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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.

Author of the JazzNews is Wolfram Knauer

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JazzNews, 2 December 2020

… brief news …

Kate Hutchinson talks to saxophonist Femi Kuti, percussionist Sarathy Korwar, guitarist Shirley Teteh, saxophonists Gary Bartz, Shabaka Hutchings and Tia Fuller about the influence of Charlie Parker and their favorite Parker recording (The Guardian). — Steve Krakow remembers the drummer Dave Tough who is mostly seen as a drummer of early, Chicago-style jazz but who also admired the drumming of bebop colleagues such as Max Roach (Chicago Reader).

Ulrich Kriest talks to the American drummer Allen Blairman about his career which brought him from Pittsburgh to Heidelberg, Germany (SWR2). — Lewis Porter listens closely to John Coltrane‘s recording of “Alabama” to discuss three musical situations in Coltrane’s music: songs with lyrics, pieces inspired by words, and pieces with hidden texts. He then discusses the theory that “Alabama” was based on Dr. Martin Luther King’s eulogy for the four girls murdered in the 1963 Birmingham church bombing. Porter argues that Coltrane may have based his piece on newspaper articles about the King’s funeral speech, and he even fits the words quoted in the newspaper articles to the sounding music of the recording (WBGO).

Doug Doyle talks to pianist and jazz historian Lewis Porter about his current and future plans as pianist and educator (WBGO). — Matina Stevis-Gridneff talks to the Belgian pianist Simon Gronowski about the window concerts he regularly gives from his Brussels apartment since April because of the pandemic, as well as about his own history, jumping off a speeding train that meant to bring him and his mother to the death camps of Auschwitz, a story he long kept secret until friends urged him to talk publicly about it as a witness to a dark past and an inspiration for bravery and generosity (New York Times).

Margot Boyer-Dry reports about open-air jazz shows during the pandemic all over New York, such as by Wayne Tucker and the Bad Motha’s, bassist Jerome Harris and the weekly Prospect Heights Community Jam, trumpeter Kellin Hannas Central Park rehearsals, as well as Berta Alloway’s Riverside Park gigs with saxophonist Patience Higgins (New York Times). — John-Paul Shiver listens to a 1975 recording by Roland Hayes, and tells the story of the Oakland-based record label Black Jazz (48 Hills).

Sasha Frere-Jones talks to the brothers Branford and Wynton Marsalis about their New York experiences over the last 40 years (Town & Country). — Christopher Wynn reports about Ella Fitzgerald‘s 1959 custom-ordered Mercedes Benz 300D cabriolet which is for sale at a California car dealership (Dallas News).

Detlef Kinsler reports about the initiative Jazz Montez based in Frankfurt, Germany, that attracts a young audience (when the pandemic allows), and has now launched its “Jazz Montez Video Games”, a professional music video production for up-and-coming ensembles from the region, such as the Darmstadt-based band Triorität (Frankfurter Neue Presse). — Ryan McFadin reports about a new opera by Atlanta saxophonist Jeff Crompton around the life and music of legendary cornetist Buddy Bolden, simply titled “The Buddy Bolden Opera” (WABE). R. Stephanie Bruno reports about a new list of endangered sites in New Orleans that includes Buddy Bolden’s childhood home (New Orleans Times-Picayune).

Preston Frazier talks to the guitarist Alex Wintz (Something Else). — Gregor Dotzauer reports about the German vibraphonist, composer and architecture theorist Christopher Dell, his latest project, “Das Arbeitende Konzert” (The Working Concert) as well as about the freedom connected to the highest forms of complexity (Der Tagesspiegel).

John Kelly remembers the trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie who used to spend his Thanksgiving at the house of Silver Spring, Maryland, resident Dalphine Redd, mother of drummer Chuck Redd, in the 1980s (Washington Post). — Fabienne Lang reports about a 1970s chess computer that has been given a new life as a “jazz computer” (Interesting Engineering).

Roisin O’Connor talks to the British pianist and singer Jamie Cullum about his latest Christmas album (The Belfast Telegraph). — John Edward Hasse remembers pianist Dave Brubeck who would have turned 100 these days (Wall Street Journal).


