Tuesday, April 22, 2008

WHPK FM April 27th Program Schedule

"What is This Thing Called Jazz, Adventures in Modern Music", continues with its time tested series of interviews and music. Coming Sunday, April 27, 2008 guests will include New Orleans based, European bred saxophonist Christian Winther, on the heels of his new release, Soul House and all world guitarist Dave Stryker, both Steeplechase recording artists; also the founder of the St. John Coltrane African Orthodox Church, in San Francisco ArchBishop Franzo W. King. And rounding out the show will be new Chicago sensation saxist Chris Greene. All with your host Lofton A. Emenari, III. Broadcasting 10 AM til Noon Central on WHPK-FM, 88.5 University of Chicago. We are streaming http://www.whpk.org/stream

"Young" John Young

"Young" John Young was a Chicago institution.
When one thinks of Chicago piano - the photo of John Young begins the chapter. His recent passing April 16, one month to the day of his 84th birthdate leaves our hearts heavy but not blue. For the music he gave to us will forever make our hearts and memories sing.
Having seen John Young play countless times over the past four decades I was always amazed at his sheer joy of playing. I used to call him a piano savant. With an ever ready smile sometimes vocalizing melodies and lyrics to other band members. His Monday nites with Von Freeman at the Club Enterprise are the stuff of legend. Freeman gave Young the 'title' of "Young" as he does with many of his peers, giving them all nicknames.
It was a crime that John Young didn't record as prolifically as his undisputed reputation would warrant. Who can forget his dates on Gene Ammons and Dexter Gordon's The Chase. Or the sessions with Etta James and Freeman. Not to mention his discs on the Chess label in the 50s. A time when Chicago piano was being defined by Ahmad Jamal. Other Chess roster mates included King Fleming and Ramsey Lewis.
Having attended his funeral April 23rd at one of Chicago's oldest baptist churches, Ebenezer I was struck by how few people were there. A little over a hundred tops. Oh yes many musicians, Von and George Freeman both, Eric Schneider, drummer Terry Ross, vocalist June Yvone; WHPK DJ's Sterling Watson, Gil Daspit and Lee Bailey to name a few. But I thought here lies the body of one of the greatest pianist on Earth! Why has not Mayor Daley declared this day "Young" John Young Days for all the city of Chicago?
One cannot forget John Young, with his always present Kangol caps hiding his balding dome. That twinkle in his eyes. Nor his encyclopedic piano language. A tongue which we all longed for and understood.
Pianist Bradley-Parker Sparrow put it this way.....

So fly,
The piano is in the sky with white and black pedal tones
And eternal standards…
The harp is like the heavens blessing so strong
And John Young has the perfect trio,
The tuned piano,
The everlasting audience
And god is jazz.
And food for the band.
The trio is in the holy city.
Now turn around and be with all,
In tune, on time and in key.
Sparrow 4-21-08

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Stein Brothers

A good trivial question is: 'What ever happened to the Hollyday Brothers'? Two infant terribles that were to set the jazz world aflame. This was back in the 80s mind you.
On the fast track comes The Stein Brothers sans the hype, nor as juiced as the Harper Brothers (who had a better run than the Hollyday boys). Their debut release, 'Quixotic' (Jazzed Media), is inauspicious enough. Its relative low edged mien sort of sneaks up on you and you suddenly 'realize these guys are under 30'!
From their web page 'steinbrothersjazz.com the brothers began their jazz jump, "in the Greater Newark / North Jersey Area with a growing New York presence, Asher and Alex are still in their twenties. They started their careers playing in the late lamented Tuesday jam session at the old Peppermint Lounge". Alex and Asher, tenor and alto sax respectively are more importantly students of the master Barry Harris. And he can be quite proud of his progeny.Close your eyes, listen to the music and you're transported back in time. It's the late 50s.
Their sound sings, literally! Asher, with a Gigi Gryce spiritedness. Alex, a Teddy Edwards sensibility of tone. Fronting a 'regular' working band the real kicker of the group is the woefully under recorded pianist Mferghu (nee Michael Ferghuson). The last this writer heard of the pianist was on a 1992 recording, Graham Haynes 'Parisian Nocture' (Muse). If he can be dubbed, 'Barry Harris, Jr.' or the heir apparent so be it. Mferghu has a deft accompanying touch, harmonic control and is the writer of three of the discs 12 tunes.
Rounding out the rhythm section is bassist Doug Largent and drummer Joe Blaxx, two able pros. Also guesting are trumpeter Duane Eubanks (who I'd like to hear more from), and trombonist Jonathan Voltzok.
Besides standards 'East of the Sun', 'Embraceable You' and 'This Time the Dreams on Me' the Stein Brothers band serves up their own recipe of tunes along with an old Barry Harris line, 'And So I Love You'. The music is tight with a lasting finish. It'll be interesting to hear what comes next. I'm sure it'll be on the upside

