Where I still owe Graham Collier a proper clarification — it's coming, I swear! (In the meanwhile, read an excerpt of his new book in the new Point of Departure.)
—Give The Young Drummers Some: For a new piece in the Times, Ben Ratliff briefly profiles five of today's top young drummers: Marcus Gilmore, Kendrick Scott, Tyshawn Sorey, Dan Weiss and Justin Faulkner, to go ahead and spare you the suspense. Most of those dudes were on my personal "players to look out for" list; the inclusion of 18-year-old phenom Faulkner was a little surprising to me, but not everyone gets to replace Jeff "Tain" Watts in Branford Marsalis' group. Ratliff did the same thing ten years ago, when New York had also just received a whole mess of percussion talent. Question: who else would have made your list of top drummers to emerge in the last 10 years?
—Appreciations Of Ornette Coleman: From Patti Smith, Moby, Yo La Tengo — and a few jazz musicians too. It's part of The Guardian's coverage of the Meltdown Festival in London, an annual cross-genre music event curated every year by a different music-world superstar. For his turn at the helm, Ornette, as indecipherable as he remains, has picked a killer lineup full of unlikely collaborations, including former sparring partners James "Blood" Ulmer, Charlie Haden (with the Liberation Music Orchestra plus Four Tet and Steve Reid), the Master Musicians of Jajouka and Yoko Ono. But plenty of other folks will appear too: Moby, The Roots with David Murray (?!), Robert Wyatt and so forth. Back to the actual article for a moment: easily my favorite part is where Pat Metheny admits he still has no idea what Ornette's theory of "harmolodics" actually entails. Fortunately, this doesn't matter.
—Baseball And The Origins Of The Word "Jazz": A little lexicographic research turns up the first print use of the word jazz — in reporting about West Coast minor league baseball in 1912. According to the post, the term gained some traction as a synonym for "pep, vim, vigor" on the field. The slang may have spread to a band hired to entertain the team during spring training, whose members eventually moved to Chicago. That's where the first documented use of the word jazz (or "jass" or "jas") to refer to a style of music crops up in 1915, in the Chicago Tribune — its first print appearance in New Orleans, the birthplace of the music, emerges in 1916. No idea if that actually means anything about the origins of the term, since oral transmission probably was in place well before it hit newsprint. But intriguing nonetheless.
—Jazz Is To Cocaine As ...: More old news clippings: according to a 1925 medical column in the New York Amsterdam News, a black-owned newspaper, jazz music can be "as intoxicating as morphine or cocaine" — and potentially as dangerous. This, one might add, ran on April Fool's Day, so no idea if it's actually in earnest, but there are few clues to the contrary. Aside from marveling at the reactionary attitude of an earlier age — with modern views on gangsta rap, black metal, etc in mind — one wonders if the author had just come back all wound up from seeing Louis Armstrong during his brief 1924-1925 New York sojourn. That would have been a drug I would have gladly OD-ed on.
—Ethan Iverson, ESL Instructor: I'm just going to give you this link right here and let you do what you will with that.