh! Susannah" pops up on two tracks, and he summons "Old Folks at Home" on another. Of the new pieces, his tribute to Tommy Flanagan, "Remembering Tommy," should have the staying power to become a jazz standard. With this release on his own label, Rollins joins the ranks of musicians taking their business affairs into their own hands. Universal will distribute Sonny, Please as a digital download in November and a CD in January, but now it is available in both forms only through Rollins's web site.

October 24, 2006 1:05 AM | | Comments (0)

Brian Lynch/Eddie Palmieri, Simpático (ArtistShare). Lynch, trumpeter for Eddie Palmieri, is the leader in this immensely satisfying album. He also works for Phil Woods and brings in both of his bosses as sidemen. At the piano, Palmieri ignites the proceedings spectacularly on Lynch's "The Palmieri Effect." Woods contributes stunning alto sax solos. Lynch plays throughout with fire, technical perfection and bebop harmonic understanding. Lila Downs brings emotional depth to vocals on two pieces, including Palmieri's classic "Páginas De Mujer." The bands range from six to thirteen musicians. This is Palmieri's most impressive jazz/Latin collaboration since his 1966 El Sonido Nuevo with Cal Tjader. It is a major achievement for Lynch, who composed four of the pieces and collaborated with Palmieri on the rest. Like Rollins, he is now in business for himself. The Simpático link above takes you to Lynch's web site.

October 24, 2006 1:04 AM | | Comments (0)

Alan Broadbent, Every Time I Think of You (Artistry Music). The pianist applies his keyboard elegance and arranging talent to an album featuring his piano, Brian Bromberg's bass, Kendall Kay's drums and a string section. Broadbent's treatment of "Blue in Green" is a highlight, as haunting in its evocation of Bill Evans as is his "E. 32nd Elegy" of New York City in Lennie Tristano's day. His string writing supports and enhances the trio without a single harmonic clash, and it avoids the most common sins of jazz albums with strings, repetition and boredom. I keep going back to the shimmering ensemble beneath the simplicity of Broadbent tracing the melody of "Last Night When We Were Young" and to the noirish introduction to "Nirvana Blues."

October 24, 2006 1:03 AM | | Comments (0)

Vic Juris, Corey Christiansen, Live at the Smithsonian Jazz Café (Mel Bay). Relaxation and amiable swing characterize two-and-a-half hours with the veteran Juris and the relative newcomer Christiansen. The guitarists are close listeners and thoughtful improvisers more concerned with line, chords and mood than with display and fire. The varied repertoire includes well chosen standards, compositions by each and originals by Carla Bley and Wayne Shorter. Over the years, "All The Things You Are" has been ratcheted up faster and faster, the meaning squeezed out of it. Juris and Christiansen take it at ballad tempo, give it a minor tinge and find new insights into the piece. Bassist Bill Moring and drummer Tim Horner are strong in support. Sound is excellent. Video production is straightforward, with nary a three-second cut or exploded shot. The most adventurous techniques are the judicious use of split screens and occasional fades between color and black and white.

October 24, 2006 1:02 AM | | Comments (0)

Lee Tanner, The Jazz Image: Masters of Photography (Abrams). The veteran jazz photographer assembles under one roof 150 examples of the best work of twenty-seven of his peers. Many of the prints are familiar--Herman Leonard's image of Dexter Gordon and a cloud of backlit smoke at the Royal Roost, Tanner's of Horace Silver musing. Others, less well known, are as surprising as the music itself--Ole Brask's image of a meeting of the Roy Eldridge-Norman Granz mutual admiration society; William Claxton's overhead view of young Chet Baker; Jim Marshall's picture of Duke Ellington clapping time and urging Paul Gonsalves to wail; a convocation of drummers photographed by Milt Hinton; Ornette Coleman cooly appraising his rhythm section in a double spread by Jan Persson. On your coffee table or your lap, this is an entertaining companion.

October 24, 2006 1:01 AM | | Comments (0)

We get a lot of notices about concerts and club appearances. We don't publish them ("post them," in blogese). Rifftides is not, and will not be, a publicity clearinghouse. However, the Rifftides staff is making a one-time exception, partly because Margaret Davis, Henry Grimes' manager and ranking fan, was too clever and resourceful to resist. She even used the old "speaking of" trick. She went all the way back to Dave Frishberg's January 23 guest item about Cecil Taylor and used it as a hook for her promo disguised as a comment. Here is Ms. Davis's message in its entirety.

Speaking of the great Cecil Taylor, the Cecil Taylor Trio featuring Henry Grimes, back with the master after 4O (!) years (Into the Hot, Unit Structures, Conquistador) and drummer Pheeroan akLaff will play tonight, Saturday, Oct. 21st, 'O6 at 8 p.m. at Jackie and Dollie McLean's place the Artists' Collective, 12OO Albany Ave., Hartford, Connecticut, 86O-527-32O5, http://artistscollective.org/events.htm;


Thursday & Friday, Oct. 26th & 27th at the Iridium Jazz Club, 165O Broadway at 51st St., New York City, 8:3O & 1O:3O + 3rd set at midnight Friday night, 212-582-2121,


Cecil Taylor is also playing solo on Saturday, November 4th at International House, 3701 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, 8 p.m., 215-895-6546, 215-387-5125, x 2219, http://www.arsnovaworkshop.com/.

