main: September 2007 Archives

Those of you who have become addicted to Carol Sloane's blog, SloaneView, may have been concerned -- as was I -- that she had posted nothing for more than a month. I just spoke with her and learned that she is fine and that her husband is recovering. It was a near thing. Here is one line from Sloane's new posting:

Labor Day, 6 AM: My husband Buck wakens me to complain of chest pain.

To read the whole story, go to SloaneView.

Get well, soon, Buck.

September 29, 2007 2:51 PM | | Comments (0)

Rifftides reader Don Emanuel writes from Gillingham, Kent, in England:

There is a fascinating six-part thing on YouTube (obviously from a British TV programme) by Dick Hyman on a brief history of jazz piano, which I managed to miss when it was originally broadcast.

I missed it, too. As far as I know, it did not run in the US. Hyman long ago established himself as a wizard at replicating other pianists' styles. He could easily have done the program alone, but the writer and musician Russell Davies serves as the low-key host and interlocutor. In what was an hour program, Hyman and Davies take us in eight- to ten-minute segments from Louis Moreau Gottschalk in 1855 to Cecil Taylor six minutes ago. Along the way, Hyman demonstrates the innovations of at least a baker's dozen of the players who formed the jazz piano tradition.

Don't be put off by the cornball title of the program, The Honky Tonk Professor. The show is serious and seriously entertaining. To save you the trouble of roaming around the YouTube site, rounding up the segments, the Rifftides staff has assembled links to the six parts. Just click on them, one at a time.

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five

Part Six

Near the end, Davies asks Hyman to play in his own style, "if you can remember who you are, after all that." Hyman remembers, and plays brilliantly, as always. I'm sorry not to be able to see the hour as a continuum, but YouTube's digital load limits dictate breaking it into segments. If it is available on DVD, I haven't been able to discover where. Mat Domber, the major domo of Arbors Records, reports, "We are working with Dick on a 5 CD History of Jazz piano along the same lines as the broadcast, only expanded."

To hear Hyman as Hyman, rather than as a team of Doppelgängers, I recommend this trio CD with guitarist Howard Alden and the late bassist Bob Haggart.

I am grateful to Don Emanuel for calling the Hyman program to our attention. Rifftides could function without help from its readers, but not nearly as well. Your comments and tips are always welcome.

September 29, 2007 1:05 AM | | Comments (1)

The Seasons Performance Hall opens its Fall Festival tonight with Miguel Zenon's quartet. The nine days of music-making include James Moody, Bill Mays and Marvin Stamm with Alisa Horn, Matt Wilson, Martin Wind, Karrin Allyson, David Friesen, the world premiere of a new classical work by Daron Hagen played by the Finisterra Trio and, as the promoters say, much more. For full information, go here. If you are in or near Yakima, Washington -- or can get there -- you're in for an exciting week in a world-class concert hall.

September 28, 2007 1:14 PM | | Comments (0)

Jessica Williams is in love with Glenn Gould and doesn't care who knows it. Here's an excerpt from the latest entry in her blog, The Zone:

One night I was on a popular video sharing site (YouTube) and decided to watch and listen to Glenn Gould. I was dumbstruck. His music entered me and stayed there. It wasn't what he was playing, it was the way he was playing it. I had never heard Bach played with such fullness and passion and gentleness. He caressed Bach, where most pianists play Bach like robots. They make it sound so mechanical. I know it was the way I was taught. To play the two and three part Inventions, one had to sit up perfectly straight, force your hands to emulate little claws, and play tic-toc tic-toc like a metronome. Like a machine. Hating math as I did, I certainly didn't take to Bach. It wasn't MUSIC to me.

I found Miles and Trane shortly after that, and spent the next fifty years believing that I hated Bach and all those "dead guys".

There's more to the affair than that. From passion for Gould, Williams builds an essay that challenges what she sees as a massive general fault in the cultural establishment, including many listeners.

When one improvises within the style of the early masters (read "dead" to detractors) one is also improvising within a style. The style, the rules, the framework are different. But it's no less real, and, if done by one knowing the vocabulary, it is VALID. It is true art, true music.

There is a disease afflicting art and music, and it is not new. It is becoming more common, though. It is the need to put every single creation into a box, have a pre-made label handy for any contribution, and to dismiss, out of turn, anything that falls outside of one's "tastes"... this is the elitist and critical view of our age, and it is destructive to children, to educators, to parents, to everyone.

It shows itself in our politics, our medicine, our science, and, most notably, in our ART (or lack thereof).

Regardless of whether you agree, it is a stimulating and provocative essay. To read the whole thing, go here.

YouTube has many videos of Gould. This one of the young Gould practicing a Bach partita is a good way to start.

Williams follows her essay with the transcript of a long interview; Jessica questioning Jessica. Here's how it begins:

Q. What pianists do you like to listen to?

A. I like pianists who are musicians first. One of my favorites is Charles Mingus. His album Mingus Plays Piano on Impulse! is one of my favorite piano albums, period. And when I lived in Oakland, CA, I'd go down and hear Buddy Montgomery play piano. He was a vibist, but I loved his piano playing too. He played music. He didn't just play piano.

It is difficult to say with certainty that Tatum's Ultimatum is Williams's most recent CD; she issues CDs the way the MacArthur Foundation issues "genius" grants (one of which she deserves). But it is new, and it is stunning. Despite its title, the solo album is not so much a tribute to Art Tatum or an evocation of his style as an exposition of the "fullness and passion and gentleness" that she admires in Gould, executed in some passages at supersonic speed with timing and accuracy that do recall Tatum.

One of her admirers who is also a world-class jazz pianist told me recently, "I think Jessica is the cleanest fast pianist I've ever heard." She may also be one of the wryest. Humor is an essential component of her work. If you don't believe it, listen to her romp through -- of all things -- Sidney Bechet's "Petite Fleur." Even the dour Bechet would have smiled at her flourishes, her swing, the role reversal of her hands, her rhythmic displacments and reharmonizations. And Artie Shaw, who grew to hate "Begin The Beguine," could not have resisted William's version, if only for the joy of its suspended ending. Except for her "Ballade for A.T." all of the pieces in the CD are standards, including a "trio" version of "Ain't She Sweet" with Williams providing the synthesizer bass and drums, which seem anything but synthesized.

