Monday, December 24, 2012
Another is the notorious Atlantic article, "The End of Jazz," which is both a review of the book and a larger essay -- intelligently argued, albeit not entirely convincing, I don't think -- about how the disconnection between jazz and the songbook has left them both dead.
The third, perhaps, is my own progress (if you heard me play, you'd know that this is probably the wrong word) as an amateur jazz guitarist, learning various numbers such as "All the Things You Are," "Autumn Leaves," "Chitlins Con Carne," "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat," "Blue Bossa," and so on. I've been struck by how inventive, ingenious and musically bottomless these great songs, whether by Jerome Kern or Charles Mingus, remain. How far can you stretch 'em before they break?
And how does the shrinking of the jazz audience connect to my ideas about the crisis of the creative class?
For my latest piece for Salon, I've looked at some of the issues, and crossed them with a look back at jazz over the last year or so. My understanding of some of this mix of good and bad was bolstered by another very fine new book, Marc Myers' social history Why Jazz Happened.
I spoke to Myers, Sonny Rollins, jazz scribe Gary Giddins, head of Nonesuch Records Bob Hurwitz, and others. The question of how jazz can thrive in the future is important to me and I hope I've taken a step into understanding it.
Happy holidays to my readers from The Misread City.
Thursday, December 13, 2012
LaVette also has a new record, Thankful 'n' Thoughtful, on the Anti- label. It's got her usual counter-intutive set list, with songs by Dylan, the Black Keys, Neil Young, and two versions (one of them wonderful) of Ewan MacColl's "Dirty Old Town" -- originally written about Salford, Lancashire, which makes me wonder how long it will take her to cover The Smiths.
Friday, December 7, 2012
Healy and I have a second-hand connection since we've both published on Red Hen Press, so I will not evaluate her work except to say I'm pleased with her appointnent. Here's poet Dana Gioia, who was part of the selection committee, on her commitment to the city:
A hearty congratulations to Eloise Klein Healy from The Misread City!