Mostly, however, we succumbed because it's a pleasure to know that Henry Grimes is on the scene and thriving. It also offers an excuse to refer you to this Gerry Mulligan CD in which Grimes is the stompin' bass player, working hand in glove with guitarist Freddie Green to underpin the swing throughout one of Mulligan's least known and happiest albums.

October 21, 2006 2:19 PM | | Comments (2)

I have long been convinced that one of the predominant reasons listeners took the classic Dave Brubeck Quartet to their hearts was visual. In the late fifties through the sixties, it was hip for jazz musicians to turn their backs--literally or figuratively--on the audience and each other. In contrast, it was obvious that the quartet enjoyed one another's company and music and didn't feel that it was uncool to show it. Brubeck, Paul Desmond, Eugene Wright and Joe Morello paid close attention as the music unfolded, and reacted to it. As a result, audiences were drawn in, not shut out.

A fetching example of that camaraderie has surfaced in a piece of video, probably from 1976, when the quartet reunited for its 25th anniversary tour. The piece is "Three to Get Ready," often the basis for fun and games among the four. You may notice that Brubeck and Morello are casually dressed and wearing fashionably long hair, and that Desmond and Wright are as Brooks Brothersish as ever. To see and hear the clip, click here.

A longer "Three to Get Ready" from the same tour and with the same degree of mirth is included on the DBQ's 25th anniversary reunion album.

October 21, 2006 11:12 AM | | Comments (0)

Eric Felten writes:

On the "Kelly Blue" post: There's another reason to cherish Wynton Kelly's Kelly Blue. The title cut has what I consider to be Benny Golson's finest solo on record, and one of the great tenor solos of all time. It starts out bluesy and easy-going and builds relentlessly (and logically) into a torrent of out-and-in-and-back-out-again playing. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.

The lengthy "Kelly Blue" track, by the way, was clearly cobbled together from at least a couple of takes. Take a listen and try to spot the most egregious edit -- the guy splicing tape accidently created a 5/4 bar at the end of one of the solos.

October 21, 2006 1:05 AM | | Comments (0)

a href="http://www.arsc-audio.org/"target="_blank">The Association for Recorded Sound Collections is pleased to announce the winners of the 2006 ARSC Awards for Excellence in Historical Recorded Sound Research.


Best History:
Take Five: The Public and Private Lives of Paul Desmond, by Doug Ramsey, with discography by Paul Caulfield. (Parkside Publications).

Best Discography:
Stan Getz: An Annotated Bibliography and Filmography, with Song and Session Information for Albums, by Nicholas Churchill. (McFarland).

Certificates of Merit:
Pioneers of Jazz: The Story of the Creole Band by Lawrence Gushee. (Oxford University Press).

Bix: The Definitive Biography of a Jazz Legend: Leon 'Bix' Beiderbecke (1903-1931), by Jean Pierre Lion. (Continuum).

The Uncrowned King of Swing: Fletcher Henderson and Big Band Jazz, by Jeffrey Magee. (Oxford University Press).

The awards will be presented at the ARSC's annual meeting next May in Milwaukee.

October 20, 2006 4:25 PM | | Comments (0)

Once in a while it is necessary to take a day off and listen for the pleasure of the music, ignoring assignments and deadlines, including those that are self-imposed. Randomness is the key, letting one piece of music lead to the next. Sometimes the results are a surprise. I took a day off. Here's what I heard, in more or less this order. Only the Bill Evans was in the line of duty. (See the next item.)

Branford Marsalis, "Hope" (from Braggtown) (Marsalis Music)
Jack Teagarden, "Think Well of Me" (from Think Well of Me) (Verve)
Irene Kral & Terry Gibbs, "Moonlight in Vermont" (from Terry Gibbs Dream Band, Vol. 6) (Contemporary)
Edgard Varése, "Déserts," Chicago Symphony Orchestra (from Boulez Conducts Varése)
Johnny Cash, "The Man Comes Around" (from The Man Comes Around) (American)
Enrico Pieranunzi, "La Dolce Vita" (from Fellini Jazz) (CAMJazz)
Frank Sinatra, "There Are Such Things," (five takes from an unissued rehearsal tape)
Sonny Rollins, "There Are Such Things" (from Work Time) (Prestige)
Max Bruch, "Scottish Fantasy," Yehudi Menuhin, New Symphony Orchestra of London, Malcolm Sargent (Deutsche Gramophone)
Joe Temperley, "This Time the Dream's on Me" (From a forthcoming Hep CD for which I just finished writing notes)
Myra Melford, "Fear Slips Behind" (from The Image of Your Body) (Cryptogramophone)
Beethoven, Sonata No. 9 in E major op. 14/1, Andras Schiff, piano (from Ludwig van Beethoven: The Piano Sonatas, Volume III) (ECM)
Bill Evans, "People" [from Alone (Again)] (Fantasy)
Rosa Passos and Ron Carter, "Caminhos Cruzados" (from Entre Amigos) (Chesky)
Duke Ellington, "Three Cent Stomp" (from Duke Ellington at the Hollywood Empire) (Storyville)
Mingus Big Band, "Wham Bam" (from Live in Tokyo at the Blue Note) (Sunnyside)
Christian McBride, "Clerow's Flipped" and "Sonic Tonic" (from Live at Tonic) (Ropeadope)

