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  1. Jared Ball is right on point when he says: Given the context that we’re living in – politically, socially and economically, prevents real talk and radical conversations from occurring; which lends itself to the meaning of Mr. Porter’s book- “Blackout, My 40 Years into the Music Business”. His meaning of Blackout is “A temporary loss of consciousness”. Now the real monster and manufacturer of this blackout; thank god it’s not an indelible one, was wheeled into our existence via the puppeteering of capitalism. “Capitalism is an evil and you can’t regulate evil. It must be replaced with something else and that something else is called democracy”– Michael Moore [Capitalism: A Love Story].

  2. I saw this today on MSNBC (Joy Reid in the Morning). My attention was immediately arrested by the words Dizzy Gillespie and Ella Fitzgerald. (One of the pluses of “La La Land” (overlooking the negatives) is that it presents a realistic assessment of the present state of jazz (on life support). I’d say the situation is so dire that no network will risk 3 minutes on an “instrumentalist”–however talented or legendary. (At least we know the band on the Colbert show is capable of playing jazz, and the leader Jon Batiste announces the name whenever a major artist “sits in.” But night after night, all we see is another guitar-strumming singer-songwriter doing simplistic, one-phrase “original” songs. The relation between jazz and the “Great American Songbook” (primarily songs by Duke Ellington and Billie Strayhorn, numerous Jewish immigrants and one WASP (Cole Porter). Without those standards, jazz has no “standard of measurement,” no challenging vehicles for improvisation, no common denominator (for jam sessions and for reaching the public with material–like “All the Things You Are” and “Body and Soul”–that’s at least a little familiar). Billie, Sarah and Ella sang the tunes; Sinatra went back 30 years to retrieve them for his ’50s “concept” LPs, and advanced players–from Louis to Prez and Hawk to Bird and Diz to Miles, Trane and Sonny Rollins remained grounded in the songs, their forms, their chord progressions throughout their careers. (Now I–as a former week-end piano player–am told I can’t perform the tunes on youtube without paying royalties! Talk about self-fulfilling obsolescence of an indigenous African-American art!)

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