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B. Clugston

MacArthur grants

179 posts in this topic

So does he, I'm sure. :D

Think of the lists he could compile!

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It's funny in that first list to see Regina's name in between Braxton and Ornette...

As far as I understand it, people don't apply for the grant but are chosen. I've turned around on Vandermark; he can definitely play and has some interesting ideas. Sure, some of his earlier records were kinda boring and some of his projects are too (Spaceways Inc., as an example), but one can't deny his work ethic. He seems like a very good guy, too.

Dave Burrell could use one, though.

I agree on Haden, even if he's made some terrible records.

Shit, what about Wayne Shorter?

Edited by clifford_thornton

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- best thing Zorn ever did 'politically' was put on his yarmulke. Makes everyone forget about the Japanese bondage fetish... which didn't bother ME but...

:lol:

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I guess that everyone probably has their own MacArthur wish list. Mine would include (just talking music here):

Yusef Lateef, Henry Townsend, Von Freeman, Roswell Rudd, Rev. Claude Jeter, Andrew Cyrille, Otis Rush, Sonny Rollins, Lazy Lester, Lee Konitz, Etta Baker, Joe Wilder, Clark Terry, Michael Hurley, Archie Shepp, Lee Andrews, Dan Hicks - I omitted some good names that others have already mentioned, and I know I've left off others that don't come to mind right now. (Also, I believe all those I've mentioned are still living.)

I'd even like to see people like Claude Lawrence or Eddie Diehl get an award and have the opportunity to do more.

But hey, it's not my money or my foundation. It's theirs and they pass out the $. Does anyone here know how the winners are selected? Can any lobbying be done?

Finally, I am surprised that Wynton hasn't been named - what with Stanley being a past "genius" and all. (This doesn't even deserve a sarcastic smiley.)

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I don't understand the hostility on this board to Regina Carter. She truly blew me away in live performance in an instance in which the sidemen had not been introduced by the bandleader and I did not know her name before hearing her play. I have enjoyed three of her solo albums, and the duet album with Kenny Barron especially. I have found her live performances as a bandleader to be quite engaging, with consistently interesting and beautiful solos.

I must have a "reverse blind spot" in which I hear virtues that aren't really there.

She may not be a Muhal Richard Abrams or Wayne Shorter, but she is not an embarassment as a jazz artist, in my opinion. I think that everyone is way too harsh to her here. Others are far more deserving of your scorn.

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No scorn towards Regina Carter here, just towards her receiving this type of an award.

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No hostility toward Regina Carter - I've never heard her music. I'd just like to see some other people I consider worthy getting a MacArthur.

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My guess is they were scrambling at the last minute to find a woman and missed Amina.

Listening to 'Sings Bessie Smith' whilst reading, and had exactly the same thought.

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As far as I understand it, people don't apply for the grant but are chosen. I've turned around on Vandermark; he can definitely play and has some interesting ideas. Sure, some of his earlier records were kinda boring and some of his projects are too (Spaceways Inc., as an example), but one can't deny his work ethic. He seems like a very good guy, too.

Any chance you caught the Brotzmann Tentet show in Austin in April 2004? Vandermark used MacArthur grant dollars to cover band expenses for that tour. I can't imagine they would have made it to Texas otherwise and for that I am most thankful.

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As far as I understand it, people don't apply for the grant but are chosen.

Well, that may be technically true, but realistically it's hard to imagine any half-million-dollar award where there isn't some SERIOUS politicking & jockeying for position going on. Come on.

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Wouldn't it be more fun (for us at least) if instead of giving half a mil to one musician, they gave $50K to ten musicians, letting each of them make the album that they want without any concern for commercial considerations?

It would cut down on the bickering if nothing else. :g

Why am i surprised that Wynton hasn't received one of these yet? :g:g

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Quite honestly, I believe that the world as a whole would be betteroff if Ornette Coleman had gotten his second McArthur grant. Maybe Regina Carter will own up to it and pass it along to him, since he is a genius, and she ..... is not.

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I am troubled by some of the discussion about Regina Carter being a woman and gettting the grant for that reason. If a male jazz violinist had exactly duplicated her career to date, would everyone be as dismissive of him?

I am not as positive as many of the posters here that she is unworthy of this grant.

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Quite honestly, I believe that the world as a whole would be betteroff if Ornette Coleman had gotten his second McArthur grant. Maybe Regina Carter will own up to it and pass it along to him, since he is a genius, and she ..... is not.

Naive question probably, but what exactly did - for example - Ornette do with his grant? I mean, did certain of his albums come out due to his grant money received, did he compose certain pieces or put a band together with the money (which i assume goes as much to paying his bills as allowing him to "create" in a non-financially restrictive environment)?

Would our opinion of Regina Carter (whom I'm only passingly familiar with btw) change if this award allowed her to create something truly "great?"

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wait - maybe that's the McCarthur plan - find someone who is mediocre or maybe almost good, but not great, give them a whole lot of money and see if it transforms them - sounds like a script from the old show Millionare - only I guess we'd have to call it Half A Millionaire -

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Clifford's right--no application, anonymous and confidential voting. Which leaves the question--how do the names come up? Granted, particularly, the relatively esoteric cultural nook of modern improvisation/free jazz, I'd be interested to know whether or not, on the one hand, the cognoscenti at the MacArthur Fellowship hold more 'contemporary' improvisers in higher regard (perhaps through some nebulous, facile kinship with the 20th century avant-garde crowd?), or rather that there's just more pull--through backroom lobbying or whatever--on behalf of the musicians awarded. The names can't be plucked out of personal consciousness or universal ether--I'd be surprised to see Braxton come up on a college classroom (yet to happen outside of the few improv classes I've taken), let alone a high-profile grant process. More likely Kenny G...

