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JJA Member Updates: January 2014

Jan 15th, 2014 | 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 February 3, 2014.

David R. Adler will return to teaching graduate-level jazz history at the Aaron Copland School of Music (Queens College) in late January. He recently reviewed Marty Ehrlich’s A Trumpet in the Morning (New World) for Stereophile. His review of the Mosaic Clifford Jordan box will appear soon in that magazine as well. David also wrote liner notes for Zach Brock’s Purple Sounds and the Seamus Blake/Chris Cheek Quintet’s Reeds Ramble (both Criss Cross).

Nancy Barell‘s 218 th Edition of “Jazz Spotlight On Sinatra” is airing now. It features new releases from Nancy Harms, Gerald Wilson, Sue Maskaleris, Gregory Porter, and others. The icons of today and yesterday are highlighted also. “Please give a listen and tell your colleagues and friends who love this music. A Happy and Healthy New Year’s wish to all.”

Fred Bouchard covered Jazz a Vienne 2013 for Downbeat Magazine and interviewed Cuban pianist Roberto Fonseca there. He edited the Nightlife section for Fodor Travel Guides’ Boston 2014 edition. He writes CD and occasional concert reviews for Downbeat, New York City Jazz Record, and Boston Musical Intelligencer. At Berklee College of Music, he continues a series of one-on-one video interviews with jazz notables for Berklee’s Oral History Project.

Stephanie J. Castillo‘s film-in-the-making NIGHT BIRD SONG has a WOW of a trailer. An upcoming music concert will benefit her film on Jan. 20 at City Winery, hosted by music impresario and restauranteur Michael Dorf.

Renetta DeBlase recently was asked to listen to and then write reviews on Amazon for two jazz CDs: Goes without Saying by pianist Michael Pelz-Sherman and his trio, the MPS Project, and Find Your Place by flutist Bill McBirnie and his organ trio. Renetta is also proofreading and copyediting nonfiction books at special discounted rates.

JaRon Eames is editing new shows for the JaRon Eames TV show airing every Friday night 12.30 am. channel 34 in NYC. Upcoming guests include Sonny Fortune. Clark Terry, Jon Hendricks, and George Avakian. He is also  promoting book signings, radio interviews for the book Jazz Conversation, revised and edited 2012, and working on the jazz documentary Jazz Conversations based on over 20 years of  his TV footage.

Ken Franckling reviewed saxophonist and composer Benny Golson’s December 10 concert with the Naples Philharmonic Jazz Orchestra at Daniels Pavilion in Naples, FL for JazzTimes. He also prepared his 2013 edition of the Year in Jazz forallaboutjazz.com.

Peter Gerler, who is working on a biography of Joe “King” Oliver, co-led a local jazz history colloquium in November at Hambonz Piano Room in Donaldsonsville, LA—Oliver’s birthplace. His partner was Daniel Vernhettes, whose new book, Jazz Puzzles, includes a chapter on Oliver. The event was sponsored by the River Road African American Museum. Vernhettes’ band, New Orleans Fiesta, contributed a tight set of traditional jazz.

George Grella is taking over as Music Editor for The Brooklyn Rail and looking forward to shaping the section in 2014 with more jazz. He’s also wrapping up an exciting and rewarding fall as a critic for the new New York Classical Review.

Steve Griggs wrote a review of David Keller’s book The Blue Note: Seattle’s Black Musicians’ Union A Pictorial History for the Seattle Times and profiled bassist/inventor Andy Zadrozny for Earshot Jazz. The Steve Griggs Ensemble won a CMA/ASCAP award for Adventurous Programming in the Jazz Ensemble category. Griggs will be writing the narrative for Robin Holcomb’s upcoming music program based on Seattle’s historic Washington Hall.

J Hunter‘s December concert experiences were  condensed into one weekend: the Aaron Parks Trio at Skidmore College, then John Medeski‘s solo show at College of Saint Rose. On December 17th, J played his last “Jazz2K” show of the year on 91.1 WSPN. (The show resumed on Tuesday, January 7th from 6-8pm EST.) J also submitted his Best Concerts list on Nippertown).

Sanford Josephson has signed a contract to write a biography of Gerry Mulligan for the “Hal Leonard Jazz Biography Series”. The biography will include material from Gerry Mulligan’s “Oral History”, which has been lent to Josephson by Mulligan’s widow, Franca Mulligan. Josephson interviewed Mulligan in 1981, and that interview is the basis of a chapter on him in Josephson’s previous book, Jazz Notes: Interviews Across the Generations (Praeger/ABC-Clio).

Elzy Kolb‘s January JazzWomen column for Hot House features guitarist Mary Halvorson on the Winter Jazz Fest and her many other January gigs; flutist Elena Pinderhughes on her NYC debut as a leader; and vocalist Amy London on old and new rhythm sections, influences and recordings.


David Kunian just finished writing the Louisiana Online Encyclopedia entry for FUNK.  The entry can be found atwww.knowla.org in a few weeks. “This was immensely entertaining as one of the places where funk in its many definitions and incarnations started was New Orleans.”

Howard Mandel‘s profile of Amir AlSaffar was published in DownBeat. He produced two brief NPR profiles of jazz stars for future use, as well as completing the first run of his new NYU course, blogging about Yusef Lateef, hearing 14 performances over six weeks, moderating the JJA’s Talking Jazz panel, and consulting about 2014 “JazzApril” activities. He planned the JJA activities at the Jazz Connect conference and prepared his spring 2014 courses at NYU.

Allen Morrison is working on a feature profile about saxophonist Craig Handy’s first CD as a leader in over a decade (on Sony’s newly revived OKeh label) for DownBeat. His review of Stacey Kent’s recent Birdland gig appears on DownBeat.com, and his review of Gretchen Parlato, Live In NYC will be in the February issue.

Jeff Tamarkin has been working on JazzTimes’ annual Farewells issue, speaking with Orrin Evans, Jimmy Cobb and Eliane Elias about artists who departed in 2013. Also working on a press release for a modern Jewish music show at Town Hall that will feature Arturo O’Farrill, John Zorn, the Klezmatics and others.

Michael J. West profiled George Colligan for Downbeat, and Marcus Roberts and Eric Revis for JazzTimes. He also covered Winter Jazz Fest for Downbeat. He reviewed a concert by Benny Golson for the Washington Post, and wrote a remembrance of Kenny Clarke at NPR Music on Clarke’s 100th birthday. He also published the 2013 Jazzies, the year’s best in D.C. jazz, at Washington City Paper.

Joyce Wilson met up with James H. Leary, III, former bassist  for the Count Basie Orchestra as he and Jacques Lesure co-host the Monday nights Jam Session & Workshop at the Barbara Morrison Performance Art Center located in the historical Leimert Park, where the late great drummer, Billy Higgins would regularly frequent. She’s also continuing transcribing assignments for  W. Royal Stokes as he works on his many jazz projects, and continuing her photojournalism studies.

Deanna Witkowski has already led her trio in several Dallas performances in January. On Jan 26, her trio will lead jazz vespers at Saint Peter’s Church in NYC. More details along with her ongoing bimonthly solo piano video series can be accessed at deannajazz.com.


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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