Top 50 JAzz Blog

Monday, April 22, 2013

A Salute to Musicians in the Community

As everyone knows, this was a dismal week here in Boston. The denouement could have been much worse, and we should be grateful for that, but the reverberations will continue for a long time. Bostonians are putting up a brave front, but something like this can't help but linger in our collective psyche. 

There are also ways to rebound from an event like this-lingering tete a tetes over tea or whiskey, bedroom escapades, bowling a couple of strings... Or my favorite: playing or listening to music in the street. 

We had already planned as a band to play on Saturday and we walked onto what was an odd stage, in its way. People had been shut in their houses-under siege, really-for several days. There was still a skittish quality to people's attention. Traffic helicopters drew more than the usual casual glances. Unexpected sudden movements startled more. But, after we finished, we heard how much people had gotten from our music and from our rough, spontaneous choreography and I'm confident that we had helped replenish a vital force that had been drained out of our city.

So too does the music of musicians who go into the streets, the parks, the projects, the nursing homes, the schools-anywhere their communities can access what they have to share. Your work is incredibly important and I dedicate this post to you.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Jazz and hip comedy. April 11 Radio show

"What, me? Worry. Jazz and hip comedy." 6-7 PM WZBC 90.3 FM, stream:  
Featuring Lenny Bruce, Nichols and May, Shelley Berman.

My apologies for not posting the audio file. It was recorded with distortion. Ugh. Here's the playlist:

The Duplex Mystery Jazz Hour (Specialty) with Steve Provizer 04/11/2013 06:00PM to 07:00PM

Clifford Brown “Tiny Capers”

Bob Newhart “Abe Lincoln” from The Button Down Mind Of

Jack Sheldon “Contour”

Lord Buckley “The Train” 

Lambert Hendricks and Ross “Charleston Alley” 

Mike Nichols And Elaine May “Telephone” from An Evening With Mike Nichols and Elaine May

Randy Weston “Lifetime” 

Lenny Bruce “How to Relax Your Colored Friends at Parties” 

Sonny Rollins "Rockabye Your Baby"

Shelley Berman “Woman Hanging From a Ledge” 

George Carlin “Modern Man”

Betty Carter “Frenesi”

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

That Damned Armstrong Quote

When asked 'what is jazz?' Louis Armstrong said; “If you have to ask, then you'll never know."

This thing shows up all the time-on websites, tweets, facebook. It shows how abysmal and embattled the state of jazz is that people have to self-aggrandize by declaring: “Look at me. I get it. I’m hip. If you don’t get it, hang your aesthetic tail between your legs and get lost.”

Armstrong probably said it. Why not? He said a lot of things. The point is, this quote is as unrepresentative of Pops as any quote you could possibly find. His life was about reaching out; about achieving an emotional connection with as many people as possible. He didn’t separate himself from the unhip. He drew them into his energy.

People, do you really have to use this music as some kind of emotional crutch, like teenagers arguing over their, like, favorite pop star? If you care that new people come into the fold, look at it this way: Non-jazz people are a lot more likely to be drawn to this music if they don't think the people who love it and support it are snotty jerks.