Friday, January 16, 2009

While You're Listening to AccuJazz... (#2)

In the last installment of "While You're Listening to AccuJazz..."(I changed it from "While You're NOT Listening..." because, duh, you can probably look at other jazz stuff while listening, right?) I highlighted the work of Jazz PR Guy/Videographer Bret Primack's oeuvre of jazz videos on YouTube and elsewhere. I'll quickly note that one of the more recent installments in his video podcast was an intriguing look behind the scenes of Joe Lovano's newest project, "Us Five," with whom Lovano will release a Blue Note CD later this year. The video includes candid interviews and priceless fly-on-the-wall footage of Lovano and his coterie backstage at a Village Vanguard gig.

For this installment, I'll be pointing you in the direction of some of the other great jazz-related blogs I've come across. No doubt many jazz fans are familiar with many of these, but I'm sure some are unfortunately unaware of how much great jazz writing is happening exclusively on the internet. A few of my favorites:

Do the Math
DTM is written by Bad Plus pianist Ethan Iverson. Iverson is extremely knowledgeable and articulate, with incredible insight into the past and present of jazz. He also includes plenty of updates on his fantastic band. One of DTM's highlights was an surprisingly in-depth interview with Wynton Marsalis. Considered by the jazz chattering class to be ideological opposites, Iverson and Marsalis engage in some serious talk about Marsalis' current projects, musical inspirations, and worldview.

JazzWax is written by Marc Myers, a journalist, corporate consultant and longtime jazz aficionado. His blog mostly focuses on Pre-1960's jazz, writing in-depth analyses of rare recordings, illuminating dark corners of jazz history, and engaging in extended interviews with jazz legends, like this one with Jimmy Cobb.

Jazz Beyond Jazz
Written by Jazz Journalist Association president Howard Mandel, Jazz Beyond Jazz covers the current New York jazz scene and anything else on Mandel's mind. Recent posts have tended towards the political events on every one's mind, usually with a tie-in to some jazz news.

Thriving on a Riff
I don't even remember how I happened upon Thriving on a Riff, but I'm glad I did. Ottawa Citizen jazz critic Peter Hum writes more prolifically than any other jazz blogger I know of, and every single post is packed with useful information and thoughtful opinions. He almost always includes one or more youtube clips privy to the topic at hand. Lately his posts have tended towards the political, too, with a recurring series called "Jazz for Obama," currently in its 10th installment.

FreeJazz Stef
I don't know how this guy does it, but he reviews a startling amount of avant-garde jazz releases on the market as they come out. With updates almost every day and a well-organized archive, this is the spot for folks curious about free jazz and related forms. He rates records from 1-to-5 stars, and tags the ones befitting the 5-star honor so that you can see the best of the best all in one place.
The folks behind must feel a sense of duty to uphold the prestige of their URL, because they're running a wonderful website. There is a constant flow of new content, from the anything-goes Blog to the many impressive interview subjects to their own unique feature, "The Dozens," wherein a guest columnist presents 12 tracks essential to appreciating a given artist or tradition (ex: Ethan Iverson recommending his 12 favorite stride piano tracks). The only problem here (as well as the other blogs listed) is that there simply aren't enough hours in the day to appreciate everything there is to read.

Oh, and then of course there's the AccuJazz AccuBlog, but I have a feeling you might already be hip to that one.

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