September 28, 2007 1:05 AM | | Comments (1)
A man may write at any time, if he will set himself doggedly to it. -- Samuel Johnson

That's what I'm doing, with reasonable doggedness. I'll be back soon, continuing a survey of recent CDs.

September 26, 2007 1:05 AM | | Comments (0)

If you are interested in jazz and journalism (isn't everyone?), I suggest that you check in once in a while with John Stoehr at Flyover: Art In The American Outback, since June part of the bloggerhood. Some days Stoehr writes about music, some days about the news business, many days about both. Here's a recent sample:

The first time I interviewed one of the organizers of the Savannah Jazz Festival, I was told to shut up and listen -- you write what I tell you to write, son.

I was looking into why the city's most respected jazz musician, bassist Ben Tucker, had not been invited to perform at the festival with a group called the Hall of Fame All-Stars...

To read all of the piece, go here.

Stoehr describes himself as, in effect, a self-made journalist who had a few things to learn about objectivity.

For me, unlike, I suppose, those reared in journalism schools, objectivity wasn't an ethos or mode of thinking as much as it was a genre of writing. As someone who closely studied storytelling as practiced in the Western tradition, objectivity clearly had its own set of conventions, tropes and cliches, just as Restoration comedies, miracle plays, epic verse and horror movies had theirs.

In learning how to write in the genre of objectivity, just as I learned to write an academic paper (or a limerick or doggerel), I discovered something interesting and frustrating: that the rules of objective writing -- he said, she said, officials say this, critics say this -- were very limiting. Ironically, as I strove to tell the truth to the best of my ability, the writing conventions I used were sometimes keeping me from telling the truth.

Welcome to the club, John. Any writer who doesn't worry about that is kidding himself and his readers. For the whole piece, go here.

I might wish that Stoehr were a little more scrupulous in proof-reading himself, but his content and his digests of other journalism thinkers are valuable, and I'm glad that he's part of the blogosphere.

September 25, 2007 1:05 AM | | Comments (0)

The Rifftides piece on Monk In North Carolina brought this response from the painter Norman Sasowsky.

I lived in NYC in the 50s and 60s and went to the Five Spot to hear Monk and others. Jazz music had a great influence on my painting and I did a few paintings influenced by my experiences. Visit my web site, if you are interested in seeing them.

I went to his site, was intrigued by Sasowsky's paintings, then did a web search to learn more about him. Among the items I found was a piece of video with Sasowsky talking about and showing his work. If the expressive development he describes and illustrates seems to parallel the process of creative growth in jazz improvisers, perhaps it is no coincidence. Sasowsky's choice of the Poulenc clarinet sonata as background music hooked me at the start. To see the video, click here.

September 24, 2007 12:26 PM | | Comments (0)

Matthew Shipp, Piano Vortex (Thirsty Ear). Nearly twenty years ago, Shipp chose the jazz avant garde over the classical career he had prepared for at the New England Conservatory. For the most part, he has applied his formal technique to music that observes few traditional boundaries and guidelines. Keeping company with such intrepid explorers as David S. Ware, Roscoe Mitchell, Daniel Carter and Joe Morris, he has left the impression with some listeners that he is a Cecil Taylor disciple. I have not heard his playing that way and hear it even less so in Piano Vortex. Shipp hews closer to the jazz piano trio tradition than in anything else I have heard from him. That is hardly to say that you will mistake him for Tommy Flanagan, Oscar Peterson or Bill Evans. His work here is closer to the stylistic center of jazz than much of his recent recording, certainly closer than his electronic ventures, but he is still wild, unpredictable and often startling.

Pieces titled "Sliding Through Space," "Quivering With Speed" and "Slips Through The Fingers" proceed with wild bursts, salvos of repetition, explosions in the lower regions of the piano and plenty of dissonance. Yet, in "Sliding Through Space," he ends with a passage that has the delicacy of Delius or a French impressionist. "Keyswing," urged along by Morris's walking bass and the drumming of Whit Dickey -- on this track as locked into bebop as Philly Joe Jones or Shelly Manne -- becomes a free jazz riff, if that's not a contradiction in terms. Much the same can be said of "To Vitalize," which has an impressive solo from Morris. Morris is better known as a guitarist, but his pizzicato bass work here is fine. Elsewhere, his bowing is considerably less successful. Although at a couple of junctures, "Quivering With Speed" suggests John Coltrane's "Giant Steps," its primary characteristics are not harmonic interest but velocity and Shipp's flurries of notes.

In previous recordings, Shipp's music has often made me nervous. There are moments in Piano Vortex where it makes me smile.

September 24, 2007 1:05 AM | | Comments (1)

As the fiftieth Monterey Jazz Festival wound down, we received this communique from Rifftides reader and Montery veteran Robert Walsh.

Thanks for passing along the NPR coverage of the 50th anniversary of the Monterey Jazz Festival, venue of many of my most cherished memories. (Jimmy Lyons and I worked together on the American College Jazz Festival sponsored by American Airlines in the early 1970s,) Here are some of those memories:

Saturday afternoon blues shows. Black ladies in red jump suits sashaying around with bright parasols. Jimmy Witherspoon and Joe Williams "cutting" each other for a half hour or more.
Joyous, spontaneous jitterbugging in a corner at stage left.

Thursday night "cast parties" featuring broiled tuna caught a day or two earlier off Montauk Point on Long Island by Percy Heath. Relaxed background jazz led by Mundell Lowe and his wife, Betty Bennett

Fending off bogus "press" (always with their whorish girl friends) while a volunteer at the gate. They tried every ruse in the book.

Watching the charismatic Black Jesus pimp and his entourage slithering through the lounge.

Raving about the superb high school all-stars on Sunday afternoons. I think Matt Catingub (Mavis Rivers' son) was one. Another was young Ted Nash. The pro guests went all out themselves.

Eavesdropping on guitarist George Benson rehearsing "Polka Dots and Moonbeams" with the MJQ. Georgeous; don't think it was ever recorded.

Meeting an affable Buddy Rich (long on the outs with Jimmy Lyons because of a costly overtime performance), who had volunteered to fill in for an ailing Stan Kenton, despite having broken a big toe poolside at home. He goosed up "Intermission Riff" a tad, to the obvious delight of the band members, and playing his (to me, unique) Channel One Suite.

