Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Notes from the Net: A tribute to Miles Davis and Gil Evans; new CDs from Terence Blanchard and John Patitucci; plus news, reviews, interviews & more

Here's the latest compilation of assorted 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:

* A group including former Miles Davis drummer Jimmy Cobb, Gil Evans' son Miles Evans, Christian McBride, Terence Blanchard, Nicholas Payton, Howard Johnson and Peter Erskine recently gathered at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles for "Miles Davis/Gil Evans: Still Ahead" a concert paying tribute to Davis' and Evans' collaboration on the albums Sketches of Spain, Miles Ahead and Porgy and Bess. Here are reviews of the show from Variety and the Los Angeles Times

For more Davis-related reviews, see this piece from AllAboutJazz.com's John Kelman on the recently issued DVD That's What Happened: Miles in Germany 1987, and this post from Rifftides' Doug Ramsey reviewing new CDs, including the recent reissue compilation of Davis' and Sonny Rollins' 1950s sessions.

And, via The Miles Davis Movie, we learn that actor Don Cheadle said during a recent press appearance at ComicCon in San Diego that he still hopes to do the proposed Hollywood biopic of Davis.

* The group Trio 3, which includes saxophonist and former St. Louisan Oliver Lake, this year has issued two CDs , At This Time and Berne Concert; you can read a new review of both albums, written by Clifford Allen for AllAboutJazz.com, here.

* Saxophonist/composer (and onetime Webster U. student) John Zorn's Tzadik label has several new releases this month, including one by Zorn himself called O'o.

* Trumpeter Terence Blanchard, who was in St. Louis in May to play at Jazz at the Bistro, has signed with Concord Jazz and is releasing a new CD, Choices

* Bassist John Patitucci (pictured) who will play the Bistro next spring, also has released a new CD on Concord. You can read a review of Patitucci's Remembrance from the UK Independent here, and hear audio streams of sample tracks here and here.

* Bassist Christian McBride, who's also coming to the Bistro for a four-night run in November, recently was interviewed on The Jazz Session podcast. Rifftides' Ramsey also has a take on McBride's new CD Kind of Brown here.

* The Bad Plus' pianist Ethan Iverson and basssit Reid Anderson recently teamed with avant-bop drummer Paul Motian for some dates at NYC's Village Vanguard, reviewed by the New York Times' Nate Chinen here. The Bad Plus will return to St. Louis in January to play at Jazz at the Bistro.

*Lastly, the Wall Street Journal's Terry Teachout has gotten some attention in the jazz blogosphere and elsewhere for a recent article entitled "Can Jazz Be Saved?" that draws some gloomy conclusions based on the National Endowment for the Arts’ latest Survey of ­Public Participation in the Arts. Fortunately, in an entry on his Jazz Beyond Jazz blog, the ever wise Howard Mandel already has refuted most of the rather tired arguments contained in the piece, noting that critics have been trying to write obituaries for jazz for at least 60 years now.

What struck me about Teachout's article is that he just now seems to be noticing that much ongoing jazz activity has moved from the commercial sphere associated with popular music into the not-for-profit world of concert halls, universities, and arts presenters, a trend that's been ongoing for decades. His principal prescription - that jazz musicians need to embrace the Internet and new media to build a new, younger audience - isn't particularly original either, although he's not wrong about it. All in all, I'd say Teachout's article seems notable more for simply having appeared in a high-profile media outlet than for the quality of the thinking and/or argument contained therein.

(Edited after posting to correct a typo and revise a reference to AllAboutJazz.com.)

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