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Jazz, heritage fest line-up

By Kathy Edwards McFarland

It’s been a while since I was there with good friend Linda Jones, but the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival has just as much fun, music, workshops and entertainments as any year previous.neworleans_jazzfest_header_2016

The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation is the nonprofit that owns the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival presented by Shell.

Check out the full line up of artists here – – the 2017 Big Easy event runs April 28 through May 7.

Oh, don’t stop me now! The Music lineup is immense, with headliners such as:

  • Stevie Wonder


    Wayne Toups

  • Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
  • Maroon 5
  • Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds
  • Kings of Leon
  • Usher & The Roots
  • Harry Connick, Jr.
  • Meghan Trainor
  • Lorde
  • Snoop Dogg
  • Alabama Shakes
  • Pitbull
  • Widespread Panic
  • Trey Anastasio Band
  • Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue
  • Earth, Wind & Fire
  • Wilco
  • Darius Rucker


    Anita Baker

  • Patti LaBelle
  • NAS with guests The Soul Rebels
  • Buddy Guy
  • The Meters
  • George Benson
  • Aaron Neville
  • Corinne Bailey Rae
  • Irma Thomas
  • Elle King
  • Dr. John
  • Jonny Lang
  • Tower of Power
  • Jon Batiste and Stay Human
  • Amos Lee
  • Preservation Hall Jazz Band
  • Big Freedia
  • Maze Featuring Frankie Beverly


    Bob Dylan

  • The Revivalists
  • Leon Bridges
  • Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk
  • Dawes
  • Galactic
  • Blues Traveler
  • Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes
  • The Mavericks
  • Rhiannon Giddens (One of my favorites … unique and amazing!)


And so much more! If you plan to see and hear everything, you may be disappointed.

New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival is once again located at the Fair Grounds Race Course, centrally located at 1751 Gentilly Boulevard, 10 minutes from the French Quarter. Hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.


2016 Fantasy Map

An historical celebration of Cuban culture at Jazz Fest in 2017!

In 2017, Jazz Fest honors New Orleans’ deep historical connections with Cuba by hosting the largest celebration of Cuban culture in the U.S. since the 1950’s. More than 150 Cuban artists are invited to participate in the 2017 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival Presented by Shell, most of whom will be in the U.S. for the first time!

With Cuban rhythms as the heartbeat, the 2017 Festival showcases Cuba’s extraordinary musical vitality with performances by pop stars Gente de Zona, Grammy winner Septeto Santiaguero, jazz legend Chucho Valdés, timba kings Los Van Van and much more!

Let the good eating begin



Food is abundant and , you know it, c’est si bon! From Cafe du Monde‘s beniets and iced coffees to meatpies, crawfish, jambalaya and international wonders like Cuban sandwiches and Jamaican Jerk, you will enjoy the sweet dilemma of what to eat, and how much.

Tickets (

General admission tickets are each good for one day. First weekend tickets are good for ANY ONE DAY of the first weekend – April 28, 29 or 30. Second weekend tickets are good for ANY ONE DAY of the second weekend – May 4, 5, 6 or 7.

General admission tickets include access to all performances on day of use, as well as the wide variety of food and beverages available for purchase, art exhibits, crafts booths, and much more.

1st Weekend Single Day Tickets (April 28, 29 & 30)
Early-bird advance ticket: $65 through February 14
Regular advance ticket: $70 from February 15 through April 27
Gate Price: $80
(each ticket valid for any single day of the weekend)
Child’s ticket: $5 (available at the gate only, ages 2 – 10, adult must be present with child, children under 2 are admitted free)

2nd Weekend Single Day Tickets (May 4, 5, 6 & 7)
Early-bird advance ticket: $65 through February 14
Regular advance ticket: $70 from February 15 through May 3
Gate Price: $80
(each ticket valid for any single day of the weekend)
Child’s ticket: $5 (available at the gate only, ages 2 – 10, adult must be present with child, children under 2 are admitted free)

Live Jazz Fest recordings are available via

Shaw’s Latin Jazz work gets trumpter’s, Grammy’s attention


By Kathy Edwards McFarland

Congratulations Brian Lynch on his Grammy Nomination – Category Of Best Latin Jazz Album – for “Madera Latino – A Latin Jazz Interpretation On The Music Of Woody Shaw”

NPR Jazz Critics Poll for Top Latin Jazz Albums of 2016!
Latin Jazz Corner #1 Album of 2016
Jazz Times Editor’s Pick Feb. 2017 Issue
New York Jazz Record Best Of 2016

Four years in the making, Grammy Award-winning trumpeter Brian Lynch’s “Madera Latino” (Latin Wood) project, exploring the music of jazz innovator and master trumpeter Woody Shaw in a Latin Jazz format with today’s top trumpeters, is out and already garnering tremendous attention.

