Perspectives in Jazz Criticism
The New Thing: Perspectives in Jazz Criticism is a collaborative series between the Kelly Writers House and Ars Nova Workshop. Tuned to the musically inclined, these events bring musicians, critics, and music lovers together in the Arts Cafe to talk about jazz and the rich culture that has followed it.
If you are looking for passionate inspiration, these events are not to be missed.
Thursday, September 28, 2006 :: 6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe
Celebrating the release of “The House That Trane Built: The Story of Impulse Records” by Ashley Kahn, with Carl Grubbs, saxophone
Published by W. W. Norton & Co, this book recounts in layman-friendly terms the full story of this unusual and fascinating company, tracing its near two-decade arc of artistic triumphs and unlikely marketing coups. Leaning on extensive archival research and interviews with well over fifty musicians, industry executives and producers, The House That Trane Built also features over a hundred lavish illustrations, as well as thirty-six album profiles detailing the inside stories of some of the most enduring jazz recordings of all time.
Thursday, November 2, 2006 :: 6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe
Archiving and the Discovery of the Lost John Coltrane / Thelonious Monk Quartet Recordings with Larry Appelbaum of the Library of Congress and Francis Davis
From the Library of Congress press release:
“These tapes are a major find for scholars, musicians and collectors of post-war jazz,” said Larry Appelbaum, the Library’s recording engineer and jazz specialist in the Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division, who found the tapes among material to be digitized as part of the Library’s continuing audio preservation program. “A significant discovery like this reminds us why it’s so important to preserve these unique materials.” The announcement was made as part of a press briefing on Librarian of Congress James H. Billington’s annual selection of 50 sound recordings for the National Recording Registry. Under the terms of the National Recording Preservation Act of 2000, the Librarian is responsible for annually selecting recordings that are “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant.” The list can be found on the Library’s Web site at www.loc.gov.
The content of VOA’s original 10-inch mono acetate tapes of the Carnegie Hall concert will be preserved in high-resolution digital files, which will be stored and backed up on the Library’s servers. Along with introductions by VOA program host Willis Conover, the tapes feature approximately 55 minutes of previously unheard Monk and Coltrane and early and late show performances by all of the groups who performed that evening. The Monk Quartet with Coltrane plays “Evidence,” “Monk’s Mood,” “ Crepescule With Nellie,” “Nutty,” “Epistrophy,” “Bye-Ya, Sweet and Lovely” and “Blue Monk.”
The Library of Congress holds the nation’s largest public collection of sound recordings (music and spoken word) and radio broadcasts. The collection of nearly 3 million recordings representing almost every sound recording format includes more than 500,000 LPs, 450,000 78-rpm discs, 500,000 unpublished discs, 200,000 compact discs, 175,000 tape reels, 150,000 45-rpm discs and 75,000 cassettes. Among the unusual formats in the collection are wires, instantaneous discs, cylinders, music box discs, rolls, bands, dictabelts and Memovox discs. The Library’s collection includes more than 50,000 VOA tapes and discs of musical events broadcast from 1946-1988. The Library ’s jazz collections include musical scores, manuscripts, photographs and personal recording collections of Ella Fitzgerald, Charles Mingus, Milt Hinton, Carmen McRae, Billy Taylor, Charlie Barnett, Louis Bellson and others.
Thursday, January 11, 2007 :: 6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe
"From Jelly Roll Morton to the Jazz Avant-Garde", a discussion with John Szwed and Dave Burrell.
Ars Nova Workshop and Kelly Writers House welcomes John Szwed and pianist Dave Burrell in a public discussion that hopes to shed more light on the significance of pianist/composer Jelly Roll Morton and the continuum that paved the way for the jazz avant-garde.
Wednesday, February 7, 2007 :: 5:30 PM in the Arts Cafe
"Jazz in the 1970s: The Whole Story", a discussion with Gary Giddins and Nate Chinen.
Ars Nova Workshop and the Kelly Writers House are pleased to present Gary Giddins in conversation with his fellow JazzTimes columnist Nate Chinen, who is also a former assistant coordinator at the Writers House.
The 1970s were an uncertain and tumultuous period for jazz and improvised music -- but perhaps, in some regards, a golden age. Few people are better qualified to discuss that legacy than Gary Giddins, who covered it extensively in the pages of the Village Voice. "Just about every week," Giddins wrote recently in JazzTimes, recalling the so-called "loft scene" of that era, "new blood drained into the city as a new music took root, one that seemed to spring from the avant-garde while embracing everything that came before it."