We learned of the passing of the German bassist Paul Schürnbrand at the age of 85 (Schwäbische Zeitung), the saxophonist Herman Green at the age of 90 (WMC5 Action News), the singer Othella Dallas at the age of 95 (Tele Basel), the producer Michael Brooks at the age of 85 (The Snycopated Times), the singer Molly Hammer at the age of 48 (KCUR), as well as the Canadian guitarist Bobby Cairns at the age of 78 (CBC).

Jazz Research news

Beatrice McDermott reports about a virtual seminar and performance that took place at the University of Pittsburgh and honored the late Geri Allen‘s life and legacy (PittNews).

Columbia University’s Center for Jazz Studies will hold its Armstrong Continuum 2021 Meeting for which it seeks graduate student papers for a panel devoted to new work based on archival and scholarly research looking at the music, performances, and legacies of Louis Armstrong being done by graduate students across the globe. The meeting will be themed around Time and Rhythm and welcomes proposals from all fields – from the humanities to the sciences – related to thinking about Armstrong’s work in relation to these themes. Other possible themes, following a year of redoubled effort from organizations like Black Lives Matter to address state sanctioned violence and racism, might be: issues of monuments and monumentalism; Armstrong and his music as an agent of social change in a time of political urgency; time from the point of view of science and philosophy; Armstrong and critical race studies; Armstrong and feminist criticism. The Armstrong Continuum will take place on April 8-9, 2021. Preparations are currently underway to hold the event in person or online, depending on the circumstances necessitated by the Coronavirus pandemic. Abstracts should be 200 words in length. Please email abstracts to a.c.valin@columbia.edu by December 31st.

Last Week at the Jazzinstitut

The Deutsche Jazzunion has published a study about issues of gender in German jazz, a follow-up study to the “Jazzstudie2016” initiated by DJU in cooperation with the Jazzinstitut Darmstadt and the IG Jazz Berlin. The new study, named “Gender.Macht.Musik. Geschlechtergerechtigkeit im Jazz” can be downloaded on the DJU’s website (Deutsche Jazzunion).

Andreas Kolb talked to Wolfram Knauer, looking back at 30 years of the Jazzinstitut Darmstadt, but also asking about what’s ahead (Neue Musikzeitung).

(New) books we read

Among the books on our desk the last couple of weeks were “Adrian Rollini. The Life and Music of a Jazz Rambler” by Ate van Delden (see the Jazzinstitut’s book review page).

Call for Papers: 17th Darmstadt Jazzforum
“From the New World”? Eurocentrism in Jazz

In a recent article the German journalist Georg Spindler argues that “music does not belong to anybody, it is free” (Mannheimer Morgen). Cultural appropriation, he writes, can also be understood as progress, for which argument he cites examples from classical music to jazz. He then focuses on debates in the USA about “whites” having taken “everything but the burden” from the Black community (quoting a book title by writer Greg Tate). Using music from other cultures as a starting point for the creative process is not plagiarism, though, says Spindler, but a usual cultural practice. One aspect Spindler neglects in his argument is that any material “borrowed” from other cultures should always be used with respect to their origin, and that once we use material from other cultures, it will automatically mix with our own aesthetic approach, thus, we should be aware that our growing familiarity with such material might make us transfer our own aesthetic values back to the source material and its culture.

Again, following this discussion, we realize how many of such aspects might be discussed at the 17th Darmstadt Jazzforum conference as well, to be held 30 September – 2 October 2021. (Other aspects from quite different perspectives were mentioned in our last newsletters, and you can find them all on the Jazzforum’s webpage linked to below.) We invite you to send us proposals for papers, panels, artistic interventions that look at any of these (or other) topics from your perspective. We also ask you to share our Call for Papers with others interested, colleagues, artists, journalists, activists. We will (within limits) be able to help with travel expenses. The current deadline for all proposals is: 30 November 2020; there may be an extension to the deadline until the end of the year; we will report about that in our next newsletter (17th Darmstadt Jazzforum).