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Associating with Jazz

Matthew Kassel
Staff Writer
matthew.kassel [at] mail.mcgill.ca

Originally published on Cold Jazz June 12th, 2011

When I'm critical of jazz, I'm very careful about it. That only makes sense: I don't want to misrepresent or misinterpret anything. So far, all the jazz concert and CD reviews I've written have been well received. By that I mean no one has challenged them. That's really what I fear (and why I'm so careful): that someone will try to make a fool of me, will disagree with what I've written and take it personally. This fear springs from my sense of legitimacy as writer and a thinker. No one has yet hired me to write about jazz, or much else, really. That is, I make no money doing it.

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Ibrahim Maalouf at the Savoy

Matthew Kassel
Staff Writer
matthew.kassel [at] mail.mcgill.ca

Trumpeter Ibrahim Maalouf, wearing a black Wu-Tang sweatshirt and black sweatpants, strutted coolly to the stage of the Savoy du Métropolis in Montreal on the night of May 7. He sat down on a stool and waited calmly for the members of his band to situate themselves.

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An Interview with Tigran Hamasyan

Matthew Kassel
Staff Writer
matthew.kassel [at] mail.mcgill.ca

I met Tigran Hamasyan at a Starbucks here in Montreal a few hours before his solo piano show at L’Astral on February 11. Tigran seemed quite composed, and he answered my sometimes-erratic questions with patience and intelligence. In the past few months, I have interviewed several jazz musicians between sets, and I’m always surprised at how composed they are. But this was before the show, and the conversation had a different feel, a different point of reference—no performance to reflect on.

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The Mentality of Music: An Interview with Marcus Miller

Matthew Kassel
Staff Writer
matthew.kassel[at]mail.mcgill.ca

On Monday, February 7, I did a phone interview with Marcus Miller. He was in Los Angeles and I was in Montreal. It was quite cold that night in Montreal. When we talked, the protests were well under way in Egypt.

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The Story at Upstairs

Matthew Kassel
Staff Writer
matthew.kassel [at] mail.mcgill.ca

The Story, a jazz collective from Brooklyn, played three songs for its first set at Upstairs Jazz Club on Friday night, January 28. But that’s not really what you’d remember the show for. They weren’t songs so much as rolling expanses, more captivating for their loose, ebb and flow arrangements than their melodies. When each song ended, you felt like a tide had washed over you, especially after the second one, “Migration,” which lasted about thirty minutes.