An Open Letter to Nicholas Payton: How Far Are You Willing to Go?

Dear Mr. Payton, I recently read your November 27 blog post entitled "On Why Jazz Isn't Cool Anymore" in which you, among other things, argue that jazz stopped being cool in 1959.  But your main point was explaining your decision to reject the term jazz and to critique the very word, arguing that it has …

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How Should One Best Evaluate Sonny Rollins’ Road Shows Vol 2?

Sonny Rollins recently released the second installment of his Road Shows series, which primarily draws on material from his 80th birthday concert from New York's Beacon Theater.  While the event was certainly legendary, with performances by Roy Haynes, Christian McBride, Jim Hall, Roy Hargrove, and a surprise visit by Ornette Coleman - whom Rollins had …

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Do Critics Need to Be Able to Play Jazz? No, but it Helps.

A few days ago The Boston Jazz Blog put up a post that asks the oft-debated question: Do Jazz Critics Need to Know How to Play Jazz?  The post has answers from many of today's most prominent critics such as Ben Ratliff, Ted Panken and Nate Chinen.  For the most part the consensus was "no, …

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Miguel Zenon Quartet Reaches an Even Higher Level

As I noted in a recent post the S.O. and I were fortunate to catch the Miguel Zenon Quartet (Luis Perdomo, piano; Hans Glawischnig, bass; Henry Cole, drums) at Omaha's Holland Center.*  The group performed an excellent set from what Zenon described as the Puerto Rican Song Book.  The book consists of tunes written by …

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