October 20, 2006 1:06 AM | | Comments (0)

A couple of faithful Rifftides readers comment on the posting about the Bill Evans- Kenny Burrell video on YouTube. Ted O'Reilly counters my supposition that Evans and Burrell recorded together only one other time. He writes:

Bill and Kenny are both sidemen with Chet Baker on Chet -- The Lyrical Trumpet of Chet Baker, Riverside OJC CD-087-2.

I had forgotten that. Thanks for the reminder.

Mel Narunsky writes:

Listening to Bill Evans and Kenny Burrell brings to mind a probably highly contentious question that I've seen posed on the web: Was Bill Evans a cocktail pianist?

Being a Bill Evans fan I was initially taken aback at such a question until I remembered a good example of such a possibility.

On his CD Alone (Again) (Fantasy) he plays, for 13 minutes and 41 seconds what became a much lauded performance of "People."

I've never seen this performance criticized - on the contrary - but listen to it: for the whole 13 plus minutes he plays the melody only - not a bar of improvisation - and to my mind it becomes extremely boring.

So, despite being usually an inventive improviser - he could at times be something of a cocktail pianist as well.

Perhaps he could be, but "People" is not evidence of it.

Piano improvisation consists of more than variations on melody or the creation of new melody. I hear Evans's "People" as a performance of orchestral proportions, with a rich palette of harmonic voicings, subtle and varied rhythmic patterns, exquisite use of timing, phrasing, dynamics and space. It has delicate balances between the intensities of the choruses and, within each chorus, among the internal sections of the song. In nine choruses of "People," Evans alternates between two keys, creating sunny or reflective moods in B-flat, mysterious and occasionally stormy ones in the key of E, although he often departs from that pattern. He glorifies a less than glorious melody with his harmonic genius and his pianism. If that is cocktail piano, take me to the lounge where music like this is being played and I'll buy you drinks all night.

October 20, 2006 1:05 AM | | Comments (0)

As far as I knew until today, Bill Evans and guitarist Kenny Burrell recorded together only once, on Evans' 1976 Quintessence session, which also included tenor saxophonist Harold Land, bassist Ray Brown and drummer Philly Joe Jones. The resourceful Jan Stevens of The Bill Evans Web Pages has pointed the way to another collaboration between Evans and Burrell, at the 1978 Montreux Jazz Festival. They played Thad Jones' "A Child is Born," one of the tunes from Quintessence. Evans was rarely caught smiling on camera, but he smiled radiantly--and for good reason--as he and Burrell finished a notably sensitive performance. To see and hear them, click here.

October 19, 2006 1:05 AM | | Comments (0)

The conventional web widsom is that the possibilities of the internet are infinite. Fellow blogger DevraDoWrite, aka Devra Hall, seems determined to prove the theory. She has launched a new multifaceted venture in addition to her blog. It's called SnapSizzleBop! The exclamation point is part of the title, and no wonder. She says the site is destined for expansion, but the beta version is already a house of many mansions. You can check it out by going first to DevraDoWrite or see it directly by going here. The Rifftides staff wishes Devra well and expects to see an item explaining how she sustains all that creative energy.

October 18, 2006 1:05 AM | | Comments (0)

ASCAP (American Society of Authors, Composers and Publishers) has formally announced the winners of its 39th annual Deems Taylor Awards. As promised earlier, when I learned that Take Five: The Public and Private Lives of Paul Desmond is a winner, here is the alphabetical list of authors and publishers to be honored at the December 7 ceremony at Lincoln Center in New York City.

