jazz

Three Jazz/Music Resources I’ve Been Relishing in 2019

By December 27, 2019 No Comments

Consider this a late christmas gift- two jazzy resources that have provided me with some delectable insight into the creative processes of some of my favourite musicians in 2019.

They are:

1. The 5049 Podcast http://www.5049records.com/podcast (+on itunes)

2. The Jazz Gallery Mailing List (“Speaks”) @ https://jazzgallery.nyc/

3. Three Questions For Sixty Five Composers by Bálint András Varga

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1. The 5049 Podcast

If we’re reflecting on the year gone past, I can say I spent a good portion of the year working my way through the catalogue of 200+ interviews on the 5049 podcast.

Most people have encountered Dave Douglas’ great ‘A Noise From The Deep Podcast‘- which I also highly recommend. The 5049 Podcast isn’t too disimiliar: being it’s a one-man/musician, label-affiliated operation, this one by NYC free-improvising Clarinetist Jeramiah Cymerman. The main point of difference is this musical demographic of his interviewees- intersecting a more free/exploratory base of musicians- although a good number of jazzers are on there too. Interviewees include some of my favourite NYC music makers including Tyshawn Sorey, Steve Lehman, Jen Shyu, Nate Wooley, Peter Evans, Evan Parker, Jon Irabagon, Matthew Shipp, William Parker and Darius Jones. I’ve done a couple of laps of this podcast, first to chew up the big names; round two for the musos I knew by name but not my music and again for a third lap of people I had never heard of. Through the podcast I’ve been introduced to some interesting music-makers like Wendy Eisenberg and Sam Sam Weinberg- the former being one of my favourite episodes.

It seems Jeramiah’s goal was with the podcast was to host impromptu chats with fellow musicians in a sort of ‘shooting-the-shit’ style chat. He often uses biographical info as a launching point but how far they travel from these stimuluses is quite variable depending on the interviewee. In that sense I prefer Dave Douglas’ format where he plays songs from the interviewee’s oeuvre as impetus to discuss creative process than biographical information. But also sometimes the casualness of Jeremiah’s format means he can crack open some absolute gold like with Nate Wooley, Pete Evans, William Parker, Wendy Eisenberg and Matt Shipp. He’s also a funny cat himself that takes on some sort of protagonist-like role throughout the series. We’re rooting for ya JC.

The most recent 100 or so are free on all the places podcasts exists but to unlock the entire collection you have to sign up to his Patreon. The cheapo deal is 5usd/month which I’ve been on for a while now. PSA: He has gone quiet the last couple of months but I’d stay it would still be worth jumping on board to hear some quality episodes.

2. The Jazz Gallery Mailing List

The Jazz Gallery is one of the great jazz venues of NYC and their mailing list is one of my favourite reads in the morning.

The venue itself is a hard place not to like. The place is wholly community-orientated and navigates the unique space of servicing new, creative music by both emerging and well-known musicians. They also host a number of annual events including mentorships, compositional commissions and a mini-festival.

Their mailing list disseminates thoughtful gig descriptions and reminders- the best of which are interviews especially conducted for the upcoming gig. I find the interviews really fruitful, partly because the Jazz Gallery interviewers are all thoughtful, young jazzers themselves who ask provocative, process driven questions (as you can see in the snapshot of the Joel Ross interview above) and two- it seems a number of artists have been interviewed multiple times and interviewers will often thread together themes from earlier interviews in a sort of long-form discussion. It’s interesting to see the views and processes of artists develop over time.

3. Three Questions For Sixty Five Composers by Bálint András Varga

This is an incredible collection of interviews with such a monumental list of the world’s living classical composers that at first I thought it was a hoax. But the author happens to be a very well connected classical arts administrator for Hungary who is friends with or been in contact with the likes of Cage, Feldman, Boulez, Xanakis, Stockhausen, Babbit, Ligeti, Carter, Takemitsu, Penderecki and 55 more!

The other aspect of this book I enjoy is how he simplifies his interviewing approach to three single lines of enquiry. The first asks composers if they had a musical epiphany that changed their perspective of listening and creating music; the second is about if nature influences their music and the asks their thoughts on style and self-repetition.

The interviews are very variable, with some authors speaking at length over multiple correspondences about their thoughts and music while others- like Cage- offer single sentence replies.

Also, there is a little epilogue of drawings the composers submitted after the author asked them if it was possible to render their compositional approach into the visual medium. It is fucking interesting.

I would highly recommend checking out this book to get some compositional and creatives juices following! I bought it on Kindle for 25 smackos or so.

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I hope these prove to be as entertaining and insightful for you as they have been for me. Gotta live it and breathe, right? Enjoy x

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