Last week, during a Critics Roundtable (“The Year in Jazz,” sponsored by the National Jazz Museum in Harlem), I found myself saying things I expected to say—“the best jazz story in 2013 was the best story in 2012, and among the longest running in jazz: The deepening and broadening of Afro Latin influence”—and things I hadn’t planned: “The jazz wars are over because wars only rage when they are spoils to win.”
Mostly I found myself alternately challenged and validated by the astute thoughts of my colleagues—Kevin Whitehead, Greg Tate, Nate Chinen and Seth Colter Walls. Yes, we submitted Top 10 lists for the year, but we were gathered to place that music and more in context—to talk about the stories behind and questions raised by the music. That makes for good conversation.
How about you: Want to talk jazz? Want to hang out with musicians and jazz insiders? Have pressing questions about your music or your work? Simply a fan with an attentive ear?
Blogs can be useful and even insightful—my favorite is pianist Ethan Iverson’s Do The Math. But real-time, interactive conversations with multiple sources have a whole different dynamic. The virtual world has much to offer on that front.
The Jazz Journalists Association, a nonprofit organization perhaps best known for its annual and notable awards to musicians and journalists, now hosts a worthy “webinar” series, “Talking Jazz,” which continues tomorrow, Dec. 18th, at 8pm (also archived for later listening) with a discussion of: “Jazz ‘Diplomacy’ Now: Can Jazz Promote International Peace and Understanding?” The panelists include: Pianist Danilo Perez, who directs Berklee College of Music’s Global Jazz Institute, and who created a festival in his native Panama that emphasizes cultural exchange; Simon Rowe, director of the University of the Pacific’s Dave Brubeck Institute; and flutist Jamie Baum, who has performed on several U.S. State Department-sponsored tours.
Then there’s Bret Primack. You may know him as the Jazz Video Guy, responsible for some must-view material on the Internet, especially of tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins (Primack has posted some 1,200 video, he said, with 23 million views). Or maybe you recall him as Pariah, whose “Bird Lives” was among the earliest of jazz blogs, and whose impassioned diatribes ruffled many a feather. Now, Primack hosts a weekly YouTube show, “The Hang.” Continue reading “Hanging and Talking with Jazz, Online”