Philadelphia-born trumpeter, composer Wallace Roney died today of complications from COVID-19. I remember seeing him at d.c. space in the late 70s with his brother Antoine on tenor. He was ferocious even then. That was even before he joined Tony Williams and Art Blakey. And though his sound and concept are often linked to Miles Davis, he carved out his own sound and identity, recording more than 20 sessions as leader and more as collaborator. Here are 10 clips to show Wallace in his glory.
Thanks to Ukrainian cameraman Vladlen Noll for sending me this interview he shot in Kyiv a decade ago. I’d never seen it before. Thanks also to Anna Cerino for her insightful questions.
I recently dug up, dusted off and added some photos to this old report on my State Department-sponsored lecture tour to Ukraine back in 2004. Subsequent visits have shown interesting things still happening there, so I offer this post for the sake of context and warm memories.
A wide-ranging, revealing, pre-concert interview with clarinetist Eddie Daniels and pianist Roger Kellaway at the Library of Congress, Feb. 25, 2011. Lots of great information, knowledge and fascinating stories I’d never heard before.
I was recently interviewed about the state of jazz by culture journalist Bjarke Due Gunslev for the Danish newspaper Information. For reasons of space, he only used a few quotes in the final piece. I’ll now post below the entire interview we did in English via email, then at the bottom is the final article in Danish.
– Are there in your opinion criteria that has to be met for it to make sense to define a piece of music as jazz?
For me, there are traditions you can point to, or trends that emerge over time, but there’s no checklist or rulebook that says jazz must conform to one theory, aspect, formula or principle, and I’m glad there isn’t. That would be boring; the sort of thing rigid, humorless people dwell on. You might say such an attitude goes against the sprit or soul of jazz. Or, to borrow a term from the moldy figs of the 1960s, that paint-by-numbers approach is “anti-jazz.”
Journalist Margo Ormotsadze first interviewed me for Forbes last summer with provocative questions about the state of jazz. She recently followed up by asking a new set of questions via email. Here is her published interview in Russian which appeared in YEP.TODAY. The original interview in English is below.
I’m so used to interviewing others, I found it stimulating to be on the other side of the questions for a change. This interview was conducted by journalist Margo Ormotsadze via Skype on June 20, 2015 and published in both Russian and Ukrainan in Forbes Ukraine.
Here is the English version:
During a State Department-sponsored lecture tour of Estonia last April, I had the pleasure of talking to students in Tallinn, Pärnu, Narva and Tartu. Here is the talk from the Heino Eller Music School in Tartu. I sort of like the noir-ish effect of being shot in shadow.
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.
Larry Appelbaum and Archie Shepp (2016) photo by Monette Berthomier
…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