· Julia Blackburn for With Billie, published by Pantheon Books
· Anna Marie Busse Berger for Medieval Music and the Art of Memory, published by University of California Press
· Jeff Chang for Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hip Generation, published by St. Martin's Press/Picador
· Boris Gasparov for Five Operas and a Symphony, published by Yale University Press
· Kenneth Morgan for Fritz Reiner: Maestro and Martinet, published by University of Illinois Press
· Tom Piazza for Understanding Jazz: Ways to Listen, published by Random House
· Michael V. Pisani for Imagining Native America in Music, published by Yale University Press
· Doug Ramsey for Take Five: The Public and Private Lives of Paul Desmond, published by Parkside Publications
· George Rochberg for The Aesthetics of Survival, A Composer's View of Twentieth-Century Music, published by University of Michigan Press

Deems Taylor (1885-1966) was a composer and music critic. He wrote suites, notably Through The Looking Glass and The Chambered Nautilus, and a number of other orchestral works. Two of his operas, The King's Henchman and Peter Ibbetson, were commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera Company. An influential figure in American culture for more than three decades, he was ASCAP's president for six years. Taylor was an intimate of the group of writers, actors and critics known as the Algonquin Round Table. The Algonquin group of literary tastemakers of the 1920s included Robert Benchley, George S. Kaufman, Edna Ferber, Alexander Wolcott and Dorothy Parker.

For a complete list of the 2006 Deems Taylor Award winners in all fields, click here to go to the ASCAP announcement.

October 17, 2006 1:05 AM | | Comments (1)
Johnnie Taylor, the blues singer, called me up one day and said I ought to play some rock and roll. No. No way. The blues, yes, that's my heart. And let me play some Cole Porter, Rodgers and Hart, good standards, improvise on those. But play rock and roll? No, sir, that just isn't music to me. I'd wash dishes first.

--Red Garland, pianist, quoted in Jazz Matters: Reflections on the Music and Some of its Makers.

October 17, 2006 1:04 AM | | Comments (2)

It was not for nothing that Dinah Washington was called, or called herself, The Queen of The Blues. Whatever she sang was infected with the blues. While YouTube still exists, or before it is transformed by new ownership or copyright suits, do not miss the opportunity to see and hear a pertinent example of her alchemy, at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival. Among the accompanists are Terry Gibbs, who shares his vibes solo with Dinah; trombonist Urbie Green; and drummer Max Roach. The audience shots are priceless, the cameraman is fascinated with Ms. Washington's strategically placed large pink bow, and the whole venture captures the old days of the Newport festival at its feel-good best. Click here.

October 16, 2006 1:06 AM | | Comments (0)
I actually tried to get a sound as big as Adrian Rollini, who was playing bass sax at that time . . . so I suppose whatever sound I get goes back to that.
--Harry Carney

No baritone player should be afraid of the noise it makes. Harry Carney isn't.
--Pepper Adams

October 16, 2006 1:05 AM | | Comments (1)

Dan Nimmer's tale of talent and a lucky break resembles the story line of a feel-good movie. An accomplished twenty-one-year-old pianist, he moved from his native Milwaukee to New York City in early 2004. Wynton Marsalis heard him and was so impressed that when the piano chair in the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra became vacant, Marsalis put Nimmer in it. The pianist also tours as a member of Marsalis's quartet, catapulted virtually overnight into the upper echelons of the world's jazz capital. Marsalis may have been influenced in his hiring decision by the fact that Nimmer can play uncannily like Wynton Kelly. Marsalis was named for Kelly, one of his pianist father Ellis's musical heroes and role models, and his admiration for Kelly is well known.

In any case, Nimmer's talents are on impressive display in a new CD called Kelly Blue (Venus) after the title tune composed by Wynton Kelly. In addition to the aural evidence, drummer Jimmy Cobb's presence on the album bespeaks endorsement of Nimmer's authenticity in the Kelly style. Cobb was Kelly's rhythm section mate in the Miles Davis quintet and sextet of the late 1950s and early sixties and is the drummer on Kelly's own 1959 album called--guess what--Kelly Blue. Kelly was noted for a combination of driving swing, delicacy of touch and harmonic depth. Nimmer achieves all of that--relaxation on top of the beat, filagreed runs, blues inflections, left-hand punctuations on the off-beats, lightning parallel octives, deep swing. John Webber is the bassist, performing his Paul Chambers role so convincingly that someone hearing the CD in a blindfold test might confidently guess that it was a previously unreleased album by Kelly's trio. Kelly died in 1971 at the age of thirty-nine.

Where Nimmer goes from here, whether he has aspirations and inclinations outside of his Kelly bag, remains to be disclosed. For now, it's great fun to hear him emulating one of the most affecting of all jazz pianists. For background on Nimmer, plus photographs and an interview, go here.

Venus, imported from Japan, specializes, although not exclusively, in piano trios. Among the pianists recorded by Tetsuo Hara, the label's impresario, are Eddie Higgins, Bill Charlap, Kenny Barron, Denny Zeitlin, Steve Kuhn, Barry Harris, Harold Mabern and Jacky Terrasson. On Hara's trips to New York to capture leading jazz artists, he has also recorded guitarist Russell Malone, saxophonists Archie Shepp, Bob Kindred and Eric Alexander, and the One For All group with Alexander, Jim Rotondi, Steve Davis, David Hazeltine, David Williams and Joe Farnsworth. Venus CDs are beautifully recorded and packaged, often with cover photographs of beautiful women, some less than fully clothed. The albums harken back to the 1950s and sixties when American labels like Riverside, Blue Note, Prestige, Fantasy and Contemporary filled the mainstream niche that Venus, Criss Cross, Marshmallow and other overseas companies now aim to occupy.

