It’s Jazz Appreciation Month: Hail Jazz Heroes!
Arts Journal » Jazz Beyond Jazz
by Howard Mandel
1M ago
Since 2001, the Jazz Journalists Association (over which I preside) has celebrated some 350 “activists, advocates, altruists, aiders and abettors of jazz,” as Jazz Heroes. The class of 2024 Jazz Heroes has just been announced, recognizing the good works of 33 people whose efforts extend from the Baja-San Diego borderland to Ottawa, Canada, through 27 U.S cities, from Akron to Tucson, rural Montana to photo collage thanks to Melanie Nañez the South Carolina Lowcountry, New York’s Capital Region as well as Brooklyn and Harlem, Newark, Chicago, the Bay Area, LA, NOLA, DC, Austin, Denver, Boston ..read more
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36 Jazz Heroes in 32 US cities – and there are many more
Arts Journal » Jazz Beyond Jazz
by Howard Mandel
1y ago
The Jazz Journalists Association announces the 2023 Jazz Heroes — “activists, advocates, altruists, aiders and abettors of jazz,” formerly the A Team — emphasizing as it has annually since 2001 that jazz is culture that comes from the ground up, by individuals crossing all demographic categories, working frequently with others and beyond basic job definitions or profit motives to sustain and spread the vital music born in America. This year the JJA (a non-profit professional organization for journalists covering jazz) is honoring 36 such Heroes in 32 US cities. If we had the capacity, we coul ..read more
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Electroacoustic improv, coming or going? (Herb Deutsch, RIP; synths forever?)
Arts Journal » Jazz Beyond Jazz
by Howard Mandel
1y ago
As the year ends/begins, I’m thinking electroacoustic music is a wave of the future. But maybe it’s been superseded by other synth-based genres — synth-pop, EDM, soundtracks a lá Stranger Things. Is Prophet, the just released 1986 weird-sounds bonanza from Sun Ra with his Arkestra exploiting the then new, polyphonic and programmable Prophet-5 synth, timeless or passé? Herb Deutsch (glasses) with Robert Moog and his synthesizer In February, I saluted Herb Deutsch, co-inventor of the Moog synthesizer, on his 90th birthday. Deutsch died on December 9, with synthesizers ever more present in music ..read more
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I saw Jimi Hendrix three times
Arts Journal » Jazz Beyond Jazz
by Howard Mandel
1y ago
On the 80th anniversary of Jimi Hendrix’s birth, memory and legacy of America’s unsurpassed guitar-artist (written 2011). Portrait of Jimi Hendrix by Swedish artist Tommy Tallstig Tomtall, via Wikimedia Commons I’m bouncing around in the back seat of a pal’s car with a couple other high school wannabes, cruising through our leafy-green, cushy but staid Chicago suburb, when the most amazing music comes roaring out of the dashboard radio. We’re not going fast – have no urgent destination — but the music shakes us up. We’ve never heard anything like it before. Few have. It’s early summer 196 ..read more
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JazzBash! Immersive virtual Awards event plus!
Arts Journal » Jazz Beyond Jazz
by Howard Mandel
1y ago
I daresay the JazzBash! on Sunday, 9/11 is the first ever virtual hybrid Awards party/live Jazz Cruise auction/online concert from six U.S. cities/conference of activist panelists/bar with storytellers and presenters, live improvised painting, exclusive jazz photography exhibits and more — in immersive environments depicting noted jazz sites through which attendees — musicians, critics, the general public — can roam at will, by cursor. video by Michal Shapiro — starts black but hit arrow! Thanks to the genius of SyncSpace.live, the Jazz Journalists Association (of which I’m president, driving ..read more
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Who plays the saxophone? And why?
Arts Journal » Jazz Beyond Jazz
by Howard Mandel
1y ago
I love the sound of a saxophone, or rather the broad range of sounds available from this family of reeds The author, who has never been very serious about his alto playing, with apologies to Neil Tesser on tenor sax, Jim Baker on guitar; photo by Lauren Deutsch instruments. Breathy, vocal-like, smooth, light, penetrating, gritty or greasy, able to cry and/or croon (sometimes both at once), it strikes me as capable of the most personal of musical statements, although that’s probably a projection based on my imagination set free listening to these horns, mostly in the context of jazz, for more t ..read more
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Listening to Coltrane’s “Ascension,” and what I’ve done. . .
Arts Journal » Jazz Beyond Jazz
by Howard Mandel
1y ago
Yesterday’s Concert dropped a podcast in which I offer guidance in listening even to challenging jazz recordings such as John Coltrane’s ambitious, gnarly Ascension. And semi-shameless self-promotion: Music Journalism Insider has published a comprehensive career interview with me. For Todd L. Burns’ invaluable, subscription-supported newsletter/platform about music journalism, I lay out at his request the steps that got me to my present point — writer/editor/radio producer/president of the Jazz Journalists Association, board member of the Jazz Institute of Chicago. On Lance Ingram’s well-edi ..read more
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Appreciating Charnett Moffett as a solo bassist
Arts Journal » Jazz Beyond Jazz
by Howard Mandel
2y ago
Saddened that bassist Charnett Moffett has died of a heart attack at age 54, I post this appreciation — also serving as a profile — Charnette Moffett, from video of The Bridge written in 2013 to annotate his solo bass (!) album The Bridge, which he described as “my most personal and challenging release so far.” Solo bass records are rare, and might seem to appeal mostly to bassists and bass aficionados. But on The Bridge Charnett Moffett, the charismatic bass virtuoso with an impressive past and equally brilliant future, has proven here — without benefit of a band — that his music ca ..read more
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In praise of Donald Newlove
Arts Journal » Jazz Beyond Jazz
by Howard Mandel
2y ago
I was knocked out on first reading of Sweet Adversity (1978), by Donald Newlove, who died Aug. 17 at age 93. It’s about co-joined twins who love Louis Armstrong, play jazz in the 1930s and arrive New York’s Lower East Side in the early 1960s, where one of them sobers up. Besides the unique story, it’s the novel’s language that dazzles — intricate, high-spirited sentences that conjured unusual images and ringing perceptions in a continuous, unpredictable stream. It’s hilarious, delirious and heartbreaking, a classic American serio-comedy operating on several levels (twins Leo and Teddy are sta ..read more
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Holidays with music, in person or not
Arts Journal » Jazz Beyond Jazz
by Howard Mandel
2y ago
Despite my avowed abhorrence of Christmas music, I enjoyed maestro Kurt Elling leading his hometown quintet in a holiday-themed performance at Chicago’s City Winery last Sunday. Kurt Elling © Marc PoKempner My entire evening — accompanied by best friends, and including the surprise discovery after the Winery show of a heartening young trumpeter at the Hungry Brain — was a reminder that hearing music in person with others is a key experience, even if the potential for spreading disease makes us stay home. [What I’ve been listening to at home: Favorites of ’21] A seasoned and complete performer ..read more
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