Had the pleasure of interviewing Lou Donaldson, Michael Cuscuna and Jason Moran at the Blue Note at 75 panel discussion, May 10, 2014 at the Library of Congress. I was a bit under the weather that day, but the conversation lifted my spirit. Special note of thanks to Bruce Lundvall for his contributions to jazz and American music.
I recently found a handwritten transcript of my unpublished interview with saxophonist, composer and educator Archie Shepp. The first part of the conversation was taped on Feb. 8, 1982 in a College Park motel room the morning after Shepp’s concert at the University of Maryland. The conclusion was recorded immediately after in my car on the way to National Airport. Shepp, at the time an associate professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, began by discussing the flaws in our educational system.
…I don’t think much of degrees anyway. I think the educational system is pretty shoddy. There’s a great deal of hypocrisy. It’s inefficient, irrelevant. It’s outmoded.
So what do you advise your students when they come talk to you?
To completely rehaul and overhaul the educational system when they get out of school. Sure, because I’m part of the system doesn’t mean that I subscribe to every aspect of it. Just like being an American or being a Russian or anything else; you can love your country without having to accept everything that people do as absolutely correct. I feel that way about the educational system. It has a lot of flaws. It’s racist and it’s a system that unfortunately perpetuates racism at the school where I teach. I think they’ve done very little to encourage certainly the participation of other, shall we say, musical cultures in their program. In fact, they seem to feel that the only “classical” music per se is Western classical music, which is a total lie and an oversight. After all, there are many, many people who have musical cultures that are much older that those we find in Europe and the U.S. The Chinese and the Africans and the Indians, for example. Go ahead, man; what did you want to ask me? Continue reading →
Pianist, composer Uri Caine talks about coming up in the Philadelphia jazz scene and his approach to composition, improvisation and creativity with Larry Appelbaum at the Atlas Performing Arts Theater in Washington DC.
Near the end of 2012, the Library of Congress acquired the papers of drummer, composer, bandleader, activist and educator Max Roach. The collection is massive, comprising more than 100,000 items including scores, manuscripts, correspondence, photographs, and business papers, in addition to audio and video recordings. To announce the acquisition, the Library invited the five children of Max Roach; Daryl, Maxine, Raoul, Dara and Ayo, along with Janus Adams Roach and poet Sonia Sanchez to help discuss and celebrate the legacy of Max Roach.
Iola Brubeck (b. Corning, CA, 1923, d. March 12, 2014) was a radio broadcaster, actress and journalist who studied at the College of the Pacific and married Dave Brubeck in 1942. She worked as Dave’s manager and publicist, wrote lyrics to many of his songs and collaborated with him on writing “The Real Ambassadors,” a musical theater piece starring Louis Armstrong and Carmen McRae.
Trumpeter Christian Scott on the final piece of his first set at Bohemian Caverns in Washington D.C. Band includes Lawrence Fields, piano; Kris Funn, bass; Jamire Williams, drums; Matt Stevens, guitar; Louis Fouché, saxophone. Aug. 16, 2012.
Along with Beyoncé Knowles, Robert Glasper and Jason Moran, pianist Helen Sung is among the celebrated alumni of Houston, Texas’ High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. After preparing for a classical concert career, Sung fell in love with jazz, graduated from the Thelonious Monk Institute and went on to work with Clark Terry, Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter, Regina Carter and T.S. Monk while also touring internationally with her own groups. We met for this midnight listening session following her quintet performance at the Kennedy Center’s Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival in May. Sung’s new recording as a leader, Anthem for a New Day, is her first for Concord Jazz.
1. Kenny Barron
“Triste” (from #Kenny Barron & The Brazilian Knights#, Sunnyside). Barron, piano; Lula Galvão, guitar. Recorded in 2012. Continue reading →