Musings on Wynton after the Jazz at Lincoln Center (part 1 of 2)
1/31/2000 - Just got back from, of all things, a press conference announcing Lincoln Center's 2000-2001 season, of which I am unexpectedly a part. They've started a series of "Jazz on the Hudson" pairing so-called "mainstream" and "avant-garde" pairs of duos together in a single evening; I, in a pairing with Hamiet Bluiett, will, apparently, be the "avant-garde" half, in Mar. of 2001.
The whole press affair, which included hors d'oeuvres, plus speeches by Wynton Marsalis and others and a performance by his Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra and others, really revived in me the urge to express some of my own views on the whole neo-classical movement. Much as I am pleased that they are trying, with this Hudson series, to expand slightly their definition of what does and does not constitute "legitimate" jazz, I found myself being disturbingly intoxicated by the sheer force of "legitimacy" created by the occasion, as Wynton described his very single-mindedly Louis Armstrong and overall traditional approach to programming JALC will present next year. There is something strangely comforting about a vision of jazz which offers a "respectable" reference point - the equating of Jazz with classical music; which offers a very systematized approach to what should be taught, and to what, in fact, should be regarded as jazz or non-jazz in the first place. In their speeches, the JALC people described today a program which has outreach to thousands upon thousands of high school students, all of them learning about Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong and "swing" and "blues", plus world tours, bringing the music of the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra to people all over the world.
So what's wrong with this picture? Not to sound like a broken record (not only my own broken record, but many others' as well), but jazz ISN'T the same as classical music, and it doesn't need this parallel to be considered "great" - it is a music with entirely different aesthetic values, some of which (mostly by coincidence), may coincide with the classical world, but overall most of which should be taken on their own terms. There is nothing wrong with learning the tradition, and in many ways, I credit Wynton for teaching people about the rich legacy of the history of jazz. But jazz isn't only about history. Everything that needs to be said in jazz hasn't been said. It isn't enough to play Louis Armstrong's repertoire, and to joke about how "we're trying to bring our own thing to the music - but this is Louis so all we can do is try" (the implication, at least as I took it, being that Louis is so unapproachable, etc. that it's enough to try and play his music respectably like he did it, without building on it or adding further innovation).
Jazz, in fact, has always been as much - if not more - about the future than the past. At one point, Wynton made an astonishing generalization about "other" forms of expression that to him presumably fall outside the sphere of legitimate jazz, stating that there was basically no need for the more "abstract" forms of jazz (and by this I presume he means all of the various musics that emerged after 1969 - the loft jazz scene, the AACM, all the way up to the downtown "Knitting Factory" scene, etc., etc., etc.) He supported this notion by arguing that these abstract forms were, after all, less popular than what JALC does; that with the more presumably "avant-garde" stuff, the music needed to be propped up by government grants, etc., while JALC was actually genuinely popular and accessible.
feature download
Improvisations on Bach's Goldberg Variations (tribute to Glenn Gould)
From my recent concert at the Barrie Jazz Festival, presented as a part of a concert of "Canadian Inspirations", from Neil  Young to Alanis Morisette (stream the entire second set from the "Canadian Inspirations" concert  here (D.D. Jackson Radio)).
living jazz audio & video podcasts
Organ Nation demo
Audio - Demo recording of our new collective group featuring myself on Hammond B3 organ; Alex Harding on bari sax; Walter Szymanski on trumpet; and Brandon Lewis on drums. Recorded at Dubway Studios, Feb./09.
Organ Nation at Cornelia Street Cafe
Audio - Live recording of our collective group Organ Nation at our premiere gig this past Feb./08 at the Cornelia Street Cafe featuring myself: organ; Alex Harding - baritone sax; Walter Szymanski - trumpet; and Brandon Lewis - drums.
living jazz weblog
8/23/2012 - recent activity...
4/28/2011 - Billy Bang, R.I.P.
9/1/2010 - Freeplay music and
4/15/2010 - latest activities
10/10/2009 - Manhatpro
2/28/2009 - past few months update...
7/14/2008 - "Canadian Inspirations"
3/10/2008 - hear my solo piano performances at Alanis Morissette Tribute concert in Ottawa
12/24/2007 - R.I.P., Oscar Peterson
10/27/2007 - A chat with Andrew Dubber of New Music Strategies
10/4/2007 - James Carter recording, Moonfest, & other recent activities...
