Complicated Life

Interesting video from an old friend. Clint turned me on to a lot of music in high school.

Filmed in mid-2005, this is a glimpse into life on the French Quarter’s lower Decatur Street before Hurricane Katrina.

Originally written by Ray Davies of the Kinks, this track is performed by the Preservation Hall Jazz Band featuring Clint Maedgen on vocals with a guest appearance by the New Orleans Bingo! Show in the video.

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a progressive traditionalist

Go read what Mwanji has to say here:be.jazz: this versus that, then come back for my thoughts.

I love this line:

Jazz “died” not when some of its practitioners went “too far,” but when “Avant-Garde” became its own category at some point in the ’60s, facilitating the excision of the idea of Progress from the Tradition.

Mwanji nails it with that one. When the tradition is frozen in time and progress is now called something else, the tradition is now a museum piece. That smell is formaldehyde. I was listening to the “Real Jazz” channel on XM radio today. I realized that all of the music, while good and non-offensive, was old sounding. They run this snarky little promo that states “If you like Kenny G, you’re in the wrong place…This is Real Jazz.” Now that is a little funny in an elitist sort of way, but it also speaks to the pretty specific definition of jazz that they claim. They play some music that isn’t old, it just sounds old.

The powers that be often use the wrong things to identify jazz. The suits and the lifestyle and the ding-ding-a-ding, were all part of it, but I don’t know that they were the defining factors. I don’t know that repertoire should be the defining factor either, although I see the point that repertoire is an effective vehicle for learning. I am the trombone instructor at Xavier University of Louisiana. Most of my students there play some jazz, but it is not a jazz specific program, and they all learn classical repertoire as well. Actually we are told from the top that we should teach “a repertoire based curriculum.” If you can deal with the French conservatoire repertoire, the early 20th century American band show pieces (Arthur Pryor, Herbert Clark, etc), and the concerto repertoire for trombone, then you will be able technically to do pretty much whatever you need to do to make the music you want to make. I don’t know that that path helps you know what music you want to make, but we usually have to find that stuff on our own anyway.

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Toronto band staples CC-licensed CDs to phone poles

I started this a few days ago, but it never got posted because I was server juggling…

Craft Economy – Toronto band staples CC-licensed CDs to phone poles – Boing Boing

This BB post stirred up some thoughts I was already dwelling on tonight.

These guys (maybe gals) are giving away CDs like handbills. The sole purpose of these CDs is to get people to come plunk down $10 (or whatever it is) to hear their live show. For some time now, people have been saying that recordings are not the money makers, they are just promotion for the live shows, which is where the money is in the new music business.

This leads to my question, (which ties in with the Tom Hull line “Ayler Records has gone almost totally to download products — evidently complete with a do-it-yourself kit for their elegant artwork. I like the label a lot, but have trouble seeing what they’re doing as real.”

Do we need something to hold in our hands to give reality to the sound in our ears?

If music has no cost, does it still have value?

Why is the music from a free download or handmade CDR not given the respect that the music from a nicely done digipak is? I think it is similar to the reason that a man in a clean suit and starched shirt is generally treated differently than a man in dirty jeans and a t-shirt. I understand that part of human nature, but it doesn’t mean that the yard guy is not as good a human as the banker. There are times when the yard guy is a better human than the banker, and the same holds true for music that is humbly presented, versus music that is slickly packaged. I don’t have the answers, I am just putting the thoughts out there. Comments welcome.

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server move

I just changed servers. Same company, just a little shuffling around. I think I got everything moved ok, but let me know if you see anything that is wonkier than usual. It has taken a few days to get it all sorted, but I’m not great at following instructions sometimes…

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New server

I just changed servers. Same company, just a little shuffling around. I think I got everything moved ok, but let me know if you see anything that is wonkier than usual. It has taken a few days to get it all sorted, but I’m not great at following instructions sometimes…

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iPhone owners can now buy ringtones for 99 cents, with some pain

iPhone owners can now buy ringtones for 99 cents, with some pain | Tech news blog – CNET News.com

I had pretty much given up on blogging the stupidity of the RIAA and the way record companies treat customers, and the futility of DRM. Not that I feel any differently now, I just tired of writing about it. However, I have to get this off my chest.

