Where we ask ourselves: Do journalists have that jazz? (Would we be journalists if we did?) (Don't answer that.)
—More Years In Review: At The Gig, Nate Chinen has borrowed a fantastic idea from Slate's The Music Club year-in-review epistolary exchange. He's asked some fellow jazz writers — all of them among my favorite and most-trusted critics — to participate in an e-mail dialogue about the year in jazz. Nate kicked it off, with Hank Shteamer and Peter Margasak following up. The New York Times' Ben Ratliff and All About Jazz - New York editor Andrey Henkin will follow. So far, the discussion has skewed a bit toward the so-called progressive side of things — which you might expect out of the crowd selected to do the typing — but maybe that's appropriate for a "gate-crashing" year, as Chinen writes.
Stay tuned for a few more looks at this year in jazz at ABS. In the meanwhile, you might also read David Adler's observations of 2009.
—JazzReach: I'm happy to see that JazzReach, a performance and education non-profit based in New York, has a new Web site. The folks there (there are two, really) work to present live multimedia jazz educational programs for kids around the country — plus clinics and master classes and the like — and the new site displays all this nicely. Their "resident ensemble" features modern heavy hitters like Marcus Strickland, Mark Gross, Joshua Ginsburg, Helen Sung and founder Hans Schuman, and their new program, Big Drum/Small World, commissioned new compositions from Lionel Loueke, Miguel Zenon, Yosvany Terry, Omer Avital and Rudresh Mahanthappa. There are recordings of the band, and song samples online, if you're interested in hearing what they do. (Full disclosure: I interned in their office one summer.)
—The Schedules Are Out: The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival lineup is announced. As is the schedule of the Winter Jazz Fest, now a two-day event (it's like the condensed SXSW or CMJ of new jazz acts, except in the dead of winter in New York — good times).
—The Modern Jazz Opera: Also circulating around the jazz blogosphere: this video is flat-out AMAZING.