It’s all there under Rhythm and Blues, and it’s a lot. Pianists reign supreme at DTM, but drummers are also notably featured, for example Paul Motian, Ben Riley, and Donald Bailey.
Three of the deepest dives were easy because I barely needed to research, the topics were so dear to my heart:
Thelonious Monk Centennial He’s been my lodestar since I got interested in the music, and finally I wrote about the entire canon.
The Breakthrough of Geri Allen We all loved her. It was heartbreaking when she died so young, just two weeks after this 60th birthday celebration.
Ornette 1: Forms and Sounds A lot of written criticism about Ornette Coleman has been worthless blather. Part one offers my opinion about Harmolodics. Part two, This Is Our Mystic, has extensive audio samples.
Three of the essays were about respecting race. Looking at them now I feel they all could use a proper update. I look forward to revisiting them with greater wisdom in print.
Reverential Gesture (Duke Ellington) Really I’m just at the beginning of my Duke studies, but this post helped clarify my thinking.
The Drum Thing, or, A Brief History of Whiplash, or, “I’m Generalizing Here” A hit movie, ugh.
All in the Mix (Lennie Tristano) L.T. is one of my great influences, and I really “practiced in public” when I laid this one out there. Lee Konitz read it and didn’t object, which meant the world to me.
Four of the deep dives were practical. I wanted to sound more like these artists and needed to school myself. Unlike the quick Monk, Geri, and Ornette pieces, these took months of research.
Red’s Bells (Red Garland) Now I steal from Red every time I play a jazz gig.
Bud Powell Anthology Bud is the greatest bebop pianist, and this survey includes dozens of transcriptions.
Lester Young Centennial I still sing and practice my Pres solos.
In Search of James P. Johnson My main man. I’ve got a band arrangement of “Carolina Shout” coming down the pike…
The Bad Plus is over for me and Lorraine Gordon died.
The heavy technical analysis on DTM was partially a counterweight to being in a band celebrated for the appropriation of indie rock.
Going forward I’m interested in opening up and writing for the general congregation, as evinced in my Lorraine obit and the articles at the New Yorker Culture Desk.
(If I would still do some heavy tech on DTM the topics are obvious: McCoy Tyner, Woody Shaw, Joe Henderson, John Coltrane. Yeah. Well, I need a clone, obviously, but ya never know. I’ll try to get to them too.)