Jazz News
(aus dem Jazzinstitut Darmstadt)

23 September – 6 October 2021 | Ausgabe 18/2021 (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 ...

Sebastian Smee reports about a retrospective exhibition at the Colby Museum of Art in Waterville, Maine, of the work of Bob Thompson, a jazz-influenced painter and friend of Ornette Coleman who died in 1966 at the age of only 28 (Washington Post). --- Larry Blumenfeld talks to bassist and singer Esperanza Spalding about her latest project, Songwrights Apothecary Lab, about the healing forces in music, as well as about the influence of the pandemic on her work (Tidal).

Ulrich Habersetzer meets classical pianist Igor Levit at a concert Fred Hersch gave in Munich, Germany, and talks to him about what he learned from Hersch and how he transfers that lesson on his interpretation of the classical repertoire (BR-Klassik). --- John Katsilometes talks to singer Michelle Johnson (Las Vegas Review-Journal). --- Matthew Allen talks to pianist Kris Bowers about how Aretha Franklin shaped his career (Yahoo News).

Marcus J. Moore talks to poet Camae Ayewa aka Moor Mother about the different settings she performs in, jazz, hip-hop, spoken-word poetry, punk, electro, about her road into the music scene, about the album "Irreversible Entanglements" from 2015, "a combative free jazz set that scolded police, racism, capitalism and politics", as well as about some of her more current projects (New York Times). --- Marc Myers talks to Lorraine Feather, singer, lyricist and the daughter of jazz critic Leonard Feather (JazzWax).

Zachary Woolfe talks to trumpeter and composer Terence Blanchard whose opera "Fire Shut Up in My Bones" will reopen New York's Metropolitan Opera House after having been closed for a year and a half, the first opera by a Black composer performed there ever. Blanchard points to previous compositions by composers such as William Grant Still and others who had submitted their work but never been accepted, and he remembers having been contacted by the Met's general manager after the premiere of his piece in St. Louis, at a time when it "wasn’t planned as a season opener, let alone as the symbol of the company’s resurrection after the longest closure in its history". Blanchard also remembers how opera always had been an influence through his father's love for the genre, and Woolfe finally talks to some of Blanchard's collaborator's at the Met, the co-director, the music director, the lead baritone, and to composer Anthony Davis whose opera "X" will have its Met premiere in fall 2023 (New York Times). --- Giovanni Russonello lists some of Terence Blanchard's essential albums (New York Times).

Bird's Eye Jazz Club in Basel, Switzerland, had to close because it breached the region's COVID regulations (Badische Zeitung). --- Ted Gioia reflects about the music critics' tasks (The Honest Broker). --- Ashawnta Jackson remembers the musicologist Eileen Southern (JStor Daily).

Michael J. West talks to saxophonist Henry Threadgill (Daily Bandcamp). --- On the 30th anniversary of Miles Davis' death Björn Heile writes about Davis electrified jazz (The Conversation), and Sebastian Schreiber finds parallels between jazz and stock exchange trading (Tagesschau). --- Jan Paersch talks to Esther Weickel, co-organizer of the jazz festival in Leipzig, Germany (die tageszeitung).

Diane Fannon-Langton remembers the times when Louis Armstrong visited the state of Iowa from the 1920s through the 1960s (The Gazette). --- Chris Farnsworth talks to saxophonist Marty Fogel (Seven Days). --- Andrew Gilbert talks to saxophonist Joshua Redman (Berkeleyside). --- Jacob Farr talks to the Scottish trumpeter Sean Gibbs (Edinburgh Live).


We learned of the passing of the drummer Colin Bailey at the age of 87 (VC Star), the saxophonist Pee Wee Ellis at the age of 80 (Rolling Stone, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, New York Times, The Guardian) the Swiss guitarist and singer Cla Nett at the age of 64 (Tagblatt), the journalist Pamela Espeland at the age of 70 (MPR News), the Polish violinist Maciej Strzelczyk at the age of 62 (TVP Lodz), the organist Dr. Lonnie Smith at the age of 79 (NPR, New York Times), the drummer Dottie Dodgion at the age of 91 (The New Yorker), the pianist Mike Renzi at the age of 80 (Broadway World, Jazz Times), the Swedish saxophonist Lennart Åberg at the age of 79 (SVT Nyheter), the saxophonist Carlton Ayles at the age of 77 (Richmond Free Press), as well as the singer Ruth Cameron Haden at the age of 74 (Symphonic Jazz Orchestra).

