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An Interview With Acoustic Zen’s Robert Lee

I received several messages from Robert Lee, the legendary cable-design guru at Acoustic Zen, politely but urgently requesting me to audition his proprietary cable-testing loudspeaker system – the Acoustic Zen Monitor Reference One. Since I had, on one occasion, heard these solidly-built and attractive (polished rosewood) monitors, I did not comprehend the invitation’s special energy. […]

Clarinet Madness | An Interview with Bobby Gordon

Review by Jim Merod Jazz musicians sometimes refuse the limelight, preferring instead the shared energy of unheralded jam sessions on steady gigs. One of those is all-star clarinetist Bobby Gordon. The improbable loveliness of Bobby Gordon’s playing evolved from years of seeking out smokey bars and basement corners where jazz is played day and night. […]

Jazz as a cultural archive

Jazz as a cultural archive by Jim Merod To read the last pages of Edward Said’s Culture and Imperialism is to enter into the pathos and healing thoughtfulness of Beethoven’s late quartets. Far different than the repeated counterpoint of its favored fugal format, Said’s text moves from the adagio of a graceful stroll through waiting […]

The Question of Miles Davis. An Advance Excerpt from boundary 2

The Question of Miles Davis. An Advance Excerpt from boundary 2 The recent publication of the Complete Miles Davis & John Coltrane Sessions 1955- 1961 by Columbia / Sony Records formally annotates the permanent significance of an iconoclastic artistic partnership. Davis’s anecdotal, putatively “autobiographical,” musings about his relationship to Coltrane lend cartoonish caricature to a […]

Ellington at the White House

3 August 2002 Duke Ellington’s seventieth birthday was celebrated with a patriotic royal flair on April 29, 1969. Richard Nixon’s White House gathering of jazz, cultural and political luminaries joined to wave bright flags of appreciation for America’s most significant composer and bandleader — Edward Kennedy Ellington, a man beyond category. That is the good […]

Singing in the Shower: Ralph Ellison and the Blues

La Folia Online Music Review [April 2002.] Ralph Ellison’s commentary on jazz and blues in his now-legendary volume of essays, Shadow and Act [Random House, 1953], presents a case for black musical creation as a universally representative art form. When he asserts that his “desire, beginning at a very early age, to be more fully […]