The Jazz.com Blog
January 22, 2009 · 0 comments
I ask a simple question: if musicians can have a greatest hits collection, why not a blog? With that in mind, I look back at some of the more memorable jazz.com blog contributions from the last year.
Jazz and Hip-Hop: Can They Really Mix? Jared Pauley presented a smart mini-history of the courtship between jazz and hip-hop in this two-part article. And he also stirred up a mini-war on our blog pages. Alan Kurtz stepped in to annul this unholy union, responding with his typical rebarbative repartee in a memorable piece entitled Hip-Hop is to Jazz as Termitz R2 Wud. Both articles are well worth reading.
The Future is Punkt: Stuart Nicholson covered jazz events in a half-dozen or so countries for us during the year, and always seemed to find strange and interesting music. But I was especially intrigued by his account of the Punkt festival in Norway, where the fun starts after the concert, when the music you just heard is re-mixed live by DJs in the Alpha Room.
David 'Fathead' Newman
Photo by Rick Gilbert (skyhookentertainment.net)
75th Birthday Bash for David “Fathead” Newman: With the death this week of saxophonist David “Fathead” Newman, it is fitting to look back at a celebration of his career that took place while he was still around to enjoy it. Here Ralph Miriello describes the festivities at an all-star birthday bash for the saxophonist at Iridium Jazz which took place early last year.
Life on the Road: The Journal of a Traveling Jazz Musician: Frøy Aagre’s three-part article may be the most insightful account you will ever read about the realities of road life for most jazz musicians. It is not a pretty picture, but it was a story that very much needed to be told.
Life at Gypsy Jazz Camp: One of the most interesting developments in the jazz world is the great resurgence of interest in Django Reinhardt and Gypsy jazz. Bill Barnes took us into the heart of this subculture in his three-part article on his experiences at a jazz camp devoted to jazz Manouche.
Election Night with Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra: A historic moment was at hand, and who better to celebrate it than Charlie Haden’s Liberation Orchestra, an ensemble that has become famous for blending progressive music and progressive politics. Tim Wilkins turned off CNN in order to check out the gig at the Blue Note, and reported here on the proceedings.
Is New York Ready for This? In a three-part article, Eugene Marlow looked at George Gee’s ambitious attempt to launch a full-scale Swing Era extravaganza in modern-day Manhattan. This would have been an easy story to miss, but provided insights into the complex ways in which the jazz world deals with its own traditions, while also trying to deal with the economic realities of the marketplace.
Ornette: The Blue Note Years: In this two-part article, Chris Kelsey looked at a controversial period in Ornette Coleman’s career. Blue Note’s move into the avant-garde was a symbolic moment, and produced music that critics are still debating almost a half-century later.
Don’t Ignore Monday Night Jazz: While JALC and visiting stars at the Vanguard grab the headlines, a number of outstanding NY musician work in long-term Monday night residencies that get little attention from the jazz media. Eric Novod—who clearly does get out on Monday nights—alerts the rest of us to three artists worth hearing.
Where Copyright Goes Wrong: Jazz.com’s Alan Kurtz is best known for his curmudgeonly critiques and the controversies these engender. But he could have been a lawyer (or at least played one on TV) judging by this convincing assault on the current state of US copyright law.
The Nightfly Revisited: I wrote around 100 articles for the jazz.com blog during the last year, but this is the one that has gotten the most “clicks”—and oddly enough it was not about jazz . I looked back at a CD that has long been one of my favorites: Donald Fagen’s The Nightfly.
And along the way, there were important stories covered in the jazz.com blog that most of the jazz media ignored. . . such as Radio France Pulls the Plug on Jazz or Where is the Outrage Over Russ Garcia’s Denied Oscar? And finally, where else will jazz fans find Jazz Report from Estonia or The Saga of David Benoit or Jazz Fans, Show Us Your Tattoos or Buddy Bolden on the Holodeck?
There were so many other fine articles featured here—we have published more than 300 blog contributions since site launch in December 2007—but I need to stop somewhere. Even a greatest hits compilation can only go on so long. Before signing off, let me thank the two dozen contributors to this column who have constantly surprised and delighted me with their writing: Frøy Aagre , Scott Albin, Bill Barnes, Zoie Clift , Thomas Cunniffe, Roanna Forman, Will Friedwald, Chris Kelsey, Walter Kolosky, Alan Kurtz, Eugene Marlow, Ralph Miriello, Stuart Nicholson, Eric Novod, Ted Panken, Tomas Peña, Thierry Quénum, Sue Russell, Mark Saleski, arnold jay smith, Jeff Sultanof, David Tenenholtz, Neil Tesser, and Tim Wilkins.
This blog entry posted by Ted Gioia.