I asked Charlap and Higgins how it is to work with Hara.


He makes some suggestion of tunes. Mostly, he just allows the dates to happen, lets the guys play. It's almost like the old companies used to be. Nobody was worried about being on magazine covers. They just played. He has created a market in Japan.


His taste in jazz runs pretty much along the lines of the Great American Song Book. When he gets ready to do a CD, he sends Todd Barkan, his U.S. producer, a list of tunes for me to choose from. Todd reads me the list over the phone and we decide on 14 or so that I like. Then we pick sidemen, set a date and a studio, and I fly to NYC and record it--two or sometimes three CDs in a two-to-four day period. Venus is geared to the Japanese market, where it flourishes. Rarely a month goes by without a Venus CD in the #1 spot on the Swing Journal jazz charts. As far as the U.S. market is concerned, I don't think that Venus has a distribution setup, although Amazon lists some at high prices.

When Venus CDs show up in US stores and on web sites, they go for import prices as high as thirty-five dollars. eJazzLines' $23.73 price for Nimmer's Kelly Blue indicates that if you shop around, you may find them for less than $30.00 US. If you read Japanese, you may want to explore Venus's web site.

October 12, 2006 1:05 AM | | Comments (2)

News has arrived of the death of Claude Luter, the French trumpeter turned clarinetist who formed a close friendship with Louis Armstrong. Luter died last Friday at eighty-three. Already a success at the age of twenty-five when he met Armstrong at the Nice Jazz Festival in 1948, his popularity expanded during the late 1940s and remained high for the rest of the century. His band was in demand among the intelligentsia and glitterati who helped make jazz a French passion during the postwar years. Luter patterned his soprano saxophone playing after that of Sidney Bechet, Armstrong's counterpart as a genius of New Orleans music. He became Bechet's friend and disciple.

Agence France-Presse quotes French Culture Minister Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres describing Luter as "a very great name in French jazz":

For me as for so many, the name of Claude Luter will be forever associated with Saint Germain des Pres in the post-war years, with its innumerable jazz clubs where one ran across Camus, Sartre, Giacometti, Boris Vian, Raymond Queneau and so many others. Now and for ever he will be remembered as one of the remarkable men who symbolised this highly talented epoch.

This clip from a 1958 Edward R. Murrow documentary on CBS-TV, Satchmo The Great, shows Armstrong sitting in with Luter's band in a Parisian club. The event may have been staged for the filming, but the affection between Armstrong and Luter was not.

October 11, 2006 1:05 AM | | Comments (0)

The Rifftides staff loves to get your comments. We do not love to get messages in the comments file that are solicitations for Viagra, deviant sex, investment opportunities and cheap electronic equipment. Bogus comments come in by the dozens, doing the sender no good; they are dispatched to never-never land. Today, as I was executing several of these unwelcome intruders, I inadvertenty checked a legitimate comment about the Buck O'Neil quote two items down the page. All I saw of it before I answered yes to the "Do You Want To Delete These Comments" query was the name Ted Williams, and--poof--it was gone.

If the sender will launch it again, I will control my itchy trigger finger and share the comment with all of you.

(LATER) The sender, John Salmon, did. The comment is now posted with the Buck O'Neil item.

Reader comments are always welcome. Let 'em fly.

October 10, 2006 4:47 PM | | Comments (0)

Musicians concerned about the health of their fragile instruments do whatever they can to keep them from the tender mercies of airlines baggage handlers. Perhaps it is possible for them to protest too much. Trumpeter Valery Ponomarev is suffering the pain of a broken arm and the inconvienience of an interrupted career following an encounter with zealous French police at Charles DeGaulle airport in Paris. His confrontation with the gendarmes was on September 9. I heard of the incident shortly after, but held it because initial reports by way of a blog were third-hand, so emotional and accusatory that I could not be sure they were accurate. It turns out that they were, according to a story by Doreen Carvajal in today's New York Times.

The incident grew out of strict application of Air India's restrictive rules for carry-on luggage in the wake of fears about airborne terrorism. Short version: Ponomarev refused to let Air India put the case containing his trumpet and flugelhorn in the cargo hold for a flight from Paris to New York, where he has lived since 1973. He defected from the Soviet Union in the 1960s. The veteran of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers insisted, vigorously, that he be allowed to take the horns on board. Air India demanded that they be checked. Ponomarev objected, loudly. An Air Indian supervisor called the police.

Four policeman arrived. Ponomarev refused to give up the horn case. There was a struggle. He claims that he was taken to a back room where, he says, his left arm was bent behind his back and broken. The gendarmerie told the Times that the injury was Ponomarev's fault.

