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On Validating Vocalists

Anthony Dean-Harris
Editor-in-Chief
anthony.deanharris[at]nextbop[dot]com / @retronius

One of my sharpest memories is of my mother, sister, and I in the driveway, sitting in our old Volvo when I couldn’t have been any older than eight years old. We had arrived from Lord knows where but the moment we got to our little ramshackle home on the East Side of San Antonio, Anita Baker’s “Angel” was playing. We didn’t get out of that car until we had finished singing the whole thing. My parents have two songs that are “their” song: Rachelle Ferrell and Will Downing’s “Nothing Has Ever Felt Like This” which they danced to at their wedding and The Winans’ “When You Cry”, which has always been a sort of anthem for them. But I’d have to say for the four of us, Anita Baker’s “Angel” is the Harris family’s song. Despite my father’s tone deafness (Not to disparage him, though; he’s a spectacular drummer. Actually, maybe he just doesn’t have great vocal control when it comes to singing.), singing has always been important to us. This is why it has been somewhat jarring for me in the last couple of years working in the jazz scene and seeing such an aversion to vocalists.

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Good, Pure, and Cheap: The Jazz Festivals' Dilemma

Anthony Dean-Harris
Editor-in-Chief
anthony.deanharris[at]nextbop[dot]com / @retronius

In the world of business and engineering, there exists a model used to show valuation of certain attributes that can be attained—the project triangle. The point of this triangle is to show that a project can only have two out of three of the attributes: good, fast, and cheap. If one were to want a project to be good and fast, it can’t be cheap. If one wanted it good and cheap, it won’t be fast. If one wanted it fast and cheap, it wouldn’t be good. This, with a slight tweaking, seems to be the perfect framework to figure out how to move forward with jazz festivals.

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Filling the Noticeable Absence

Anthony Dean-Harris
Editor-in-Chief
anthony.deanharris[at]nextbop[dot]com / @retronius

Much of the skills I bring to editing this website come from my experience working on my alma mater's school newspaper, The Maroon Tiger. Quite often, our respectable but still quite ramshackle operation would have sections late or shortages of stories and still need to print. At times like these, our layout editor would place some graphic or advertisement in an oddly distorted size to fill in the blank space. Whether or not I was in the room to witness this occur, I knew what was up. There's probably some official industry term for this that I don't know; I always called it "noticeable absence".

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Moving Past The Same Argument We Always Have

Anthony Dean-Harris
Editor-in-Chief
anthony.deanharris[at]nextbop[dot]com / @retronius

Last night, I was flipping channels between Roy Haynes performing on Letterman and Eastwood After Hours: Live at Carnegie Hall (1997) on Turner Classic Movies. Earlier that day, I for the first time listened to Louis Armstrong Meets Oscar Peterson (1957), an album for which I was familiar and knew a few of the tracks, but never heard it all at once and how the tracks work so well together. As much as I try to advocate for modernism in jazz and especially as I try to move past the confines of classicism, it's impossible for me to completely cast aside jazz's past. It's not that I don't appreciate jazz roots, I just have a lot that I have to do. I wish more people would understand that about me. Even more, I wish more folks would understand I’m not alone in this plight.

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The Line-Up for 3 June 2011

Anthony Dean-Harris
Editor-in-Chief
anthony.deanharris[at]nextbop[dot]com / @retronius

It's times like these when I'm playing music new and old that many folks probably haven't heard before or probably not for a while that I feel like I'm a good DJ. This is a good DJ show.