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B. Clugston

MacArthur grants

179 posts in this topic

Ornette-- Atlantic, Blue Note, Impulse, Columbia, A&M, Virgin, Verve... we'll argue over whether Ornette's (& Denardo's) sense of value has been to benefit/detriment of the music another time.

Regina-- Verve/Universal/Vivendi. hard to tell what kinda bank she really makes beneath gloss/glamour of marketing.

Marion Williams-- oh, just what the world needs, another church! does Jesus emancipate or enslave af-am peoples? i'm just relaying the question brutha', PLENTY of other people have asked it before me.

Macarthur's are mostly in-crowd bullshit, which is why we're happy to talk trash in return, nuttin' do w/sour grapes, grape nuts, grapes of wrath, grape of the locke or a jug of grappa bottoms up--

c

p/s: wish someone would take me up on soap opera schmaltz of "Random Family" but might be the wrong forum for that, alas.

Nothing wrong with the question about religion and I'll leave it for another time as well. For the record I'm an athiest but I do know that religion or spiritual belief has fueled an awful lot of great music. You know: Coltrane, Motzart, Handel, Aretha Franklin, Mahalia Jackson and the list just goes on and on. Same thing in painting and sculpture. You don't have to believe to feel the depth and power of the artist's belief. Having heard Marion Williams it was clear that it was the power of her belief that made her singing so powerful. Sure she had a great gift or whatever you call the ability to sing like that. But it was what she infused it with that made it worth listening to.

I'm sure she would have said that it was divine muscle that got her the grant. That's who she was.

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If a male jazz violinist had exactly duplicated her career to date, would everyone be as dismissive of him?

Yes. I would anyway. She's just not that impressive a player to me.

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I completely agree with Jim but do want to say it is their money and they can do what they want. When you have mucho bucks to give away, do whatever.

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Lots of bitching in this thread.

I'll stir the pot by saying that I liked the Vandermark award & suspect (don't know) that he used it well.

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" it is their money and they can do what they want. When you have mucho bucks to give away, do whatever."

not so sure about this - as a private non-profit they are not paying taxes, so we are subsidizing them - so it's our money really, it belongs to those of us on this board - so I'll call McArthur today and demand we get a vote -

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Just thought I'd inject my complete concurrence with fellow Atheist Mailman's high praise for Marion Williams. I also heard her in person and it was always a memorable experience. BTW, Marion also made a jazz album, with Ray Brown and Milt Jackson (Verve).

That said, since this is a peace-of-mind award that makes no demand on the recipient, there is no ground for most of the dismay expressed here. Regina Carter is keeping alive the art of jazz violin playing and making music that strokes many ears the right way, including mine. Innovative? No, but she is young and who knows what the inherent freedom of this prize might inspire her to do?

Perhaps it is the term, "genius," that gets in the way here.

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maybe they meant to say "genus" - since there may be a species quota in these awards - any biologists out there?

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I have read recently that Regina Carter was very much affected by her mother's severe illness last year(which led to her mother passing away), and cancelled many gigs to stay with her mother--which led to her being sued by many promoters, and to her emassing a huge stack of legal bills.

For anyone to be able to get out from under a stack of legal bills--you have to have some sympathy for her, in my opinion.

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Fucking promoters. In this instance, I would say those promoters are definitely in the wrong.

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flattop did fine, woop-de-doo, tho' i think it's pretty hard to rate the chicago octet/tentette dudes & dudettes as anything but a footnote, albeit one pals of mine in georgia enjoyed. brotzmann isn't underdocumented & uh, i sorta defy anyone to extol ANY of those compositions, notated, aleotoric or instant...

