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JJA Member Updates: December 2015

Dec 15th, 2015 | 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, 2016.


David R. Adler published his feature on drummer Jeff “Tain” Watts on the cover of JazzTimes (November 2015). David’s Q&A with guitarist Stanley Jordan will appear on the cover of the January/February 2016 issue. David also wrote liner notes for a forthcoming Enja release by pianist Florian Weber, and recently reviewed CDs by Benoît Delbecq, Michael Cain, Chris Dingman, Nate Wooley, Sullivan Fortner and more.

Nancy Barell has reached another milestone. The 250th edition of “Jazz Spotlight On Sinatra” airs in December. “I have been broadcasting for 11 years and enjoying every minute of it. I have a loyal and large audience and appreciate the opportunity to keep this wonderful music alive.”

Stephanie Castillo, Emmy-winning filmmaker, is putting the finishing touches on her 2-1/2-hour music biography on Thomas Chapin. This two-part film is an epic tale about the incandescent life and music of an alto sax/flute man who was destined to be among the jazz greats until his life ended in 1998 at age 40 after a fatal bout with leukemia. Thomas Chapin, Night Bird Song is being readied for its New York City premiere in mid-February.

 John Fenton has had a busy month assisting with the 2nd Auckland Jazz Festival, doing photographic work and liner notes. He was also lured out from behind pen and camera by local improvising musicians who teach at the Auckland Jazz School. They asked him to read some 1959 Kerouac poems to music while standards from the same era by the likes of Mingus were played. A new project is underway with the same band – to be recorded.
Ken Franckling covered West Coast singer Kenny Washington’s November 18 Florida concert with the Naples Philharmonic Jazz Orchestra, a sextet featuring tenor saxophonist Lew Del Gatto and trumpeter Dan Miller, for JazzTimes. He also posted several local concert reviews on his Jazz Notes blog, and was preparing his traditional year-in-review of the jazz world for allaboutjazz.com.

Peter Gerler has been covering the swing jazz renaissance among Millennials. He has published pieces in JazzTimes, WBGO Upbeat, and, most recently, NEH Humanities (“What It Means That We Are Lindy Hopping Again”). His work focuses on performing units such as Tuba Skinny, the Loose Marbles, Baby Soda, the Gordon Webster Band, and Bria Skonberg.

Steve Griggs will perform a solo saxophone and memoir show for the Wayward Music Series, perform Panama Hotel Jazz, a program inspired by the unjust treatment of Japanese Americans during WWII, at the Panama Hotel and the INS Building, and premiere Sound in Stone, a program inspired by sculptor James Washington, at the Seattle Public Library.

Sanford Josephson was interviewed about his book, Jeru’s Journey: The Life and Music of Gerry Mulligan (Hal Leonard Books), by Dave Drexler of KSDS 88.3 FM San Diego on his “Inside Art” program that aired at 6 p.m. PT on Sunday, November 29. The interview has been archived by the station (jazz88.org) and is available as a podcast on Hal Leonard’s website (halleonard.com).

Kiyoshi Koyama’s popular weekly Jazz Tonight show on NHK-FM recently celebrated the jazz great Billy Strayhorn’s centennial anniversary, featuring some of his best compositions (“Take the A Train,” “Lush Life,” “Chelsea Bridge,” “Lotus Blossom,” “Blood Count” and others), as well as “Weely (Portrait of Billy Strayhorn),” composed and recorded by Duke Ellington in Oct.1938 was also played during the show.
Robin Lloyd presented the 2015 JJA Award for Mid Size Ensemble to the Wayne Shorter Quartet at Benaroya Hall in Seattle. Robin also previewed Seattle’s Earshot Jazz festival with artist interviews at kplu.org.
Ralph A. Miriello reviewed albums by John Fedchock, Ryan Truesdell, Patrrick Williams, Michael Cain,. Kenny Werner, Giacomo Gates, Mark Winkler, Ben Sidran and others for his blog and the Huffington Post. He interviewed Freddy Cole for a Hot House feature. And he covered live shows by Freddy Cole, Chick Corea and Bela Fleck for the Huffington Post and wrote liner notes for a new album from Alexis Cole. He also helped curate Stamford Center for the Arts Jazz Alley Series.
Steve Monroe’s November Jazz Avenues for the East of the River print and capitalcommunitynews.com editions included previews of shows celebrating the birth month of Billy Strayhorn and a review of the Nomadic Jazz show featuring Shannon Gunn and the Bullettes. Monroe also blogged on a concert by pianist Tim Whalen and drummer C. V. Dashiell honoring Art Blakey, and reviews of Gunn’s new CD Bullettes and Friends and Romain Collin’s CD Press Enter.
John Pietaro has been writing steadily for The NYC Jazz Record as a part of the pool of regular contributing writers for the past 6 months or so. Pieces included a cover story on Gary Bartz as well as other features and reviews. He has also been published in CounterPunch and is hard at work (still) on his first novel. He’s also performed with Amina Baraka and the 12 Houses Orchestra.

Bob Protzman, currently writing for the Erie, PA bi-weekly Erie Reader, has joined the large and distinguished contributor roster at DownBeat magazine. Look for his debut in the January issue, a review of a previously unreleased 1968 Ella Fitzgerald live performance at Chautauqua Institution in southwestern NY. An interview with composer, pianist, leader Amina Figorova and review of her new CD Blue Whisper is scheduled to run in February.

Mitchell Seidel’s coverage of the Exit 0 Jazz Festival is the cover of the December Jersey Jazz Journal. He also leads the September issue with a story on the Syracuse and Xerox Rochester jazz festivals. The front of the October issue has his portrait of the late Phil Woods. He is the editorial consultant for the exhibit, “Jews, Jazz and African Americans: Cultural Intersections in Newark and Beyond” at the Jewish Museum of New Jersey.

Carol Sudhalter had a successful tour of 25 towns throughout northern, central and southern Italy during the month of October, playing with 10 different rhythm sections including organist noted Vito Di Modugno.

Jim Willke recorded eight concerts during the recent Earshot Festival in Seattle.  Most of these concerts are being broadcast on Jim’s weekly Jazz Northwest radio show on KPLU and kplu.org.  The artists included in the series are Thomas Marriott & McTuff, Mark Taylor and Dawn Clement, Chano Dominguez Flamenco Jazz, Art Lande Reunion Quartet, Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra Billy Strayhorn concert and Larry Fuller Trio. Streamable archives can be heard at jazznw.org.
Deanna Witkowski is the recipient of a 2015 Morroe Berger-Benny Carter Research Fund grant from the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers University. Witkowski will focus on liturgical jazz in Catholicism in the late 1960s/early 1970s, with a particular focus on Mary Lou Williams’ correspondence within the Jesuit community.

Member Updates are edited by Michael J. West. 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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