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JJA Member Updates: December 2013

Dec 16th, 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 January 3, 2014.


Brian Arsenault recently reviewed albums by Kellye Gray, Raymond Langosch Cooley, and TriBeCaStan for The International Review of Music.


Nancy Barell has been broadcasting 8 years this month and it is going really well. She is ranked 30 out of over 400 jazz stations on Live365.com.  The latest program features Frank Sinatra (as always) and new releases from Paul Marinaro, Marlene Ver Planck, Gilad Edelman, Janis Mann and Kenny Werner as well as the best of straight ahead jazz that Nancy can find.

 Jane Ira Bloom premieres a new group at the Cornelia Street Café on Wednesday Dec 18, 8:30pm with long-time collaborators Mark Dresser (bass) and Min Xiao-Fen (pipa), along with Satoshi Takeishi (percussion). The group first played together at the United Nations performing Resonations, a 2009 large-ensemble project combining musicians from remote locations around the world.

Ken Martinez Burgmaier directed and produced a new film and a Jazz Alley TV specialon the Thelonious Monk Jazz Saxophone Competition and tribute to Wayne Shorter at the Kennedy Center  and Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. He interviewed and worked with Herbie Hancock, Branford Marsalis, Robin Ford, Kurt Elling, Jimmy Heath, Bobby Watson, and other greats.

Stephanie J. Castillo and music impresario/restauranteur Michael Dorf of City Winery are teaming up to throw a major fundraiser for the Thomas Chapin film project, Thomas Chapin: Night Bird Song, on Jan. 20. All proceeds will benefit the film, now raising the funds needed for its second round of filming this spring.

Steve Cerra posted a review of Gary Giddins’ Celebrating Bird: Revised with a New Introduction to his blog.

Nate Chinen organized and moderated “The Year in Jazz: A Critics Roundtable,” featuring the esteemed jazz journalists Larry Blumenfeld, Greg Tate, Kevin Whitehead and Seth Colter Walls. The public event, at MIST Harlem on Dec. 12, was organized in partnership with the Jazz Museum in Harlem, as part of its Harlem Speaks series.

Renetta DeBlase plans to attend some jazz performances at Twins Jazz club and Blues Alley and sends Rich Keith, general manager ofwww.purejazzradio.org monthly updates about the Washington, DC, area jazz scene.  Nicolas Rabel, a French author of a series of jazz biographies including Don Sleet, asked her to review volume 1, and she plans on listening to more great jazz CDs by Tisziji Munoz and John Medeski.


Dawn DeBlaze is publicizing  jazz guitarist and critically acclaimed composer B.D. Lenz’s eighth album and first straight-ahead jazz project “Ready or Not.”  Listeners rely on Lenz for commercially viable music in hundreds of television programs worldwide.  Dawn is publicizing jazz saxophonist Jack Furlong’s new release “CHARITY” — a project of improvisation over Christian hymns.  Like John Coltrane, the songs are linked to a spiritual journey that transcends worship and ethnicity.  Dawn writes “Jazz News” monthly.


Pamela Espeland is chronicling the end of an era on her blog, bebopified. Afteralmost 20 years in St. Paul, MN, the Artists’ Quarter jazz club will close Jan. 1, a victim of rising rents and shrinking audiences. It is the only full-time jazz club in Minnesota (the next closest is probably in Chicago), and its loss is a major blow to jazz in the Twin Cities. She’s publishing stories by musicians who played there in a series called “Pleased and flipped: Memories of the Artists’ Quarter.”

John Fenton has been busy writing his weekly blog JazzLocal32.com and and attending a number of gigs around Auckland, New Zealand.  He has recently interviewed Mike Stern and Brenda Boykin and has also photographed dozens of visiting and local Jazz artists.   Hugh Masekela was a highlight.  He is working to raise the profile of some Australian and New Zealand musicians who deserve wider recognition and will be flying to Sydney to see Mike Nock, James Muller and Roger Manins perform.

Ken Franckling profiled alto saxophonist David Glasser in the December issue of Hot House in conjunction with his December 14 quartet gig at Smalls. He also blogged in November about three local jazz concerts in Southwest Florida. The snowbirds are flooding back and the concert season is heating up.

Steve Griggs profiled tap dancer/saxophonist/educator Alex Dugdale for Earshot Jazz, released the CD of Panama Hotel Jazz: Music Made from Memories on his Hip City Music label and was asked to submit a full proposal to the Grammy Foundation for the digitization of the video and audio tape collection of saxophonist/educator Joe Brazil.
Marcia Hillman interviewed Lennie Niehaus for an article in The New York City Jazz Record. She also is writing a room review on the newly reopened, legendary, Harlem jazz club Minton’s which will appear on The Jazz Police.com website.


Patrick Hinely, on his first international foray without any film cameras, visited the Jazz Institut in Darmstadt, Germany, where he will exhibit his photographs next year; attended JazzFest Berlin; and visited with trumpeter Tom Arthurs.


J Hunter covered the Joshua Redman Quartet’s latest appearance at the Egg, and saw Catherine Russell and the Michael-Louis Smith Quintet play the last two shows of this year’s “A Place For Jazz” series at the Whisperdome in Schenectady. What’s really keeping things hopping for J is “Jazz2K”, which can be heard Tuesdays from 6-8pm EST on 91.1 WSPN in Saratoga Springs, NY.


George Korval is doing research into the mid-1960s activities of Don Pullen playing B-3 organ, especially his work with R&B vocalists.


David Kunian just completed his thesis for his Masters in Musicology from Tulane University.  The thesis is entitled “Piecing Together the Monkey Puzzle: A Study of Modern Jazz in New Orleans.”  It is one of very few analyses of New Orleans modern jazz in contrast to New Orleans traditional jazz.  He also recently wrote an article contemplating the pianist James Booker for Offbeat Magazine.


