Monday, January 14, 2008

Made a deliberate determination to leave the last post at the "top of the pile" for a few days (so it would be noticed immediately, and found without having to "dig"), and apparently time got away from me. Sorry about that. I'm still here, and enjoying the gigs of the new year. The past week was especially busy (early January often is) and uplifting, as well as instructive, to me. One highlights of the new year, thus far, is the long planned and anticipated inauguration of a jazz vespers series at the First Church of the Nazarene in Newark, De. Click on the video link, and choose the 2008 page for some youtube posts from yesterday's service. I just finished typing the video description to one of the posts (Smoke Gets in Your Eyes), which became somewhat of an apologetic. It reads, in part:
"Jazz today can mean as many things as there are people giving consideration to it, it seems. For the informed, and the "practitioners", the diversity of opinion often lies in the many points in the development/evolution of the art form that one can "hang their hat". It is not the case, I, and many, would argue - that the "cutting edge", or the fully developed "vocabulary", or any other "litmus test" defines true jazz, and all but the current/contemporary expressions serve as "museum pieces". Not at all. Every point (in the development of anything) is encased in a validity that does not diminish or fade (though it may lose it's cultural connection). Case in point: in this selection, the improvisation is more "guarded", and is formed, in large part, of statements and embellishments of the (toon's original) melody. Because the musicians chose to take this approach - which is grounded in jazz history, and not in sync with contemporary practice - does it become less "jazz", or less "valid"? No (unless your approach to art is akin to a religious fundamentalist - who requires agreement with a certain and specific "truth" before "the hand of" fellowship is extended), and - No (unless you believe that your own personal "litmus test" is more important than the genuine connections that are made)."
It was a fun and fulfilling evening, and there will be 3 more vespers services over the coming months. Come and check it out, if you're nearby.

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