Last Week at the Jazzinstitut

17th Darmstadt Jazzforum
We had a very productive Darmstadt Jazzforum conference last week, involving both a live and a livestream audience. Presentations and panels approached the conference's subject, "How open is jazz?", from many different perspectives.

On Thursday we examined how cultural identity is formed and what influences its perception. Philip Teriete talked about the curriculum at Historically Black Colleges in the USA; Anna-Lise Malmros discussed aspects of Danish-Senegalese saxophonist John Tchicai's life and career, and three musicians (Gabriele Maurer, Simin Tander, Reza Askari) with a mixed ethnic background talked about how their own stories influence their music.
(Stream of Thursday's session on YouTube)

On Friday morning we talked about cultural appropriation and national self-image, with Philipp Schmickl introducing the influence of trumpeter Clifford Thornton on Austrian concert promoter Hans Falb, and Adam Havas explaining how jazz in Hungary consciously drew upon cultural practices of Hungarian Roma musicians. Swiss concert promoter and graphic designer Niklaus Troxler talked about his start in the business and how his concert posters reflect his musical experiences. In the afternoon Harald Kisiedu discussed the Afro-Diasporic influences on European free jazz and talked about cultural creolization; Timo Vollbrecht looked at instances of "social othering" and exoticization of musicians and discussed strategies to achieve social justice in the music community, while Stephan Meinberg tried to connect structural racism with current global issues. In a panel Joana Tischkau, Frieder Blume, Kornelia Vossebein and Jean-Paul Bourelly discussed what might be needed to change consciousness in the music scene and reach a different representation of musicians on stage.
(Stream of Friday's session on YouTube).

On Saturday we started with two specific examples: Nico Thom discussing the white US-German popular singer Bill Ramsey who self-identified more with blues and jazz and was promoted as the "man with the black voice", and Peter Kemper analyzing statements by saxophonists Heinz Sauer and Archie Shepp about the impact of a joined concert in 1978. Vincent Bababoutilabo brought us back to the subject of racism in society as well as in music and emphasized the need for perspectives critical of racism in today's music education in Germany. The afternoon started with Sanne Lötzsch and Jo Wespel introducing their concept of a fundamentally alternative, queerfeminist, intersectional, anti-racist and interdisciplinary festival. Luise Volkmann talked about the meaning of ritual and community and then had a conversation with Ella O'Brien-Coker about experiences with racism. A final panel brought together promoters like Constanze Schliebs and Sylvia Freydank as well as Therese Hueber, a representative of the Goethe-Institut to talk about what happens when music from Germany is produced abroad and how traveling musicians, in whatever direction, help broaden perspectives.
(Stream of Saturday's session on YouTube).

Friday evening saxophonist Luise Volkmann received the Kathrin-Preis award and performed with the newest edition of her LEONEsauvage ensemble.
(Stream of concert on YouTube).

The basic question we asked during the whole event was, "How open is jazz?", and while the first, tentative, answer was "pretty much", we were able to learn of quite a number of different perspectives but also discuss strategies how to improve the reality of a scene that mirrors some of the current discourses in German society. There will be a book publication, planned for the summer of 2022. And the next Darmstadt Jazzforum is planned for the fall of 2023.

Niklaus Troxler: Jazzgeschichten in Rot und Blau
Right after the Darmstadt Jazzforum we opened a new exhibition at the Jazzinstitut's gallery presenting posters created by Swiss graphic designer and concert promoter Niklaus Troxler. Come and see it during our regular opening hours, make sure to make an appointment first, though (see below).

Current opening hours of the Jazzinstitut
The Jazzinstitut is open to the public by appointment. Research slots will be given out with exact time slots for one visitor at a time. At the same time we continue our offer for research help 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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Jazzinstitut Darmstadt
Bessunger Strasse 88d | 64285 Darmstadt | Germany
The Jazzinstitut is an institution of the City of Sciences Darmstadt | Das Jazzinstitut ist eine Einrichtung der Wissenschaftsstadt Darmstadt