I wish more credit for the depth, diversity and quality of MJF performances was given to John Lewis, its music director for many years. He was constantly checking out new talent (e.g., Ornette Coleman) and people suggested to Jimmy Lyons. My personal example: I asked Jimmy at one point why Marian McPartland had never been invited to MJF. He told me John had long felt Marian was too derivative. But when, presumably at my belated prompting, Jimmy asked John to take another look at Marian, John found that she had at last found that elusive "voice." (PS, John once told me his favorite jazz pianist was, of all people, Thelonious Monk.)

Bob Walsh

September 23, 2007 10:35 AM | | Comments (0)

If you are not at the Monterey Jazz Festival's fiftieth anniversary celebration this weekend -- even if you are -- we can direct you to a report that captures some of the festival's history and flavor. Occasional Rifftides contributor Paul Conley of KXJZ in Sacramento, California produced a Monterey piece for National Public Radio's All Things Considered. When you get to the site (that's a link), click on the red and white "Listen" button.

September 22, 2007 1:05 AM | | Comments (0)

Thelonious Monk's importance and influence keep growing. As they do, his value to the culture at large gains deeper recognition. A major university is honoring Monk in the most meaningful way, erecting a monument made of his music and other arts it influences.

Thirty-seven years ago, Monk appeared with his quartet at the Raleigh, North Carolina, nightclub called the Frog & Nightgown. His performances there were the only times that Monk played in his home state. He was born in Rocky Mount, NC, in 1917 and moved with his parents to New York City the next year. Tonight, the two surviving members of the1970 edition of Monk's quartet are playing a concert at Duke University in Durham, near Raleigh, a major event of Following Monk, Duke's six-weeks of programs honoring the pianist.

From the series brochure:

The most original musician in jazz history was born in a dirt-road town in the plains of eastern North Carolina, all cotton fields, railroad tracks, and tobacco warehouses. Following Monk retraces a jazz prophet's links to his native state, returning home to pay respect to a talent that transcends place.

In a concert billed as "Thelonious Monk's Homecoming: Raleigh's Frog & Nightgown, 1970," Tenor saxophonist Paul Jeffrey and drummer Leroy Williams will be joined by another Monk veteran, bassist John Ore. From the new generation affected by Monk, Jason Moran will be at the piano. They are recreating the Frog & Nightgown dates. Concertgoers will also hear a recording of the 1970 Monk engagement.

The series opened last Saturday with a concert by the Kronos Quartet, Monk admirers and interpreters since before their genre-busting Monk Suite CD in 1985. Subsequent events will feature modern dance; a theatrical production, Misterioso, inspired by Monk; lectures by critic Stanley Crouch and historian Robin D.G. Kelley; and concerts by Jason Moran, Johnny Griffin, Henry Butler, Charles Tolliver, Andy Bey, Kenny Barron, Randy Weston, Jessica Williams, Barry Harris, Charlie Haden with Hank Jones, and Jerry Gonzalez with his Rumba Para Monk.

For dates, times and further information about this Monk festival, see the Duke Performances web site. Any time is a good time to be in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill region of North Carolina. With this Monk fiesta, now is a perfect time.

While you're in a Monk's mood, I recommend Thelonious Monk Live at the 1964 Monterey Jazz Festival, one of a new series of previously unissued Monterey concerts. It's the classic Monk quartet with saxophonist Charlie Rouse and drummerBen Riley. But in this case, bassist Steve Swallow was conscripted at the last minute from Art Farmer's quartet. In those days, Swallow had not yet abandoned the upright acoustic bass. He knew the tunes, fit in seamlessly with the Monk band, added an element of pzazz and played a splendid solo on "Bright Mississippi." The regulars are in good form, too. The quartet becomes an octet for "Think Of One" and "Straight No Chaser" with the addition of four horns and arrangements by Buddy Collette. Trumpeter Bobby Bryant has a solo on "Think Of One" that is at once deeply thoughtful, logical and full of excitement. This is a solid addition to the Monk discography.

September 20, 2007 4:17 PM | | Comments (4)

Finally, there is a Carmen McRae web site. It's creators call it a tribute site. That designation smacks of fanzinedom, but don't be misled; the McRae site is put together with knowledge as well as appreciation. It does not have a formal discography, but it lists, describes and in some cases illustrates her recordings decade by decade. It borrows an adequate short biography from the New Grove Dictionary of Jazz and has a chronology excerpted from Leslie Gourse's biography of McRae. Gourse's book is dreadful, but this sample from her coverage of Carmen in the 1960s is right on the money:

Carmen hires pianist Norman Simmons as her accompanist, though he is wary of working with her because of her reputation for being tough, outspoken, and highly opinionated. Simmons soon learns to love and respect his boss on a professional level; he observes that she simply doesn't let any one "stomp around" in her life.

That's an understatement, as Carol Sloane makes plain in her story in a section of essays about McRae.

Carmen McRae

Each page of the site is loaded with photographs from all phases of Carmen's life. The McRae site includes a reduction of the essay I wrote for the booklet accompanying the two CDs of her 1976 performances at Ratso's, a club in Chicago, not, as the site reports, in Florida. Here is the unreconstituted version:

Carmen McRae never had to confront the kind of Tin Pan Alley songpluggers' dross that her idol Billie Holiday was handed in the 1930s, but she had the same ability to transform ordinary material into something of value. Anyone who recalls the transitory Top Forty versions of the 1970s pop songs McRae sings here will marvel as she fashions them into proper companions for imperishable classics. She brings Bob Lind's "Elusive Butterfly" and Eric Carmen's "All By Myself" into the room with Duke Ellington's "Mood Indigo" and Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Dindi" and makes them welcome. "Elusive Butterfly" and "All By Myself" may not be great songs, but they had quality in a decade whose hit parade did not overflow with deathless works. Carmen had an unfailing ear for the best material.

For her, the main attraction of some of these songs may well have been the lyrics. A thorough musician who knew the implications of a song's every chord, Carmen was also a supreme vocal actress, homing in on the emotional heat that would bond her to the audience. She often said that words were more important to her than melody. In her incomparably literate and deeply felt interpretations of lyrics, you can hear her love of the meaning in verbal connection. The pain and the catch in her throat are real when she sings, "I won't let sorrow hurt me, not like it's hurt me before."