IAJE Files for Bankruptcy

Dear IAJE Family,It is with a great sense of loss that I inform you that despite drastic efforts to cut expenses and raise emergency funds, the IAJE Board has voted to file for bankruptcy under Chapter 7 of the Federal Bankruptcy Law. I want to thank profusely those who responded with their generous donations and offers of assistance following my last communication. While over 250 individuals contributed just over $12,000, this, along with the many other efforts and contributions of IAJE staff, Board members, and association partners, was simply not enough to address the accumulated debt of the organization or its urgent need for cash relief.In the next few days, a Kansas bankruptcy court will appoint a trustee to oversee all ongoing aspects of the association. This includes the ability to examine IAJE's financial records and mount an independent inquiry into the causes of it's financial downfall as well as disposing of the remaining assets of the association with proceeds distributed to creditors in accordance with Kansas and Federal law. The board will no longer be involved in operation of the organization and will at some point resign. IAJE as it presently stands will no longer exist. Approximately a week after filing, all potential creditors of the association will receive notice of the association's filing from the court. Members who desire additional information regarding the petition, including a complete listing of association assets and liabilities, may retrieve this, as it is a public document, through normal court procedures. Undoubtedly, however, you will have more immediate questions deserving of responses I hope to address in this report.Since the first communication to the membership outlining this crisis, there has been considerable public speculation as to its causes. As noted in that communication, years of dependence upon the conference as a primary (but unreliable) revenue stream and the launch of a well-intentioned capital campaign (the Campaign for Jazz), which generated a meager response but required considerable expenditures in advance of contributions, drove the association into insolvency. Sadly, the attendance at the conference in Toronto (the lowest in 10 years) exacerbated an already critical situation, depriving the association of the cash-flow needed to continue daily operations as well as the time needed to seek alternative resources.While ultimately not able to skirt the financial land mines placed in its path, I want to assure you the IAJE Board has acted responsibly, ethically, and with a sense of urgency ever since it was blindsided last fall with the discovery of the extent of the accumulated association debt. Since that time, the board slashed spending, set specific performance targets for the Executive Director, sought outside consultations, and enlisted the services of several past-presidents and strategic association partners in attempts to raise funds - sadly, with minimal success.It goes without saying, the board you elected is comprised of very accomplished, intelligent, and dedicated educators and professionals who have given generously of their time in service to this association and care about it passionately. Likewise, our entire professional staff, led by Associate Executive Director, Vivian Orndorff, and Executive Producer, Steve Baker, has worked heroically in the face of declining resources to meet the needs of the association and its members. I wanted to take this opportunity to thank both the board and staff for their service. I have been privileged and honored to serve with them. While there may be those who question specific decisions or strategies in efforts to meet this crisis, the dedication and integrity of these individuals should never be in doubt.As we move forward, one of the most pressing questions is how the operations of individual chapters and affiliated associations will be affected by this filing. Since our chapters are either separate corporate entitles or voluntary associations with their own boards, constitutions and bylaws; IAJE views them as completely independent entities. Ultimately, however, the trustee and the court will make this determination and it is anticipated that the trustee may request certain information from the chapters in this regard.Sadly, the 2009 IAJE International Conference in Seattle has been cancelled. However, there has been some discussion of mounting a regional conference in its place. At the moment, Lou Fischer, U.S. Board Representative is fielding inquiries: ljazzmanf@yahoo.com.For the time being, the IAJE website will remain up. However, the international offices of IAJE will close their doors at the end of the day on Friday, April 18th. Should there be additional questions you may submit them to info@iaje.org and every attempt will be made to respond to these as staffing allows.Today, we, the members of IAJE and the global jazz community, face an extremely important task. For, as we all recognize, the opportunities, impact, and work of this association are too vital to simply disappear. Whether you were first drawn to IAJE for its conference, its magazine or research publications, its student scholarship programs such as Sisters in Jazz or the Clifford Brown/Stan Getz All-Stars, its Teacher Training Institutes, the resources provided through its website or Resource Team, or any one of a number of other offerings; it is clear the mission of IAJE still resonates and its advocacy is needed today more than ever. We must, therefore, look at this as an opportunity to refocus the mission, scope, programs, and vision of IAJE (or whatever succeeds it) to better meet the needs of our members and the jazz community not only today but looking toward the future.I am, in no way, suggesting the membership turn a blind eye towards the need for an independent inquiry into causes and ultimately assigning responsibility for this situation. I ask you recognize the court appointed trustee, who will have access to all necessary documents and facts, is charged with that task. Our efforts and our passion, should be to collectively rally the community to recognize the importance IAJE has had and continues to have in the life and development of jazz and jazz education - seeking new strategic partnerships, new government structures, and a revitalized mission that embraces current needs.Already there are efforts to do just that. I know that Mary Jo Papich, who would have begun serving her term as President of IAJE beginning this July, is dedicated to recreating such an association. As many know, Mary Jo has been a tireless advocate for IAJE, serving it long and well. You will, undoubtedly, be hearing from her in the near future. When she does contact you, I urge you to join me in offering her every support and assistance. Of course, others may also seek to fill this void by promoting alternative visions for empowering, serving, and gathering the jazz community. While I generally believe such diversity is quite healthy, I would strongly encourage all such efforts and leaders to attempt to collaborate and seek ways to unite us in spirit and strength. Finally, I would encourage you to recognize and remember IAJE for all the tremendous good it has done in the past 40 years. Many individuals have contributed along the way, often at considerable personal sacrifice of their time and resources, to establish and advance the work of this association. Much has been achieved that can never be taken away! Therefore, the vision, effort, and shared passion that have fueled the growth of IAJE and its programs should not be forgotten or considered in vain. Rather, the spirit that is IAJE must be rekindled into a new vision for the future. Sincerely,The IAJE Board - Chuck Owen, President
This message has been sent to you by the International Association for Jazz Education, PO Box 724, Manhattan KS 66502, USA • info@iaje.org • (785) 776-8744

