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Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Thursday, December 29, 2011

End of the year roundup Part I: Art advocacy

For the next few days while I catch my breath from the cavorting and over-eating I'd like to revisit some of my yet unpublished posts from this past year. Inevitably every year I write some posts which, for some reason I either can't finish or just don't have the balls to put my name on. I am almost always writing from my emotions and I feel that this yeilds unpredictable results. As in playing music one's feelings can play a really vital role in producing inspiration while at the same time undermining other things that are important like... organization! But hey, I didn't choose music it chose me so everyone has to just deal with me. Haha So I hope you all enjoy a sample from my posts which I felt were largely too unorganized to or pretentious to publish.

(Originally written last winter...sometime...)

I would like to further support my assertion from a previous post that it is crucial for those of us involved in the arts to hone our skills in advocacy for the arts.  Even if it is just learning about the major issues and working out one's own arguments.  I often think about what art means to people and that includes myself. Especially when I get home from a performance where the sound sucked, I sucked, and the piano was badly out of tune. Then I really need some arguments of my own to support my self-financing of my music career (or in my case earning a standard of living lower than what I could make in another field). And on top of that I have to subject my family to my selfish career choice!

Why is it that we need to justify art? What is it exactly that we need to defend to the tax payers of the far right? I come back to my previous statement that there is nothing more worthless than an unwanted piece of art. And that goes for an unwanted minute of jazz improvisation at the Lincoln center or an unwanted opera production. And perhaps we can all agree with this to some extent. I don't support the opera because it is largely a form that I find worthless to me. For shame! But how is that different than the argument that is often made by people that the free market economy means that jazz should die because that is what the public wants.

I think if we are to help change the minds of this increasingly large segment of our society and to really argue with an informed opinion then we need to do our research. I encourage you to start with this video. It's really long so just skip over to the part about the arts and let me know what you think!
Watch the video here (Fast forward to minute 119:30 to hear McCain's rant worthy of a Foghorn Leghorn cartoon against earmark spending for the arts)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Chris Donnelly blogpost competition

I'd like to cordially invite my readership to check out Chris Donnelly's blog competition. Chris is an outstanding pianist in Toronto and his blog is no less a top notch place for pointed discussion on topics ranging from jazz piano to creativity and improvisation. Please follow the link here to his blog. You can win $200 from Chris if you write a post reflecting on:

“How do you get people out to gigs? How do you build an audience?  How do you support live music?"

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Are there Mistakes in Jazz Part II

As the jazz blogosphere south of the border descends into a racist-tinged chaos, a fitting parallel to their economic chaos (how can jazz be so divisive...only in America!), I'd like to hopefully keep your day on an elevated level with a clip of Stephon Harris addressing some of the same points I made in my previous post on making mistakes in Jazz.

To quote Ike Turner: "Why can't we just be friends?"