Where we say, with a tragicomic grimace, RIAA LOL.
--Jazz Is For Loser Dorks: The blog Twenty Dollars examines a few recent unflattering pop-culture portrayals of jazz fans. And I think their take on it is pretty much right. First, if we can't laugh at ourselves, then all is lost. (Hiphopketball: A Jazzebration!) More importantly, being a jazz fan needs to be seen as cool again if this stuff is going to be listened to. I have no five-year plan for this culture war, but I do think good jazz -- both old and new -- certainly has a place in alternative urban culture. Maybe focusing on that front, and not so much on the "jazz is sophisticated" trope, would be a good start. That, and not revealing our inner loser-dorks in public all the damn time. You! Stop snickering.
--Cassandra Wilson In The Classroom: Here's Howard Reich's full text, plus a video report, of Cassandra Wilson's pro bono collaboration with Chicago Public School students. For two weeks, one of the world's best-known jazz musicians is doing an intensive workshop with Kenwood Academy choral students: she writes song skeletons, and the students improvise and write their own verses. Much of it is also designed to introduce the students to Yoruba culture. They perform soon; I want to go to there.
--Sun Ra & Lightning Bolt: Cosmic Connection: That reverses the order of the published headline (for jazz purposes) of this XLR8R video story, exploring the connection between the out-jazz orchestra and the virtuosic drum-and-[EDIT: bass]-guitar noise duo. Both were invited to Providence, R.I.'s Foo Fest, which brings to mind an idea that Lars floated in his Jazz Now list introduction: if you like certain forms of extreme music, e.g. noisy rock, free jazz is not far away. (Howard Mandel also makes this point about a resurgence of interest in Albert Ayler.) At least for Lightning Bolt themselves -- who I heartily admire, I might say -- that seems to be the case.
--Evan Parker Interview: More on scruffy free-jazz reedmen: if you were intrigued by Lars' YouTube mining of British saxophonist Evan Parker, here's a new interview, courtesy of Peter Margasak at the Chicago Reader. It focuses on a key element of Parker's recent work: electronics.
--5 Years Of Jazz At Lincoln Center's Rose Hall: Larry Blumenfeld takes stock of JALC as it opens its sixth season with [wait for it] Ornette Coleman this Saturday. Telling are Dave Douglas' comments:
"Has Jazz at Lincoln Center's promotion of jazz succeeded in assisting music and musicians? Without a doubt, yes. ... Has its strict genre boundaries and corporate image succeeded in silencing creative music and musicians? Without a doubt, no. On balance, the influence is overwhelmingly positive."
So are the Jazz Wars between the neocons and the genre-liberated over? Well, they've been over for some time, say some. At least there's a truce: we can all agree to disagree on particulars if nobody is endangering anyone else any more. And with the addition of executive director Adrian Ellis, and with ticket sales increasing, things may in fact be looking up for the organization itself.
--Miles Davis: The Complete Columbia Album Collection: It exists! At Amazon.com. (H/T Largehearted Boy via Mike.)