For the second consecutive year, I'll be leading a Jazz Journalists Association initiative at my hometown TD Canada Trust Ottawa International Jazz Festival. Here's the lowdown:
Jazz Matters is an educational initiative of the 400-member Jazz Journalists Association. Jazz Matters brings together leading writers, broadcasters and online journalists from around the world to explore the history of the music, discuss key recordings and performers and debate significant issues.
Modern Jazz Piano: From Monk to Moran – June 29
The language of jazz piano has broadened and evolved in the post-war decades, encompassing such wildly divergent exponents as Ahmad Jamal, Cecil Taylor, Paul Bley and Oscar Peterson. What are the common threads and points of departure? Who are the unsung heroes of the instrument and which recordings changed the sound of jazz?
To explore the evolution of modern jazz piano, join jazz critic Ashley Kahn (author of The House That Trane Built, Kind Of Blue: The Making of the Miles Davis Masterpiece, A Love Supreme: The Story of John Coltrane’s Signature Album and a forthcoming history of Blue Note Records), veteran jazz writer Mark Miller (former Globe and Mail critic and author of eight books and a forthcoming biography of pianist Herbie Nichols), DownBeat magazine critic James Hale, pianist David Ryshpan, Alan Stanbridge (University of Toronto and author of the forthcoming Rhythm Changes: The Discourses of Jazz) and Jesse Stewart (Carleton University music professor and percussionist).
1959: The Wonder Year – June 30
Try to imagine a year that produced genre-defining artistic statements like Miles Davis’ Kind Of Blue, John Coltrane’s Giant Steps, Charles Mingus’ Mingus Ah Um, Dave Brubeck’s Time Out, Thelonious Monk’s triumphant concert at Town Hall and Ornette Coleman’s New York City debut. What was in the air – culturally speaking – that year? What forces combined to produce some of the most-enduring recordings in the evolution of jazz?
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of this miraculous year in jazz history the panel will include: Ashley Kahn, NPR commentator and author of The House That Trane Built, Kind Of Blue: The Making of the Miles Davis Masterpiece and A Love Supreme: The Story of John Coltrane’s Signature Album; Mark Miller, author of eight books on jazz and former Globe and Mail contributor; DownBeat magazine writer James Hale; broadcaster Ron Sweetman (NME’s Paris correspondent in 1959); trumpeter and veteran journalist Charley Gordon; Jesse Stewart (Carleton University music professor and percussionist); and Alan Stanbridge (University of Toronto and author of the forthcoming Rhythm Changes: The Discourses of Jazz).
That's the boilerplate on the panels. Elsewhere at the festival, things are rocking. Headliners include: Charles Lloyd Quartet, Wayne Shorter Quartet, Maria Schneider Orchestra, Enrico Rava & Stefano Bollani, Dave Douglas & Brass Ecstacy, Al Green, The Bad Plus, Brian Blade Fellowship, Gary Burton Quartet Revisited with Pat Metheny, SMV.
You can find the full lineup here. Hey, Ottawa's great in the summertime (not so much today, with snow back on the ground). C'mon up!