Friday, April 18, 2008

A Touch of Jazz at the Plaza Hotel


Several Jazz Musicians Recorded for Unique Music Installation

New York City – Ariel Blumenthal, Composer and Founding Director of Sentient Music for Media, today announces the completion of his customized, site-specific project for the newly renovated Plaza Hotel. This multi-faceted production combines Blumenthal’s original music and a sophisticated Meyer Sound system embedded into the hotel’s architecture. Blumenthal, an L.A.-based composer known for seasoning his traditional, acoustic sounds with digital and electronic elements, produced over three hours of music: 1.5 hours of big band, Sinatra-style music performed by large ensembles for the lobby and adjacent hallways; and two hours of electronica and chill-out remixes for the mezzanine bar and lounge areas. Recorded works include jazz pieces featuring members of the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, and soloists Avisahi Cohen (trumpet), Anat Cohen (sax and clarinet), and Misha Piategorsky. After composing new works for seven months, recording 73 varying musicians in Los Angeles, New York, Prague, Las Vegas and Israel, collaborating with both Gal Nauer Architects and Meyer Sound for six months, and completing a two-week mixing session at the hotel, this one-of-a-kind, $1 million project brings a dynamic, multi-mix musical experience to the hotel. Complementing the Plaza’s contemporary revamping, this marks the first hotel in the world to implement this highly advanced sound and design structure.
Using Sentient Music for Media’s original Layers & Loops system of composition, Blumenthal produced a dynamic audio track which reflects his exploration of different treatments in terms of space and perception of dimension. Delivery is handled by a Meyer Sound system comprised of 116 palm-sized MM-4 miniature loudspeakers, six UPM-1P loudspeakers, and a Matrix3™ audio show control system equipped with Wild Tracks™ hard disk playback and SpaceMap® multichannel surround panning. Matrix3 is a fully integrated digital audio environment that provides a flexible automated control structure for the soundscape which subtly enhances the hotel guests’ experience as they walk through the Plaza.
“When you enter the main lobby, you experience the full, more energetic arrangement,” explains Blumenthal. “As you walk by the desk, through the elevator lobby and towards the 58th street entrance, you gradually experience a more mellow, intimate arrangement, manifested in different instruments, levels and other musical properties, without ever losing the sense of continuity.“
For more info, visit http://www.sentientmfm.com.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Wynton Marsalis - "Slavery Was Long!"

