(aus dem Jazzinstitut Darmstadt)
16 – 29 March 2022 | Ausgabe 06/2023 (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 ...

Ethan Iverson re-listens to Quincy Jones' album "Walking In Space" on the occasion of Q's 90th birthday (Transitional Technology). --- Melody Baetens talks to drummer and producer Karriem Riggins about having been named artist-in-residence for the 2023 Detroit Jazz Festival, about how the festival had been part of his musical education, as well as about how vocalist Betty Carter inspired him to strive for a career in music (The Detroit News). Gary Graff talks to Riggins as well (The Oakland Press).

Lewis Porter continues his look at saxophonist Wayne Shorter's first recordings (Playback with Lewis Porter). Porter links the tradition of the minstrel show through vaudeville, and variety all the way to today's late night shows, pointing out connections of minstrelsy to jazz history and the complicated history of blackfacing in showbusiness and then links to a review of a minstrel show by none other than Frederick Douglas who in 1849 "exposes all the hypocrisy of it" (Playback with Lewis Porter). Porter also reprints a letter Charles Mingus wrote in 1963 to the American Federation of Musicians about his contract with Atlantic Records (Playback with Lewis Porter), and puts it into context (Playback with Lewis Porter). --- Ulrich Stock talks to German harpist Kathrin Pechlof about the size and weight of her instrument, about the sound space the harp opens and how she just loved it when she was still a child, about her trio with saxophone and bass, no drums, as well as about trying to not present a facade but just herself in her music (Die Zeit).

Ethan Iverson watches a video of Duke Ellington's Big Four rehearsing "The Blues" and isn't too thrilled by both bassist Ray Brown's and especially guitarist Joe Pass's input (Transitional Technology). --- Eric A. Galm talks to ethnomusicologist Verna Gillis about her start in ethnomusicological research, about field trips to Kashmir, Afghanistan, Ghana and other places, as well as about releasing some of her field recordings (FolkLife).

German saxophonist Corinna Danzer will receive this year's Hessischer Jazzpreis (Hesse Jazz Award) (Hessisches Ministerium für Wissenschaft und Kunst). --- Vinnie Sperrazza celebrates drummer Roy Haynes on the occasion of his 98th birthday by listening to a couple of tracks from his long recording career (Chronicles). Sperrazza also listens to bassist Richard Davis and drummer Mel Lewis in recordings of the Thad Jones / Mel Lewis Big Band (Chronicles).

Nate Chinen reflects about sitting on juries for the grant program USArtists International and the German Jazz Prize (The Gig). --- Sacha Pfeiffer talks to pianist Dan Tepfer about his latest album "Inventions / Reinventions" based on two-part inventions by Johann Sebastian Bach, about his approach that is not to improvise on what Bach had written but instead use the open spaces Bach had left, for instance, by only covering 15 of 24 possible keys (NPR).

Harmony Holiday watches Alain Gomis' "Rewind & Play" documentary about Thelonious Monk as a "fraught dance between artist and interviewer" (The New Yorker). --- Marc Myers re-discovers missing tapes of an interview he had with bassist Bill Crow about ten years ago and publishes it in several instalments (JazzWax 1; JazzWax 2; JazzWax 3; JazzWax 4).

Nate Chinen listens to saxophonist James Brandon Lewis (The Gig). --- Michelle Mercer suggests making a dementia playlist because "musical memory can be astonishingly strong in people living with dementia, even when other parts of the brain are devastated" ... just in case (Call and Response with Michelle Mercer).

Nicholas D. Ball examines the biography and technique of drummer Leroy Maxey, an overlooked instrumentalist who played in the Cab Calloway Orchestra of the early 1930s (The HiDeHo Blog, part 1). --- Ethan Iverson explains how he learns a new piece, for example the standard "Easy to Love" (Transitional Technology).

Henry Boon remembers multi-instrumentalist, graphic designer and community leader Bilal Abdurahman (Daily Bandcamp). --- German saxophonist Peter Brötzmann suffers from major health problems, had to be hospitalized for a while and will not be playing in the (near) future as he himself comments on his Facebook page (Facebook: Peter Brötzmann).


We learned of the passing of vocalist Eunice Newkirk at age 83 (New York Amsterdam News), British clarinetist and saxophonist Tony Coe at age 88 (Jazzwise, The Guardian), drummer Curly Martin at age 79 (Omaha World-Herald), Austrian pianist Harald Neuwirth at age 84, photographer and critic Ken Franckling (Facebook), Brazilian bassist/guitarist Theo De Barros at age 80 (Folha de S. Paulo), singer Bobby Caldwell at age 71 (Deadline), British guitarist Simon Booth at age 67 (The Guardian), drummer Jim Gordon at age 77 (Variety), as well as South African singer Gloria Bosman at age 50 (Daily Independent).

