Pete Wareham on the importance of song in the "new" jazz-rock:
"I think, for me, it's mostly come out of songs," Wareham adds. "Doing jazz gigs and playing straight-ahead jazz standards, what you are doing is learning songs - great, brilliant songs - and how songs work. The main thing is writing songs, even if they don't have lyrics or vocals. I like all the different aesthetics that can contribute to what a song is. You can have someone with an acoustic guitar or with a distorted tuba, but if it's still a song, the aesthetic is relatively secondary to the form.I'm still getting the impression that somehow hanging on to the idea of the song, though well outside Tin Pan Alley conventions and very different from what that might have meant in '70s Fusion, has become fairly widespread.
Geoff Dyer, recounting his jazz-listening history, makes a comment that perhaps captures what is at the heart of the "is jazz dead?" problem:
it seems to me that an unspoken assumption underwrites many of the most successful ECM recordings: namely, that by the late 20th century you could make jazz only if you were simultaneously trying to find a way out of it.+
Jazz Thinks points to Matt Weiers's interview cache. The one with Don Byron contains interesting statements about singers:
As horn players, we grew up thinking that singers were like this lowly breed, but I don’t think it’s really like that. (...) When a singer is a great musician, he or she kind of raises the bar for a certain kind of expression.+
To dispel rumours that all he does is raise cactii, Peter Breslin has his recent series of duets concert for download. The crowd laughter on the duet with "movement/voice artist" Ruth Zaporah is pretty great.
Darcy has posted half of the latest Secret Society concert. Taylor Ho Bynum appraises the set, among other things, including Anthony Braxton's recent septet concerts. Had I known Matt Bauder and Nicole Mitchell had participated, I would have asked them about it yesterday... Taylor leads to bassist Carl Testa's blog and account of one of those concerts.
Speaking of the Exploding Star Orchestra, Daniel "SoundSlope" Melnick proves that bloggers aren't just armchair pundits, since he played a part in the group's initial stages. I'm surprised by the crowd's reaction at the ESO's first concert. Dan says "half of them or more got up and left in the course of the show." While I can understand not liking the more full-on improv sections, there's plenty of groove and even some bopping, too.
Dan links to an article on Charles Gayle and the state of the jazz CD business. It's unfortunate that the author tells you that you where you can't buy Gayle's Live At Glenn Miller Café (don't half of Ayler's albums have the same title?), but not that you can simply go to the Ayler Records website and order
Nate Chinen interviews Brad Mehldau and Pat Metheny. I'm still not really sold on the duo album, but I'm looking forward to seeing the quartet this summer.