This collection also has generous samples of another aspect of her ability to communicate. As an audience schmoozer, Carmen was in a league with Dizzy Gillespie and Cannonball Adderley. Listen to the spontaneity of her funny asides during "'Tain't Nobody's Business If I Do" and her earthy ones in "Just A Little Lovin'." In her twenties and thirties she was gorgeous, with an exotic luminosity that glowed through the wariness she accumulated on the road in tough bands and rough clubs. As she aged, she took on an earth mother solidity and an armor of irony, but when she was pleased her face lit up with the young Carmen's smile.

Browsing the McRae site accomplishes what a good music site should; it makes you want to hear the music. It leads the reader to dozens of McRae recordings. If I had to choose just one for my desert island, it would be The Great American Song Book, a dumb title for a great album. This brilliant 1972 collaboration at Donte's in Los Angeles with pianist Jimmy Rowles includes "The Ballad of Thelonious Monk" and an "I Cried For You" that sets a singers' standard for up-tempo relaxation.

You Tube has a generous handful of Carmen McRae performances. I recommend all of them, but be sure not to miss this one and this one. And take a look at that web site. It's worth your time.

September 19, 2007 1:05 AM | | Comments (4)

The veteran singer Bob Stewart's stock in trade is superior ballads delivered with intelligent interpretation, good phrasing and deep feeling. His new compilation CD, Did I Remember? gathers tracks from several of his collections and finds him generally at his best. Stewart's support troops include pianist Hank Jones, saxophonist Frank Wess, bassist Michael Moore and drummer Mel Lewis. His backing on two tracks is by the Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra, on others by string ensembles and studio orchestras. Among songs like the title tune, "Every Time We Say Goodbye," "If I Love Again" and "Prelude to a Kiss, his cover of the Barbra Streisand eighties hit "Someone That I Used to Love" is a ringer. Stewart gives the song his best shot, but it doesn't hold up to the other material. He compensates with his sensitive treatment of "The More I See You."

To hear and see Stewart in a combo with Frank Wess on tenor saxophone in obligato and soloing, click here for "Never Let Me Go."

Coming soon, maybe even tomorrow: the continuation of our random survey of recent recordings.

September 18, 2007 1:05 AM | | Comments (0)

A few of the things that are keeping my ears and eyes busy:

Bud Shank and Bill Mays: Beyond The Red Door (Jazzed Media). Old friends and co-conspirators in alto saxophone/piano duets at the highest level. Their melding of Russ Freeman's "The Wind" and Jimmy Rowles' "The Peacocks" is exquisite.

Sam Yahel: Truth And Beauty (Origin). Yahel's Hammond B-3 Organ, Joshua Redman's tenor sax and Brian Blade's drums. They were good when they were known as Ya Ya. They're better now.

Miles Davis Quintet Live At The 1963 Monterey Jazz Festival (MJF). Davis, George Coleman, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter and Tony Williams when Davis's new sidemen kept him on his toes and Williams liked to throw Miles off-balance to test his reflexes. That was good for Miles. You can hear the exhiliration and feel the tension.

Vern Sielert Dektet: From Here To There (Pony Boy). I heard Sielert the other night as the trumpet soloist with the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra in his piece "Matranga's Tonk." He knocked me out. That piece is here, along with ten other examples of his high-level writing and playing. I'd love this CD if all it had was Tom Varner's French horn, Rich Coles' tenor sax and Sielert's solos on "Matranga's." Sielert is an academic who can.

Gigi Gryce: Nica's Tempo (Savoy). Gryce's writing for a Birth-of-the-Cool size ensemble in this 1955 album is just cool enough for Art Farmer, Oscar Pettiford, Jimmy Cleveland, Eddie Bert, Horace Silver, Julius Watkins and Cecil Payne, among others. The four quartet sides feature Thelonious Monk as Gryce's sideman in the title tune and Monk's wonderful "Gallop's Gallop."

Charles Mingus Live in '64 (Jazz Icons). This is one of the new batch of DVDs in the invaluable Jazz Icons series. It captures the Mingus sextet with Eric Dolphy, Jaki Byard, Clifford Jordan, Johnny Coles and Dannie Richmond in three stops on their European tour. It is absorbing to witness the relationships among this extraordinary band while hearing everyone play so beautifully. More later on this series.

Stories of Anton Chekhov. If you haven't read Chekhov in a while, you may have forgotten how depressing he can be in his subject matter while lifting you to the skies with the beauty of his writing and his ability to delineate character in the sparest brush strokes of prose.

September 14, 2007 1:06 AM | | Comments (0)

Mark your calendars, set your clocks. Rifftides Washington, DC, correspondent John Birchard reports that next Monday's concert in tribute to Willis Conover will be broadcast live on the Voice Of America. Start time is 7:30 pm EDT, September 17. You can hear the concert on the VOA's live internet stream (that's a link).

Paquito D'Rivera will lead the band with Milcho Leviev, George Mraz, Valery Ponomarev and Horacio Hernandez. Birchard reports one other important fact: He, John Birchard, will be the on-air host of the program.

For further details, go here.

September 14, 2007 1:05 AM | | Comments (0)

Rifftides reader Scott Mortensen has created two web sites worth investigating. One is dedicated to the vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson, a major figure in jazz since the 1960s. The site includes a discography, photos, a substantial biography containing links to information about Hutcherson's recordings, and suggestions of additional resources for scholars and listeners.

Among the things Mortensen writes about Hutcherson are these:

Hutcherson's work remains entirely compelling. He brings something special every time he plays. In recent years, it's especially noticeable on his recordings as a sideman. If he doesn't play on a particular track, you miss him. When he does play, everyone sounds better.

Hutcherson is not especially well-known for his composing skills, but I think he's a terrific and terrifically-underrated jazz composer. At some point, another jazz musician should do a tribute CD and record nothing but Bobby's compositions. I think it would be wonderful, and it would show the breadth and depth of Hutcherson's composing abilities.

Mortensen's Hutcherson site is not a scholarly endeavor devised to please academics and researchers. It is a fan's appreciation of a musician who has certainly not fallen through the cracks but who deserves more attention than he gets.

Before you move on to the next section, take a few minutes to watch Hutcherson in tandem with his hero and greatest influence, Milt Jackson, not long before Jackson died.

