My entrée to the latest jazz-world debate arrives a few paces behind the blogosphere, mainly for practical reasons. In the week after Newport, I found myself completely (and gratefully) submerged in work, barely able to come up for air. But the extra time also allowed me to take a step back and consider my response.
It’s all pretty much there in the piece, but it may be worth mentioning that I spoke to a handful of musicians in preparation. Here’s one point made by Scott Amendola, drummer and bandleader, pictured above at a gig in Berkeley, Calif., which he calls home:
I feel like young people are really enthusiastic about music that is sort of played for music’s sake, and that this whole commodification, this whole idea of putting jazz on a pedestal, is something they hate. People are so turned off by that shit.
I almost put that quote in the piece, minus the last sentence. Like the other musicians mentioned therein, Amendola is a good example of a jazz-and-beyond artist whose work (and audience!) complicates the metric for any surveying apparatus. In the coming weeks, he’ll be playing gigs with his own trio (Monk meets groove), the Nels Cline Singers (rock/jazz/world/noise), and the Inuit throat singer Tanya Tagaq (um, “????”). At any rate, feel free to add to this discussion, though I suspect that the internets have already had their say.
On a largely unrelated note, I have so far had a policy of keeping the blog (mostly) clear of links to day-to-day reviews, features, etc. Over the weekend, some perceptive and blog-literate friends have convinced me to reconsider. So from here on out, I’ll be posting more of that professional flotsam. To get the ball rolling:
Ledisi, Hollenbeck, Perowsky, Nisennenmondai, Benson
Pissed Jeans, Joe Henry
At Zebulon, Aug. 12
At Vanguard, Aug. 10
And a future programming note: my JazzTimes cover story, on Nels Cline, should be out in a few weeks. I hope people will actually go out and buy a copy. (Get this month’s issue too, with Joe Lovano on the cover.) Later this month I’ll post some outtakes from the Cline interviews, for your distraction and potential enjoyment.