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JJA Member Updates: October 2013

Oct 14th, 2013 | By


Looking for proof that jazz is alive and well? You’ll find the most recent publications and other work reported by the extremely active members of the Jazz Journalists Association after the jump. We never sleep! If you are a JJA member and would like your recent activities included in the next installment of Member Updates, send a brief paragraph beginning with your name to membernews@jazzjournalists.org by November 4, 2013.


John Beasley was elected a Governor for GRAMMY (LA Chapter) in September.   He directed the All-Star Gala Concert for the Thelonious Monk Institute at Kennedy Center on September 18, when the Institute honored Wayne Shorter with a Lifetime Achievement Award alongside a special Tribute to George Duke.  He is bringing together 3 generations of Freddie Hubbard’s band members at LA’s Blue Whale Oct 11+12, and conducting Julliard Big Band Nov 20 @ Jazz Standard.

Jane Ira Bloom announces the release of her first Blu-ray 5.1 hi resolution surround-sound disc, Sixteen Sunsets on Pure Audio and Outline Records. The CD is an all ballads collection featuring her quartet with drummer Matt Wilson, bassist Cameron Brown, and pianist Dominic Fallacaro. The project was engineered and co-produced by Jim Anderson and has been submitted for consideration in the 2014 Grammy surround-sound category.

Stephanie J. Castillo has received a letter of support for her Thomas Chapin, Night Bird Song documentary film from the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz. Footage from her completed July Hi-Def film shoots in Hartford and Manhattan are helping to produce a new fundraising trailer and is being edited by a professional editor in Los Angeles who specializes in cutting trailers.

Robert Cifarelli‘s new book, 10 Years of Shots, has been published in celebration of the 10th anniversary of Blue Note in Milan.

Tim Coakley is in the midst of the 2013 season of “A Place for Jazz,” a non-profit that puts on jazz concerts in Schenectady, NY.

Renetta DeBlase has sent publicity notices about Brian Charette, Tisziji Munoz and John Medeski to some DC-area venues including the Kennedy Center, Strathmore, and the Gaylord Hotel at National Harbor. She also is busy doing freelance editing and is available to edit for some JJA interested members.

Yvonne Ervin is gave a pre-concert lecture for the Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club’s Tucson appearance on Sept. 14.  Her feature on Steve Nelson appeared in the August edition of Hot House. Also, as Executive Director of the Western Jazz Presenters Network, she received a National Endowment for the Arts grant to tour pianist Vijay Iyer and a $30,000 touring support grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

Pamela Espeland interviewed Gary Burton about his new autobiography, Learning to Listen: The Jazz Journey of Gary Burton, for the Minneapolis StarTribune and her blog, bebopified.com. For MinnPost.com, a nonprofit news site in Minnesota for which she writes the arts column, she interviewed Davina Sowers of Davina & the Vagabonds, who performed at the Monterey Jazz Festival. She reported extensively on Monterey for bebopified.com and shared with the JazzPolice.com website.

Matt Fleeger, Program Director of KMHD in Portland, OR wrote a piece for NPR music on the connections between Jamaican music and jazz and an upcoming piece for their “Heavy Rotation” series on the new John Zorn new record.  He also served as music supervisor for Stereo Skateboard’s series on Tony Hawk’s Ride Channel.

Peter Gerler has covered early jazz for JazzTimes, Downbeat, New Orleans Gambit, and The Boston Globe and has reviewed John McCusker’s biography of Edward “Kid” Ory for JJA News. He is working on a biography of Joe “King” Oliver and has written about Oliver for American Legacy, the Florence News Journal, Moultrie Observer, on jazz.com, and on New England Trad Jazz Plus. He plays guitar in Boston’s Blue Horizon Jazz Band.

Andrew Gilbert wrote the cover story on Matt Wilson for JazzTimes‘s 2013-2014 Jazz Education Guide. He profiled Dave Douglas, Ben Goldberg’s Unfold Ordinary Mind, flamenco guitar legend David Serva, and a new jazz series at San Jose Blackbird Tavern for the San Jose Mercury News, vocalist Kellye Gray and Bill Frisell for the San Francisco Chronicle, and reviewed Salsa de la Bahia for the California Report radio magazine. He also contributed liner notes to Judy Wexler’s album “What I See.”