This is an excerpt from and interview with Wynton Marsalis and Charlene Hunter-Gault of PBS...It is really exceptional stuff.....

CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: So the story evolves, or you had that pretty much in your head as you went along, or did you get to a point--because jazz is about improvisation, and you're the master of that--was this a story that was improvised?
WYNTON MARSALIS: Well, no, the story is written down. You know, in jazz all the ensemble parts have to be written. What you do in jazz composition is you try to find a suitable framework to inspire improvisation in the reading of the parts and also when--you have to know when to use improvisation to give that feeling of freedom that's needed. But you also have to balance it with that arrangement because if you just improvise constantly, it can be exciting, but it can also be very boring. It can also lead to chaos.
CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: In the pantheon of jazz pieces, though, jazz subjects, this is very unusual, isn't it? I mean, aren't most jazz subjects about the here and now?
WYNTON MARSALIS: Well, I don't think that's--people write that but not in the history of jazz. Most of it--most music really is connected to memory, as just a characteristic that music has. I don't know--it could be the music of Bach, or it could be Duke Ellington's music, or, like John Coltrain is a good example, I think that's obvious, because he was known to be really in the avant garde or the vanguard of the 1960's. But the sound that he--when he really got his conception, he went all the way back to the spiritual, the sound of the spiritual.
Now he had--when the music--you can have the ancient and the modern at the same time. But the far back you can reach you reach back to something that's just human. And when you get to the--like a whale is a whale. When you get to that human element, it really--it exists outside of time.
CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: Now speaking of time, this piece, three hours long, puts it in a class all by itself. I mean, why three hours, and is it going to stay three hours?
WYNTON MARSALIS: Yeah. I tried to cut it, but you know some stuff is just long. And slavery was long. We're still long, you know, in the human sense, it's still long, and it--is long. We all say that in the band, because we're playing it every night, you know, and everybody is like, this is long, and we say it's long. Well, let's try to cut it. But then when I would cut pieces out, they would say, no, don't cut that part out, keep this part in. So it's just one of those things that's long, and we have other pieces that are thirty minutes long and forty-five, but this one is actually three hours and fifteen minutes.


Amen Brother

Alicia Keys Lays the Blame on Rap

Keys Talks About Her Conspiracy Theories
Apr 11, 6:22 PM (ET)

(AP) U.S. singer Alicia Keys performs in Madrid, March 17, 2008. There's another side to Alicia Keys:...Full Image
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NEW YORK (AP) - There's another side to Alicia Keys: conspiracy theorist. The Grammy-winning singer-songwriter tells Blender magazine: "'Gangsta rap' was a ploy to convince black people to kill each other. 'Gangsta rap' didn't exist."
Keys, 27, said she's read several Black Panther autobiographies and wears a gold AK-47 pendant around her neck "to symbolize strength, power and killing 'em dead," according to an interview in the magazine's May issue, on newsstands Tuesday.
Another of her theories: That the bicoastal feud between slain rappers Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G. was fueled "by the government and the media, to stop another great black leader from existing."
Keys' AK-47 jewelry came as a surprise to her mother, who is quoted as telling Blender: "She wears what? That doesn't sound like Alicia." Keys' publicist, Theola Borden, said Keys was on vacation and unavailable for comment.
Though she's known for her romantic tunes, she told Blender that she wants to write more political songs. If black leaders such as the late Black Panther Huey Newton "had the outlets our musicians have today, it'd be global. I have to figure out a way to do it myself," she said.
The multiplatinum songstress behind the hits "Fallin'" and "No One" most recently had success with her latest CD, "As I Am," which sold millions.