"The officers tried to subdue him, and you can say that he hurt himself by rebelling," said a spokesman for the airport police.

The Times reports that Ponomarev was out of commission--and out of work--for nearly a month but recently played a concert in his native Russia, a metal plate holding together the bones of his arm.

To read the Times story, go here.

October 10, 2006 11:13 AM | | Comments (1)
I've seen men lose 50 years in just a few hours. Baseball is better than sex. It is better than music, although I do believe jazz comes in a close second. It does fill you up.

--John Jordan "Buck" O'Neil, Jr. (1911-2006)

Mr. O'Neil died last Friday at 94. He was a star of the Kansas City Monarchs in the Negro Leagues, the first black coach in the majors and a central figure in Ken Burns' 1994 PBS film Baseball. Thanks to Russ Neff for calling the O'Neil quote to our attention.

October 10, 2006 1:05 AM | | Comments (1)

Next weekend, Jim Wilke will broadcast the first half of the Bill Mays concert melding jazz and classical music. Jim recorded the concert at The Seasons for his Jazz Northwest. Part 1 will air exclusively on Tacoma/Seattle's KPLU 88.5 on Sunday, October 15 at 1 pm Pacific Daylight Time. Cellist Kevin Krentz and violinist Kwan Bin Park of the Finisterra Trio joined Mays, Martin Wind and Matt Wilson for a stirring program that included Ravel, Debussy, Bach, Mendelssohn, Carl Sandburg and Charlie Parker, among others.

To hear the program on KPLU's streaming audio, go to its web site on Sunday and click on "Listen Now" on the upper left of the home page. This is one I don't think you want to miss. For the Rifftides review of the concert, click here. Wilke will schedule the second half of the concert for a date to be announced.

October 10, 2006 1:04 AM | | Comments (0)

It is hardly a secret that some of the best large jazz aggregations in the world operate under the auspices of the United States military. One index to the excellence of the Air Force's Airmen Of Note and the U.S. Army Blues Jazz Ensemble is the number of major civilian jazz soloists who have appeared with them and rave about their quality. I wrote in January about Buddy DeFranco's encounter with the Army Blues. Our occasional correspondent John Birchard checks in with a report about another such high level collaboration.

Junior Mance will be 78 next week (Oct 10). Hard to believe it's been over forty years since I last saw him in person.

Last night, Mance was the guest artist with the U-S Air Force jazz band, the Airmen of Note, as part of their Jazz Heritage Series at George Washington University's Lisner Auditorium. The 17-piece Airmen kicked off the evening with a beautifully-written up-tempo original (most of the charts are by band members) featuring the trumpet of Master Sergeant Rich Sigler. The band vocalist, Tech Sergeant Paige Wroble, followed with a pair, "Let the Good Times Roll", recalling the Ray Charles version, and "Corcovado".

Junior joined the band and sounded somewhat tentative in the first piece, his own early composition "Jubilation". But, as the concert progressed, so did his piano work. With "On Green Dolphin Street", he began to sound like his old bluesy self. And by the time he called for Johnny Mandel's "Emily", which he described as his favorite tune these days, he showed why so many major artists have employed him over the years - Cannonball Adderley, Dinah Washington, Dizzy Gillespie, to name three. Accompanied only by the Airmen's excellent bassist, Senior Master Sergeant Paul Henry, Junior's "Emily" was by turns thoughtful and lovely.

Highlights of the evening for this listener followed: two charts by the late tenorman Eric Dixon, a slow blues and an up-tempo blues were separated by a stunning solo reading of Ellington's "The Single Petal of a Rose". When Junior finished "Rose", there was silence followed by sustained applause.

The slow Dixon arrangement featured mostly Junior's soulful piano, some nicely placed moans by a trio of trombones and a blistering guitar solo by Tech Sergeant Geoff Reecer, who - to that point in the evening - had played only a Freddie Greene rhythm role. When he turns up the amp, the mild-looking Reecer has a sound with a nice bite to it and he produced several choruses of heartfelt blues that had the audience yelling for more.

The evening ended with an up-tempo Dixon piece that brought to mind his longtime employer Count Basie, and Mance's solo was a tribute to the Count's style: spare, tasty and with a little bit of stride piano to finish the job. After long, warm applause for Junior and the band, Mance seemed almost overwhelmed by emotion. He told the audience, "This week has been one of the highlights of my career," and went on to say, "These guys are not only great musicians, they're great guys. I could use two or three more weeks like this."

This year's Jazz Heritage series ends November 3rd with the Airmen joined by guest artist Phil Woods - and these concerts are all free and open to the public. Not a bad way to start the holiday season.

Your Washington correspondent,
John Birchard

John is a veteran broadcast journalist employed by the Voice of America.

October 9, 2006 1:06 AM | | Comments (0)

Last month's Paul Gonsalves posting continues to stimulate recollections by Rifftides readers who admired the Duke Ellington tenor saxophonist. Here is another reminiscence, from a man who heard the band when neither Ellington nor Gonsalves had long to live.