Steve Griggs performed Panama Hotel Jazz to standing room only crowds; a recording will be available November 16. Earshot Jazz will underwrite performances at up to 8 schools in the Seattle area and the show is on the King County Touring Artist Roster. Steve is also developing a grant to preserve and disseminate the audio, video, photograph and document collection from the estate of Joe Brazil. He is working on a biography of Joe Brazil with writing coach Brenda Peterson.

James Hale revised and updated an 8,000-word article on jazz for Historica Canada’s The Canadian Encyclopedia. He is also organizing a panel discussion he will moderate on October 20 during the Quebec City Jazz Festival, featuring Alyn Shipton, Peter Hum and other jazz journalists.

Marcia Hillman’s review of Dr. Gregg Akkerman’s biography of Johnny Hartman appeared in the September issue of The NYC Jazz Record. Her reviews of CDs by Rotem Sivan and Roberto Fonseca appear in the October issue of The NYC Jazz Record.

Patrick Hinely celebrated the 20th anniversary of publication of his liner notes for Col. Bruce Hampton and the Aquarium Rescue Unit album Mirrors of Embarrassment by catching up with Col. Hampton and his current band, the Taoist Cowboys, in Black Mountain NC. 

J Hunter covered the Albany Riverfront Jazz Festival on Albany’s Corning Preserve, two days of “Jazz at the Lake” at Shepard Park in Lake George, and Joe Magnarelli & Jerry Weldon opening the season of A Place For Jazz in Schenectady. He has also taken his monthly CD-review column “Jazz2K” to the airwaves on 91.1 WSPN/Saratoga Springs, NY. “Jazz2K: The Show” has been picked up for the fall, and will continue to be heard Tuesday nights from 6-8pm ET.

Reuben Jackson celebrated his one year anniversary as host of Vermont Public Radio’s Friday Night Jazz with Reuben Jackson.  He hosted an in studio performance with Vermont-based saxophonist/educator Brian Mc Carthy, introduced vocalist Cassandra Wilson at a concert in St. Johnsbury, Vermont -September 21, 2013 and participated in a retreat with other members of the Burlington Discover Jazz Festival Board.

Willard Jenkins moderated an Oct. 5 panel discussion at The Writer’s Center in Bethesda, MD, with music writers Patrick Jarenwattananon, John Murph, and Michael J. West.

Ellen Johnson is working on the biography of Sheila Jordan, Jazz Child: The Sheila Jordan Story, to be published by Scarecrow Press in 2014. She has started blogging about the book on SoundCreativity.com and building a mailing list at JazzChildProject.com . Along with that she is set to release her own recording project next year, and continues working on her Mingus project with her original lyrics while educating others at The Jazzschool in Berkeley, CA.

Sanford Josephson will for the third year be curating the Music in the Moonlight jazz series at the Luna Stage in West Orange, NJ. The opening concert at 7 p.m. on October 27 will be a tribute to Mulgrew Miller featuring the Brandon McCune Trio with Ameen Saleem on bass and Cecil Brooks III on drums.

David Kunian recently wrote a eulogy for DJ Ready Teddy on wwoz.org and the cover story for Offbeat Magazine about why James Booker matters.  His thesis on Modern Jazz in New Orleans with Harold Battiste and All For One Records, the first black-owned collective record company, as the case study is almost finished.

John Litweiler’s new novel Sundidos, a story about the conspiracy to prevent solar energy and protect the obsolete internal combustion engine, has now been published. “It’s available,” says John, “from amazon.com and in outstanding, carefully selected bookstores.” His web site is goodbaitbooks.com and he continues to write about jazz for Point of Departure and britannica.com.

Howard Mandel launched his new class at New York University on “Rock, Soul, Salsa 1950 to 1980” as well as writing liner notes for The Puppeteeers and Organ Monk, moderating the first of the JJA’s monthly Talking Jazz webinars and co-hosting a media meetup in Boston with JazzBoston and the Berklee Internet Radio Network. He spoke at two Berklee classes taught by JJA member Fred Bouchard, and also produced an eyeJazz video of Jon Batiste showing off his “harmoniboard.”

