Tag Archives: Jazz

Ghosts in the Machine, Part IV: Jazz in the Trenches

This is the fourth in a series of articles on jazz musicians in popular music and jazz and popular music as fields of study in higher education. In my previous articles, I detailed the enormous influence that jazz musicians have had on popular music since the 1960s. This may, early on, have been a matter […]

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The Answer is Blowing in the BrassWind

The New York Times CityRoom Blog reported that New York City’s iconic percussion store Drummers World is closing as of Dec. 28, 2011. For drummers, this store was indeed a “mecca”–every visit to New York required a stop at Drummers World, if not always to purchase something, then just to commune with fellow enthusiasts and […]

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Brokeback Motown

Part I: The Music I’ve played hundreds, if not thousands, of weddings, holiday get-togethers, corporate parties and other similar events. And I’ve done these types of “gigs” all over North America–Toronto, London, Windsor, New York, Baltimore, Detroit, Lansing, Grand Rapids, Toledo, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Denver, Boulder, Vail, Aspen, Austin, Dallas, Houston, Calgary, Edmonton, and probably another […]

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Metal and All That Jazz

A friend of mine sent me a New York Times article by Ben Ratliff from 2009 entitled Jazz and Metal, Riffs in Arms. I read it, and told my friend that I found it “strange” to which he responded “what’s strange about this?” Ratliff is a noted jazz writer, critic, and historian, so I was […]

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Can You Tell Me What a Wang Chung is?

Recently, I ran across a British jazz group online called The Quartet and was surprised to find that the guitar player in the ensemble was Jack Hues, lead singer/guitarist from the iconic ’80s band, Wang Chung. Their big hits, Dance Hall Days and Everybody Have Fun Tonight (Everybody Wang Chung Tonight), were great dance tunes, a bit fluffy […]

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Prey for Play?: From ‘Pay for Play’ to ‘Play for Pay’ and now this?

For a few years in the mid-1980s, I played in a pop music cover band in the Windsor/Detroit area. It was a lot of fun, and we actually made a reasonable amount of money. We generally played anywhere from four to seven nights a week, and our weekly take-home per member was about $300. In […]

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No Coda for Coda: Another Jazz Club Closes

Coda, a San Francisco jazz club closes, and Yoshi’s Jazz Club, one of the nation’s most famous and longstanding jazz clubs, is now relying “increasingly” on groups* like Mos Def and Public Enemy (while at the same time receiving millions in public funding). [See full story in the Bay Citizen.] I don’t enjoy delivering bad news about the […]

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Lush Life Lost: Toxic Jazz Mythologies

I’d been wanting to see the movie Let’s Get Lost (a film about Chet Baker) for many years. I heard about it when it first came out, but had a hard time finding it on video. I stumbled across it on YouTube, and watched the entire film (in 12 parts). At the same time, a friend […]

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Jazz Robots go Mr. Roboto: When Cats start Copying

A recent Xtranormal video has gone viral in the jazz community (which means all 64,270 of us in the world have watched it). The original, Jazz Robots, is funny and clever, making fun of the non-judgmental, insincere, praise-reflecting (and yet hyper complimentary) contemporary jazz lingo that mixes uncomfortably with the old ’50s hipster talk in a […]

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Music and Politics: Strange Bedfellows Get Stranger

Politics and music often cross paths. Most often, musicians use their celebrity pulpit to stump for candidates or to bring attention to a cause. Politicians, like many others, use music as a marketing tool (think of Clinton’s first campaign with Fleetwood Mac’s Don’t Stop (Thinkin’ About Tomorrow) which was featured prominently throughout as well as […]

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