You may have heard the recording of Bill Evans at the Montreux Jazz Festival in which, just as he begins playing, bells in the village chime polytonaly against the chords he is using. He says, "Ah, Charles Ives." Jazz musicians have known and loved Ives for generations. Mortensen's Ives web site contains a page called "Essays and Ruminations," in which he hits on one of the basic reasons so many jazz players and listeners are drawn to Ives:

Ives' music is not tidy. It can't be contained by normal musical forms because these structures do not accurately represent the way that Ives perceives the world. (This is one of the reasons why Ives constantly tinkers with traditional forms: adding or removing movements from the four-movement symphony; creating "sets" from pieces that defy any conventional structure; recycling music again and again from a one work to another.) Ives's music acknowledges that our perceptions of the world--and the understanding that we construct from those perceptions--are in a constant state of flux. It is never-ending process. Therefore, from Ives' point of view, creating a work of art and presenting it as complete is disingenuous.

Mortensen's Ives site includes a survey of the composer's works, recordings of them, essays by Ives, books about him, quotes, FAQs and a news section. It is not a substitute for the site of the Charles Ives Society, but works hand-in-hand with it.

This sentence from the conclusion of the biography could use updating:

One thing is certain: nearly 50 years after his death, Ives' influence is greater now than it has ever been.

Make that "more than 50 years after his death." Ives died in 1954. Time flies when you're having fun with Ives.

September 14, 2007 1:04 AM | | Comments (2)

No blogging for the next few days. I'll be visiting the town that is the model, more or less, for the one in Poodie James. If I'm not jailed or assaulted, I'll be back in action on Monday.

September 14, 2007 1:03 AM | | Comments (0)

Willie Tee (Wilson Turbinton) died yesterday in New Orleans, the same day on which his close friend Joe Zawinul died in Vienna, both of cancer. See the next item for a remembrance and a picture of them together. Willie's death comes barely a month after that of his brother Earl, another member of the Turbinton-Zawinul-Adderley mutual admiration society. To read the New Orleans Times-Picayune story about Willie, go here.

September 12, 2007 10:26 AM | | Comments (1)

In the endless parade of departing musicians, now we've lost Joe Zawinul, dead of skin cancer at seventy-five. The obituaries are stressing his fusion work with Miles Davis on In A Silent Way and Bitches Brew, his partnership with Wayne Shorter in Weather Report and all the hits they had; "Birdland," the Heavy Weather album and the Grammy for the one called 8:30. As Herbie Hancock is being quoted everywhere, Zawinul was a force. Whatever world music is, Joe took it into the realm of artistry.

Joe Zawinul

Before he was a force, Zawinul was a nifty bebop piano player who came to New York from Austria in the late 1950s and captivated Maynard Ferguson and Dinah Washington and Ben Webster and Cannonball Adderley. He was with Cannonball from 1961 to 1970. After his "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy" gave Cannon an enormous hit in 1966, the Adderley band was in New Orleans frequently, usually to perform, sometimes just to hang out with friends like Wilson Turbinton (Willie Tee) and his brother Earl and, always, to eat. During most visits, the band -- or significant components of it--were guests on a radio program I did. Once, Joe came into the studio with Willie Tee. They played and laughed together at the Steinway, a pianist from uptown New Orleans and one from Vienna exchanging ideas and putting each other on in that fine southern way known as signifying.


Willie Tee and Joe Zawinul at WDSU, New Orleans, ca 1967

After the taping or after the Adderleys' gig, we would all go in search of good things to eat, never a challenge in the French Quarter. Here's a memory from the Cannonball chapter in Jazz Matters: Reflection on the Music and Some of its Makers.

One of his favorite restaurants in New Orleans was Vaucresson, a little place on Bourbon Street that specialized in a kind of Creole soul food, nicely spiced and very rich. It was just down the street from Al Hirt's, in those days a jazz club with a name policy, where the quintet played at least twice a year.

After the gig, or sometimes between sets, Cannon and the band would install themselves at the largest table in the place, inevitably to be joined by fans, friends, family and assorted French Quarter regulars. The enduring image is of Cannonball surrounded by people, simultaneously laughing, expounding, questioning and consuming, inevitably taking time for just one more dish.

"Yes, Mama," he'd tell the proprietress, "I think there's room for the bread pudding."

On one of those occasions, with Joe grinning and shaking his head, Cannon told the story of "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy." They made the recording in a studio full of guests who were fed and served drinks as if the setting were a club. The issued take was not the one he wanted. He thought the band was better on an earlier version, the one that had a Zawinul solo so hot, so funky, that a woman in the audience yelled, "Play it, you little white darlin'." A Capitol Records executive, nervous in the racial climate of the sixties, rejected the take.

Maybe they'll put it on the memorial album. Joe would like that

September 12, 2007 1:05 AM | | Comments (1)

Bertholt Brecht and Kurt Weill gave the world The Threepenny Opera (Die Dreigroschenoper) in 1928. When it was running in Berlin, the artist George Grosz said, "You would hear those songs wherever you went in the evening." Long before Louis Armstrong made "Mack the Knife" a universal hit, theater critics were calling The Threepenny Opera the greatest musical of all time. Walter Kerr wrote, "I think the most wonderfully insulting music I have ever come across was composed by the late Kurt Weill for Bert Brecht's Threepenny Opera." The producer Harold Prince said, "Many have tried to imitate it. No one has succeeded."

From the Threepenny Opera web site:

In their opera "by and for beggars," composer Kurt Weill (1900-1950) and playwright Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956) transformed saccharine, old-fashioned opera and operetta forms, incorporating a sharp political perspective and the sound of 1920s Berlin dance bands and cabaret. Weill's acid harmonies and Brecht's biting texts created a revolutionary new musical theater that inspired such subsequent hits as Cabaret, Chicago, and Urinetown. The show's opening number, "Mack the Knife," became one of the top popular songs of the century.

The opening night audience at Berlin's Theater am Schiffbauerdamm didn't quite know what to expect when the curtain rose on The Threepenny Opera on August 31, 1928, but after the first few musical numbers they began to cheer and call for encores. The show was a brilliant hit, and Threepenny-fever spread throughout Europe, generating forty-six stage productions of the work in the first year after the Berlin premiere. In 1931, a film version directed by G.W. Pabst entitled Die 3-Groschenoper opened, making an international star of Weill's wife, Lotte Lenya, who repeated her portrayal of Jenny Diver from the show's first production.

