Friday, February 17, 2012

Chris Tarry: Pursuing the Printed Word

If you're interested in speculative fiction in addition to music, check out my new piece on Canadian bassist Chris Tarry, who has been honing his skills as a writer of short fiction.

Before moving to Brooklyn nine years ago, Tarry was a stalwart on Vancouver's music scene, and a co-leader of the fusion co-operative Metalwood.

Rest Of The Story, his unique combination of short fiction and the latest CD by his quintet—featuring the great Pete McCann on guitar—is nominated for two Juno Awards.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Do We Really Want to Play That Tune?

My friend Peter Hum has a blog post decrying the absence of jazz musicians on the televised portion of the Grammy Awards, but really, do we want it to change? I think it's one of those cases where you need to watch what you wish for.

When even music business heavyweights like Bruce Springsteen get pushed into beefing up their regular stage presentations—to say nothing of other performers who are forced into bizarre musical mashups—is there any hope that the same wouldn't happen to Esperanza Spalding or Wynton Marsalis if they were invited to join the televised show? The fact is that since producer Ken Ehrlich began to introduce overblown extravagance and fever-dream duets to the show, the ratings have spiked. Last year's show drew 26.5 million viewers. All those tweets about Chris Brown and Nicki Minaj—even from those who are outraged—only serve to further the Grammy vision of spreading the word.

This year, I skipped the telecast altogether and happily watched the jazz awards being handed out in the live streaming pre-telecast feed. There was no excess, no music cues to cut off the acceptance speeches, and no one insisting that Terri Lyne Carrington had to trade fives with the guitarist from Dierks Bentley.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

New Venue for Jazz News

As it continues to revamp its music offerings on its traditional FM frequencies and on SiriusXM satellite radio, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation is expanding its coverage of music issues online.

I have some skin in the game, as I'm pleased to have been invited to contribute to the new source of information.

Check out my first piece here, and find out more about the three-year/two-CD deal that Ottawa-based singer Kellylee Evans has just signed with Universal Music. It's quite a coup for the vocalist, who has quietly been building an impressive career.