Two Worthwhile Links

In the week since my last post, I’ve come across two especially interesting links in jazzblogosphereland that I’d like you to see:

The first is from Jazz Lives.  It highlights the excellent — and almost entirely forgotten — jazz trombonist Abram “Abe” Lincoln.  I have a particular affinity for those who have their life’s work obscured by someone with a much more famous name; however, Lincoln’s parents should have known better.  Mike Pittsley, a Sacramento-area trombonist and protege of Lincoln, also has an excellent site dedicated to Lincoln’s music.  More on Lincoln soon to come …

The second is this thoughtful dispatch from Doug Ramsey at Rifftides: Onward and Upward With Jazz Criticism.  He cites this awful, ignorant and misogynistic “review” of Maria Schneider’s recent concert at the Montreal Jazz Festival as an example of the deterioration of the editorial review in “new media” journalism.  He’s right to point out that the editors (who wouldn’t be caught dead publishing that sort of drivel) are losing their jobs at newspapers as they shift to free, online-only media.  This highlights a glaring weakness in the development of internet-based writing about jazz — not to mention most other topics of discourse.  There are some folks out there, though, who are tackling this challenge: ESPN, for example, has launched the TrueHoop Network, a loose group of basketball blogs that share some common advertising features and editorial standards in exchange for frequent linkage to ESPN’s flagship basketball blog, TrueHoop.  I hope to see similar discussions emerge amongst the jazz bloggers out there.

About Alex Rodriguez

Jazz Writing, Engaged Buddhism, Improvised Music
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1 Response to Two Worthwhile Links

  1. Chris Rich says:

    The whole idea of “Criticism” desperately needs a makeover. How exactly are the critics contributing to discourse and knowledge expansion?

    It is an utterly ridiculous conceit and power trip by a doomed entity. I prefer “description”, something most “critics” fail miserably at in their rush to save us all from bad clarinetists.

    My reviewing method is derived from writing descriptive nature prose as a hobby. I sit in some compelling jumble of ecotones quietly and watch what happens and try to describe it.

    A critic would bitch about how the observed Oriole didn’t do it’s song as well as other Orioles or the bear claw marks on the beech tree weren’t as high up as bear claw marks on a different beech tree.

    There is a worried Canadian jazz writer out there who is an officer of the Jazz Journalists organization who is sensitive to the rise of ‘critic’ bashers of which, I am presumably one.

    But I am puzzled why he and his colleagues cling to being critics when they could elevate themselves to a higher calling, deft musicologists for a field that needs more description and analysis and less gibberish about why so and so is either ‘bitchin’ or ‘sucky.

    And so I try to save my critical analysis for the sorry support elements of the idiom, the lame critics, greedy festival producers, racist certification entities and moron major label executives. That is more fun as it’s like shooting fish in a barrel and lets the music be.

    Beyond designating a few crappiness archetypes like Wynton or Kenny G for the purposes of argument color, I leave the musicians alone if they don’t float my boat. Writing descriptions wants real effort and I’m not about to spend a week listening to a Brad Mehldau disc over and over again just so I can yammer about why he’s a boring clone.

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