Rudy Lu recently launched his own website. He recently photographed Catherine Russell and Michael Louis- Smith Quintet for albanyjazz.com and nippertown.com as well as Joe Barna’s Sketches of Influence performing “Solstice: A Journey through Relationships” for albanyjazz.com. His photos were recently featured on the gatefold of the Chronicles’ limited edition vinyl release, Spanning the Gap.


Joe Maita, publisher of the blog Jerry Jazz Musician, interviewed Stanley Crouch about his book Kansas City Lightning: The Rise and Times of Charlie Parker. The interview will be published on www.jerryjazz.com in December.  Also interviewed Guthrie Ramsey about his book on Bud Powell, and Marc Myers about his book Why Jazz Happened.


Eugene Marlow continues to post to his weekly Marlowsphere Blog. He recently posted a recollection of his “next door” relationship with jazz piano great Bill Evans. For December he has drafted a three-part series on the London (England) jazz scene. Marlow’s review of The Jazz Life of Billy Taylor appears in the December issue of The New York City Jazz Record. He is on the verge of completing a book on jazz in China.

John McDonough’s album notes for Mosaic’s Records’ flagship holiday release, The Complete Chick Webb & Ella Fitzgerald Decca Sessions (1934-1941) came out in October 2013. In September he began his sixth year teaching the Jazz History 210 at Northwestern University. On July 25, he did a piece on NPR’s All Things Considered discussing how jazz first forced Hollywood to reluctantly change its race policies on the screen.

Ralph A. Miriello attended a performance of Freddy Cole and Hilary Kole at the Stamford Palace Theatre, wrote a piece about the concert and did an interview with Mr. Cole, and reviewed pianist John Escreet’s latest album Sabotage and Celebration for his blog and the Huffington Post.

Jennifer Odell recently completed a feature on the growing popularity of New Orleans-style brass band music outside the Crescent City for DownBeat, covered the Pinettes Brass Band’s win at this year’s Red Bull Street Kings event for Jazz Times, and presented Dr. Lonnie Smith with his 2013 JJA award at Snug Harbor. She also spoke at length with Bonnie Raitt about Allen Toussaint, Joe Henry and the end of Bonnie’s “Slipstream” tour for Offbeat magazine.

Dan Ouellette has completed his newest book, the biography of record industry icon Bruce Lundvall. In addition to interviews with Bruce, there are in-depth interviews with Herbie Hancock, Willie Nelson, Norah Jones, Joe Lovano and others on Bruce’s legacy. Bruce Lundvall: Playing by Ear, published by ArtistShare, arrives for sale on January 2 online exclusively via artistshare.com/playingbyear or Amazon.


Peter Pullman was in Rome and Paris at the end of November. In the former, he interested publisher Stampa Alternativa is issuing WAIL: The Life of Bud Powell in Italian. In the latter, he was interviewed on 24-hour-a-day jazz-radio station TSF, where he talked of Bud’s years in Paris. He hopes that the popular program, “Lundis du Duc”, was heard by a publisher who will issue a French edition of WAIL.

Fran Morris Rosman, over at the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation, is busy with two new releases – Richard Haver’s great book on Verve Records AND the new Ella 10-disc set,  Ella Fitzgerald, The Voice of Jazz. They’re also getting ready for the JEN conference in Dallas. “We are very proud that  ‘our’ kids from Cal State Long Beach will be performing.”

Daniel Smith will host a table at the Jazz Connect Conference at the NYC Hilton, Jan. 10 -11. JJA members are welcome to come to his table where they will receive a complimentary copy of his new album Smokin’ Hot Blues Bassoon and meet the artist. Work will shortly begin on Brazilian Jazz Concerto for Bassoon and Orchestra by Brazilian composer Joao MacDowell. Further details on these and other career highlights can be found on his website.


Karl Stober is in the process of fundraising for his film concerning addiction and creativity. Interviews this month are with composer Elise Lebec, producer/artist Jason Miles, and guitarist Wolfgang Schaulk. He is also working on numerous CD reviews that will be in Cadence Magazine, Ejazznews.com, Couleurs Jazz in Paris, and other venues worldwide.


Jeff Tamarkin interviewed Bill Frisell for JALC program notes and Earl Klugh for a feature story in M: Music & Musicians. He covered NYC’s Jazz & Colors event for JazzTimesand reviewed the Herbie Hancock boxed set and several other new releases for various outlets.


Dragan Tasic photographed 15th JazzNoJazz Festival 2013 , Piano Festival Off-Stage 2013 , 19th Lucerne Blues Festival 2013 , 4th Transmundial Worldmusic Festival Zürich 2013 , John McLaughlin-Remember Shakti, and The Manhattan Transfer.


Bert Vuisje has co-produced and written the booklet text for the 8th volume in the series Jazz at the Concertgebouw from the Dutch Jazz Archive. The double CD Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers: Justice presents the previously unreleased recordings of the November 14, 1959, Amsterdam midnight concert. It’s the European debut of Wayne Shorter, playing with Lee Morgan, Walter Davis, Jr., Jymie Merritt and Art Blakey. The series was crowned with an Edison (the Dutch Grammy) in 2012.


Deanna Witkowski was one of several Chamber Music America members selected by Peter Gordon to share “success stories” at CMA’s “Maximizing Your Concert Appearance” seminar on December 3. She spoke about the Mary Lou Williams Celebration sponsored by Arts at the Park last February. Her trio will perform at the Dallas Museum of Art on January 8; at the JEN conference on January 9; and will lead a jazz vespers at St. Paul United Methodist in Dallas on January 10.


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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