This is probably for another thread entirely, but not being a complete Vandermark apologist and reiterating the fact that Spaceways is weak but the cat CAN blow (and Peter is no-how underdocumented), the fact that Vandermark has helped to form a bridge between young indie kids and improvised music, and with a clearer sense of the music's history than, imo, Shipp/Thirsty Ear/whatnot, deserves mention. I think that this alone is worth a lot of MacArthur bread. And to answer the quip that's a comin', it did seem to spread south to the Velvet Lounge. During my time in Chicago, I saw a lot of young kids from the rock community heading over to see Fred blow.

Now, that said, I think that Fred deserves a MacArthur just as much as flattop, for obvious reasons. Keeping the old Velvet open would have been a great use of the $$. (though zoning politics are pretty much outside the realm..)

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My brother got a MacArthur years ago...as I understand it, there is a 'board' that nominates people in their discipline...then another board sifts thru that...it's all pretty secret...

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I have read recently that Regina Carter was very much affected by her mother's severe illness last year(which led to her mother passing away), and cancelled many gigs to stay with her mother--which led to her being sued by many promoters, and to her emassing a huge stack of legal bills.

For anyone to be able to get out from under a stack of legal bills--you have to have some sympathy for her, in my opinion.

That info in no way changes how I feel about her receiving the cachet that comes with this award (such as it is), but it certainly changes the way I feel about her receiving the cash that comes from it.

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Dd anyone see The Colbert report? He opens the show by making fun of Zorn's MacArthur.

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I have read recently that Regina Carter was very much affected by her mother's severe illness last year(which led to her mother passing away), and cancelled many gigs to stay with her mother--which led to her being sued by many promoters, and to her emassing a huge stack of legal bills.

For anyone to be able to get out from under a stack of legal bills--you have to have some sympathy for her, in my opinion.

She also gets my vote. Throughly enjoyed her performance at NorthSea this Summer. Innovative - no. But in the best spirit of jazz - yes.

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Dd anyone see The Colbert report? He opens the show by making fun of Zorn's MacArthur.

It's a riot. WFMU has it on thir blog. :rofl:

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Hip-hopgetball, A Jazzabration!

http://blogfiles.wfmu.org/BT/colbertzorn.mpg

Im glad for Zorn and Vandermark. I greatly enjoy both of their work.

LMAO! Oh man, that's priceless.

Very funny, I agree, but at the same time - more seriously - that bit kind of sums up a lot of the problems that "modern jazz" has with its image with the general public: people thinking that it's all screeching, tuneless blowing that you can't dance to let alone tap your foot to. And we wonder why the PBS-sponsoring hoi polloi gravitate to Wynton Marsallis and his ilk.

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Very funny, I agree, but at the same time - more seriously - that bit kind of sums up a lot of the problems that "modern jazz" has with its image with the general public: people thinking that it's all screeching, tuneless blowing that you can't dance to let alone tap your foot to. And we wonder why the PBS-sponsoring hoi polloi gravitate to Wynton Marsallis and his ilk.

Because they don't know any better. :rfr

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that bit kind of sums up a lot of the problems that "modern jazz" has with its image with the general public: people thinking that it's all screeching, tuneless blowing that you can't dance to let alone tap your foot to.

The problem isnt that they are wrong. The problem is they think that's a bad thing.

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that bit kind of sums up a lot of the problems that "modern jazz" has with its image with the general public: people thinking that it's all screeching, tuneless blowing that you can't dance to let alone tap your foot to.

The problem isnt that they are wrong. The problem is they think that's a bad thing.

How best to put this...Simply, for the newbie anyway, there's not a problem in their thinking. There's a problem in OUR thinking. We've been so busy, as a group of musicians, oogling, oggling and drooling over the Braxtons, Brotzmann and Cecil Taylors of the world that we've forgotten one important thing: music serves a purpose. And the less you know about music, the bigger the purpose that it has to serve.

Think about it: average joe non jazz fan goes to a club to hear some music. They're either going to want something familiar that they can relate to, or something grooving that they can dance to. Or at least tap their foot to while they drink a beer.