Last Week at the Jazzinstitut

(New) books we read

Among the books on our desk the last couple of weeks were "Artistic Research in Jazz. Positions, Theories, Methods", edited by Michael Kahr; "Kansas City Jazz. A Little Evil Will Do You Good", by Con Chapman; "Schöner fremder Klang. Wie exotische Musik nach Deutschland kam", a three-volume book series by Claus Schreiner; as well as "Sight Readings. Photographers and American Jazz, 1900-1960", by Alan John Ainsworth (see the Jazzinstitut's book review page).

JazzTalk with Hank Roberts

Last Friday we continued our 25-year-old concert series JazzTalk with the trio of cellist Hank Roberts, pianist Aruan Ortiz, and drummer Matt Wilson. The concert in our sold-out concert space left everybody, musicians and audience, thrilled and happy. As customary for that series, a short conversation followed the first set. Hank Roberts talked about the idea behind this trio, about how the concept of his compositions change and what impact the musicians he plays with have on those changes, about his own road into jazz and how he came to choose the cello in the first place, about New York's Knitting Factory scene of the 1980s compared to today's scene in the Big Apple, as well as about his instrument itself, the cello, and what it does and does not allow him to play. Then the trio performed a second set, and two encores, one of them, as a matter of fact, given by the audience, singing Happy Birthday to Hank Roberts who had turned 69 that day.

Destination Unknown: The Future of Jazz

In our last JazzNews we unveiled the preliminary program of the first day of our fall conference. The morning conference session of the second day at Hoffart Theater is titled ANCIENT TO THE FUTURE, and will start with two lectures dedicated to Afrofuturism. Richard Herzog explains the importance of the idea of tradition for the music of African-American musicians like Matana Roberts and Moor Mother. Magdalena Fürnkranz takes a look at Afrofuturism as both a historical construct and a driving force for current music, drawing a connection between Sun Ra and Janelle Monáe. Bettina Bohle will open a more general discussion asking to what extent "jazz" at times gets in its own way, especially in Germany where the term is understood quite differently according to the context it is used in.

The afternoon session asks WHAT IF? And becomes a bit more specific. In 2022 the German Youth Jazz Orchestra (BuJazzO) had organized a composition competition under the headline "Zukunftsmusik" (Music of the Future). Saxophonist Niels Klein was artistic director for the competition, and flutist Jorik Bergmann one of the winners, will reflect about what such musical future might mean for them and their respective music, both artistically and for their respective life plans. Saxophonist Frank Gratkowski asks from his personal perspective what jazz is, what it could be and what it could become.

The second panel of our conference is titled "Macht Platz!" (Make room!). In it we ask where the future of music can be shaped, creativity, after all, needing spaces, both literally and metaphorically. Moderated by Sophie Emile Beha we will get to know Ella O'Brien-Coker, herself a musician and head of NICA artist development at the European Center for Jazz and Contemporary Music at the Stadtgarten in Cologne; Camille Buscot, project manager at the Deutsche Jazzunion (German Jazz Union) and co-managing director of IG Jazz Berlin, whose insight includes regional as well as national structural discourses; and vocalist and cultural manager Lisa Tuyala, who initiated the women's music network Women* of Music (W*oM).

Friday will conclude with a double concert featuring Jorik Bergmann's Julius Eastman Project, as well as bassist Athina Kontou's band Mother. The concert in Darmstadt's Centralstation will be recorded for later broadcast by hr2 radio.

The next JazzNews will let you know about the third day of our fall conference. Eventually you will find the whole program including titles, biographies and more detailed abstracts, on our website. You may want to already mark the conference date: 27/28-30 September 2023. And keep revisiting our website (Destination Unknown) together with a corresponding blog that outlines some of our own thoughts on the subject. By the way: the main conference language will be German.

Hartmut Geerken Sun Ra Archive

We told you about the Sun Ra Archive that we took over from collector, musician, polymath Hartmut Geerken two years ago. By now we have digitized more than half of it; it is already being actively used, for instance for research for an upcoming documentary by US filmmaker Stanley Nelson. In the latest edition of JAZZpects we have opened a couple of folders and boxes to give you a glimpse of what the collection contains – this is a chapter clearly to be continued.

32nd Darmstadt Jazz Conceptions 2023

Each summer since 1992 we organized a week-long workshop together with our partner, the cultural center Bessunger Knabenschule. The Darmstadt Jazz Conceptions invite teachers who have developed their own specific approach to music, and attract students of all ages, mainly from the region. The workshop lasts from 24 to 29 July 2023, every evening there will be concerts and sessions all over town. This year's teachers are: Matthew Bookert (sousaphon), Daniel Guggenheim (saxophone), Johannes Lauer (trombone), Laura Robles (cajon), Taiko Saito (mallets), as well as Uli Partheil (piano). Partheil is also the artistic director after the workshop founder Jürgen Wuchner's death in 2020.

More info: Darmstadt Jazz Conceptions.
Online registration opens 2 April 2023.

Current opening hours of the Jazzinstitut

The Jazzinstitut is open to the public by appointment. We also offer 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