Ozzie Cadena

http://www.latimes.com/news/obituaries/la-me-cadena12apr12,1,3396544.story
From the Los Angeles Times
Ozzie Cadena, 83; recorded jazz greats
By Jocelyn Y. StewartLos Angeles Times Staff WriterApril 12, 2008Ozzie cadena, a producer for the famed Savoy Records who played a key role in recording a long list of jazz luminaries and later led an effort to commemorate the role of Hermosa Beach in the history of West Coast jazz, has died. He was 83.Cadena, who suffered a stroke last year, died of pneumonia Wednesday at Little Company of Mary Hospital in Torrance, said his daughter, Lori Cadena. The height of his career in recording came during the 1950s and '60s, but Cadena later owned record stores and booked acts for several clubs in Southern California -- including the legendary Lighthouse Cafe and the Sangria restaurant in Hermosa Beach -- a role he continued to play until shortly before his death."I think Ozzie must have lived and breathed jazz every day of his life," said jazz writer Don Heckman. "He obviously had an impact via his production work for Savoy. . . . But his biggest contribution was the love and support of jazz that impacted everyone who knew or had any contact with him." Born Oscar Cadena on Sept. 26, 1924, in Oklahoma City, Cadena moved with his family to Newark, N.J., where he spent his childhood. As a kid, he shined shoes on the street and made weekly trips to Harlem to hear music. His love for music also led him to regularly visit African American churches. After graduating from high school, Cadena enlisted in the Marines and served from 1941 to 1945 in the South Pacific. After the war, he studied bass and piano at a music school in New York. In the early 1950s, Cadena was working with a jazz radio show in Newark when the owner of Savoy hired him. Savoy Records has a storied role in jazz history. The label was the early recording home of Charlie Parker, Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie. The owner of Savoy was a businessman with a spotty reputation among musicians, who thought his contracts were unfair. Cadena took a philosophic view: "Whether you like the cat or not, at least he made the music available," Cadena said in a 2002 article in Newark's Star-Ledger. At Savoy from 1951 to 1959, Cadena was responsible for the early recordings of Cal Tjader, McCoy Tyner, Bill Evans, Donald Byrd, Cannonball and Nat Adderley, and many others, according to his resume.He also recorded or produced Kenny Clarke, Gillespie, Davis, Fats Navarro, John Coltrane and Charles Mingus. "I was able to coordinate all these great talents, hear them make marvelous music," he said in the Star-Ledger article. He recorded vocalists Little Jimmy Scott, Esther Phillips and John Lee Hooker. Cadena also played a key role in the careers of artists working in other genres. In the world of gospel, he recorded Clara Ward, James Cleveland and a group that included Cissy Houston, the mother of Whitney Houston.After leaving Savoy, Cadena worked for other labels, including Prestige, Blue Note, and Fantasy Records. In 1974 he and his family relocated to Hermosa Beach, which he began visiting in the late 1940s."It was such a perfect place," he said in a 2005 issue of South Bay People magazine. "I could have the beach and the sunshine by day and jazz during the night."In Southern California he promoted jazz and booked talent at such clubs as the Hyatt on Sunset. Since the '70s he had promoted jazz and become involved with the Lighthouse, a club that is renowned for its role in the birth of West Coast jazz. In 2000 he began organizing free concerts on the plaza in Hermosa Beach every Wednesday. He also led the effort to place plaques on the city's Pier Avenue Plaza honoring the Lighthouse and the musicians who played there. In addition to his daughter, Cadena is survived by his wife, Gloria, of Redondo Beach; two sons, Pru of Madison, N.J., and Dez of Newark, who is a member of the punk band the Misfits; two grandsons, Kyle and Bret Cadena of Madison, N.J.; and two sisters, Victoria Shear and Beatrice Festagallo of Union, N.J. A daughter, Janus Cadena, died in 1959.Services are private. A public tribute is to be announced at a later date.jocelyn.stewart@latimes.com

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Sachs Is Sacked

Got this little tid bit from the ezine newsletter, Southport News & Commentary...

Lost Jazz Man Lloyd Sachs...
See what happens when you write jazz and features for over 20 years for the Sun-Times? Well if you are our man Sachs, and you get "bumped" upstairs to the hallowed editorial board, you end up fired! All artists will miss the craggy humor of Mr. Sachs... after he was let go last month. Is this the same company that sold its riverside downtown land to Donald Trump and moved its printing plant? Hey corporate cats, ever heard of leasing to billionaires? Lloyd we hope you end up at The New York Times!
It was with a bit of angst that I digested this information. While in these times of being Bush-wacked no one wants to see anyone lose his or her j-o-b. But when it comes to Lloyd Sachs...hmmm. Certifiably, Sachs for my hard earned money was just about the worst jazz writer/reviewer I'd ever read. His reviews were always full of sanctimonious misgivings that often bespoke of what he didn't know about music, let alone jazz. I can remember writing an opinion piece back in the 80s for the Chicago Observer entitled, 'Let's Sack Sachs'. God only knows why we hadn't been privy to his so-called jazz criticism for the past decade. Could it be that the Sun Times finally realized he didn't know what the hell he was doing and kicked, not "bumped" Sachs 'upstairs'?
"Craggy humor?" You mean "craggy" as in 'full of holes?
Once he ceased reviewing jazz then it was onto the movies. Of all the nerve muscling in on the hallowed ground of Roger Ebert! But even that dalliance halted. Somebody at the Sun Times wasn't fooled.
Now we get the word that Sachs is being unceremoniously dumped by the Sun Times. Here's hoping he gets a job. I'll bet a stack of old Downbeat magazines it ain't being a jazz writer/reviewer. We've seen that act before and it wore thin. Woefully thin. Thin enough for a hole in the sachs.

