Buy 'Hands' - my new recording with Dave Binney, Tom Rainey, and Chris Guilfoyle!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Saying hello to the bass again......

Having spent the past few weeks writing a guitar concerto (more on this soon), it's so nice to come back and just play a standard.......

Monday, August 22, 2011

To Play or Not To Play?

Recently I took part in a very interesting discussion as to whether jazz critics should be able to play jazz or not. I came down on the side of 'yes - someone writing about the music should have some knowledge of how it works on a technical level'.

I think jazz has suffered very often at the hands of critics who have no idea of how the music works and come up with some extraordinarily half-baked ideas when writing about the music. I remember seeing Chick Corea being referred to in Downbeat as a 'chops-meister', and seeing Monk's 'Little Rootie Tootie' being referred to as 'Little Tutti Frutti' by a jazz 'critic' in Jazz Times, etc. etc. Of course this is just ignorance and bad journalism rather than a misunderstanding of a technical detail, but a musician with a working knowledge of the music would never make either of those statements. And I've always enjoyed reading musicians writing about music, and I think they should do it more often, rather than leaving the field only for the writers. I wrote extensively about this subject a while ago

But many great jazz critics responded to this question in this article, some pro the idea of being able to play in order to write, and some con - all make cogent points and it's a fascinating read for anyone interested in how the music is written about.