December, and the closing of the year;
The momentary carolers complete
Their Christmas Eves, and quickly disappear
Into their houses on each lighted street
— from "Christmas Eve in Whitneyville, 1955" by Donald Hall
This time of year, I tend to find myself harried and hectic, fretting over one list or another, scrambling to catch up on what I missed. One bright spot in recent years has been the Critics Roundtable, an annual email conversation hosted here at The Gig. Exchanging reflections with my colleagues always feels like the sanest and most enlightened way to bring the year to a close, a moment of communal song before we all disappear back into our foxholes.
That social aspect applies more than ever this year, because the fifth annual Critics Roundtable will be a live panel with an audience, organized in partnership with the Jazz Museum in Harlem. I'm extremely proud of the lineup — Kevin Whitehead, me, Greg Tate, Seth Colter Walls and Larry Blumenfeld, as pictured left-to-right above — and have been looking forward to this for months. Heads up, because it's around the corner:
Thursday, Dec. 12, 7 p.m., at MIST Harlem. Pleeeease come and join us. More info here.
I should also take this moment to announce that I will be mothballing this Typepad blog at the end of the year. I agonized over this decision, but it seems clear that a dignified end is preferable to a sheepish, hobbling, half-assed decline. So follow me on Twitter, and take heart: I'll be moving the bloggier dispatches over to my Tumblr, which I've helpfully also titled The Gig.
And in the spirit of Year-Endery and Closeout Sales, please enjoy perusing the previous Critics Roundtables, featuring insights from the likes of Ben Ratliff, Jim Macnie, David Adler, Jennifer Odell, Hank Shteamer, Peter Hum, Chris Barton, Peter Margasak and Giovanni Russonello: