Musings on Wynton after the Jazz at Lincoln Center (part 2 of 2)
1/30/2000 - But if one reviews the history of jazz and what has made it great, we are, ironically, almost always consistently struck by the fact that with the exception of the swing music of the 20's and 30's, most of jazz's crazy, individualistic "innovations" were the bane of many critics and the general public when they were first created; and that it took a long time for many of these developments to resonate with the public at all; in short, to be "popular", if ever (Thelonious Monk, whom many people still regard as "avant-garde" compared to the more "traditional" bebop fare of his day, is but one example). So the argument that the fact that a music is well-received by the public makes it more "legitimate" is certainly challengable (and I won't even site such "popular" artists as Kenny G :-)).
And much as JALC is an unquestionable success story, is this really, as Wynton purports, in itself an argument for the legitimacy of their musical values? Or is it, in fact, as I believe, a self-fulfilling prophecy? What if someone with a broader outlook were in charge of JALC, someone who treated the entire history of the music, with all of its crazy offshoots, it's forays into pop, funk, acid-jazz, avant-garde expression, and various conceptual approaches (not just bebop/swing) with equal weight; who welcomed innovation and commissioned some of the most individual compositional voices - Henry Threadgill, David Murray, Ornette Coleman, Anthony Davis, and on and on, to produce yearly large scale works. What if this person were as appealing as Wynton as spokesperson, and who expressed these open-minded views with the same fervor that Wynton does his more conservative ones. Can't one imagine in this instance that this more open-minded jazz philosophy would become the predominant view of what is legit in jazz? Isn't what is and isn't considered legitimate in jazz more, after all, about politics and posturing that some "objective" universals? Can't there, in short, be room for more branches of the "jazz tree"?

In my opinion, in order for jazz to be vibrant and to continue to grow, it is actually crucial that people reflect in their expression innovation; personal expression; that people not be afraid to try something new. Jazz is about innovation. Yes, it's about tradition, too, but as some have said, "the only tradition in jazz is innovation" - ie. you must build upon the past, or the music perishes. And yes, if one is honest in one's expression; if one reflects one's own life experiences to create a personal music, then some will find it "avant-garde", or, conversely, perhaps "commercial", or many of the other generalized dismissives often hurled at any form of jazz-related expression not related to the more narrow definition of jazz with a capital "J". But is this any different than what Monk went through, when he first emerged, with his music? Or Ornette Coleman? Or Miles? Or Coltrane?
It's safe to "legitimize" jazz by equating it with classical music - who, after all, can argue with a music proven by the ages to be great. But jazz ISN'T classical music. It's a living, breathing, art form. And people are needed out there that are courageous enough to forge new pathways, to push for the new; and to see how this relates to what has come before without, however, losing the "now".
Jazz on the Hudson is a small step, and I'm happy to be a small part of it.
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