8/1/2007 - New Music Strategies plus MOMA concert
7/7/2007 - on Chicago City Limits and other "mini-successes" of the day...
7/1/2007 - I couldn't resist... and bought an iPhone!...
6/30/2007 - performance with Ahmed Abdullah at Sweet Rhythm
6/2/2007 - new Living Jazz Podcast is up...
12/19/2006 - gigs about town with Dean Bowman
11/29/2006 - appearance on CBC's "Fuse" program
10/14/2006 - Reflections on the birth of my new son Jarrett in Podcast #19
9/11/2006 - In Memory of 9/11
7/14/2006 - Trudeau opera news spreading fast
6/20/2006 - my Trudeau opera
6/6/2006 - John Hicks memorial
4/29/2006 - jazz opera Quebecite in New Brunswick
3/16/2006 - "Serenity Song" track from upcoming "Serenity Song" CD now available for free download
3/8/2006 - Thoughts on recent Bret Primack Seminar on Web Publicity
2/27/2006 - Chris Howes interview plus more updates
1/14/2006 - live from Cambodia: thoughts on my IAJE panel (1 of 2)
1/13/2006 - Live from Cambodia: thoughts on my IAJE panel (2 of 2)
12/6/2005 - My first Artistshare blog entry
7/5/2005 - a new Trudeau opera
3/25/2005 - Solo piano in Taiwan (part 1 of 2)
3/24/2005 - solo piano in Taiwan (part 2 of 2)
2/18/2005 - Musician-in-Residence, St. John's College (Part 1 of 4)
2/18/2005 - Musician-in-Residence, St. John's College (Part 2 of 4)
2/17/2005 - Musician-in-Residence, St. John's College (Part 3 of 4)
2/16/2005 - Musician-in-Residence, St. John's College (Part 4 of 4)
1/4/2005 - New Year's Eve in Japan (part 1 of 2)
1/3/2005 - New Year's Eve in Japan (part 2 of 2)
9/15/2004 - JaraSum Jazz Festival, South Korea
8/14/2002 - Bluiett/Jackson/El'Zabar mini-west coast tour
3/4/2002 - Last Few Months Update (part 1 of 2)
3/4/2002 - Last Few Months Update (part 2 of 2)
3/3/2002 - Thoughts on 9/11
9/9/2001 - New Music Festival Premiere (part 1 of 2)
9/8/2001 - New Music Festival Premiere (part 2 of 2)
9/13/2000 - D.D. Jackson Group in Japan
7/1/2000 - A Canadian in New York (part 1 of 2)
6/30/2000 - A Canadian in New York (part 2 of 2)
5/20/2000 - Yukon adventure
3/13/2000 - Juno Awards
3/5/2000 - Tel Aviv
3/5/2000 - My New Columbus Band
2/1/2000 - Musings on Wynton after the Jazz at Lincoln Center (part 1 of 2)
1/31/2000 - Musings on Wynton after the Jazz at Lincoln Center (part 2 of 2)
9/10/1999 - My first RCA CD's
9/9/1999 - Re-addressing my classical past (part 1 of 3)
9/8/1999 - Re-addressing my classical past (part 2 of 3)
9/7/1999 - Re-addressing my classical past (part 3 of 3)
3/21/1999 - Thoughts on Fred Hopkins and Jaki Byard
11/28/1998 - African Journal (part 1 of 5)
11/28/1998 - African Journal (Part 2 of 5)
11/28/1998 - African Journal (part 3 of 5)
11/28/1998 - African Journal (part 4 of 5)
11/27/1998 - African Journal (part 5 of 5)
10/31/1998 - "Effusion"
10/28/1998 - Hamiet Bluiett's Strange Second Set
9/18/1998 - Perilous Journey From Japan
9/18/1998 - Strange Duos with Kurt Elling
6/5/1998 - "Blood on the Keys"
2/22/1998 - Thomas Chapin
1/20/1998 - Duets with James Carter
11/13/1997 - "Ultimate" big band
7/1/1997 - 2 surreal gigs in Canada
5/26/1997 - First tour of Japan
5/5/1997 - Thoughts on James Carter
3/1/1997 - Thoughts on Don Pullen
2/20/1997 - "David Murray Week",. Columbus, Ohio
12/3/1996 - Duo Sessions
10/28/1996 - "Freedom" in East Germany
10/3/1996 - Tribute to Don Pullen session