Nearly 25 years ago, critic Martin Williams called Gary Giddins "probably the most impressive journalist ever to have written about music." Born in Brooklyn, New York, Giddins graduated from Grinnell College in Iowa, and the following year began working as a freelance writer. In 1973, he joined the Village Voice, and a year later introduced his column "Weather Bird," which he ended in December 2003, closing a 30-year run during which he received international recognition and won many prizes, including an unparalleled six ASCAP Deems Taylor Awards for Excellence in Music Criticism.
Giddins' writings on music, books, and movies have appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, Esquire, The Atlantic, Grand Street, The Nation, and many other publications. He presently writes columns about music for Jazz Times and about film for the New York Sun. His first book, Riding on a Blue Note, appeared in 1981, and was followed by Rhythm-a-Ning, Faces in the Crowd, and critical biographies of Charlie Parker and Louis Armstrong that he adapted into documentary films for PBS; he won a Peabody award for writing the PBS documentary, John Hammond: From Bessie Smith to Bruce Springsteen. He has been nominated three times for Grammy Awards, and won in 1987 for his liner notes to Sinatra: The Voice.
In 1986, Giddins and the late pianist-composer John Lewis introduced the American Jazz Orchestra, which presented jazz repertory concerts for the next seven yearsmore than 35 concerts involving Benny Carter, Dizzy Gillespie, Tony Bennett, Bobby Short, Muhal Richard Abrams, Gerry Mulligan, Henry Threadgill, Jimmy Heath, David Murray, and many others. He also produced four concerts for Festival Productions at the JVC Jazz Festival, working with Roy Eldridge, Ella Fitzgerald, Gil Evans, Lee Konitz, Joe Williams, Carmen McRae, Johnny Hartman, and, in his New York debut, Bobby Mcferrin.
Nate Chinen (C'97) is a music critic who contributes regularly to the New York Times and JazzTimes, as well as Weekend America, a nationally syndicated public radio program. His work has also appeared in the Village Voice , the Philadelphia City Paper and various other publications. He is the recipient of two recent awards from the Jazz Journalists Association: the Helen Dance-Robert Palmer Award for Excellence in Newspaper, Magazine or Online Feature or Review Writing, in 2006; and the distinction for Best Book About Jazz in 2004, for Myself Among Others, his collaboration with the jazz impresario George Wein. As an undergraduate at Penn, Nate was deeply involved with the Kelly Writers House, serving as Assistant Coordinator from 1997-98.
John Szwed taught at the University of Cincinnati, Lehigh University, Temple University, and then was director of the Center for Urban Ethnography and Professor of Folklore and Folklife at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1982 he began teaching at Yale, where he has served as Director of Graduate Studies and Acting Chair in Anthropology, as well as Acting Chair of African-American Studies. He has also served as Louis Armstrong Visiting Professor at Columbia University.
- Space is the Place: The Life and Times of Sun Ra (1997)
- So What: The Life of Miles Davis (2002)
- Jazz 101 (2000)
- Crossovers: Essays on Race, Music, and American Culture (2005)
- Blues for New Orleans: Mardi Gras and America's Creole Soul (2006)
- Doctor Jazz, a book included with the CD set, Jelly Roll Morton: The Complete Library of Congress Recordings by Alan Lomax (2005), for which he was awarded a Grammy in 2006.
Dave Burrell graduated from the Berklee College of Music in 1965. He has contributed to nearly 150 recordings including pivotal works such as Archie Shepp's Attica Blues, Pharoah Sanders' Tauhid, Marion Brown's Three for Shepp, and Grammy Award-winner David Murray's Lovers and Ballads. A recipient of the Pew Fellowship in Jazz Composition, David Burrell's Master Classes include Conservatoire Municipal, New York University and the University of Pennsylvania. Recent releases include Expansion (High Two Recordings), with William Parker and Andrew Cyrille, which was nominated as the Village Voice's #2 Jazz album of 2004, as well as the reissue of 1970's After Love (Universal Records) featuring Roscoe Mitchell. His new trio, DB3, includes bassist Michael Formanek (Tim Berne's Bloodcount, Uri Caine, Elvis Costello) and drummer Guillermo Brown (David S. Ware Quintet, Vijay Lyer, DJ Spooky). Their debut studio recording featuring new compositions inspired by Body and Soul, Oscar Micheaux's 1925 silent film starring Paul Robeson, will be released Fall 2006.