Dozens of jazz artists have recorded "Mack the Knife." Gil Evans gave us memorable impressions of "Bilbao Song" and "Barbara Song." Once in a great while someone with esoteric tastes tackles "Pirate Jenny" or "Love Song." Still, for all its riches and potential for interpretation, until recently there have been, to my knowledge, only two entire jazz albums of music from the score of this twentieth century milestone, both on long-playing vinyl. One was by the Australian Jazz Quartet (Bethlehem Records, 1958, long out of print). The other was by pianist André Previn and trombonist J.J. Johnson with bassist Red Mitchell and drummer Frank Capp, recorded for Columbia in 1960. Despite the material and the big names, this superb album, at once lively and mordant, has never been reissued on CD. If you're lucky, you might snag a copy of the LP on e-bay or elsewhere on the internet.

The relatively new (2005) album of music from The Threepenny Opera came to my attention by chance when the Chicago pianist Jeremy Kahn sent Rifftides a comment about something else entirely. I looked him up on the web, found his site, and discovered that he and his quartet had a CD called Most Of a Nickel: Music From The Threepenny Opera. I listened to the samples and arranged to get a copy. I have been listening to it for days. Kahn and his colleagues find both the acid bitterness and the subtle beauty of Weill's music and, by extension, the mocking parody of Brecht's story. Even if you knew nothing about the background of the music, I think you would be captured by the bittersweet tango of "Ballad of Immoral Earnings;" the understated longing of Jim Gailloreto's tenor saxophone in "Love Song;" the delicacy of his flute in "Solomon Song;" "Cannon Song's" intimations of joy, with hints of militarism from Eric Montzka' drums; the forthrightness of "Barbara Song." There are three short versions of "Mack The Knife," one devoted to Kahn's piano, its voicings rich with minor key irony; one for Gilloreto, who conjures an unaccompanied solo fantasy on the song's primary phrase without once resorting to quoting Sonny Rollins; one for Larry Kohut's bass, also unaccompanied.

Some CDs are too long. This one is too short. It has eleven of the twenty-four pieces in the Weill score. Kahn's quartet leaves you wanting more from The Threepenny Opera. A second volume would be welcome.

September 11, 2007 1:05 AM | | Comments (4)

Sonny Rollins is seventy-seven years and three days old. I thought of acknowledging his birthday on Friday, but Rifftides traffic is down on weekends and I wanted to point more of you to his web site for previously unissued recordings of Rollins's work from 1956 with the Max Roach-Clifford Brown Quintet. The site will be playing a different piece each day now through September 18. Today's recording is identified as "Lover," and it is, harmonically, but the riffish melody is George Handy's "Diggin' Diz," first recorded by Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie ten years earlier. Rollins is superb, but Brown--less than a month before he died in a car crash--is astounding. The piano solo by the underappreciated Richie Powell, who also died in the accident, is worth your attention.

Coming up on the Rollins site:

September 11: I'll Remember April
September 12: Jordu
September 13: Nice Work If You Can Get It
September 14: Get Happy
September 15: Take the 'A' Train
September 16: Darn That Dream
September 17: What's New
September 18: Lover Man

To hear "Diggin' Diz," click here and follow the easy instructions.

The Rollins site also offers a link to this piece of video from 1968, with Sonny, pianist Kenny Drew, bassist Niels Henning Orsted-Pedersen and drummer Tootie Heath. Listen to Rollins's long opening cadenza and see if you can figure out what tune he's anticipating. The YouTube sidebar menu offers several other Rollins clips, including three of his quartet with Jim Hall.

Happy post-birthday, Sonny.

September 10, 2007 4:22 PM | | Comments (0)

Stumbling around the internet, I was pleased to find that Henry "Red" Allen's World On A String is still available on CD, as well it should be. A few years after the 1957 album appeared, the young trumpeter Don Ellis called Allen, "the most avant garde trumpet player in New York." Allen's slurs, slippery phrasing, unconventional interval leaps and surprising stabs may have aroused fellow feeling in Ellis, but the great New Orleanian first made his mark in the 1920s, sounding essentially as he did the rest of his life. He died in 1967.

World On A String has Allen's house band from the Metropole, plus tenor saxophonist Coleman Hawkins, his colleague from the Fletcher Henderson band of the early thirties. The others are trombonist J.C. Higginbotham, clarinetist Buster Bailey, pianist Marty Napoleon, guitarist Everett Barksdale, Lloyd Trotman on bass and Cozy Cole on drums. All of them play at the highest level from the beginning, "Love is Just Around the Corner," to the end, a classic "Sweet Lorraine." Along the way are several standards, including the title tune and a blazing "'Swonderful," plus a blues and the signature piece "Ride, Red, Ride" with Allen vocals, always a treat. This is a basic repertoire item.

A year later, Allen led an all-star group on the immortal CBS television program The Sound of Jazz. Hawkins was aboard, along with Vic Dickenson, Rex Stewart, Pee Wee Russell, Milt Hinton, Nat Pierce, Danny Barker and Jo Jones. They performed Earl Hines's "Rosetta," captured in good sound and with superb camera work. You can see a substandard dub of the piece if you click here, but the entire program should be in every serious jazz collection. This DVD version claims to be the complete show, without the omissions or technical flaws of previous releases.

September 10, 2007 1:08 AM | | Comments (0)

That's the name of a piece Italian trumpeter and fluegelhornist Franco Ambrosetti's quartet played on a Swiss television program in 1977. With him were pianist Hal Galper (USA), bassist Dave Holland (UK) and drummer Daniel Humair (France). Galper accurately describes the performance as "burnin'."

To see and hear "Hot Diggety Dam!" go to Galper's web site and scroll down to the daily motion screen. Trumpeters may be fascinated by closeups that show Ambrosetti's embouchure. It's off-center. It may be unorthodox, but it works for him.

September 10, 2007 1:07 AM | | Comments (0)

It is a pleasure to announce that Libros Libertad has added a banner headline to the Poodie James page at the publisher's web site:

Poodie James
By Doug Ramsey


Thanks to all who made that possible.

September 10, 2007 1:05 AM | | Comments (0)

Marc Myers is doing good things on his new blog JazzWax. His most recent posting is about a listening session with fellow blogger Terry Teachout. Before that, he and Danny Bank tell the sad story of Billie Holiday's last recording session. To read both pieces, go here.

