Jazz News
(aus dem Jazzinstitut Darmstadt)

28 January - 10 February 2021 | Ausgabe 03/2021 (English)

We read the morning paper for you!                                     

Dear jazz friends,

The Jazzinstitut's JazzNews keeps you up-to-date with news of the jazz world, which we collect, summarize, and issue via e-mail about once a week. This service can also be accessed on our website (www.jazzinstitut.de), where it is updated on a daily basis.

If you need bibliographies of the musicians named in our JazzNews, please click on our website’s Jazz Index page. This is a bibliographical reference to jazz-related books, magazines, journals and other sources that you can access without charge. If you don't find the name(s) you’re looking for, feel free to e-mail us! We will send you Jazz Index digests of articles about musicians as they make the news.

Now, have fun reading about the jazz week that was!

... brief news ...

Jon Blistein reports about the upcoming documentary "Little Satchmo" about Sharon Preston-Folta who has come forward some years ago about being Louis Armstrong's "secret child" (Rolling Stone). --- Gary Wien reports about the upcoming documentary "The WBGO Story. Bright Moments from Newark to the World" about the jazz radio station WBGO, its mission and its impact both on the local Newark jazz scene and national/international awareness for the music (New Jersey Stage).

Peter Kemper talks to the German blues guitarist Henrik Freischlader (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung). --- The Birdland jazz club in the Bavarian town of Neuburg celebrates its 30th anniversary, and the local newspaper remembers how its founder Manfred Rehm brought many international jazz stars onto the venue's small stage, among them Clark Terry, Oscar Peterson (who helped choosing the club's piano), and Cecil Taylor (Donaukurier). Ulrich Habersetzer talks to the German pianist Joe Kienemann about the Birdland jazz club in Neuburg (Augsburger Allgemeine).

Thomas Wochnik reports about a survey by the Berlin Music Council showing that one third of the German capital's freelance musicians (not just jazz!) already have given up or are in the process of giving up their profession while the pandemic takes away their hopes to be able to support themselves through music (Der Tagesspiegel). --- John Colapinto talks to the singer Tony Bennett who at 94 reveals that he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's four years ago (AARP).

Victoriah Szirmai talks to the German-Finnish singer Kristiina Tuomi about licorice, about working during the lockdown and about her band Glymmar (Klangverführer). --- Mesfin Fekadu talks to the drummer Terri Lyne Carrington about her start in jazz at the age of 11 or 12, about both the honor and the problem of her being one of few women so far to receive an NEA Jazz Masters Award, as well as about her explanation as to why there are fewer women instrumentalists out there (Washington Post).

Christopher A. Daniel talks to the pianist Jason Moran about his latest release "The Sound Will Tell You", the pieces on which he sees as "surrogates to the concerts I never got to perform last year", about the need to "start tying together the message with the music" after the Capitol Hill attack, as well as about conservatories that "don't really want to talk about Black people or Black issues, yet they want to talk about jazz and the blues" (NBC News). --- Ray Cornelius talks to the saxophonist Tia Fuller about her "mission of music education and women's empowerment" (WCLK).

Paul Rogers retells a story about the saxophonist Paul Desmond's admiration for the actress Audrey Hepburn in a strip cartoon (The New Yorker). --- NPR has filmed a 20-minute documentary about the St. John Will-I-Am Coltrane African Orthodox Church in San Francisco and talks to Franzo and Marina King about the idea behind the church founded in 1971 (NPR).

Keith Spera talks to the New Orleans-based saxophonist Kidd Jordan who has just received a fellowship by the Chicago-based arts funding organization United States Artists which comes with a $50,000 grant (New Orleans Times-Picayune). The same honor also went to trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith (Broadway World) and cellist Tomeka Reid (United States Artists). --- Andy Beta talks to the cornetist Rob Mazurek about moving to Marfa, Texas, seven years ago, after having lived in Chicago most of his life, about the isolation he sometimes feels in the small West Texas desert town, "but not in a bad way", as he made contacts with many of the local artists, as well as about his latest album "Dimensional Stardust" (Texas Monthly).