You CD Reviewed Here

Your CD Reviewed Here!
If you would like to have your CD reviewed here at "What Is This Thing Called Jazz, Adventures in Modern Music" or gain airplay on WHPK-FM please forward to...
L.A. Emenari, III
Email Contact: emenari3@myjazzmail.com

Sunday, April 6, 2008

New Revised Radio Program Schedule 4/13/2008

"What is This Thing Called Jazz, Adventures in Modern Music", continues with its time tested series of interviews and music. Coming Sunday, April 13, 2008 guests will include Canadian saxist Richard Underhill, just off his new release 'Moment in Time' and John Cooper, Director of Jazz Studies at Western Illinois University will discuss his landmark recording, 'The Baecker Jazz Worship Service'. We'll also speak with Detriot veteran saxophonist/philosopher Faruq Z. Bey, on the heels of his new release, 'Journey into the Valley' DVD/CD and AACM bandleader Mwata Bowden will talk about the brand new, Great Black Music Ensemble disc, 'Sparx of Love-Sparx of Fire'. All with your host Lofton A. Emenari, III. Broadcasting 10 AM til Noon Central on WHPK-FM, University of Chicago. We are streaming http://www.whpk.org/stream

Death By Blogging???

As incredible as it seems I ran across this article....


April 6, 2008
In Web World of 24/7 Stress, Writers Blog Till They Drop
By MATT
RICHTEL

