Monday, April 13, 2009

Notes from the Net: Kind of Blue as business case study, Osby on tour, Brubeck recovering, plus news, reviews, interviews, and more

Delayed for a day because StLJN HQ was temporarily buried under an avalanche of chocolate eggs apparently left by a giant anthropomorphic bunny rabbit, here's the latest weekly compilation of news briefs and links related to jazz, improvisation, and creative music in St. Louis, including news of musicians originally from the Gateway City, recent visitors, and coming attractions, plus assorted other items of interest:

* Starting, as we often do, with some Miles Davis-related links, the Wall Street Journal this past week had an interesting essay by John Edward Hasse, curator of American Music at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History and the author of Beyond Category: The Life and Genius of Duke Ellington, re-evaluating Kind of Blue on the occasion of its 50th anniversary.

KoB now also has become a case study for Harvard Business School, in which the authors, HBS professor Robert D. Austin and Carl Størmer, praise Davis' "radical simplicity" as a means of reinvention that could work as well for business as it did in music. Lastly, here's a recent video interview with hip-hop producer Easy Mo Bee, in which he discusses, among many other subjects, his work producing Davis (pictured) on some of the trumpeter's final recording sessions.

* Saxophonist and St. Louis native Greg Osby, who was back home this past weekend to play at Jazz at the Bistro, is headed out on tour later this month with jam-band guitarist Jimmy Herring in support of Herring's new CD Lifeboat. Herring's tour band also includes drummer Jeff Sipe, keyboardist Scott Kinsey and bassist Oteil Burbridge.

* From the "coming attractions" file, here's the Associated Press' review of trumpeter Chris Botti's new CD/DVD, Chris Botti in Boston. Botti was here last month to do a benefit performance for St. Louis Children's Hospital, and will return in September to play the Fox Theatre. The trumpeter also was featured in a video for Newsweek magazine's Friday arts video series, "7 Things You Didn't Know About Chris Botti," which can be seen here.

* From the "recent visitors" file, there's some good news about pianist and composer Dave Brubeck, who's back home recovering after a two-week hospitalization for a viral infection. Brubeck's illness forced him to miss the premiere in California last week of a new orchestral work inspired by Ansel Adams. (His son Darius Brubeck performed in his place.) Before the concert, NPR recorded an interview with Brubeck about the new work, which you'll find here. Brubeck was in St. Louis most recently last fall to perform at the Sheldon Concert Hall.

* NPR also had a feature about drummer Matt Wilson's band Arts & Crafts and their new CD, The Scenic Route. Wilson was in St. Louis with his Quartet last week for a concert at the Black Cat Theatre.

* Here 's a review of bassist Victor Wooten's new book, The Music Lesson: A Spiritual Search for Growth through Music. Wooten's most recent St. Louis gig was last month at The Pageant.

* If you're a fan of Return to Forever, you may be interested in this post over at Howard Mandel's blog Jazz Beyond Jazz about RTF's Al Di Meola, in which the guitarist "let it be known that he agrees that some of Return to Forever's music is bombastic -- and over-long! He describes 2008 RTF juggernaut as a nostalgia trip, fun for a while, but eventually not so much," and adds that "Chick Corea, despite his vaunted interest in communication, didn't pay attention to di Meola's opinion that audiences didn't want 20 minute unaccompanied solos and two-song second halves of concerts." RTF's reunion tour included a stop at St. Louis' Fox Theatre.

* Finally, a couple of items of more general interest, starting with a new issue of the fine jazz and creative music 'zine Point of Departure, which is now available online here.

* And, for those mulling the future of the music business in the digital era, Dave Allen, formerly of the rock band Gang of Four, recently wrote a blog post that provides a thought-provoking examination of "the end of the music album as an organizing principle" here.

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