September 10, 2007 1:04 AM | | Comments (0)

Recent Rifftides visitors are from all sectors of the United States, including most major cities, and smaller places with wonderful names like Blooming Glenn and Avondale, both in Pennsylvania; Bloomington, Indiana; Ann Arbor, Michigan; Newton, Lower Falls, Massachusetts; and Morro Bay, Camarillo and Altadena, California -- to name a few. There are also lots of Canadian Rifftides readers, from Surrey, British Columbia in the west, to La Baie, Quebec in the east.

In the past few hours, folks have also checked in from:

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Vienna, Austria
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Szcecin, Zach Odniopomorskce, Poland
Zurich, Switzerland
Milan, Italy
Reykjavk, Iceland
Barcelona, Spain
Stockholm, Sweden
Viskafors, Sweden,
Arhus, Denmark
Saint-Laurent-de-Condel, France
Saint-Hymer, Basse-Normandie, France
Belfast, Ireland
Stoke-on-Trent, England
London, England
Melbourne, Australia
Camberwell, Australia
Sydney, Australia
San Juan, Puero Rico

The Rifftides staff welcomes you all and encourages your comments by way of the comments function at the bottom of each entry or the e-mail link in the right-hand column.

September 8, 2007 3:55 PM | | Comments (0)

Gap Mangione sent this message:

I've never been able to listen to this second one with dry eyes; especially the final 58 seconds.

May he rest in peace...


September 7, 2007 7:32 PM | | Comments (0)

Rifftides Washington, DC, correspondent John Birchard alerts us to a tribute concert by an international quintet of major jazz musicians who were affected by the Voice of America's Willis Conover. If you live in the DC area, make your reservation early.

Willis Conover

The Voice of America and the Duke Ellington Jazz Festival are hosting a concert in memory of VOA jazz host Willis Conover and in observance of the 50th anniversary of Dizzy Gillespie's first State Department-sponsored trip.

The concert is free and open to the public and will take place on Monday, September 17th at 7:30 PM in the Cohen Auditorium (at VOA). Cuban-born jazz great Paquito D'Rivera, who himself was influenced by Conover's broadcasts heard in Cuba, will lead a quintet made up of another Cuban-born musician and three other players from former Soviet Bloc countries:

Performers: Paquito D'Rivera, Musical Director, Alto Saxophone, Clarinet (Cuba); Milcho Leviev, Piano (Bulgaria); George Mraz, Bass (Czech Republic); Valery Ponomarev, Trumpet (Russia); and Horacio Hernandez, Drums (Cuba).

Seating is limited and will be allotted on a first-come, first-served basis. Please e-mail reservations to by Sept. 13th. For details, go here.

Prior to this event at 3:00 PM, George Washington University's Elliott School will hold a forum entitled "Duke, Dizzy and Diplomacy." For more information, visit the Elliott School calendar.

The Rifftides archive contains several items about Conover, his importance, and the failure of the US government to posthumously award him recognition that he deserved when he was alive. For the first of those pieces, click here, then use the keyword "Conover" to browse the archive for followup comments.

September 7, 2007 11:36 AM | | Comments (0)

News from the publisher: less than two weeks off the press, Poodie James has gone into a second printing. Many thanks to Rifftides readers who have helped to make that possible.

As an excerpt from the novel posted on Rifftides makes clear, Poodie is deaf and mostly mute. After she read that passage, Iola Brubeck sent this comment:

I enjoyed the excerpt. A number of years ago Dave played a benefit for the Theater of the Deaf in Connecticut. They described some of the sensations that you put so well in words....the feeling of the vibrations, both in their feet and in their bodies. Also, at one time, Dave shared a program with the deaf percussionist Evelyn Glennie, who often appears as soloist with symphony orchestras. Her rhythmic sensitivity is unmatchable.

Like Poodie, Dame Evelyn feels frustration over the frequent concentration by those with full hearing on a deaf person's deafness rather than on his qualities and abilities. Here is some of what she wrote on her web site:

I hope that the audience will be stimulated by what I have to say (through the language of music) and will therefore leave the concert hall feeling entertained. If the audience is instead only wondering how a deaf musician can play percussion then I have failed as a musician. For this reason my deafness is not mentioned in any of the information supplied by my office to the press or concert promoters. Unfortunately, my deafness makes good headlines. I have learnt from childhood that if I refuse to discuss my deafness with the media they will just make it up. The several hundred articles and reviews written about me every year add up to a total of many thousands, only a handful accurately describe my hearing impairment. More than 90% are so inaccurate that it would seem impossible that I could be a musician. This web page is designed to set the record straight and allow people to enjoy the experience of being entertained by an ever evolving musician rather than some freak or miracle of nature.

Deafness is poorly understood in general. For instance, there is a common misconception that deaf people live in a world of silence. To understand the nature of deafness, first one has to understand the nature of hearing.

To read all of Evelyn Glennie's "Hearing Essay" and explore her site, click here.

September 5, 2007 1:05 AM | | Comments (0)

A message from Sue Mingus, widow of Charles:

I believe it was in Rifftides that someone recently quoted one of Charles Mingus's sons talking about his father telling him to jump off a shed and then not catching him. That was an old joke I heard about 50 years ago in Paris-- not very funny-- about a father teaching his son, who is up in a tree, a cynical message about not trusting anyone. I think the story got twisted in someone's memory from tree to shed and fact to fairy tale.

September 5, 2007 1:04 AM | | Comments (0)

Several major jazz bassists - including Oscar Pettiford, Ray Brown, Sam Jones, and Percy Heath - also played the cello. Ron Carter doubles on cello. For the most part, Carter employs it as a midget replica of his main instrument, soloing by plucking the strings, as did his predecessors. Indeed, Heath referred to his re-tuned cello as a baby bass.

Improvising while bowing the cello is another matter. Fred Katz, who became well known in the 1950s for his work with the Chico Hamilton Quintet, demonstrated that there was a place for the arco cello in improvisation despite the instrument's challenges, which include its relative slowness. The cello's small, fast, cousin the violin has had a role virtually from the beginning of jazz. In Roger Kellaway's glorious Cello Quartet recordings, Ed Lustgarten was brilliant at reading and interpreting the solos Kellaway wrote for him, but he was not an improviser. After the mainstreamers pioneered the instrument, players like David Eyges, Hank Roberts, Trinstan Honsinger and Tom Cora gave the cello a role in avant garde jazz. Recently, Erik Friedlander Peggy Lee, Alisa Horn and Matthew Brubeck, among others, have further helped to move the cello toward the circle of fully-accepted jazz instruments, using all of its capabilities.