Michael Zwiebach talks to the pianist and composer Anthony Davis about the political perspectives of his work, about his experiences with symphony orchestras and opera companies, about the influence of Thelonious Monk and his first gigs with some avant-garde musicians like Anthony Braxton in the 1970s, about the textual as well as the musical and aesthetic approach to some of his opera compositions, as well as about meeting Duke Ellington when he was 19 years old who pointed at him and said, 'You must be a musician' (San Francisco Classical Voice). --- Max Bryant remembers the bandleader Alphonso Trent and the barriers he broke for Black musicians in the US-American South (Fort Smith Times Record).

Alan Scherstuhl talks to the bassist and composer William Parker about a new boxed set of his music, about his imperative, "Listen", about music being about "healing, solace and love", and he talks to Parker collaborators such as the pianist Eri Yamamoto, the sound artist Fay Victor, and the multi-instrumentalist Daniel Carter (New York Times). --- Reinhard Köchl talks to the pianist Marc Copland about the story he tries to tell while improvising, about the influence of guitarist John Abercrombie, as well as about jazz as an evolving experiment and the piano as his laboratory (Augsburger Allgemeine).


 We learned of the passing of the German drummer Nicky Gebhard at the age of 68 (Rheinische Post), the South African singer Sibongile Khumalo at the age of 63 (Business Day), the actress Cicely Tyson at the age of 96 (CNN, New York Times, People), the former club owner Jerry Brandt at the age of 82 (New York Times), the German musicologist Jürgen Hunkemöller at the age of 80 (Ludwigshafener Rundschau), the British trombonist Malcolm Griffiths at the age of 79 (The Guardian), the saxophonist Grady Gaines at the age of 86 (ABC 13), the Italian pianist Adriano Urso at the age of 41 (Ansa), the British pianist Keith Nichols at the age of 75 (Ilford Recorder), the German-Austrian pianist Uli Rennert at the age of 60 (Kleine Zeitung, KUG), as well as the German critic Christian Broecking at the age of 63 (Berliner Zeitung, Der Tagesspiegel, Die Zeit, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Jazz Thing).

From the World of Jazz Research

American Masters
We became aware of a series of video documents containing the raw interviews for some PBS documentaries, among others on Benny Goodman, Ella Fitzgerald, Lena Horne and Quincy Jones. The open online archive contains quite a number of interviews with jazz greats and sidemen of the above, and many of these interviews go far beyond the subject on hand. You can hear from legends such as George Avakian, Jeanne Bach, David Baker, Whitney Balliett, Danny Bank, Tony Bennett, Keeter Betts, Ray Brown, John Bunch, Joe Bushkin, Benny Carter, Doc Cheatham, Bill Clinton (the jazzman), Helen Oakley Dance, Stanley Dance, Buddy DeFranco, Gerald Early, Harry Sweets Edison, Tommy Flanagan, Terry Gibbs, Scott Hamilton, Herbie Hancock, John Hasse, Luther Henderson, Milt Hinton, Art Hodes, Lena Horne, Rodney Jones, Quincy Jones, Hank Jones, Lou Levy, , Johnny Mathis, Jimmy Maxwell, Norma Miller, Red Norvo, Chico O'Farrill, Oscar Peterson, Bucky Pizzarelli, Mel Powell, Jimmy Rowles, Bill Savory, Bobby Short, Paul Smith, Jess Stacy, Billy Taylor, Clark Terry, Martha Tilton, Helen Ward, Joe Wilder, Joe Williams, Zeke Zarchy and others (PBS).

Jazz Campus Mainz
The Music University Mainz, to which the Jazzinstitut has close connections, has established its Jazz Campus Mainz, a high profile education program directed at young jazz professionals and students (up to 35 years of age). Applications for the exclusive "Gutenberg Jazz Collective" are accepted until 14 February 2021. The participants have the chance to work with international jazz greats such as Norma Winstone, Sullivan Fortner, Ben Wendel, Larry Grenadier and Jeff Ballard. Participation is free of charge, an audition is required. More: Jazz Campus Mainz.

Last Week at the Jazzinstitut

Christian Broecking, R.I.P.

We are sad about the passing on 2 February 2021 of Christian Broecking, scholar and critic with an immense knowledge and sensitivity for the African-American heritage of jazz, whether in the country of its origin or its reception all over the globe. Christian had been the founding director of Jazz Radio Berlin in 1994 and had led the music department of Frankfurt-based Klassik Radio in the early 2000s. He had written for daily newspapers and monthly jazz journals, had published many of his extensive interviews, especially with African-American musicians and intellectuals, in more than 10 books, and had taught at several universities and music conservatories. His biography of the Swiss pianist Irène Schweizer which came out in 2016 is an example of how to turn biographical research into a history of European improvised music since the 1960s. He knew that his interview skills were an important tool for the research he was interested in, opening up the multiperspectivity of what jazz is all about, acknowledging the individuality of its protagonists. He had a way with words that let his readers understand complex discourses without oversimplifying them. He was curious and critical at the same time, and he never lost the ability to be surprised or thrilled by the music.