I appreciate your piece on Paul Gonsalves. I recall seeing him a year and a half before he passed away at a miserably publicized and scantly attended concert at "Rhodes on the Pawtuxet" in Cranston, R.I. The Ellington band was deep into the post Hodges and Strayhorn era, but it was still great, and I recall being appalled, even embarrassed, at the size of the house. Still, some of Paul's relatives had come across town from Pawtucket and several of the people among the two dozen or so in attendence claimed to have grown up or served in the army with him. They all talked of Paul with complete affection and were obviously proud of his accomplishments. I hope this was the reason Duke called for the "strolling saxophone" solo on "In a Sentimental Mood", rather than for medicinal purposes you alluded to.

Gonsalves, at least while he was alive, never had the titanic reputation of his section mate Johnny Hodges or his predecessor in the tenor chair, Ben Webster-- and they both, of course, were thrilling musicians. But, Gonsalves has always been my favorite of the Ellington sidemen because his ballad playing projected a special warmth and vulnerability, and his great solos --pieces like "Chelsea Bridge" and "Happy Reunion" -- have a wonderful poignant edge. His playing also had a unique rhythm that was, perhaps, a product of his Cape Verdean ancestry.

The Cranston concert was only sixteen years after the great driving solo at Newport that made him famous, but his physical deterioration was evident at close range, and it was clear that he could no longer handle that sort of demand. But, "Happy Reunion" still worked, especially for those of his family and friends for whom I'm sure it was a happy reunion.

The concert was completed professionally. There was no encore and the band and customers repaired to the bar on the other side of the wall, where a friend of Paul's had already made sure he would not have to buy drinks. Scott Hamilton, who at the time made his professional living in a rhythm and blues band which performed at various colleges in the area, took pains to secure the autograph of the entire reed section before they retreated from the bar into the November rain. Sixteen months later Paul and Duke were gone, with too many of those playing that night to follow soon after.

Arthur Luby

Gonsalves and Ellington both died in May, 1974. For other memories of Gonsalves, go here and here.

October 9, 2006 1:05 AM | | Comments (0)
What is music to you? What would you be without music? Music is everything. Nature is music (cicadas in the tropical night). The sea is music, the wind is music. The rain drumming on the roof and the storm raging in the sky are music. Music is the oldest entity. The scope of music is immense and infinite. It is the 'esperanto' of the world. --Duke Ellington
I try to listen attentively to musical sounds around me. You can think of the sounds of daily life as being musical. So I try to absorb the intricacies of the sounds as I would if I were listening to a piece of music. I try to see the beauty in everything.--Tom Harrell
October 6, 2006 1:05 AM | | Comments (0)

The Fall Festival at The Seasons ended on Saturday night with a shout. In the second of two concerts by the Bill Mays Trio, the focus was primarily on themes from classical music. The string section of the Finisterra Trio integrated with the Mays group on several pieces. Following two days of rehearsals laced with hard work and laughter, Mays Rehearsal 92906 001.jpg
violinist Kwan Bin Park and cellist Kevin Krentz put aside the typical classical player's apprehension about whether they could swing. They could. They did--mightily--with pianist Mays, bassist Martin Wind and drummer Matt Wilson.

The program included Rachmaninov, Debussy, Mendelssohn, Ravel, Borodin, Bach and Rodrigo, with additional compositions by Mays, Wind and Wilson. The pieces by the trio alone were at the Mays Trio's customary high level of excellence. The performances with strings were extraordinary, particularly in the breathtaking closers of each half. Mays' arrangement of the fourth movement of Felix Mendelssohn's "Piano Trio in C Minor" opened up for the trio's jazz improvisation and May's skillfully written "blowing" lines for the strings. One section employed unalloyed E-flat blues changes, the other Mendelssohn's own harmonies. Wilson's solo on the blues was a living definition of melodic drumming, Wind's on the more complex Mendelssohn changes a stunning demonstration of tonal depth and harmonic resourcefulness. In the movement's famous hymn variations, the blend of cello, violin, piano and arco bass was almost unbearably moving. Mays' variations on the variations summoned up still more hymns, including an allusion to "Bringing In The Sheaves." If you think the famous "We Want Cantor" 1-6-2-5 harmonic sequence began with Eddie Cantor, listen to the conclusion of the Mendelssohn C Minor. And it was old when he used it. Properly played by a classical piano trio, that finale is a powerhouse. With the addition of Wind's bass and Wilson's drums, it is enough to lift an audience out of its seats. It did.

Mays' "Peace Waltz" (aka "Kaleidoscope") and Wilson's setting of three poems by Carl Sandburg included narration, which I was flattered to be asked to provide. The poems from Sandburg's The People, Yes, were "As Wave Follows Wave," "To Know Silence Perfectly" and "Choose," with beautifully written parts for the five instruments. Wilson's instructions included improvisation by the classical players, which Krentz and Park performed as if they had been doing it all their lives. "Choose" has the passion of a 1930s labor protest song or something by Charlie Haden's Liberation Music Orchestra.

