Monday, November 06, 2006

jazz and blogs #9

Musicians are blogging in force, often under cool names:

SpiderMonkey Stories
a.k.a. trumpeter Taylor Ho Bynum, best known for his work alongside Anthony Braxton and Cecil Taylor. He shouts out De Werf, so be.jazz would love it even without the great Taylor/Grimes/akLaff post. [via Night After Night]

It Is Not Mean If It Is True (Attack Attack Attack)
a.k.a. (perhaps) Stanley Zappa. Caustic and original in tone and presentation. SJZ is currently adapting Harold Bloom's The Anxiety Of Influence to improvised music.

a.k.a. Peter Breslin on music and cacti. Lots of great thoughts, including a YouTube-supported addition to the free jazz debates.

Dark Forces Swing Blind Punches
a.k.a. drummer/journalist Henry (Hank) Michael Shteamer and another Night After Night via. His enthusiasm is disarming. Amongst much excellent stuff, there is a long post on Grachan Moncur. It's not so long ago that I heard "Love And Hate" for the first time and fell out of my chair. The Grachan Moncur Mosaic Select is making its way to me right now, actually. The Moncur post is followed by a great review of the same Taylor/Grimes/akLaff concert Bynum saw.

Armen Nalbandian's blog
a.k.a. Armen Nalbandian. I've mentioned this blog before, but have rediscovered it. It had fallen off my radar because it didn't (and still doesn't) publish an RSS feed. Publish a feed, Armen! I like his way of engaging with music that's happening now, for example by perpetuating the somewhat lost tradition of playing your peers' music.

He links to a video of the current Wayne Shorter Quartet. It's amazing. While watching it, it's hard not to think of this kind of communication as some sort of pinnacle of 100 years of jazz. Which is of course to much weight to place upon 7 minutes of music, but that was my gut feeling. This kind of thing is both thrilling and exhausting, because it is such a high-wire act - for the listener, I mean. Nothing is stable or taken for granted, you can see Shorter challenging his musicians and considering his own moves in real time. The TV crew should be lauded, as they actually manage to make the music easier to follow, an all too rare achievement.

Improvising Guitar
Occasional guitar-centric stuff like hand positions, but mostly a lot of very interesting non-guitar stuff like the struggle to define free improvisation, structure and form as verbs rather than nouns, structure as a "temporary acknowledgment of one boundary [that] allows for renegotiations of others" and a running thread of group improvisation as society-in-miniature. Clearly, Improvising Guitar and It Is Not Mean need to have a talk. I'm not going to cite every single interesting post, but the very first ends, remarkably, with the imortal phrase "What could be more humyn?" (sic, and not a typo).

Jazz: The Music of Unemployment
Hopefully, that's not too much the case for pianist Andrew Durkin, leader of The Industrial Jazz Group (website | MySpace), a band busy "changing the elbow of American music." The very stubborness of that simple r'n'b riff on "Truth and the Abstract Blues" is kind of disturbing.


The writers are still blogging:

The Jazz Clinic
Mostly concert reviews, between Philadelphia and New York.

Scribe Life
Informs us that in Kenny G's world, Miles loved him. The American obsession (be it love or hate) with Kenny G is a phenomenon remote to me, but the article contains a number of comedy nuggets. For example: "I think my groupies are the college and high school saxophone players." At least, I hope it's comedy. Still, he claims a +1 golfing handicap, which proves that he can swing smoothly (ha ha).