SAN FRANCISCO — They work long hours, often to exhaustion. Many
are paid by the piece — not garments, but blog posts. This is the digital-era
sweatshop. You may know it by a different name: home.
A growing work force of home-office laborers and entrepreneurs, armed with computers and smartphones and wired to the hilt, are toiling under great physical and emotional stress created by the around-the-clock Internet economy that demands a constant stream of news and comment.
Of course, the bloggers can work elsewhere, and they profess a
love of the nonstop action and perhaps the chance to create a global media
outlet without a major up-front investment. At the same time, some are starting
to wonder if something has gone very wrong. In the last few months, two among
their ranks have died suddenly.
Two weeks ago in North Lauderdale, Fla., funeral services were held for Russell Shaw, a prolific blogger on technology subjects who died at 60 of a heart attack. In December, another tech blogger, Marc Orchant, died at 50 of a massive coronary. A third, Om Malik, 41, survived a heart attack in December.
Other bloggers complain of weight loss or gain, sleep disorders, exhaustion and other maladies born of the nonstop strain of producing for a news and information cycle that is as always-on as the Internet.
To be sure, there is no official diagnosis of death by blogging,
and the premature demise of two people obviously does not qualify as an
epidemic. There is also no certainty that the stress of the work contributed to
their deaths. But friends and family of the deceased, and fellow information
workers, say those deaths have them thinking about the dangers of their work
style.
The pressure even gets to those who work for themselves — and are
being well-compensated for it.
“I haven’t died yet,” said Michael Arrington,
the founder and co-editor of TechCrunch, a popular technology blog. The
site has brought in millions in advertising revenue, but there has been a hefty
cost. Mr. Arrington says he has gained 30 pounds in the last three years,
developed a severe sleeping disorder and turned his home into an office for him
and four employees. “At some point, I’ll have a nervous breakdown and be
admitted to the hospital, or something else will happen.”
“This is not sustainable,” he said.
It is unclear how many people blog for pay, but there
are surely several thousand and maybe even tens of thousands.
The emergence of this class of information worker has paralleled the development of the online economy. Publishing has expanded to the Internet, and advertising has
followed. Even at established companies, the Internet has changed the nature
of work, allowing people to set up virtual offices and work from anywhere at any
time. That flexibility has a downside, in that workers are always a click away
from the burdens of the office. For obsessive information workers, that can mean
never leaving the house. Blogging has been lucrative for some, but those on
the lower rungs of the business can earn as little as $10 a post, and in some
cases are paid on a sliding bonus scale that rewards success with a demand for
even more work. There are growing legions of online chroniclers, reporting
on and reflecting about sports, politics, business, celebrities and every other
conceivable niche. Some write for fun, but thousands write for Web publishers —
as employees or as contractors — or have started their own online media outlets
with profit in mind. One of the most competitive categories is blogs about
technology developments and news. They are in a vicious 24-hour competition to
break company news, reveal new products and expose corporate gaffes.
To the victor go the ego points, and, potentially, the advertising. Bloggers for such
sites are often paid for each post, though some are paid based on how many
people read their material. They build that audience through scoops or volume or
both. Some sites, like those owned by Gawker Media, give bloggers retainers
and then bonuses for hitting benchmarks, like if the pages they write are viewed
100,000 times a month. Then the goal is raised, like a sales commission: write
more, earn more.
Bloggers at some of the bigger sites say most writers earn
about $30,000 a year starting out, and some can make as much as $70,000. A
tireless few bloggers reach six figures, and some entrepreneurs in the field
have built mini-empires on the Web that are generating hundreds of thousands of
dollars a month. Others who are trying to turn blogging into a career say they
can end up with just $1,000 a month.
Speed can be of the essence. If a blogger is beaten by a millisecond, someone else’s post on the subject will bring in the audience, the links and the bigger share of the ad
revenue.
“There’s no time ever — including when you’re sleeping — when you’re
not worried about missing a story,” Mr. Arrington said.
“Wouldn’t it be great if we said no blogger or journalist could write a story between 8 p.m. Pacific time and dawn? Then we could all take a break,” he added. “But that’s never going to happen.”
All that competition puts a premium on staying awake. Matt
Buchanan, 22, is the right man for the job. He works for clicks for Gizmodo, a popular Gawker Media site that publishes news about gadgets. Mr. Buchanan lives in a small apartment in Brooklyn, where his bedroom doubles as his office.
He says he sleeps about five hours a night and often does not have time to eat proper meals. But he does stay fueled — by regularly consuming a protein supplement mixed into coffee.
But make no mistake: Mr. Buchanan, a recent graduate of New
York University
, loves his job. He said he gets paid to write (he will not
say how much) while interacting with readers in a global conversation about the
latest and greatest products.
“The fact I have a few thousand people a day reading what I write — that’s kind of cool,” he said. And, yes, it is exhausting. Sometimes, he said, “I just want to lie down.”
Sometimes he does rest, inadvertently, falling asleep at the computer.
“If I don’t hear from him, I’ll think: Matt’s passed out again,” said Brian Lam, the editor of Gizmodo. “It’s happened four or five times.”
Mr. Lam, who as a manager has a substantially larger income, works even harder. He is known to pull all-nighters at his own home office in San Francisco — hours spent trying to keep his site organized and competitive. He said he was well equipped for the torture; he used to be a Thai-style boxer.
“I’ve got a background getting punched in the
face,” he said. “That’s why I’m good at this job.”
Mr. Lam said he has worried his blogging staff might be burning out, and he urges them to take breaks, even vacations. But he said they face tremendous pressure — external, internal and financial. He said the evolution of the “pay-per-click” economy has put the emphasis on reader traffic and financial return, not journalism.
In the case of Mr. Shaw, it is not clear what role stress played in his death.
Ellen Green, who had been dating him for 13 months, said the pressure, though
self-imposed, was severe. She said she and Mr. Shaw had been talking a lot about
how he could create a healthier lifestyle, particularly after the death of his
friend, Mr. Orchant.
“The blogger community is looking at this and saying:
‘Oh no, it happened so fast to two really vital people in the field,’ ” she
said. They are wondering, “What does that have to do with me?”
For his part, Mr. Shaw did not die at his desk. He died in a hotel in San Jose, Calif., where he had flown to cover a technology conference. He had written a last e-mail
dispatch to his editor at ZDNet: “Have come down with something. Resting now
posts to resume later today or tomorrow.”
Copyright
2008
The New York Times Company

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Nancy Wilson Hospitalized

Grammy winner Nancy Wilson hospitalized

The Canadian Press
Nancy Wilson, 71, won a Grammy in 2007 for best jazz vocal album for Turned to Blue.

