I've spent quite a bit of time mulling over whether or not to write this post. In the years in which I've edited Nextbop, I've learned how to present the work of talented musicians to the public around the world and have had to contend with those who have not necessarily learned the skills necessary of dealing with the press, establishing a good web presence, and most importantly the fundamental notion of presenting one's work to another human being in a way that is appealing. I recognize that this is all part of the job-- I'm an editor, self-made at that, of a website that deals with artistic types with various skillsets, artists young and old of different experiences and different perspectives. Not everyone is going to know everything. Making music is a different skill set than promoting music, than writing about music for journalists to write about it, than writing about music for fans to get intrigued, than discussing it in an entertaining fashion over the air. Working as an editor continually gives me insight into the ever-spreading and ever-morphing tendrils of the music industry; it's also driven me slowly insane explaining to the yet-initiated how best to send music. I considered writing a column like this to be too inside baseball-- a general readership may not find this particular subject helpful. It may have been too negative-- the Nextbop mission of positivity runs directly against the idea of writing a rant about the appropriate way to send information while I'm boiling over inside and not revealing every invective I'm spewing at my computer's & smartphone's screens. However, with every spammy tweet and every two lined, info-less email I receive, the more I realize for my own peace of mind, I had to spread the word. Musicians, journalists, and random fan alike, these suggestions for submitting work may not be universal, they may not always work, they may not always even work for submitting to Nextbop, but they'll certainly give whoever you're sending things to a hell of a lot fewer headaches.
alex.marianyi[at]gmail.com / @alexmarianyi
Last night, bandleader Jon Batiste and his band Stay Human brought the Colbert Report audience to the streets. In the interview, Colbert asks the kind of questions we’ve come to expect: "Is there a fair amount of nudity in your family?" But Batiste got the chance to playfully fire back by implying that Colbert relies on scripts. Most of the segment focused on jazz as an American music, how jazz is a "social music" (the term that titles Batiste's most recent album), and what that all means.
After the commercial break, Stay Human came out and joined Batiste in a lively version of "Express Yourself". Kicking the piano stool out from under him, Batiste danced off the stage where he and the band collected the audience in a second line style march out onto the street. There was a smile on every face, a dance move in every pair of legs, and a little bit of New Orleans in New York City. Check out video from the interview and the outstanding (literally) performance from Colbert's site after the jump.
Sean Jones' recently released im.pro.vise - never before seen, on Mack Avenue Records, is a crisp suit of an album, cufflinks in the sleeves. The quartet of Jones on trumpet, Orrin Evans on piano, Luques Curtis on bass, and Obed Calvaire on drums create a sound that is built on a foundation that includes quite a few bricks from Miles' late-1960's period (as Jones' "ESP"-quoting solo on "Dark Times" can attest), it also builds on the sound of the Wynton Marsalis' 1980's output and the other Young Lions of the time (appropriate, given Jones' tenure with Marsalis in the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra). For a music that lives and dies by the drum, the presence of Obed Calvaire is always a good sign (see also: the SFJAZZ Collective and The Clayton Brothers, among others). Likewise, the presence of Christian McBride as one of the album's producers is a good sign, and portends the no-nonsense, good-feeling, straight-ahead jazz on im.pro.vise.
For the 21st century jazz musician whose varied interests keep a lot of irons in the fire, keyboardist/producer/newfound record label mogul Devonne Harris in his latest release has walked a very fine line between jazz album and beat tape. With Stashboxxx, Harris turns the fuzzy feeling that runs throughout every Butcher Brown (for which Harris is part of the Richmond, VA, quartet on the rise) release and concentrates it into pure boom-bap psychedelia. It's the kind of beat tape, much like drummer Karriem Riggins' 2012 Stones Throw release Alone Together, that's playful about its song & beat construction and clearly coming from a musician with catholic ears. Check out DJ Harrison's short movie for Stashboxxx featuring quite a few cuts from the album after the jump.