The Future Is Now: 15 Innovations to Watch For – Commentary – The Chronicle of Higher Education:
“Why do only half of college students graduate? Noncognitive factors seem pivotal, and social disconnection appears to be a crucial factor. When students feel alone, they withdraw and eventually give up. Conversely, students who feel part of a community persist.”
I saw this in an article this morning, and I think it is an important part of how we can improve recruiting and graduation trends at universities. While it is important that education is priced in a way that students can manage, and it is vitally important that the education is high quality, I agree that the feeling of being part of a community is a big part of student success. We can learn stuff on our own, but it is more rewarding to do it as part of a larger community of like mined people with similar goals and aspirations. Faculty participation in events like award ceremonies, new student convocations, and graduations (all of the rituals of academia) helps the students see themselves as part of a broader community that includes their teachers and mentors. I think that is more important than some of us realize.
The Jazz Session, a jazz podcast produced by Jason Crane, is making a comeback. Back in February of 2012, I recorded an interview with Jason, and it never was released because he ended the show before the CD that we spent much of the interview discussing was released. Well that CD is out now, and the show is returning, and our interview is now available. Follow the link below to hear it.
The Jazz Session » The Jazz Session #420: Jeff Albert
**A couple of notes:
I have since finished the dissertation that we talked about in the interview. If you are having trouble sleeping and would like to read it, it is here: http://research.jeffalbert.com/imp/
The CD order changed a bit since I sent him music before the interview, and one of the tunes he plays in the show, is not actually on the CD. Mixes changed some too, so the bass sounds better on the CD than on the podcast.
Why Music Makes Our Brain Sing – NYTimes.com: “MUSIC is not tangible. You can’t eat it, drink it or mate with it. It doesn’t protect against the rain, wind or cold. It doesn’t vanquish predators or mend broken bones. And yet humans have always prized music — or well beyond prized, loved it.”
A nice review from Derek Taylor in Dusted.
Dusted Reviews: Jeff Albert’s Instigation Quartet – The Tree on the Mound:
“By the time the four align on the first of Albert’s four ‘Instigation’ pieces (inexplicably out of numerical sequence and missing two in the order), everybody sounds as if they’re more comfortably on the same page. The last three tracks in particular find the group really hitting a galvanizing stride and crafting a series of bracing contrapuntal passages. ‘Instigation Quartet #6’ unfolds as a succession of duets, the first an explosive dialogue between Jordan and Abrams, the next a slow burn from Albert and Drake before moving on to an invigorating ensemble section and roof-raising solo by Jordan. Tenor and trombone converse and cavort in ornate arcs with a level of close confluence complemented by bass and drums. It’s a consensus that carries over into the closer, a collective leap through the indelible finger-snapping groove of Anderson’s ‘The Strut.’”
Since this is my blog, I will explain the inexplicable. The numbers on the IQ pieces are just a way to identify each one. I could have just as well called them Sue, John, Paul, George, and Ringo. They aren’t a suite meant to be played in order, just a collection of similar pieces. They are out of numerical order because that order made a better CD, and they aren’t all there because some of the recordings didn’t make the CD. Just like if they were five improvisations that had non-similar abstract names.
Interestingly, in an attempt to give the pieces names that created no baggage, expectations were still created. There may eventually be a longer post based on that dilemma.
This is a clear and concise presentation of the rhythmic relationship of different intervals, with some good audio examples.
Dan Tepfer // Rhythm / Pitch Duality: hear rhythm become pitch before your ears
The third season of the HBO series Treme is airing now. I usually DVR it on Sunday and end up watching it sometime later in the week. In case you haven’t seen it, you should know that the music and musicians of New Orleans feature prominently in the show. There was quite a bit of buzz about it in the broader music/jazz community in the first season. I have always enjoyed watching it, if for nothing else, to see my friends on TV, because the producers do a great job of featuring New Orleans musicians, both prominent and obscure.
People often ask me when I will be on the show, and I usually chuckle and respond that the show doesn’t have “my kind of music.” I say this partly tongue in cheek, but it is true that the show focuses on the aspects of New Orleans music that are generally perceived as specifically representative. My regular musical/professional/social circles are largely tangential to those of the featured musicians in the show. I’m cool with that. I still like watching the show, and a track that I played on was the closing credits for one show in the first season, so I have gotten a little taste of the Treme gravy train.
I guess I should add here, that if I made the show, I wouldn’t have any Open Ears/New Orleans improv community scenes. It does’t fit with the story, and it isn’t very mainstream music. BUT, this past week we did get a little second order mention. The character LaDonna said, “They ain’t gonna shut me down like they did King Bolden’s!” (or something to that effect).
That line acknowledges the genesis of the Open Ears Music Series. King Bolden’s was a club on Rampart St. They only did jazz on Tuesdays (they had DJs and other music on other nights), and it was usually left of center jazz. Mario, the owner, seemed to like me and my band, because he called once a month and asked what night I wanted to play. When that club got shut down, my regular easy gig went away, and I needed a new place to play. That was the catalyst that led to the founding of the Open Ears Music Series, which is now 5 years old and has presented nearly every great New Orleans improviser, and many of the world’s great improvisers. So, you won’t see or hear any of the New Orleans improvised music community on Treme, but there was an inside reference to one of the clubs that features prominently in our history.
I’ve seen my share of these.
The blame game | Mass Comments | Blogs | Loyola University New Orleans:
“It struck me that, in the many years I’ve been teaching, I’ve heard a thousand things blamed for a student’s lack of success, mostly from students themselves. In fact, some of the reasons for missing class, turning in poor work or no work or some variation on failure to handle responsibilities were so bizarre I’ll never forget them (and these are all true):
‘I got arrested because my roommates were growing pot at our house.’
‘I was trying to decide if I should marry my fiancee…and it took a lot of time.’
‘My girlfriend cut up all my clothes and threw them away. I didn’t have anything to wear to class.’”
Running The Voodoo Down: WRITE A SONG:
“Speaking as a consumer and a jazz fan, I gotta say, with all due respect…f–k you guys. You wanna know why jazz albums don’t sell for shit? Because labels release recordings of lazy, entitled old-timers coasting on name recognition, sleepwalking through tunes everyone who’s into jazz has already heard 500 times before. “
Don’t hold back, Phil. Tell us how you really think.
Please, read the whole thing.
It is again an honor to have made the Rising Star Trombone list in the 2012 DownBeat Critics Poll. These polls can sometimes be awkward, and just downright silly at other times, but I must treat any list that puts my name in such good company as an honor.
Flutin’ High: Improvisation: Freedom and Responsibility: “How do you exercise responsibility within this freedom? Well, in music, it is relatively easy, just listen. ”