JOSHUA TREE, Calif. (AP) — Grammy-winning jazz singer Nancy Wilson was hospitalized early Monday for treatment of a collapsed lung, a spokeswoman said.
Wilson, 71, was expected to recover but will not be able to make a performance scheduled in Memphis, next weekend, said Devra Levy, wife of Wilson's manager, John Levy.
Wilson's lung was being reinflated at Hi-Desert Medical Center in Joshua Tree and she was in good spirits, Devra Levy told The Associated Press.
Wilson, who lives in the Southern California high desert, began experiencing pain and was taken to the hospital by her husband, Wiley Burton.
Devra Levy said she did not know the cause of the collapsed lung. She said Wilson has had some respiratory problems over the years.
Wilson has been singing professionally for more than 50 years and is semiretired.
Last year, her album Turned to Blue won the Grammy for best jazz vocal album. She also won that category at the 2005 Grammy Awards for the album R.S.V.P. (Rare Songs, Very Personal). In 1965 she was presented the Grammy for best rhythm & blues recording for How Glad I Am.
Wilson had been scheduled to perform April 5 at The Cannon Center for the Performing Arts in Memphis.
__
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

New This Week - April 5, 2008

1. Ghalib Ghallab - Just Groovin'-Circa Records. The original Sultan of Smooth Jazz is back! After leaving Chicago a little more than a decade ago and settling in Las Vegas the pianist has returned with a program of 'covers' such as 'People make the World Go Round', 'Love Will Find a Way' and 'Loving You'. One day I'd love to hear him with an acoustic trio and without the big bands and overdubs. His a talented keyboardist with nothing to hide.

2. John Cooper Jazz Orchestra-Baecker Jazz Worship Service-Baecker Music Prod.
A fantastic but non imposing musical homage based on biblical themes of worship. The music runs the gamut from super swing to avant garde touches to harmonic modalism. An absolutely delightful recording.

3. Louie Bellson/Clark Terry-Louie & Clark Expedition 2 Percussion Power. Beside the likable Chicago Suite written by Bellson this is just another run-of-the-mill session. No sparks fly and worst of all no Mumblin' by Mr. Mumbles himself Clark Terry.

4. Frederick 'Shep' Sheppard - Tradition/The Habari Gani Sessions-Drum Parade. Produced by Katrina displaced drummer Chris Lacinak, this is a session led by tenor saxist 'Shep' Sheppard, who was something of a New Orleans legend. This was his last session after a career as a back-up player to many a star. One is immediately struck by his big fat tone - something akin to a Stanley Turrentine. This session is a mix of straight ahead jazz to smooth to second line back beats to reggae influences.

5. The Duke Ellington Legacy-Thank You Uncle Edward - Ren Mare Records. As far as 'ghost bands' go this is amongst the best. But then too, you've got some of the best playing in the band. Led by multi-instrumentalist Virginia Mayhew, she's joined by Norman Simmons, Joe Temperley, Wycliffe Gordon and perhaps the best kept secret in jazz vocalists, in Nancy Reed. The band is augmented by the Duke's grandson, Mercer's baby boy Edward Ellington, II. They do splendid covers of the Ellington legacy.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

MySpace & Black Planet Jazz Blog

In addition to our fabulous BlogSpot we are now in the beginning stages of creating a Jazz Blog on MySpace...http//:www.myspace/whatjazz and on the wildly popular Black Planet.com
http://www.blackplanet.com/your_page/blog/index.html?profile_id=44683000&profile_name=scientifics&user_id=44683000&username=scientifics

April 13th Radio Schedule

"What is This Thing Called Jazz, Adventures in Modern Music", continues with its time tested series of interviews and music. Coming Sunday, April 13, 2008 guests will include John Cooper, Director of Jazz Studies at Western Illinois University and discuss his new recording, The Baecker Jazz Worship Service. We'll also speak with and veteran saxophonist/philosopher Faruq Z. Bey, on the heels of his new release, Journey into the Valley DVD/CD.Broadcasting 10 AM til Noon Central on WHPK-FM, University of Chicago. We are streaming http://www.whpk.org/stream

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The Radio Show Program 3/30/2008

This past Sunday, March 30th 2008 "What Is This Thing Called Jazz" the radio program hosted interviews and music with guitarist Piers Lawrence; drummer Chris Lacinak and tenor saxist Ras Moshe. To hear the show in it's entirety click this link...
200803301000.mp3