The previously mentioned Matana Roberts blog is now on the blogroll. Also added is the Improvising Guitarist blog, which I have to check out more fully. Darcy, in his last post before hiatus, gives a nice roundup of some of the highlights. I'm sad to see Darcy hit the pause button, but glad there's so much work for him. (And that, since he has a weekend gig in May, I can go down and hear some of it)
Another post also touches on (or is it pokes at) Wynton Marsalis' new album and press appearances of late. I've been happily surprised by how little I've seen about Plantation to the Penitentiary on the blogs; I think the non-response is a good sign. I've heard only a little of the album (you can preview it via Blue Note's site), so I shouldn't say to much. But that won't stop me... the track that has gotten the most attention in the press has been "Where Y'all At", where Wynton (gasp) raps. Except he doesn't really rap per se- the sprechtima (sp) he gives on the track has much more to do with the black preaching tradition or black freestyle poetry than it does with hip-hop. That's not a criticism- let's just call a spade a spade. Or- to paraphrase Jack Black- it's a Cosby rapper, a COSSBEE rapper.
That said, what I've heard of the album, including that track, strikes me on first glance as high-quality, low creativity, and ultimately too heavy-handed to be effective. (Wynton doesn't share as much with his idol Ellington as he'd like, but he definitely shares his inability to write an effective lyric) Current listening is that other heavyweight Monette playing trumpeter, the one I'd much rather hear, Ron Miles, and his recent "Stone/Blossom". Review is forthcoming.