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Ghosts in the Machine, Part III: The Ghosts

This is the third in a series of articles on jazz musicians in popular music and jazz and popular music as fields of study in higher education. Ghosts in the Machine, Part III: The Ghosts In a recent essay in Commentary, Terry Teachout, arts and culture critic for the Wall Street Journal, makes an argument for […]

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PSWGhostMachineImage Part 2

Ghosts in the Machine, Part II: “The Machinery”

This is the second in a series of articles on jazz musicians in popular music and jazz and popular music as fields of study in higher education. Part II: The Machinery Jazz musicians have played an important role in the development of popular music from the 1960s until today (we should also remember that jazz actually […]

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Ghosts in the Machine, Part I: “Jazz Musicians and Popular Music”

Part I: The Machine(s) Jazz and classical musicians have long had a troubled relationship with pop music. (By “pop music,” I mean all styles outside of classical and jazz—country, rock, hip-hop, rap, etc.—any style that enjoys a double-digit market share is properly called “popular”, as opposed to the dismal 4-6% (combined) that is shared by […]

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Tuition in Wonderland: Higher Education Funding in the United States and Europe

College tuition and student loans have been in the news a great deal in recent years, largely because of the alarming amount of student debt in the United States. Currently, student debt is more than $1.2 Trillion dollars, higher than both credit card debt and auto loans. This debt is no longer held by private […]

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Hero: Thoughts on the Music and Career of David Bowie

I was truly shocked and saddened by the news of David Bowie’s passing. I had an immediate flashback to the 10th grade, Mr. Ogorman’s French class at Riverside High School in Windsor, Ontario, where I had a classmate named Morven, who I didn’t know at all (in fact, I doubt I ever even talked to […]

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Dirty Looks

Ted Gioia’s Bar Talk: Can a Musicologist Make Club Owners Pay More?

Ted Gioia’s recent article entitled Can Club Owners Make Musicians Play for Free? is, like many of his other posts, quickly going viral on social media with the jazz community. The premise is tailor-made for the times—evil bar owners (corporate elite), poor musicians (downtrodden proletariat), government (selfless saviors) via the courts will ride in on a white […]

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And She’s Buying a Lawsuit to Heaven

The Song (or at least the bass line) remains the same. Another second-tier band wants a piece of the first-tier pie, and thus, the battle for ownership of one of the most iconic songs from the classic rock era, Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” is heating up. The surviving family members of Randy California, the late […]

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Ghost of a Chance: A New Paradigm for Pop Music Success?

I’ve been in Europe since early August as a Fulbright Scholar. Most of that time has been in the beautiful city of Graz, which is in southeast Austria. I am teaching a course at the Jazz Institute at the Kunstuniversität Graz (Graz University of the Arts). As part of this work, I was invited by […]

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Beggars’ Banquet: New Music Schemes for New Music Dreams

Over the last decade, we’ve heard a lot about new marketing and funding strategies for music and musicians that were emerging in the age of near ubiquitous internet access. Streaming music and video, Youtube, email lists, artist/group websites and blogs, fanzines, Facebook, digital and hardcopy sales, self-publishing, on-demand publishing and others. Using these new tools, […]

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Ghost Story: Something Wicked This Way Comes?

As a jazz musician and composer who grew up in the “classic rock” era, I found myself more attracted to those groups that were working with longer forms, complicated or unpredictable harmonies, meters, and rhythms, and strong musicianship; in other words, I listened to a lot of what we now call “progressive rock.” I still […]

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