Steve Monroe‘s  September Jazz Avenues for the East of the River print and capitalcommunitynews.com online editions included a preview of the upcoming Thelonious Monk Institute Saxophone competition and the new Let There Be Jazz concert series. Monroe also blogged on the annual Silver Spring Jazz Festival, which featured an overflow crowd that heard groups led by Branford Marsalis, Noah Haidu and others.

Allen Morrison is working on a profile of Steely Dan’s Donald Fagen for an upcoming issue of DownBeat.  He reviewed guitarist Ben Monder’s CD Hydra in the November DownBeat and will review new albums by seven singers for the December issue.

Doug Ramsey wrote new liner notes for the OJC Remasters reissue of Zoot Sims and the Gershwin Brothers, which has previously unissued tracks, and for Bill Mays’ Life’s A Movie with trumpeter Marvin Stamm and cellist Alisa Horn (Chiaroscuro). He continues to post almost daily on his blog Rifftides.

Carol Sloane has resumed work as a vocal coach and teacher.  Accepting private students.  Will soon create a Master Class environment for not more than 12 vocalists.  Sessions will be held at The Stoneham Theatre located just eleven miles north of Boston.  For detailed information, applicants should e-mail sloanejazz@aol.com.

Arnold Jay Smith’s collections of LPs, self-recorded cassettes, open reel tapes, posters, photos, jottings, et al, will be dedicated at the Arnold Shaw Music Library at the University of Nevada/Las Vegas on Oct. 26.  For the occasion AJay will be presenting a program on Duke Ellington called “Aspects of Duke” on that date.  Look for his report on his blog http://jazzinsights.net in November.

Daniel Smith will be recording his newest album Smokin’ Hot Bassoon Blues this month with a release date on Summit Records scheduled for Feb.2014. A second project of ‘Brazilian Jazz Concerto for Bassoon and Orchestra’ by Brazilian composer Joao MacDowell is moving ahead with further updates to be announced. More information on these projects can be found on Daniel’s website along with a new KICKSTARTER campaign.

Jeff Tamarkin interviewed New Orleans’ own Allen Toussaint for M: Music & Musicians magazine, Pedrito Martinez for JazzTimes, Marshall Allen for JALC program notes and Miguel Zenon for his Carnegie Hall program. He also reviewed the new off-Broadway musical Lady Day starring Dee Dee Bridgewater for JazzTimes.

Neil Tesser edited Learning to Listen (Berklee Press), the recently published (Sept. 3, 2013) autobiography of vibraphonist, bandleader, and educator Gary Burton. He also accepted a position of adjunct professor teaching Intro to Jazz History at the University of Illinois at Chicago, while continuing to contribute to the website Chicagomusic.org and churning out a passel of liner notes.

Joyce Wilson continues to work with W. Royal Stokes, as well as on articles on the jazz festivals she attended this summer. One was the Detroit Jazz Festival, first time for both the city and event. At the 56th Monterey Jazz Festival, she was introduced to and amazed by the music of Snarky Puppy.  She is also continuing her education w/in photojournalism and squeezing in time for the development of her website WRAPPEDNJAZZ….

Deanna Witkowski just launched a bimonthly solo piano video series on her YouTube channel, which can be accessed via deannajazz.com. On October 12, she played at Fat Cat with Vanderlei Pereira and Blindfold Test; on October 20, her trio is in concert at the Manhasset Public Library. On November 16, she plays with the Westchester Jazz Orchestra in their only local appearance for 2013-14.

Member Updates are edited by Michael J. West with assistance from Tanya Ellerbee.

Use our JJA Member Directories to find JJA members qualified to contribute to your publication or production or to assist you with your jazz-related project. The directories can be searched by name, area of expertise and geographic location.

If you aren’t a JJA Member yet, consider joining us. Membership is open to both Professional Journalists (writers, bloggers, photographers, videographers, web producers and others who cover jazz) and Industry Associates (musicians, educators, presenters, promoters and others who work in the industry and support our work.)


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