Steve Barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Tue Jan 23 07:10:51 PST 2007

Here is another "showcase" event at which no OKOM was present. This one in
front of "Arts Presenters" in NYC. Is it any wonder OKOM is invisible to the
general public? Or is it that OKOM, as we play it, has become irrelevant?

Or are we just masochists?

Steve (sitting on my butt for 73 years waiting to be discovered) Barbone

NY TIMES - By BEN RATLIFF - January 23, 2007

Jazz ‹ or what people can get away with calling jazz ‹ is crucial to the
world of American midsize theaters and subscription performing-arts
audiences. So jazz becomes extra dynamic for a week in New York around the
time of the annual conference of the Association of Performing Arts
Presenters. Besides the panels and performances at the New York Hilton, the
conference¹s home base, clubs around town set up dozens of showcases last
week. The biggest was Winter Jazzfest, which took over the Knitting Factory
on Saturday night. 

A 7-hour, 19-band evening stretching to 2 a.m., this was actually Part 2 of
Winter Jazzfest. The previous weekend, the club had a similar evening of
bands for the benefit of those attending the International Association of
Jazz Educators conference. But the bill was better the second week, for
obvious reasons. The jazz educators¹ conference mostly draws students and
educators. The arts presenters¹ draws more people who hand out gigs and

Saturday¹s bill showed just how shifting jazz has become, stretching into
funk and soul and old-time country music, big-band blare and quiet duets,
free improvisation and precise harmonic science. The strongest sets were by
bands who went the furthest afield of a recognizable jazz tradition ‹ no
doubt because eclecticism is so crucial to the nonprofit performing arts
circuit. . . . SNIP TO (eliminating individual performance reviews)

What about jazz as we used to know it: jazz harmony, swing, melodies? The
trumpeter Steven Bernstein offered post modernized big-band swing with his
Millennial Territory Orchestra; the pianist Robert Glasper played
flexibility games with his trio, slipping in and out of rhythm and harmony;
and Misja Fitzgerald-Michel, a fast-fingered French guitarist, took his own
trio through a super-slow version of John Coltrane¹s ³Central Park West.² It
still exists. 

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