Art, life, money, art…

If you have any interest in the intersection of the life of an artist, the business of art, and the simultaneous creation of art and a decent lifestyle, you must read this article: PopMatters | Columns | Will Layman | Jazz Today | Making the Music Play for You

Will Layman looks at these issues through musician Rudresh Mahanthappa and Pi Recordings owner, Seth Rosner.

“The first time my name showed up in the Downbeat Critic’s Poll,” Mahanthappa tells me (referring to the highly respected poll of top talent in the nation’s most august jazz publication), “I couldn’t afford to buy the magazine.”

Mahanthappa also provides an eye opening view of what the music business can do to people, and what can happen when one holds onto one’s love of music.

“The summer after my first year at Berklee, I got a cruise ship gig that was a big eye-opener. Almost every musician on the ship had forgotten the reason they started playing,” Mahanthappa tells me. “No one cared about music any more. They were just drinking, living the life on the ship. And I thought, if that’s what making a living as a musician is about, then I want no part of it.”

So, to be even a moderately aspiring jazz musician is to be a poster-child for struggling artists everywhere. You have to love what you’re doing and forget about the money. …

For the rest of us, the folks sitting around the hip little tables at the Jazz Standard (making out or just listening), Mahanthappa’s love of the music is palpable.

On Point : Mark Cuban: Hollywood’s Headache – Mark Cuban: Hollywood’s Headache

Mark Cuban was on WBUR’s On Point radio show today.

On Point : Mark Cuban: Hollywood’s Headache – Mark Cuban: Hollywood’s Headache

They talked mostly about his role in the new day/date release of the Soderbergh film Bubble.

I really liked his answers to the theater owner’s complaints about simulatneous format releases ruining theater business. He essentially said that if this ruins your business, then you aren’t doing your job. There were a few music industry references, and lots of good info and discussion on the role of technology and how it affects and will affect or media consumption habits.

Change or die

A look at the relationship between composers, orchestras, and their audiences, by Stephen McNeff.

Guardian Unlimited | Film & Music | Change or die

Most importantly, I want to persuade audiences that new music need not be intimidating. Last summer, a short work premiered at the orchestra’s outdoor concerts was heard by a staggering – for new music – 38,000 people. The BSO’s principal conductor, Marin Alsop, is not only committed to new music but is a skilled communicator who likes to introduce works personally. Ahead of the premiere of my new work Heiligenstadt last November, she and I spoke about it, while the orchestra played extracts.

The audience’s response convinced me that this was extraordinarily valuable in helping people be involved with what they were about to hear.


Check out this new blog from Bay Area musician Rob Ewing. It’s called Rocketship.

Developing players should from the beginning get used to the idea that all notes are available. Students should be encouraged to experiment with playing any number of notes and note sequences over various harmonic progressions, and get a feel for the way different pitches function on a continuum of relative consonance and dissonance.

You might recognize Rob as the trombonist from Married Couple, who you can hear on Scratch My Brain Podcast #3.

Nate Chinen review of Vandermark 5 performance in NYT

Giving Everything the Supercharged Treatment, Even Ballads – New York Times

Enterprise and industry aren’t qualities often attributed to jazz’s rambunctious outer fringe. In the case of Ken Vandermark, though, they dominate the discussion. Mr. Vandermark, a saxophonist and clarinetist based in Chicago, has spent his career fusing the exploratory fire of free jazz with the do-it-yourself ethos of underground rock.

For Downtown Clubs, the Uptown Classical – New York Times

For Downtown Clubs, the Uptown Classical – New York Times

“It’s not true that young people don’t like classical music,” said Richard S. Weinert, president of Concert Artists Guild, which is presenting this German-based quartet, QNG. “Young people don’t like recital halls.”

That’s one of the reasons that early on it was decided that the New Orleans New Music Ensemble (NO-NME) would only play venues that had a bar in the same room as the stage. I guess the drinking habit of the musicians and conductor might have had something to do with that as well.

Lately cellist Helen Gillette has been playing Cafe Brasil on Frenchmen St and other venues that don’t usually have cellists. It’s pretty cool.

Good music in places where people like to hang out. What a novel concept.