And regardless of who 'gets it,' 'winning' the award is not necessarily commensurate with musical merit or skill. No animosity against Regina here--beyond personal musical taste, of course, and the notion that, even if she could make out well with the cash, there are dozens of other, perhaps more interesting candidates who've been passed over...

Edited by ep1str0phy

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I have no information on how the grants are awarded. I wonder if there is a type of informal application process, in which the judges come to know that giving them to a particular musician will allow them to finish some creative work--for example, Budding Genius has been unable to finish his sure-to-be-brilliant string quartet compositions because he has to keep a jazz/funk band on the road to pay his bills.

Or are the awards more of a trophy for past achievements?

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John Zorn? That makes sense. It'll help keep Tzadik running.

Regina Carter? She is a great violinist so I don't really mind, but it seems like the award should go to people who have ambitious projects that could use funding, or ones who run important record labels. I don't really know what the rules are.

If only Horace Tapscott had gotten it ten years ago. That might have made a difference.

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actually I know someone who was a judge for a while - basically they are a free-floating panel and the McArthur Foundation people ask them for ideas about candidates, and than they ask people they know for ideas about candidates, and than names float around and they send tapes or CDs around - and it was clear, at least at the time, that they did not have a clue about jazz (this was back in the 1980s) - they look for people, basically, who do work that they regard as cutting edge/genius, ground breaking -

Edited by AllenLowe

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So we are talking about the same Reginald Robinson, then?

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marginally solvent musicians, poets, writers, some activists, filmmakers (is there a young Brakhage, Harry Smith or even an old, impoverished one?) etc... but again, i know that ain't the game-- alas.

p/s: dead horse beating yes BUT... imagine HORACE TAPSCOTT instead of Vandermark?

Lots of filmmakers whom I could mention, and all of them need money.

One characteristic of some of their choices is that they are critical people in a "scene," Vandermark fits that. So does Zorn.

Filmmakers who also fit that qualification range from Jonas Mekas (but he might have already won one) to Melinda Stone. bruce Baillie could really use one and has a great body of work. David Wilson already won one. Abigail Child, Bill Morrison.

Tapscott would have been a most deserving individual, and would have supported the whole scene here. Billy Higgins as well. R.I.P. to both

But there are some folks associated with Cryptogramophone and/or Cal Arts and/or UCLA who are deserving and who would do good, even if what makes a "genius" is debatable. Vinny Golia, Nels Cline, Wadada Leo Smith, Kenny Burrell, Charlie Haden, Anthony Brown. That's just Southern California folks.

George Lewis already won one - another good example. Innovative, educator, etc.

Edited by Adam

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Golia is an interesting case for sure. I'm an admirer of many years, always wonder how Nine Winds supports itself.

I've wondered that too - they were (and probably still are) based in BEVERLY HILLS of all places.

He's really done some outstanding music, private genius grant or no...

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Well I guess everyone has had their shot at Ms Carter by now. What she does with the money is her buisness. That's the whole point of these grants. Maybe she'll by a better instruement, maybe she'll buy a better home. Maybe she'll take time to compose. Maybe she'll buy some nice new cloths. It's her buisness. I happen to think that she is a bit young to have won this award but what she does with it ain't no buisness of mine.

What did Max Roach do with his? He was a genius but where'd the money go.

What did Marion Williams do with hers? She built a church. God bless her.

John Zorn has a zillion projects going and probably he'll use it to fund them. Or maybe if he has a sick relative he'll use it to pay their medical bills.

That's what no strings attached means.

And since when did Max Roach, Marion Williams, George Russell, Anthony Braxton, or Ornette Coleman have 'Corporate backing'?

A whole lot of sour grapes going on in this thread. We ought to be happy that at least one artist won't have to worry about paying the bills for the next five years instead of bitching about which one that is.

Thirty or so years ago Henry Kissinger won the Nobel Peace Prize. Now that was something to bitch about!!

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Whoa, whoa, whoa--hold the blues, mailman...

Coporate backing? That's a step or two further than I (and I'm sure a lot of us) would have dared to tread--simply trying to make sense of a befuddling process (just how and from where names came into the mix is a question, beyond presumptions--and I would be the LAST to believe that Braxton or Ornette (etc.) got their names in through backroom dealings--just postulating that someone--don't know whom, least of all the musicans--could be pulling up the candidates with an interest).

And the optimist's perspective is a given. But there are lot of could-have-beens, might-have-beens, and for speed's sake should bes that could/could have make/made a world of difference. Just take a look at the piss-poor state of the LA Jazz scene for an example of an opportunity--and not just a dollar bonus--missed (we love you, Horace).

Edited by ep1str0phy

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Whoa, whoa, whoa--hold the blues, mailman...

Coporate backing? That's a step or two further than I (and I'm sure a lot of us) would have dared to tread--simply trying to make sense of a befuddling process (just how and from where names came into the mix is a question, beyond presumptions--and I would be the LAST to believe that Braxton or Ornette (etc.) got their names in through backroom dealings--just postulating that someone--don't know whom, least of all the musicans--could be pulling up the candidates with an interest).

And the optimist's perspective is a given. But there are lot of could-have-beens, might-have-beens, and for speed's sake should bes that could/could have make/made a world of difference. Just take a look at the piss-poor state of the LA Jazz scene for an example of an opportunity--and not just a dollar bonus--missed (we love you, Horace).

I don't have the time now to pull up the quote but someone in this thread did drop the notion that corporate backing might have had something to do with selections for the grant.

I'll just say that the greatest artist I've ever seen who won this prize was Marion Williams. I had the pleasure and joy of hearing her live once. It was an experience I'll never forget. I've some great singers; from jazz to opera to soul, but never have I heard a voice like that. They should have given her a thousand prizes.

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