Choose (Sandburg)

The single clenched fist lifted and ready.
Or the open asking hand held out and waiting.
For we meet by one or the other.

I was recruited to play melody on flugelhorn in "Choose" and to commit free improvisation along with the quintet. It ended up sounding like Don Cherry sitting in with your neighborhood Salvation Army band.

The final piece began with Mays playing J.S. Bach's "Two-Part Invention No. 8 in F Major," BWV 779,segueing into Charlie Parker's "Scrapple From The Apple," the cello and violin playing Parker's "Ah-Leu-Cha" in counterpoint. Mays, Wind and Wilson each soloed at length, Mays quoting "Nola" and "Jitterbug Waltz," among other several other unlikely things. But he wasn't through quoting when his solo ended. The penultimate chorus that Mays wrote for the ensemble contained snatches of "Tenor Madness," "Buzzy" and "Honeysuckle Rose." The final shout chorus of counterpoint on the Parker themes concluded with the celebrated coda of Parker's 1947 Dial recording of "Scrapple From The Apple," the strings wrapping it up on a tremendous tremolo. The encore was a repeat of the shout chorus.

We have frequently discussed in Rifftides the undeservedness of ninety percent of standing ovations these days. This standing O at The Seasons was in the other ten percent.

Jim Wilke recorded the concert for his Jazz Northwest radio program. There is talk that it may also be released on compact disc. Stay tuned.

October 4, 2006 1:05 AM | | Comments (1)

Many Rifftides readers check in regularly with Terry Teachout's indispensable artsjournal.com blog About Last Night. You may also read him in The Wall Street Journal, where Terry's Sightings column over the weekend concerned the economic, ethical, commercial and cultural facets of a phenomenon often discussed and linked here. It is YouTube, the web site devoted to video clips. A large percentage of what appears on YouTube and similar sites is ego-driven ephemera, but much of it is cultural treasure. To read Teachout's thoughts on the long-term value of YouTube, go here. The Journal has granted a free link to the piece.

When you come back, click this link for a YouTube clip of the great saxophonists Benny Carter and Coleman Hawkins at a latterday Jazz At The Philharmonic concert. The introducer is JATP's impresario, Norman Granz. The intergenerational rhythm section is pianist Teddy Wilson, bassist Bob Cranshaw and drummer Louie Bellson. The tune is "Blue Lou," not, as YouTube bills it, "Blue Lue." Spelling is not often the strong suit of the people who mount these videos.

October 2, 2006 1:05 AM | | Comments (0)

About this Archive

This page is a archive of recent entries written by Rifftides in October 2006.

Rifftides: September 2006 is the previous archive.

Rifftides: November 2006 is the next archive.

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About Last Night
Terry Teachout on the arts in New York City
Artful Manager
Andrew Taylor on the business of arts & culture
blog riley
rock culture approximately
critical difference
Laura Collins-Hughes on arts, culture and coverage
Richard Kessler on arts education
Douglas McLennan's blog
Dog Days
Dalouge Smith advocates for the Arts
Art from the American Outback
lies like truth
Chloe Veltman on how culture will save the world
Life's a Pitch
For immediate release: the arts are marketable
Mind the Gap
No genre is the new genre
Performance Monkey
David Jays on theatre and dance
Plain English
Paul Levy measures the Angles
Real Clear Arts
Judith H. Dobrzynski on Culture
Rockwell Matters
John Rockwell on the arts
State of the Art
innovations and impediments in not-for-profit arts
Straight Up |
Jan Herman - arts, media & culture with 'tude

Foot in Mouth
Apollinaire Scherr talks about dance
Seeing Things
Tobi Tobias on dance et al...

Jazz Beyond Jazz
Howard Mandel's freelance Urban Improvisation
Focus on New Orleans. Jazz and Other Sounds
Doug Ramsey on Jazz and other matters...

Out There
Jeff Weinstein's Cultural Mixology
Serious Popcorn
Martha Bayles on Film...

classical music
Creative Destruction
Fresh ideas on building arts communities
The Future of Classical Music?
Greg Sandow performs a book-in-progress
Harvey Sachs on music, and various digressions
Bruce Brubaker on all things Piano
Kyle Gann on music after the fact
Greg Sandow on the future of Classical Music
Slipped Disc
Norman Lebrecht on Shifting Sound Worlds
The Unanswered Question
Joe Horowitz on music

Jerome Weeks on Books
Quick Study
Scott McLemee on books, ideas & trash-culture ephemera

Drama Queen
Wendy Rosenfield: covering drama, onstage and off

Aesthetic Grounds
Public Art, Public Space
Another Bouncing Ball
Regina Hackett takes her Art To Go
John Perreault's art diary
Lee Rosenbaum's Cultural Commentary
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