I am an Apple guy. My main computer is a MacBook, and the desktop that the rest of the family uses is my older G5 Power Mac. I have an iPod (old, 3G, no video, no pictures, not even in color, but it holds 37.4 GB of good music). I read tech and Apple specific blogs and the like. I don’t have an iPhone. If someone gave me one, I’d use it, but I can’t see paying even $400 for a low capacity iPod, that gets email but doesn’t sync that with my computer, and wants to MAKE ME PAY A DOLLAR TO HAVE A SONG THAT I ALREADY BOUGHT PLAY WHENEVER I GET A PHONE CALL!!!!

The iPhone is a music player. You should be able to play songs that you have purchased whenever you like, even if that is the moment that you receive a call. To be asked to pay ANOTHER dollar for that right is ludicrous.

I paid $40 for my cell phone, and whenever I get a call, I hear Ornette. Mingus for text messages, and Sun Ra for voice mail. No extra charge, just a little tech savvy required.

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Tom Hull reads my mind…sort of

I’ve been trying to mentally sort though issues dealing with modern musical distribution to fringe markets for several years now. And more recently the cost issues involved with promoting new CDs. Tom Hull comments on both issues in his recent Jazz prospecting post.

Jazz Prospecting (CG #14, Part 13) – Tom Hull

It would be so much easier to create and market music with niche audiences (call it art music or creative music or weird crap or whatever else you please) if we could dispense with the burdensome expense of manufacturing physical product. Downloads are cheap and easy to make, which may be why many critics don’t take them seriously.

Tom Hull:

Ayler Records has gone almost totally to download products — evidently complete with a do-it-yourself kit for their elegant artwork. I like the label a lot, but have trouble seeing what they’re doing as real.

I imagine that the same holds true for short run CDRs, and one off hand made packaging. The establishment has trouble accepting it as real. The packaging means so much to the initial perception that we never get to the music, which may be excellent…or not.

Since I did a few reviews on this blog, I have been getting promo copies of CDs from various sources. I often wonder about the expense of this, and I now understand why so many writers listen to so little of what is sent to them. It can be overwhelming, and some of it is real crap. Some of it is also really good, and I know there is a great CD laying on my desk somewhere, and I’ll never hear it because for whatever reason, it didn’t get my attention at the right time.

Hull speaks to some of these issues as he explains his “advance” flag:

One more note: I’ve decided to flag as “[advance]” every record I have to review in some condition significantly different from the form a paying customer would expect. Some of these really meant just to give writers a head start on deadlines, and sometimes in due course I do get finished copies — Blue Note, in particular, is very good about this. (Thirsty Ear used to be, but hasn’t been lately.) Others are specially manufactured promo editions — Cryptogramophone and Palmetto do slick but thin sleeves with no doc; Clean Feed has a weird wallet-like thing. Some send discs with no packaging (Smalls has started doing this). Sometimes I get a CDR and maybe a thermal print of the cover art, nothing more than a homemade bootleg. There are good economic reasons for all this corner-cutting, but I still find them annoying and dispiriting — enough so that I’ve broken down and griped about them every now and then. Hopefully the flag will save some of that while still keeping everyone honest. The whole system is intrinsically flawed: critics should be able to review real products, but can’t afford to; labels can’t afford to indulge every would-be critic, and don’t want to, resulting in a system that is by turns unreasonably skinflintish and unreasonably generous.

Read this line again, he nails it:

The whole system is intrinsically flawed: critics should be able to review real products, but can’t afford to; labels can’t afford to indulge every would-be critic, and don’t want to, resulting in a system that is by turns unreasonably skinflintish and unreasonably generous.

I don’t know the answers either, but it would be great if we could make adventurous music that could get a serious listen from those that wield the ink, without having to drop more money than the CD is likely to make on manufacturing a cool package.

BTW, Hull revisited Farragut later in that column. It still gets B+, and a pretty honest review.

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THE SOUL AND THE SYSTEM: WHY CREATIVE MUSIC?

Good stuff from one of the first posts on what looks to be a promising and thought provoking blog from left coast trumpeter/composer/improviser Kris Tiner.

THE SOUL AND THE SYSTEM: WHY CREATIVE MUSIC?:

“Ultimately though, the creative musician must be concerned with engendering a public awareness of music as a social and spiritual resource, to move people to a deeper understanding of those communal aspects of music which operate on a more fundamental level than style and type. “

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