[JPL] Bobby/Lazaro

Rick McLaughlin rick at rickmclaughlin.com
Wed Aug 2 21:33:13 EDT 2006


Lazaro,

Man, your Picasso museum anecdote is totally incredible.  In some ways I
really think that what Jae is saying about educating the audience relates to
this.  Same with what my colleague was saying (previous email: sarcastic
colleague - incredible tenor player living in the burbs - his neighbors say,
"jazz musician?  Oh, I don't know what jazz is but I know I hate it.") about
needing to find a way to connect verbally with our audience in hopes of
bringing those into it further in, while reaching out to even more.  Gotta
build the audience.  My viewpoint, naturally, is as a performer, so I can
talk about that but I leave the programming issues to you (although, hey it
is a collaboration anyway, isn't it?).

The docent was certainly entitled to his/her opinion (oddly, he/she was
working in the Picasso museum but didn't actually like Picasso...).  

I run a bunch of jazz ensembles at the prep school of our friendly
neighborhood conservatory.  Each semester when we give a recital, I spend a
lot of time talking with the parents about what we are working on and how it
makes their kids better musicians.  It turns out that the parents love this
almost as much as the music itself, since they just don't understand what
the hell we are doing otherwise (but they automatically love the music
because their kids are playing).

Ok, I'm done.  Sorry.  I really want to keep going on this because man, what
a topic.  But this is not totally a programming thing and I'm just rambling
on.

Thanks again.  And Lazaro - actually, a question for everyone - I'm heading
to Helsinki and Stockholm in a couple weeks for some gigs.  Is there a
museum or two that are musts?  Favorite jazz clubs?  Favorite beverage or
local food?  I've been to a lot of places but Helsinki is a blur and never
been to Stockholm...  Feel free to contact me off list if you like -
rick at rickmclaughlin.com.

Thanks,

Rick McLaughlin

-----Original Message-----
From: jazzproglist-bounces at jazzweek.com
[mailto:jazzproglist-bounces at jazzweek.com] On Behalf Of Lazaro Vega
Sent: Monday, July 31, 2006 9:51 PM
To: Jazz Programmers Mailing List
Subject: Re: [JPL] Bobby/Lazaro

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Thanks for the reply, Jae, I realize I was going off a bit, especially
as it relates to intonation and big bands. I mean, you can't have
everyone in the sax section playing like Jackie Mac, for instance, if
you've agreed to play together.

And that's cool you're coming from personal experience as a player. I
kind of got that from the reference to Chico Freeman. His "Spirit
Sensitive" recording is lovely, inside playing on great tunes. When he
had that side of his musical life up he was great at it. I can imagine
if he'd been away from playing tunes it would be hard to just turn
that on again, especially at the level he achieved on "Spirit
Sensitive."

For my two cents, J Mac and Von are both stellar musicians who use the
fundamentals of pitch to express their own emotions, especially Von.
He'll move sharp to flat according to the message of the lyric of a
song, the underlying emotion of the tune. I hadn't considered J was
"unable" to play in tune as a technical fault of his embrochure. Could
be. It would seem at his level, though, it was a choice.

Not all of Braxton's music moves me -- but a least he's dealing with a
post-John Cage world of music. I recall listening to Gary Laine's (sp)
program on WKAR when I was at Michigan State and he featured Braxton
circular breathing a single uninterrupted tone, like a tone generator,
for the length of an album. Didn't really turn me on, though I "got"
it.

One of the things about "out" jazz that I ask myself, and the musician
if I can, is what is the central organizing principle involved? Ask
Roscoe or Braxton and get ready to turn on the tape machine because a
real answer is coming. I've asked other musicians this after hearing
their record and they didn't have an answer, or said, "Nothing." And
you can tell. The Art Ensemble was a great enough band that when they
practiced it was worth hearing (thinking of the tapes in the Nessa
Box). Other folks, not so compelling at that stage.

I'm not turned off by A.B.'s embrace of the post-John Cage world of
music, the silent piano sonata or all the random and chance elements
Cage would delve into that, in essence, forces the listener to
consider just what music is.

I need to go back and read more of your response, and more of what
Rick has to say.

Of course this is about music. Programming? Programming needs to be
heard to be loved, and if jazz is further marginalized in the mass
media it's woes will continue. More day time jazz programming is the
answer. Style is secondary to access.

And if you do have jazz on during the day, then may I suggest the
radio station offers a time of day when you play one classic from the
music's past and have all the elementary and secondary schools in your
listening area tune in to it. Provide the teacher with syllabus and
schedule of the upcoming pieces. Blue Lake Public Radio does this with
classical music and more information is available at our web site,
www.bluelake.org under public radio.

And Bobby, I think you could look at what WEMU is doing in program
choices to attracted younger listners. They seem to be having some
good success at that.

(Rick -- I went to the Picasso museum last summer and if we can relate
this to jazz it's like the docent was saying, "Now you saw how great a
painter the young Picasso was. After he encounters the vivid colors,
strange perspectives and racy subject matter of France's wild beasts
he forgot where to put the nose on the lady's face, tsk tsk tsk, what
a waste." You know, missing the point. There's a lot of that these
days as relates to America's most progressive minds).
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