If you do an internet search for Brubeck, you'll get a link that describes the territory he has staked out. It says, "improvising cellist Matt Brubeck's website." The youngest son of Dave and Iola Brubeck has a master's degree in cello performance from Yale and has worked in a range of symphony and classical chamber settings. His recorded debut as a bowing and plucking improvising cellist came in 1991, when he was thirty, on his father's Quiet As The Moon. His impressive performances included a duet with his dad on a theme from Dave's mass, "To Hope: A Celebration." He has worked with musicians as various as Tom Waits and the eclectic Oranj Symphonette, with which he plays an passionate opening cadenza on Mancini's "Dreamsville." Brubeck's resume is sprinkled with mentions of duo associations. The most recent is his partnership with the Canadian pianist David Braid.

In their CD called Twotet/Duextet, the musicians play five pieces by Brubeck and three by Braid. Matt Brubeck's facility with the instrument, bowing or plucking, seems to allow him to play whatever occurs to him. His full, deep sound takes on an edge of dramatic urgency when he improvises with the bow, as he does to great effect in "Mnemosyne's March" and several other tracks. In "Sniffin' Around," he employs his cello as a baby bass a la Percy Heath, occasionally letting the strings slap wood as bassist Milt Hinton used to do.

I usually rail against debut CDs in which musicians restrict themselves to original material, not only because it gives the listener nothing familiar to relate to, but also because so often the music is weak. In Twotet/Deuxtet, the songs are light years beyond the wispy excuses for blowing that fill so many jazz CDs. Their melodies have strength, the harmonic structures have substance. Even the rhythmic offbeats that open a free piece of instant composition called "Improvisation" develop a melody. It may not be instantly hummable, but it is distinctive. A pair of ballads, Braid's "Wash Away" and Brubeck's "It's Not What it Was," have melodies that might have been written by Stephen Foster. Brubeck's "Huevos Verdes y Jamón" has a Hispano-Caribbean lilt worthy of Sonny Rollins or Chick Corea, Braid's "Mnemosyne's March" Brahmsian gravity and beauty of line.

I had never heard - never heard of - Braid before Twotet/Deuxtet showed up the other day. Now, I'm compelled to catch up with his previous work, particularly his sextet made up of Canadian all-stars Terry Clarke, Mike Murley, Steve Wallace, Gene Smith and John MacLeod. Braid's tone, touch, chord voicings and imagination make him one of the most interesting new pianists I've encountered in a long time. In researching him, I discovered that I'm not alone. It turns out that when Gene Lees first heard Braid, he wrote, "If Bill Evans were alive, I'd send Braid's CD to him."

Alisa Horn is the cellist in pianist Bill Mays' new group The Inventions Trio. She is a protégé of trumpeter Marvin Stamm, the other member of the trio. I wrote nearly a year ago about Mays convincing classical string players that they could swing when he recruited the cellist and violinist of the Finisterra Trio to perform Bach's "Two-part Invention #8" with an overlay of Charlie Parker's "Ah-Leu-Cha." Horn has been convinced, too. The conviction didn't come easily. She is added to the duo in which for several years Mays and Stamm have been melding jazz and classical music. A classicial cellist ingrained with the notion that improvisation should be avoided at all costs because it could lead to (gasp) mistakes, she was terrified at the recording session. Here's some of what Horn wrote in a news release that came with the advance copy of The Inventions Trio CD.

What if I play a WRONG NOTE? During the session, I almost had a breakdown worrying about a shift that I had "missed" during an improvisation. No one else in the studio even heard the mistake or noticed it at all and these are some of the most experienced and well-trained ears in the business! (I was) almost in tears, worried over this horrible imperfection. Bill and Marvin looked at me and just said, "No one is ever perfect and that isn't what this is about. Screw it!"

Since that moment, I have a new outlook on my music and the meaning of "perfect" has changed. Now I understand that perfection is an individual's perception of what the music is and this idea applies to both classical and jazz styles of playing.

Horn is exquisite in the trio numbers on the CD, which include Debussy's "Girl With The Flaxen Hair and "Mays' three-movement "Fantasy for Cello, Piano and Trumpet," an important new work. She is impassioned in Rachmaninoff's "Vocalise," and has a stunning introductory moment in the first movement of the "Fantasy." Mays and Stamm, collaborators for years, have developed an empathy that verges on the mysterious. Their duo numbers on this album are among their finest work. In the trio pieces, Alisa Horn complements their magic. She does not sound like a newcomer to improvisation.

The Inventions Trio will be a part of The Seasons Fall Festival next month, along with James Moody, Miguel Zenon, David Friesen, Karrin Allyson, Matt Wilson, Martin Wind, the Finisterra Trio and the Yakima Symphony Orchestra. I look forward to hearing them in live performance.

September 4, 2007 1:05 AM | | Comments (4)

Two of the leading pianists in modern jazz are now man and wife. Bill Charlap and Renee Rosnes were married last week. For details go to this New York Times story. The Rifftides staff offers hearty congratulations.

September 2, 2007 1:05 AM | | Comments (0)

Announcing the publication of Poodie James the other day, I included an excerpt from the only episode in the novel in which Poodie reacts to music. To read it, go here and you will see that the music, at a dance, is "Caldonia," played by Woody Herman's band. After it became a hit in 1945, Herman kept the piece in his book for the rest of his life. As frequently happens to music that stays in a band's repertoire, "Caldonia" got faster and faster as the years went by.

By 1964, "Caldonia" was jet-propelled. In this video, the music is going by so fast that no improviser could achieve profundity in his solo. Who cares. The point at this tempo is to swing and make people happy. Watch Woody as a succession of his soloists tears into the blues, and see how happy they make him. In order, you'll see and hear the upstate New York terrors of the tenor saxophone Joe Romano and Sal Nistico, trumpeter Billy Hunt, trombonists Phil Wilson and Henry Southall, and bassist Chuck Andrus. The astounding drummer is Jake Hanna. Take a deep breath and click on this link.

When you have recovered, go here and listen to the 1945 recording of "Caldonia" by Herman's First Herd.

September 2, 2007 1:04 AM | | Comments (5)

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the main category from September 2007.

main: August 2007 is the previous archive.

main: October 2007 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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