Now, after a while, if you can snare that person in the first place, maybe the "what they can relate to" or even the "what they can tap their foot to" might grow a bit. Or a lot. But there's still that relatability factor that even every one of us needs to admit to, even with our overblown record and CD collections.

I think that such relatability is what grabbed so many record store geek types for John Zorn. If you're into some serious thrash metal, Naked City might be relatable. If you're into punk music, Zorn's take on Coleman on Spy vs. Spy might make sense. And of course, for the more adventurous jazz listener, his takes on the Sonny Clark catalog and Masada make a lot of sense. While I was still a budding jazz snob working at a record store, Zorn fascinated me because of the sheer depth of his catalog.

But not everybody is a musician. Or a record store geek. Or a musician who's a record store geek. Some people are just average joes who work their 9 to 5 and get challenged enough (so they think) at their day job. They don't want to be challenged by what's in their CD player. And understandably so.

So when we say that such a thing is what's wrong with them, we couldn't be more wrong. What's wrong with us is that we don't allow such people the journey. Start off with Diana Krall or Jane Monheit or Jamie Cullum. We as jazz fans, and especially those of us who are musicians or writers or disc jockeys need to be willing to understand that just as we went through a musical journey to get to (insert your favorite "challenging" artist here), that other people should be allowed to make that journey as well. And that journey should (probably) start with some sense of foot tapping, dancing or snapping of the fingers.

And that said, if there's one thing that pisses me off about the way that Verve handles their publicity of both Jamie Cullum and Diana Krall, it's this: that there's not something attatched to the CD that says, "if you like this, you might also like..." Hell, even if they just stuck with Verve's catalog, that's still Oscar Peterson's and Wes Montgomery's most famous stuff. That's still important recordings by Charlie Parker (w/strings), Dizzy Gillespie (both small group and with the big band), Quincy Jones (Austin Powers theme, anyone?), Blossom Dearie, Jimmy Smith, and most importantly to a Diana Krall fan, Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan. Heck, throw in acquisitions to the catalog, and you can add in Ahmad Jamal, Ramsey Lewis, James Moody, John Coltrane, and God only knows how much more. Not only would it line their pocketbooks (potentially, anyway), but it would give people that impetus to go buy more jazz. And once that ball starts rolling, it rarely stops. That's good jazz evangelism, and it's three MILLION more potential jazz listeners in earnest.

Now, rewind that same scenario. Same newbie buys Anthony Braxton's For Alto because Braxton got a genius grant (well deserved, I might add...). Jazz begins and ends right there. Maybe there's more Diana Krall, Jane Monheit and Norah Jones to be had in the collection, but that's about it. And then we're back to where we started from...

(jazz fan shaking fist at an uncaring world) "The problem isnt that they are wrong. The problem is they think that's a bad thing."

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that bit kind of sums up a lot of the problems that "modern jazz" has with its image with the general public: people thinking that it's all screeching, tuneless blowing that you can't dance to let alone tap your foot to.

The problem isnt that they are wrong. The problem is they think that's a bad thing.

How best to put this...Simply, for the newbie anyway, there's not a problem in their thinking. There's a problem in OUR thinking.

While that was a very well written response, I should say that I was just joking. :D

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Interesting points, but it's also about how Classical and Jazz isn't taught properly at grade school level. Music isn't a big priority at most schools, at least in the US.

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Interesting points, but it's also about how Classical and Jazz isn't taught properly at grade school level. Music isn't a big priority at most schools, at least in the US.

And most classical stations play "top 40" anyways. And here's one from Beethoven (or Mozart, or JSB...)

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I wanna tackle this backwards here...

Music isn't a big priority at most schools, at least in the US.

absolutely agreed. I remember my 7th grade music teacher (this would have been 1988 or so) saying that jazz was dead. Which just seemed like an odd idea at the time, that any kind of music could be dead. How wrong he was...

Interesting points, but it's also about how Classical and Jazz isn't taught properly at grade school level.

That said, how would you teach it?

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