Jazz Blogs Roundup – October

October 31, 2011

Here are some of the latest notable items from the Jazz Blogosphere:

Five Titans Of Texas Tenor Sax

Donald Byrd: Musician, Scholar, Philosopher

Alice Coltrane: The Flowering of Astral Jazz

Gil Noble: Jazz, Journalism, Lessons and Legacy

Maraca and his Latin Jazz All Stars

Q&A with Chick Corea on his 70th Birthday Celebration

Death penalty’s unlikely opponents

October 31, 2011

Death penalty’s unlikely opponents
By Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN

(CNN) — Charisse Coleman has no real compassion for the man who walked into the Thrifty Liquor Store in Shreveport, Louisiana, in 1995 and put three bullets in her brother, Russell.

But she doesn’t want Bobby Lee Hampton — one of more than seven dozen killers on Louisiana’s death row — executed, either.

“My opposition to the death penalty has nothing to do with Bobby Lee Hampton,” Coleman said. “He’s a bad dude. He’s never going to be a good dude. If I got a call that said Bobby Lee Hampton dropped dead in his cell last night, I don’t think it would create a ripple in my pond.”

She added, though, “I will be goddamned if I will let Bobby Lee Hampton make me a victim, too, by taking me down that road of bitterness and revenge.”

Coleman, 50, is among the most unlikely opponents of the death penalty, people who lost loved ones to unspeakable violence yet believe executing the killer will do nothing for family members or society.

Their stance is backed by groups like Murder Victims’ Families for Reconciliation and Murder Victims’ Families for Human Rights, and their reasons aren’t as religious or political as one might think. Some feel so strongly they’ve spoken against the death penalty even when it wasn’t an option in their loved one’s case.

There’s no denying most Americans are pro-death penalty. They have been since 1967, according to Gallup, which regularly conducts polls asking whether Americans are for or against capital punishment in murder cases. Support reached as high as 80% in 1994 and declined to 61% in a poll this month — the lowest since 1972, the year the Supreme Court temporarily halted executions.

Add a little nuance, though, and sentiments shift. When asked to choose between the death penalty and life in prison, 50% of respondents in a recent CNN/ORC International Poll said they favored a life sentence, compared to 48% who preferred the death penalty.

Click here to view the entire article

La Tierra Del Olvido

October 28, 2011

Music Website Recommendation

October 28, 2011

For fans of rock and soul music there’s a really cool website that you should check out.

It’s called, Rock ‘n Soul Alley.

I learned about it this week.

It’s an online community where people can talk about their favorite artists, debate their favorite albums, and just share their love of the music with others.

There are articles published and blog posts. Also, interactive lists displaying the greatest rock and soul artists of all time as well as songs and albums from the last 60 years.

And much more.

I like rock music but I’m a bigger Soul fan. Regardless, Rock ‘n Soul Alley is a great place for lovers of rock and soul music.

Click here to view the Rock ‘n Soul Alley website

Cartoon of the Day

October 28, 2011

Into the Abyss

October 27, 2011

Pete Seeger enters 9th decade as an activist

October 27, 2011

Very inspiring!

An extraordinary life and an amazing artist and human being.

Pete Seeger enters 9th decade as an activist


Tao Rodriguez-Seeger was halfway through Friday night’s march down Broadway to support the Occupy Wall Street movement, a guitar strapped over his shoulder and his grandfather Pete Seeger at his side. Suddenly a New York City police officer stepped from the crowd and grabbed his elbow.

“Are you Tao Seeger?” the officer asked tersely. “Was this your idea? Did you think of this?”

Rodriguez-Seeger, a New Orleans-based musician, was certain arrest was imminent. The officer reached for his hand and he readied for the cuffs. Then something unexpected happened.

“He shook my hand and said, ‘Thank you, thank you. This is beautiful,'” Rodriguez-Seeger said. “That really did it for me. The cops recognized what we were about.”

That moment affirmed the message that his grandfather has preached tirelessly across nine decades. The causes and movements have changed from time to time over 75 years, but his message has always been the same: Song is the key to understanding and change.

“Music does something to you,” Rodriguez-Seeger said. “It can cross rivers of meaning that entire books can’t get across. … You take any one of Bob Dylan’s songs and you get to the heart of the matter where it took Homer volumes and volumes of books to get to the same point.”

Today, Pete Seeger is approaching the far end of a life lived walking hand in hand with American history, often at odds with the government that runs things. It failed to shut him up. The courts had no chance. Changing tastes and values? Never. Even time seems to have taken a step back in deference to the musical rabble-rouser’s resolve and determination.

Click here to view the entire article

Cooper Union Rejects St. Mark’s Bookshop’s Plea for Lower Rent

October 27, 2011

No mercy at all from the ownership class not even in these terrible economic times. I don’t want to sound surprised though, because I’m not.

Along with The Strand, the St. Mark’s Bookshop is my other favorite book store in New York.

Small in size but a great place for book lovers. I especially love their political section. A fantastic varied selection of books and their magazine section too. Hard to find political and literary magazines in addition to all other magazines that are in stock.

I really hope the store survives.

It would be a huge loss to NYC.


BY Rich Schapiro

St. Mark’s Bookshop not granted rent cut from landlord, faces closure despite community’s support

The struggling St. Mark’s Bookshop was dealt more bad news Tuesday when its owners were told they will not receive a rent reduction.

Owners Bob Contant and Terry McCoy found out their bid for a $5,000 rent cut was nixed by landlord Cooper Union in a meeting with T.C. Westcott, a vice president for finance and administration at the arts and engineering school.

“They don’t feel they can do anything in terms of the rent,” McCoy said. “She started out by telling us that Cooper is really losing a lot of money.”

Westcott told them Cooper Union is “broke,” McCoy said.

She did offer Contant and McCoy a deal: They can defer a month’s rent and pay it back over time.

Click here to view the entire article

Voice of the Day

October 26, 2011

“We are healthy only to the extent that our ideas are humane.”

– Kurt Vonnegut

Could jazz provide the Occupy Wall Street soundtrack?

October 26, 2011

Could jazz provide the Occupy Wall Street soundtrack?

The civil rights movement had a jazz beat. Now a new generation of players wants to meld politics and protest
By Martin Johnson

In the late ’50s and ’60s, during the peak of the civil rights movement, marches and meetings had a jazz soundtrack. Masterworks like Max Roach’s “Freedom Now Suite,” Charles Mingus’ “Fables of Faubus” and Sonny Rollins’ “Freedom Suite” were equal parts incendiary and innovative — brilliant music that reflected their times with precision and passion. As that era gave way to the heyday of Black Nationalism, political themes continued in the vibrant jazz of musicians like Archie Shepp, Sunny Murray and Julius Hemphill, among others.

Yet by the ’80s, fight-the-power odes died down in jazz, especially as rap and hip-hop emerged to carry the flag. Jazz veered toward easy listening instead. “I think jazz went through a period in the 1980s and 1990s where it was trying very hard to be ‘America’s Classical Music,’” says composer and bandleader Darcy James Argue. “The intentions behind this were laudable. The movement clearly succeeded in increasing respect for jazz in elite circles — but it also defanged the music by stripping away the social and political context, or by trying to frame it in broadly inoffensive terms.”

Argue is one of the most prominent of a growing number of jazz musicians whose work features overtly political themes.

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