Ashley Kahn is an award-winning journalist, radio/TV producer, author of The House That Trane Built (Norton), A Love Supreme: The Story of John Coltrane's Signature Album (Viking/Penguin), and Kind of Blue: The Making of the Miles Davis Masterpiece (Da Capo Press). He has garnered two ASCAP/Ralph J. Gleason awards and a Grammy nomination for his liner notes to a number of historic music collections. In addition, he is director/producer of the documentary Made in Heaven: The Story of Miles Davis's Kind of Blue (Sony Music), a cultural essayist for National Public Radio's Morning Edition, held the position of music editor at VH1, and was primary editor of Rolling Stone: The Seventies (Little,Brown). His byline continues to appear in such publications as The New York Times, Rolling Stone, Wall Street Journal, TV Guide, New York Observer, New York Newsday, JazzTimes, MOJO (UK), The Guardian (UK), Jazz (France), GQ (Japan). He also served as a tour manager with Paul Simon, Peter Gabriel, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Debbie Harry & the Jazz Passengers, and many other music groups.
- Rolling Stone: The Seventies with Rolling Stone, Holly George-Warren, and Shawn Dahl (1998)
- The Rolling Stone Jazz & Blues Guide with John Swenson (1999)
- Kind of Blue: The Making of the Miles Davis Masterpiece (2001)
- A Love Supreme: The Story of John Coltrane's Signature Album (2002)
Carl Grubbs alto, soprano and tenor saxophonist, is a native of Philadelphia, PA. He received early training from John Coltrane, who was married to his cousin, Naima. Through his family he was close to many of the history-making musicians of the 1950’s and 60’s.
Carl’s career can best be described as one of diversity; composer, performer, teacher, leader, recording artist and presenter. With his late brother, Earl Grubbs he formed the Visitors, a quintet that recorded for Muse record label in the early 1970’s. Carl is a former member of the Julius Hemphill Saxophone Sextet; this group toured the United States and Europe performing two productions; Hemphill’s Long Tongues: A Saxophone Opera and Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Production, Last Supper at Uncle Tom’s Cabin: The Promised Land.
Carl Grubbs & Friends performs in major cities in the US; they have also been invited to perform in the cities of Bogota and Medellin, Colombia, S.A. Most recently the group completed a successful eight-city tour of Brazil. On his tours he provides Jazz improvisation workshops to students and professionals.
Currently Carl is Artist in Residence at St. Paul School in Brooklandville, Md. He is an adjudicator for the Maryland State Scholarship program. He has conducted workshops in jazz improvisation in Baltimore City Public Schools under the sponsorship of The Eubie Blake Jazz and Cultural Arts Center. Since 1997 he has served as the Director of SAX: Summer Music & Dance Camp, a camp he founded with his wife Barbara. The two-week camp is held on the campus of Loyola College in Maryland. It provides music and dance education to youth ages 4 - 17 in the Govans community and Baltimore City.
In recognition of his musical accomplishments, Carl was awarded the National Endowment for the Arts Grant (1983 and 1985). In 2003 his CD Stepping Around the Giant was voted "Best of Baltimore" CD. In 2004 he was awarded the MSAC Traditions grant as a jazz master, working with his apprentice David Lowe, bassist to pass on the traditions of the jazz art form.
Carl’s recent recordings have been produced on his own label, B&C Productions, Inc.; these include Carl’s latest CD project, Reflections (2003) Carl Grubbs & Friends: Live at The New Haven Lounge (1993) and Carl Grubbs & Friends: Live at the BMA(1994). Live at the BMA received great reviews in Jazz Times and Downbeat. In January 2003 Stepping Around The Giant was released on CIMP label. The Odean Pope Trio CD,Two Dreams (2004) features Carl Grubbs. Carl’s latest recording on CIMP is scheduled for release in February 2006.
Larry Appelbaum is the Senior Studio Engineer and jazz specialist at the Library of Congress where he works on preserving the library's audio and video collections. His writing has appeared in JazzTimes, Swing Journal, Jazznin, and Jazzeit as well as the book Jazz: The First Century (William Morrow, 2000). He also curates a jazz film series, produces concerts of creative improvised music, and hosts a radio program on WPFW-FM in Washington DC.
Raised in Philadelphia, Francis Davis is a jazz critic and writer whose works include Jazz and Its Discontents: A Francis Davis Reader (2004), The History of the Blues: The Roots, the Music, the People, (2003) and Bebop and Nothingness: Jazz and Bebop at the End of the Century (1998). He is also a contributing editor of The Atlantic Monthly and a regular writer on music for the New York Times.