Thursday, September 11, 2008

News Round-Up: Lincoln Center Galore

I know what you're thinking: "Oh Jazz Monster, could it be? Are you actually posting regularly again?" Well, actually, you probably aren't thinking that. Because you probably aren't expecting this post for another week. That said, though, I am actually going to make an attempt at going back to the usual grind of writing constantly about new releases, reissues, news, and so on and so forth, and also try and gauge the death of jazz.

And where better to gauge the death of jazz than at Lincoln Center, the evil, looming, midtown fortress of the 80s "young lions" movement? Jazz At Lincoln Center has given out a few major announcements recently, not least of which being that its Executive Director position is changing hands for the sixth time in six years to those of an accountant. Why? Because Lincoln Center is so huge that they don't even know what to do with all of their space and money. Tonic closed last year, and Lincoln Center only gets more powerful by the day... Who will be next to fall to die while Jazz At Lincoln Center gobbles up even more of the area around it? The Stone? The Jazz Gallery?

Granted, not everything they do there is bad, but it is all evil. They just announced their "Swing University" (If only they would suck it up and change their title from "Jazz At Lincoln Center" to "Swing Museum") line-up, and a few classes are being taught by ma boi, Phil Schaap. For those of you who do not know Phil Schaap, he's the man behind Birdflight on WKCR (8:20 AM on 89.9 in the NYC area), and is known through-out the land for his ability to spend an entire hour-long show switching off between self-aggrandizing lunacy ("But here, on Birdflight, it is my job to show, to teach, about the life of Charlie Parker") and stupid minutiae ("As you know, and as I said last week, this record date occurred in late March of '41- well, actually, that's debatable, some say early April, but I believe that that claim has been disproven on numerous occasions"). That said though, he is the man and you should listen to his show; I think I learned more about Charlie Parker the first hour I listened to his show than I ever believed I had wanted to, but somehow Schaap makes it all kind of captivating.

In (even) sadder news, the brilliant European clarinetist and saxophonist Arne Domnerus died recently. I don't know his work as well as I could, but having heard "Jazz at the Pawnshop" I can say that he was easily one of the greatest European jazz cats ever, and possibly the best before the rise of Jan Garbarek, the norse God of Norwegian jazz, and ECM in the seventies. Domnerus' style was informed by bop, and he shared a rhythm section with Charlie Parker during a Parker gig in 1950, which has recently been issued on a CD.

Next time I'll try and have a review of "Symphonica," the new Joe Lovano record. But if that doesn't work out, you can expect me to continue improvising (HAH!).

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