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Joe Locke + 2 in New York State's "Capital area"

Critique student jazz journalists’ articles, photos

Jan 21st, 2012 | By

High school students from the Germantown Central School District on New York State (about 20 miles northeast of Woodstock) had a go at jazz journalism in early December, when four of a class of

Joe Locke, photo by Jahn Jaeger

about 30 studying Digital Photography and Journalism took up the challenge to write about or post photos of a performance by the Joe Locke Trio at the Athens Cultural Center. Now JJA members are invited to weigh in with constructive criticism of their work published at Nippertown.com.

Two student reviews of the Locke threesome’s concert by Elizabeth Choinsky and Camille Parlman, and images by Harry Forman and Jahn Jaeger  are posted as the result of this stage of their school’s Open MIC (Music Industry Connections) Project, directed by Thomas Bellino of Planet Arts in conjunction with that not-for-profit’s Hudson Valley/”Capital area” one2one performance series. Vibraphonist Locke (a winner multiple times of JJA Jazz Awards for mallet instrumentalist of the year), bassist Jay Anderson and drummer Jaimeo Brown conducted a pre-concert q&a session, from which quotes showed up in some of the students’ work. Photo journalist Art Murphy and print journalist Jeff Nania served as pre-concert in-school advisors to the initiative, visiting classes taught by Terry LaMacchia and Karen Katz. Nania’s professional review of the Locke trio ran in Metroland.com, while J. Hunter covered the show for Nippertown and Rudy Lu provided professional photojournalism for  Albany Jazz. Susan Brink, a graduate of the JJA’s eyeJAZZ project has produced video documentation of the entire learning project — that video will soon be posted at JJANews.

JJA members are urged to post detailed, professionally-oriented notes about the writing and photography in the “Comments” section of this post; they will be forwarded to Bellino, Planet Arts’ executive director,  and passed on appropriately. Having one’s work appear in such local media such as the Nippertown, Albany Jazz and Metroland websites is clearly an encouraging step for teenagers with ambitions to write about or photograph music (or anything else), and the JJA commends the Germantown School District for its prescience in embracing the Open Mic project. Planet Arts is currently trying to interest other NY State school districts in similar programs.

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2 Comments to “Critique student jazz journalists’ articles, photos”

  1. The energy in all the writing and photos is uniformly good — everybody’s going for lively and clear. The writers all face the ongoing question for every jazz journalist/critique about how much personal reaction to include and how to analyze sound in words. It’s a crucial question in written criticism which I don’t think anyone ever resolves, though practice makes us better at what we intend to do.

    Elizabeth: Beware of vagaries like accounting the number of attendees as “quite a few” (you might be able to scan the crowd and make a fair approximation) and “didn’t sound like jazz at all,” which you then interestingly qualify by mentioning that changes in dynamics puts the genre’s label on the performance. I’d be fascinated to read (in another article) what the “uninitiated ear” assumes that jazz sounds like. Also, your comment that the show “went on for what seemed like hours” could be read as meaning the music dragged on and on, tiresomely. I don’t think that’s what you meant though.

    Camille: It’s a point of style and a decision to be made whether to refer to yourself within a review, and also whether to use “you” as in “you couldn’t quite put your finger on it,” “all you needed to do was close your eyes,” etc. Good description of the musicians’ physical approach to the music.

    Thanks to you all — I’ll leave the photos for other JJA members to comment on, except to say it’s too bad there doesn’t seem to be any photo where all three musicians are visible, playing together, and yet there are some imaginative angles and framing. Thanks to all of you for good work.

  2. avatar Geoffrey Himes says:

    I enjoyed all four reviews. I especially liked the way Camille Parlman was able to convey her personal feelings about the performance without relying on the first person; by evoking the visual and auditory experience of attending the concert she suggested that anyone would have responded the same way. I liked the way J. Hunter was able to use a quote from the stage to set up his lede and then find fresh metaphors to describe instrumental music, always an ongoing challenge in jazz criticism.

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