the whole thing

I usually try to stay away from political subjects in my blogging. There are plenty of good political blogs, and better politically blogging musicians, but I have to weigh in on Obama’s recent speech on race and America. I think it is important that we all hear the entire speech. Don’t trust some other party to give you the cliff’s notes version of the good stuff. Invest the 38 minutes and listen to the whole thing.

improvising across cultures

Last week on the Open ears Music Series, we had the pleasure of hosting the fabulous Dutch trombonist, Wolter Wierbos. The musicians for the night were all trombonists. In addition to Wolter, there was Big Sam Williams (Big Sam’s Funky Nation, former Dirty Dozen), Mark McGrain, Rick Trolsen (Neslort, Gringo do Choro, former Bonerama), and me. Wolter played a solo set, then we played each possible duo combination, then a grand finale with all five of us. It was all freely improvised music.

There were a couple of things about the evening that were interesting to me. None of these things should be surprising, but I marvel at them every time anyway. The first marvelous aspect of the evening was how 5 trombonists from rather different musical and cultural backgrounds can find common musical space so quickly and easily. I guess aspect 1a would be how we each can pretty readily leave our comfort zones in search of good music. Secondly, I was pleasantly surprised that 40-50 people hung all night and listened to the five trombonists. This shouldn’t surprise me, because I thought the music was good, so it should follow that people would want to hear the good music. That number of people willing to stretch their ears (in New Orleans) is very encouraging.

You can hear what happened here, and see some of it here.

internet radio – accujazz

Thus far, I haven’t really been a big internet radio listener. I don’t know if it is that I haven’t found a station that I really liked, or if it is that when I sit at my computer, I have access to a >100GB music library that I have already vetted. I guess if I had a cubicle day job I would have sorted this out much sooner.

Yesterday, I got an email alerting me to the existence of accujazz.com . So far so good. There are multiple “subchannels”, apparently with more to come. The “New School” channel has served up Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Cecil Taylor, Mal Waldron & Steve Lacy, and other good stuff much of which hasn’t been in my collection. It has also served up some Wynton, and some odd not-in-English “jazz” vocals.

If you are looking for a new listening place, accujazz.com is worth investigating.

cultural surrealism

All I can add is”…wow…”

To The Point News – ROCKING RUSSKIES: “Now consider the Finnish rock band called The Leningrad Cowboys. A little while ago, they held a concert in Russia, in which – to the screaming applause of Russkie teen-agers – they got the Red Army Choir to join them on stage for a performance of “Sweet Home Alabama.” In English. You couldn’t make this up.”

(Via Phil on the trombone-l.)

Jazz Beyond Jazz: Musicians dread words

Howard Mandel presents an interesting angle on the artist/critic relationship.

Jazz Beyond Jazz: Musicians dread words: “Publicist Blake Zidell, no stranger to the particularities of musicians, presenters, freelance critics and others on the New York City scene, was apologetic. “Maybe you’ve run into this before with him: John is happy to extend press tickets to you tonight, as long as you don’t write about it.”"