sonny, please

I heard a story recently about Sonny Stitt that painted him in a nice-but-oh-so-serious-about-the-music light. I won’t share that here, but Cosby’s inimitable style makes this story keep you laughing all day long.

for your enjoyment

decided to go exploring the blogosphere after the PCB meetup last night and ran across one of the best public arts projects I’ve ever seen:


blues for dennis

Doug Ramsey recently announced that Dennis Irwin, bassist for the Vanguard Orchestra and Matt Wilson’s Arts and Crafts, among others, has cancer and does not have the insurance to cover it. Dennis This is an issue facing many professional musicians (and many Americans in general), who work as independent contractors and cannot afford health insurance premiums. Do any readers know of organizations specializing in artist healthcare?

There are several benefits happening in Irwin’s behalf:

Friends and admirers are organizing a series of benefits for him, beginning next Sunday following the Super Bowl. It will begin at 10 pm at the Lower Manhattan jazz club called Smalls, 10th Street and Seventh Avenue, just down the street from the Village Vanguard. Musicians are encouraged to sit in. For information, go to this page at the Smalls web site and scroll down to February 3.

There will be an Irwin benefit with the Vanguard Orchestra on Monday, February 18 at the Village Vanguard, 178 Seventh Avenue South.

Tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano is organizing still another benefit for Irwin at Lincoln Center’s Allen Room on Monday, March 10. Details are being formulated. Lovano reports that big names will be involved.

an “aha” moment

Thanks to this article from DRB, I was prompted to Google “Light Painting” and came up with this “behind the scenes” look at my favorite commercial of all times (hey, there’s even someone playing a double bass in it!). It never occurred to me that it might be stop-time with the characters who appear to be painting actually standing still while people “paint” around them.


toronto in pictures (and words)

Jon Hendricks
John Hendricks
John Hendricks

Slow Registration booths

Corey Christiansen and MB3

Mike Downes playing with the Humber band (led by Vince Mendoza)

The Blog! with Neil Tesser, Darcy James Argue, et al
The Blog!
The Blog!

Mike Downes
Mike Downes
Mike Downes

Secret Society North
Secret Society North
Secret Society North

Kurt Elling and John Hendricks
Elling and Hendricks

Our Fearless Leader (and my boss)

Esperanza Spalding
Esperanza Spalding
Esperanza Spalding


blogging on blogging

In typical blog-boy fashion, I’m standing at the internet kiosk in the midst of The Madness, immediately following a Neil Tesser-hosted panel entitled “the blog!”

Tesser has no experience with blogs and, at least concerning the blogger with which I am most familiar, seems not to have dug too far back into the archives. The panelists summarized DJA as blogging for primarily self-promotional purposes but, as my feeble memory sees it, Darcy has been my primary view of left-of-main jazz in NYC for a whole calendar year now (a purpose mentioned by Darcy during the panel).


To the far left was Carl Wilson, who apparently writes for The Globe and Mail and blogs about the Toronto music scene and has recently released a book on Celine Dion!

Next to him was David Adler, the most lukewarm blogger on the panel. He has written for several major jazz rags and seemed to be the only one on stage ready to throw in the towel.

Darcy was first on the left and next to him was composer David Ryshpan, from whom I purchased my SecretSociety tshirt after the SSN set. His blog centers around his “you should check this out, too” playlists.

Tesser divided not only the stage, but the perspectives of the panelists as well. Very evident here was the typical blogdom paradox of “everyone has a soapbox, but not everyone should use it.” I’ve struggled with this myself, as I feel my existence and experience afford me the right to an opinion and the right to share that opinion.

I can understand how someone who gets paid to do something at a high level can take offense to amateurs doing the same thing for free and often getting as many or more accolades. Heaven knows there are too many self-proclaimed experts out there poisoning minds in teh interwebs, but this wonderful rats’ nest has also given voice to some fine musicians and thinkers who haven’t had the formal training to qualify them for traditional outlets.

I’m rather ambivalant to the whole thing, I guess. The journalists’ point of view is quite valid, but that won’t stop me from speaking my mind.

Just as I was typing this, Gregory Dudzienski approached me for a pleasant little conversation. His motives for blogging (to expose a deserving scene) may be a little more altruistic than mine or maybe have a higher purpose (no “hey, check out this restaurant” posts on his site), but I’ll keep on truckin’.

now she sings…

I’ve been playing a little game here, at IAJE 2008 in Toronto:

ShannonEverytime I leave a computer at the Internet Kiosk, I set the homepage to to broaden my audience. Well, someone caught on. Shannon Butcher commented the following to my pictures and reviews post (a misnomer if there ever was one):

Just opened the internet to your blog “homepage”. Genius my friend. So genius you just might have a homepage competition o your hands…

For that, she’s getting added to my reader. Hope to see her around later. And don’t think this is over.

darcy shook it up

DJAAfter fulfilling my obligations at the Center for Jazz Composition booth, I was able to catch half of the DJA Secret Society North set. He turned this place upside down; drawing from influences to which many a jazz musician refuse to open. Raucous and irreverent, all the while self-assured and honest – the set was filled with political underpinnings to which much of the audience was sympathetic. I’ve been a fan of Darcy for a year now and am happy to say tonight’s concert did nothing to change that.

I’m apparently not the only one who thinks so.

pictures and reviews…

…are coming. I think I found a way to upload to flickr while I’m here. Keep an eye peeled.

another year, another show

Here I am, liveblogging the 2008 IAJE annual conference in Toronto. I’ve settled in and am about to see Ingrid Jensen and Nordic Connect. Pictures are abundant, but absent from the page, as I am using the internet kiosks the IAJE generously provide and they hide the box, preventing access to the USB ports.

More to come when I’m free.