Wednesday, November 08, 2006

parochial blues

The calendar entry I wrote previewing Wynton Marsalis's show here actually generated a letter to the editor, expressing dismay. Expressing a lot of things, including the strange opinion that it's parochial, calling Marsalis "largely derivative" and calling Jazz at Lincoln Center "backward looking." On the contrary, one could argue that calling Marsalis a "National Treasure" (as the letter writer did) just might be...something like parochial. What is especially of note is that I write all sorts of snarky, backhanded blurbs for this Performing Arts calendar every week, and it was the Sacred Cow that generated the first letter ever.

Also of note is the flurry of interaction with Outpost Productions, who booked the event. I've known Outpost's director, Tom Guralnick, for many years. He and I are in email dialogue now about my comments. By the way, if you can get your hands on the Tom Guralnick Quartet with Steve Feld, I highly recommend it. Or any other of a number of Guralnick's kickass electroacoustic Mobile Saxophone and Mute Unit recordings. There's old stuff of mine, 1990 or so, with unbelievable bass sax playing by TG on there.

Today's show as a substitute DJ was very strange. I decided to focus on jazz vocals in the first hour, including Louis Armstrong, Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, Ella, as well as the too-hip Babs Gonzales and a Dizzy Gillespie vocal number. Oh yeah, Billy Eckstine too. I don't really hear jazz vocals and it was interesting listening. The strangest of all was probably Rae Pearl with Tadd Dameron, a number called "Casbah" that one critic has called "the most extravagant three minutes in be-bop history."

Call me parochial, but a lot of jazz vocal music is just bizarre. Then again, I'd rather hear CT's spoken word epic Chinampas than Diana Krall or Kurt Elling, so I guess that says something....

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