Wednesday, September 27, 2006

jazz and blogs #8

Terribly overdue: a link to Kellen Yamanaka's Song With Orange. A recent post discusses the decreasing portability of jazz compositions:

Today, it seems like "great" compositions are those that not only accomplish what all pieces must accomplish but also are unique to that composer, something inimitable and inherently, inextricably linked to that composer's voice and performance. (...)

Could Rosenwinkel's pieces be convincingly played by Scofield? Could Douglas's compositions be covered by Jeremy Pelt? (...)

Still, it's interesting that when we think of the "great" compositions of the past, we often value them for their universal "playability"; when we think of "great" compositions today, they are the ones that, in spirit, belong almost exclusively to the person who created it.

I would answer "yes" to both questions and say "not quite" to the last paragraph. Partly because people play tunes by Rivers, Motian, Hill, Corea, Holland, Marsalis, Mehldau, etc. (perhaps not the most idiosyncratic, but still) and The European Real Book was published recently (so somebody's playing or studying all those modern compositions), but mostly because the combination of an abundance of compositions and the fragmentation of the global scene makes dissemination much more difficult than it was in Monk's or Shorter's time.

Also, perhaps too much importance is placed on compositions. Insofar as jazz is an improvisational art, the dissemination of improvising techniques/concepts/approaches and of the ways in which composition and improvisation intersect is just as important, perhaps even more so. And that's definitely happening, as the 1973-90 lists (amongst other things) show.


A trumpeter's blog, by Ian Carey. Check out the gig announcements, or the Kansas City trip.

An old post has a weird Liebman quote:
Back when I was living in New York and taking the subway every day, I started making "mix" tapes for myself with stuff I really wanted to absorb; this was based on some advice I got from Dave Liebman that "you're not in the business of listening to music 'for fun' anymore. You need to listen in a focused way."

Liebman's somewhat overbearing asceticism aside—this was right after he'd told us that the air column in a saxophone looked like a "johnson," which was why "chicks [counldn't] play"
By that logic, men shouldn't be able to play trumpet.


A reminder: Los Angeles trumpeter Kris Tiner's Stop The Play And Watch The Audience. Another Jewish Angelino will be joining the blogroll: godoggone. He's been active lately.