Blogs

Lest We Forget

One of the names left out of my post last week was that of Sathima Bea Benjamin, who passed away on August 20, the same day as pianist Marian McPartland. Benjamin spent much of her time working as a political activist, in addition to serving as the manager and agent for her husband, pianist Abdullah Ibrahim. But she also remained active as a singer and recording artist herself, even though her own artistic accomplishments remained largely invisible.

Friends

We as a community have moved past the didactic “schools of thought” concept that shaped so much of the new music scene decades ago, but we haven’t splintered into an “every man/woman for themselves” concept either.

Preparing for Takeoff

While the road of student life does end, it’s only as a runway does: as a necessary path to greater things above and beyond. After spending a great deal of time talking over this particular issue with participants in this summer’s Fresh Inc Festival, I want to share some thoughts on the most important things to keep in mind while transitioning out of student life.

On Repetition

Repetitive music often gets maligned as background noise, encouraging passive listening, but it can also encourage the listener to actually confront the musical materials they’re faced with.

Turn Out the Stars

Three of the American music community’s most influential luminaries–pianists Marian McPartland and Cedar Walton plus author Albert Murray–passed in the first three days of this week. They, along with pianist-producer-composer-singer George Duke, whom we lost on August 5, should be acknowledged.

It’s Always Now

All of us, not just those of us who are involved with music, waste so much time dwelling on the past as well as trying to predict what the future is, when in fact the only thing we can really affect is the present.

A Category of Our Own

I can see why the Bureau of Labor Statistics might combine music directors and composers, since neither occupation performs (at least for public consumption) on an instrument or sings in the execution of their occupation. But there are many reasons why this conflation of composers and music directors is inappropriate; our occupation deserves its own category.

Copy Rites

Copyright regulations are intended to entitle the creator of a work exclusive rights for a period of time; currently 70 years beyond the life of the composer. Unfortunately, loopholes exist that obfuscate authorship.

Listening to the Unknown

If you’ve read a few of my posts you may have noticed a common refrain of “context matters.” So I decided I would test out this hypothesis in a live setting and see if my cherished beliefs would hold true.

The Numbers Game

I must confess that to me the concern about the dwindling readership for music blogs is something of a tempest in a teapot, but then again I’m someone who is perpetually skeptical of best-selling novels, Billboard-charting albums, blockbuster movies, and highest Nielsen-rated TV shows.

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