Universal Remonster 9


My program notes for Henry Threadgill’s upcoming JALC performances are online. (UPDATE: The performances are postponed and will be rescheduled, more details TK.)

Lewis Porter listens to the most avant-garde moments of Art Tatum. That’s what I’m talkin’ about.

Adam Shatz offers the most detailed history of Mal Waldron yet. Bravo!

(Hmm. Tatum and Waldron are just about as far apart as you can get and still call it the same kind of music.)

Aaron Gilbreath researches Jutta Hipp. I went through Hipp’s Blue Note output earlier this year and was struck by an emotionally resonant “After Hours.” This Avery Parrish cover is overlooked in most articles about Hipp but it proves that you can play the blues no matter who you are or where you are from.

Another Hipp track that really stood out is her own composition, “Horacio,” written for her friend and influence Horace Silver, The articulation is perfect. It’s kind of like Horace laced with Tristano. Really hip. (Really Hipp?)


Will Robin writes about Amy Beach at 150.  It is unquestionably odd that in this moment of heightened identity politics there are no performances of Beach scheduled this year by major orchestras. The Gaelic Symphony is enjoyable, but for my own taste, that kind of richly upholstered romanticism works even better with a star soloist. Beach’s Piano Concerto is a truly fine work next door to Rachmaninoff. It’s arguably better than those two MacDowell concerti, so, the next time someone wants an “early American piano concerto,” skip the MacDowells and play Beach instead.

I don’t mean to brag, but it takes something for somebody to unearth a powerful jazz pianist I haven’t heard of. Mr. Matthew Guerrieri manages this unlikely feat with an overview of François Rilhac,

Jeff Levenson on the late Walter Becker.

Peter Hum on the late John Abercrombie.

Related: Ted Panken’s great interview with Abercrombie from 2012.

Linda May Han Oh on Geri Allen.

Sam Stephenson has a short but intriguing comment on those wonderful Bob Parent photos of Bird, Monk, Mingus, and Haynes.

New to me: Lester Young plays a small group “Tickle Toe” in 1941.






Tix: http://www.jazzstandard.com/?event=20170912

“Like any classic videogame, the Hunt had simply reached a new, more difficult level. A new level often required an entirely new strategy.” — Ernest Cline, Ready Player One

Any requests?

Ron and Billy know each other of course, but there are only a couple records that feature them in tandem, the most notable being an early Buddy Montgomery and a later Pepper Adams. (I’ve paid some attention to their Herbie Hancock Jamey Aebersold Play-A-Long as well.) As far as I know this is the first time they have played a NYC hit together in decades.

Last week I was interviewed by Jeremiah Cymerman for his podcast.


Drift a Melody so Strange and Sweet

Sentimental Mood real book

Up at the New Yorker Culture Desk: Duke Ellington, Bill Evans, and One Night in New York City.

Very special thanks to Mark Stryker, who gave exceptionally valuable feedback to a weak first draft, and Sarah Deming, who sprinkled delicious fairy dust over the structure at the eleventh hour. I had many other readers who influenced major details including Ben Ratliff, Loren Schoenberg, James Newton, Jed Eisenmann, and Anthony Coleman (who is quoted in the piece). I’ve hardly ever worked with a magazine editor but Michael Agger was kind and professional.

Steve Little, the drummer with Ellington at the Rainbow Grill that night, is featured in a DTM interview.

A sentence about the Village Vanguard was cut by the New Yorker: “Fifty years later, the Vanguard is still the hippest place in town, with a management that cares more about the audience enjoying a special ambience rather than filling every seat, every set.”

Of course I’m associated with the Vanguard, so it’s certainly fair to cut the plug for the club. Indeed, I’m working there this week, and took a photo last night in the kitchen that validates the idea of it being “the hippest place in town.” Left to right: Harold Mabern, Billy Hart, Steve Coleman, Joshua Redman.


Summer Vacation


(Millau, France)

DTM, my twitter, FB, etc. is gonna go dark for a month, will return mid-August when the Billy Hart Quartet plays the Village Vanguard.

My fans and friends really like the interview led by Matthew Kassel for DownBeat.com. Thanks Matt!

Next week, after TBP plays Ronnie Scott’s for four nights, I’m going to join my old pal Martin Speake at the Vortex. (Old DTM: Martin’s guest post about John Taylor.) After that, Sarah and I will unplug completely and be grateful audience members at the St Endellion Music Festival in Cornwall. The goal is not to check phones or email for the duration….we’ll see if we succeed….From there I will move to the Vallekilde summer jazz workshop where my fellow faculty includes Ambrose Akinmusire, Mark Turner, Jen Shyu, Linda May Han Oh, and John Hollenbeck.

Looking further ahead, I’m somehow leading a trio with Ron Carter and Billy Hart at the Jazz Standard September 12. (Any requests?) Also on the way is the premiere of my own Concerto to Scale with the American Composers Orchestra on April 6, 2018. For more details about these and other future projects, sign up for Floyd Camembert Reports.

Doctor Who is in the news. When I was in fifth grade I took third prize in a convention costume contest dressed as Jon Pertwee (the judges included Mary Tamm). Like some other grumpy dinosaurs I don’t always like the reboot much (it’s too overblown and sentimental, plus the music is a drag, bring back Dudley Simpson’s atonal mystery!) but nonetheless I keep watching. Part of what keeps me interested is the overt identity politics. This seems to be the topic of our times, and basic entertainment like comic books and children’s sci-fi is where the rubber is meeting the road. In the end, the reboot of Doctor Who will be a fairly precise record of advances towards equality. At times this means there’s something of a hyper-banal “focus group” aspect to this progression. Still, that advance does need to happen, so: Bravo. Very much looking forward to the first female Doctor, Jodie Whittaker!

For light summer reading I have a very strong recommendation, Conclave by Robert Harris. I stayed up all night, it’s the most ruthlessly compelling thriller I’ve read in years. A good comparison might be The Queen’s Gambit by Walter Tevis. Both use a byzantine closed system (papal politics or chess tournaments) to non-violent but incredibly exciting ends. In their way, both these books also mark political advances as well.

DTM this year so far:

Monk @ 100

The Breakthrough of Geri Allen

Interview with James Newton

Interview with Miranda Cuckson

“There is no ‘jazz harmony,’ only ‘harmony'”

Don’t forget the blues!

One man’s opinion about how to play for dance class

Lou Harrison at 100

Pop Musicology

Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou

A quick visit and video with Charles McPherson

Mary Ruefle and Claudia Rankine

David Sanborn on Phillip Wilson

Interview with Geoffrey Keezer

Interview with Robert Glasper (some great stuff in this one even though it was widely criticized)

A visit to Louis Armstrong’s house

Jazz mags from the 50s

RIP Colin Dexter

RIP Buck Hill

RIP Arthur Blythe

RIP Misha Mengelberg

RIP Nat Hentoff

The intersection of jazz and capitalism was of incredible value to the music in its heyday. No jazz cat got a grant until at least the ’70s. The players made music to be sold, and people bought the music because they had to have it.

Not that jazz and capitalism has always been a perfect match, either. Hyland Harris has sent along three items “featuring” Dewey Redman, John Coltrane, and Milt Buckner. Presented without further comment:



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