NOAHJAZZ - NB PONTIFICATES

MY REFLECTIONS ON MUSIC, LIFE, FOOD AND WHO KNOWS WHAT ELSE . . .

Top 10 Favorite Larry Coryell Tracks

I think Larry Coryell (1943-2017) has to be one of the most underrated guitarists in modern music. Aside from his clear historical significance in melding jazz and rock guitar traditions and techniques, the pure artistic brilliance with which he straddled those lines is rather stunning. While nowadays it may be more common for guitarists to be fully fluent in both of those arenas, Coryell broke tremendous ground for all of the youngins. Many rock guitarists lack the rhythmic nuance and harmonic fluency to play jazz authoritatively, and many jazz guitarists sound comparatively wimpy and/or cerebral when they play rock. Larry pulled off both with utter conviction, and I’ve always been particularly enamored of the contexts in which he has been able to do both.

Love Is A Constant Struggle

I wrote this song this morning for Kate, called “Love Is a Constant Struggle”
I assure you this is not a bizarro, public way of acknowledging relationship friction, quite the contrary. It relates to a recent lecture I attended at Wesleyan called “Freedom Is A Constant Struggle.”

The New Administration, Butt Boils, and MLK’s Persistence

I have been attuned to the significance of Martin Luther King Day for my whole adult life. This year feels different, mostly because this occasion comes days before a particularly consequential change in our presidency. So that brings us, of course, to getting gross and painful butt boils.

Joy Will Find a Way (and the Myth of Lukewarm Water)

I believe that joy will find a way in 2017. I really do. I also think there will be pain, some of it residual and bleeding into the New Year and some of it relating to new hurts that still lie before us. So much of the richness of life involves embracing the full scope of experience. Sometimes that means holding joy and suffering in tandem. This, of course, becomes harder to swallow as the suffering reaches the depths of despair, but in a sense that is when it becomes most important to remember. As much as Western binary thinking might challenge this, the existence of one does not negate the other.

Love, Loss, and Courage

Farewell, Claire (and Mom. And Ana. Geez, this is hard)

The Election, Jazz, and Discourse Across Lines

Since the 2016 election, a lot of folks are feeling a lot of different feelings. And expressing a lot of feelings. And feeling very strongly about the distinctions between their feelings and others’ feelings. And in some cases trying really hard to figure out how to find that balance whereby they are true to their beliefs and morals and yet remain able to engage genuine dialogue* with other decent humans who feel (and in some cases voted) differently. And with Thanksgiving coming up, some who aren’t ready to attempt that engagement on a broader societal level will be forced to figure out how to find common ground in their own families. OMIGOD, HOW DO WE DO THIS? Okay, take a breath. And another. The answer, of course, is thinking like a jazz musician. Just work with me for a minute.

Top 10 Favorite Tracks Featuring Bob Cranshaw

The music world lost one of the most prolific providers of bottom end when bassist Bob Cranshaw passed away yesterday. These are some of my favorite performances of Bob’s.

Top 10 Favorite Steve Wilson tracks

10 (+1) favorite tracks by the great saxophonist Steve Wilson. Enjoy!

Top 10 Favorite Bobby Hutcherson Tracks

Aside from being in shock that Bobby Hutcherson is gone, I struggle to figure out a way to summarize his musical contributions. For me his music will always be defined by the way his infectious warmth and rugged creative searching shattered any listener’s capacity to put the resulting music into a rigid box. Here is a small sampling of my favorites from his discography.

Phoebe Snow, St. Peter, and the meaning(s) of “Legacy”

I’m a fan of Phoebe Snow from two different angles, angles that one might even deem at odds with one another. As I contemplate what in music resonates the most with me (something I do approximately 5 times a day) and ponder what life is about (something I do approximately 10 times a day), Phoebe keeps coming to my mind.