Thursday 31 January 2013
If You Liked That, You'll Love This...
"I can live a week with poetry, but not a day without Jazz" - Philip Larkin, 1965
This evening, the winners of the inaugural JazzFM awards are to be announced. The nominees for the Jazz Media award feature Jazzwise, a long-standing magazine and website, allaboutjazz.com, a website with a team of writers and a huge archive and Do The Math, an independent blog written by pianist Ethan Iverson. It is a sign of the times that the newest child of the media family has now come of age and stands alongside magazines, radio/TV and large websites as a relevant, well-used resource for musicians and music lovers. It prompted me to think about the places I frequent for news, articles and reviews about jazz. Below is a list (in no way comprehensive and in every way subjective) of websites and writers that make up my daily reading.
As a newcomer to the world of jazz journalism, it was Sebastian Scotney's LondonJazz that I looked to for guidance. User-friendly and incredibly well-informed, it is an invaluable resource for jazz in London and further afield. Particularly interesting are the previews of upcoming gigs and releases written by the artists themselves.(Reading one of those is a hundred times more likely to convince me to attend a gig than 57 facebook event invitations...) Sebastian and his team of contributors are passionate about the jazz scene and that shows in all of their work.
I return to this site time and time again for the huge archive of audio and video footage of gigs. There are monthly broadcasts from The Village Vanguard, footage from Newport Jazz Festival and the fantastic radio station WBGO.
Do The Math
The JazzFM nomination for Ethan Iverson's Do The Math is deserved. What's not to like about a jazz musician who is passionate, humble and well-informed writing about music? The content is incredibly diverse - there are many interviews with musicians (one of my favourites being with Ethan's mentor Fred Hersch) and numerous articles written about topics that have piqued his interest. If that wasn't enough to convince you, there is an article on the Best Toilets of 2010 by John Hollenbeck.
Point of Departure
P.O.D is an online music journal that I've visited for many years. The monthly issues contain articles by a number of contributors with a leaning toward improvised and experimental music. My favourite feature is their interview slot which takes the form of a questionnaire about travelling as a musician called Travellin' Light. (When Tony Bevan is asked "Best tip for the novice?", he responds "Ask yourself if its worth it." A heavy end to the interview!)
This is run by Marc Myers and packed with content. Interviews, reviews, obits, articles, audio clips and a lot of lists. Marc Myers write a lot and writes it well.
And some interesting people to follow on twitter -
@thejohntoolan - he writes the blog Jazz Goes To Leeds and poses interesting talking points on twitter.
@pecangirl - Sandra Marcy is into artist and music management and marketing. She's very knowledgeable and generous with her knowledge.
@jazzteabear - Jez Matthews. Pianist, runs The Lescar in Sheffield, writes about jazz. All-round good guy!
@rabjourno - journalist and music critic Rob Adams. He writes great reviews and features.
@coreymwamba - Vibes player and composer. He doesn't let 140 characters limit him - he's a profilic tweeter.
Please share your suggestions for blogs, websites, writers and tweeters in the comments!