Christian Broecking was born in Flensburg, close to the Danish border, on 5 June 1957, but lived in Berlin for most of his adult life. In 1995 he published "Der Marsalis-Faktor", a book of conversations with musicians such as Archie Shepp, Benny Bailey, Betty Carter, Don Cherry, Joe Lovano, Joe Henderson, Charlie Haden, David Murray, but also with some of the intellectuals behind the music such as Stanley Crouch and Amiri Baraka. That book and many of his subsequent publications asked how the then-current musical discourse might be understood as an example of more general social and aesthetic discussions in the USA. Broecking was probably the first German author to understand the complexity of this discourse and give his readers an insight into different sides of the discussion. He continued to write along these lines, and he became aware of the fact that the thoroughness of his interviews could be used as source material for a scholarly study of the social relevance of African-American jazz between 1992 and 2007. That subject became his PhD thesis, published in 2011, a thesis in which he distilled from sixteen of his interviews viewpoints about society, the market, cultural identity and racism, arguing that even though the interviews had originally been made from a journalistic angle, they could be subjected to a qualitative content analysis. In his subsequent work, especially in his book about Irène Schweizer, but also in his lectures for the Darmstadt Jazzforum conference, in which he regularly participated, Broecking showed how, indeed, highly subjective positions could provide a multiperspective view upon the music, its aesthetic discourses and its relevance for society – in the USA just as much as in Europe.

He used his source material for a variety of presentations, for his teachings just as much as for radio features or for his column in the journal JazzThing. Christian Broecking made sure his readers knew about his position towards the subjects he was writing about, however, he also respected the viewpoints of his interviewees, sometimes managing to mirror the complex discourse by juxtaposing just a few very personal voices. He organized conferences, moderated public conversations with international musicians, gave pre-concert talks at festivals and, on the side, managed to publish some of the photos he had taken over the years in a photo book.

The word "respect" features prominently in many of his publications, all the way to the titling of several of his books. It is what was most important to him, as a scholar, a critic, as a human being: being able to recognize and show respect for others, no matter whether he agreed, acknowledging their arguments in order to understand where they were coming from. It's "respect" that I have always felt towards him, towards his unique approach to music and the writing about it, towards his knowledge and his ability to make the people he interviewed open up to him. It was his personality, plus his familiarity with the situation people performed and lived in, plus his deep and strongly felt wish to really understand.

I will miss "Krüschaan", as I used to call him, using the North-German variant of his name. We will miss him at the Jazzinstitut as a regular user of our services and a critical voice. The jazz scene will miss him and his thoughtful writing. He was only 63. There was so much more to do...

PS: Sometime in the late 1990s or early 2000s, Christian Broecking called, as he did from time to time, to chat about this or that. At one point during the conversation he said, "Wouldn't it be great if there were something like 'Perlentaucher' for jazz?" – Perlentaucher being an online platform summarizing what was being discussed in the cultural pages of Germany's daily newspapers. That phone call was the birth of the JazzNews we still publish to this day. Thanks, Krüschaan, for all the inspiration you gave! Sail well!

(Wolfram Knauer)

(New) books we read
Among the books on our desk the last couple of weeks were "Jazz Dialogues", by Jon Gordon, as well as "Keith Jarrett. A Biography", an extended and updated English translation of Wolfgang Sandner's book from 2015 (see the Jazzinstitut's book review page).

Opening hours of the Jazzinstitut during the lockdown
The Jazzinstitut is closed to the public during the lockdown (which lasts at least until 14 February 2021). However, we are available for research help or any other queries by phone, e-mail or video-call. If you would like to schedule a video call, please send an e-mail to make an appointment and give us an idea what you want to talk about. We will then reply with a link for a Webex video session for your meeting.

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The Jazzinstitut is an institution of the City of Sciences Darmstadt | Das Jazzinstitut ist eine Einrichtung der Wissenschaftsstadt Darmstadt