Richard Brody reports about an exhibition at the National Jazz Mu-seum in Harlem showing covers from the author Ralph Ellison’s record collection ( The New Yorker). Brody explains how Ellison was a regu-lar at jam sessions in Harlem in the late 1930s and 1940s, how music informed his writing, and how Ellison was unhappy that the new jazz (bebop) “was cut off from the general black public”. The National Jazz Museum in Harlem has put together a special exhibition website cele-brating Ellison ( Ellison Jazz Museum). Greg Thomas takes up the op-portunity of the Harlem exhibition to explain why Ralph Ellison “still matters” ( The Root ).
Panya Kroun reports about the exhibition “The Visual Blues” at the LSU Museum of Art in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, focusing on the influ-ence of blues music on paintings, sculptures, illustrations and photos between 1919 and the 1940s ( The Daily Reveille ).
Ted Gioia argues that music criticism has forgotten to take the music itself into consideration, instead focusing on life-style phenomena (“clothes, hook-ups, and run-ins with the law”) ( The Daily Beast). The loss of content, Gioia says, can be seen across the full spectrum of mod-ern media, and he fears for the few strongholds of arts journalism. He remembers some of the great music critics of the past, and fears that “lifestyle-driven music criticism (…) poisons our aural culture”. Criti-cism, Gioia says, “is a tiny part of the ecology of the music business, but an essential part”, and to fix the mess, critics have to “stop acting like gossip columnists, and start taking the music seriously again”. Tom Hawking disagrees with Ted Goia’s views about music criticism and finds that there can be a middle ground “between technical analysis and lifestyle reporting” ( Flavorwire). As a critic, he argues, you have to think about your audience, and then he lists some critics who “provide serious, intelligent criticism”.
Tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins has announced the third volume of his Road Shows series of live concert recordings. The disc will be re-leased on May 6 as part of a new distribution deal that Rollins has inked with Sony Masterwork’s jazz imprint OKeh and his own Doxy label. The new album features six songs that were recorded between 2001 and 2012, with one previously unrecorded track, “Patanjali.” The selections were recorded at concerts in Saitama, Japan; Toulouse, Marseille and Marciac, France; and St. Louis.
Matt Wake talked to the bassist Kyle Eastwood about film scores he has written and film scores he would like to write, as well as about working as a film composer with his father, the director Clint Eastwood ( Alabama). Sean J. O’Connell talked to Kyle Eastwood as well, about taking up the bass at the age of 13 or 14, about musical influences, about the Monterey Jazz Festival as well as about San Francisco, Los Angeles and London clubs he visited in his youth ( Orange County Weekly ).
Ethan Iverson looksedat the relationship between Louis Armstrong and Miles Davis who has been said to have seen Satchmo as an “Uncle Tom”, and then collects Armstrong quotes by Davis which show the younger trumpeter’s respect for the musician Armstrong and his dislike of the entertainer bowing to a white-dominated entertainment industry ( Do the Math ).
Nell Casey reports about plans to reopen the historic club Lenox Lounge in Harlem this summer ( The Gothamist ).
Saxophonist Sonny Rollins and his label Doxy Records signed a dis-tribution agreement with Sony Music Masterworks / OKeh ( Broadway World ).