Now that I have a real life again, I'm afraid blogging has taken a hit. I'll try to find a better balance, but in the meantime:
Mwanji comments on Darius Brubeck's article on Ornette. I had been trying to get to this one, but Mwanji does a better job than I would've. The comment track is also interesting I'll come back to it this weekend, I hope.
Ben Ratliff listens with Branford Marsalis. I tend to find Branford in print almost as grating as his little brother (even without the absurd comment on Cecil Taylor), but I found myself agreeing with a lot of what he said about (as Ratliff so aptly puts it in caps) What's Wrong With Jazz Today. He is given to gross generalization, but he I think some of his comments aren't too far offbase. To wit:
“But musicians today”— and he was talking specifically about jazz musicians — “are completely devoid of charisma. People never really liked the music in the first place. So now you have musicians who are proficient at playing instruments, and people sit there, and it’s just boring to them — because they’re trying to see something, or feel it.”
Again, GROSS overstatement, but worth considering. I was at a concert last night at NEC with completed a residency by Roscoe Mitchell, a founding member of the AACM and the Art Ensemble. The music, featuring primarily student ensembles with a couple of cameos by Roscoe, including an amazing solo alto improvisation, was uniformly good. However, with the exception of Roscoe himself and a the very exciting altoist Ashley Paul, most of the players dressed and behaved like this was just a rehearsal in front of people; there was no real acknowledgement of the audience at all. And I see this happen on a regular basis, especially with younger players. I'm not by any means an advocate of the return of a dress code to the stage, but jazz musicians need to pay much more attention to how the music is presented. In this day and age, it matters a lot. (Again, many do, but many more do not, at their own peril)
Okay, now that I've proven myself the crotchetiest 30-year old in Boston, I'm going to retireto my rocking chair.