The music of the late, great Woody Shaw (1944-1989) – an innovative and highly individual musical lexicon, expressed through both his chosen instrument of trumpet and his equally distinguished compositions – set a standard of excellence and modernity for Black American Music that has not been surpassed in the 50 years since he first came onto the jazz scene. Madera Latino is an exploration of this giant’s music as viewed through the lens of authentic Afro-Caribbean rhythm and framed by the loving treatment of his compositions in virtuosic Latin Jazz style by Grammy Award-winning trumpeter Brian Lynch. It is also a heartfelt tribute to the genius of Woody by a all star lineup of today’s top trumpeters: Lynch, Sean Jones, Dave Douglas, Diego Urcola, Michael Rodriguez, Etienne Charles, Josh Evans, and Philip Dizack.

In trumpet combinations from duo to quartet, these eminent horns explore Shaw classics including In A Capricornian Way, Tomorrow’s Destiny, Zoltan, Song Of Songs, Sweet Love Of Mine, and more, along with two original pieces – one a extended suite – written by Lynch in salute to the profound influence Woody has had on him as a player and composer.

The band for Madera Latino fulfills the promise of Lynch’s audacious concept with élan, precision, and joyous creativity. Percussionists Pedrito Martinez and Little Johnny Rivero, along with bassist Luques Curtis, were integral to the success of Lynch’s 2006 CD Simpático, a Grammy Award winner in the Latin Jazz category. Add drummer Obed Calvaire, percussionist Anthony Carrillo, and pianist Zaccai Curtis, and a mighty rhythm section emerges to spur and challenge the trumpeters to their utmost efforts in praise of Shaw.

“The combination of Woody’s music and the Afro-Caribbean clave concept was always a natural to me,” states Lynch. “I’m very happy, after many years of thinking about this idea, to finally be able to actualize this tribute to my musical hero, Woody Shaw, in the distinguished company of these amazing trumpeters and my musical family.”

“I am very proud of what Brian has done with this project, and particularly of the depth of sincerity and the meticulousness with which he has treated the re-interpretation of Woody Shaw‘s original works within the Afro-Latino idiom. My respect and gratitude go out to the musicians on this recording for keeping the spirit of this music – and of one of its last great innovators – alive and strong in the 21st century.” – Woody Louis Armstrong Shaw, III

Brian Lynch Presents: Madera Latino: A Latin Jazz Perspective On The Music Of Woody Shaw
Distribution: Amazon, CD Baby, ITunes, and select independent record retailers, as well as directly through

Hollistic MusicWorks is the record label and creative conduit of Brian Lynch – Grammy Award winning trumpeter, composer, arranger, bandleader, and educator. In addition to hosting Lynch’s own recording projects, HMW provides a home for other artists deserving of respect and recognition, ranging from veteran artists such as legendary drummer Killer Ray Appleton and the brilliant pianist/composer Rob Schneiderman, to emerging new artists personally mentored by Lynch.


Sharing another great Jazz post from Jazz Lives …


Although technology — whatever that means — keeps telling us we are “all connected,” and it is easier than ever to click a “like,” to instant-message someone, I think many of us feel, in the midst of the crowd, more isolated than ever before.


But community is always possible.  I offer this tender example from — oh, only eighty years ago.

The song is WHERE OR WHEN, by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart, from the musical BABES IN ARMS, which premiered in New York April 14, 1937.  I don’t know when Benny Goodman, Teddy Wilson, and Gene Krupa first heard the song or had the sheet music (possibly well in advance of the show’s premiere, because who wouldn’t want to know, sing, play a new score by Rodgers and Hart?) — but they performed it at the Madhattan Room of the Hotel Pennsylvania, on October 23, 1937.  (An aside: the…

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John, Paul, George and Django

From Jazz Lives
By Michael Steinman


I think I am older than Paul Mehling, but we both came up in a time when the Beatles were not only the sensational mop-tops who had made all the girls scream at concert performances but when their songs were the ubiquitous popular soundtrack.  I can remember buying each new album as it came out and listening avidly.  Of course, both Paul and I felt drawn to a different kind of music, as he writes in the brief notes to this new CD:

The idea that Django Reinhardt would have played the Beatles’ tunes has haunted me ever since I took up the guitar.  Like so many of my generation who were galvanized by their appearance on the Ed Sullivan show in 1964, I became part of the ‘culture of guitar’ and never looked back.  But unlike my guitar brethren who stayed on for sex, drugs, and/or rock ‘n’ roll, I was devastated by the breakup of the Beatles and I quit listening to rock entirely, foolishly believing that the best was now over.  Luckily, I was already deeply inspired by traditional jazz — Goodman, Bechet, Dorsey, Shaw, & others of the swing era, especially Django.  This record was inevitable in that regard.


For those impatient with words, here you can hear sound samples, learn more about the Hot Club of San Francisco, and purchase the music.

The HCSF is a venerable band — much of its personnel staying the same for a long time — and it has the ease and intensity of a working band.  The players are Paul Mehling, Evan Price, SAm Rocha, Iabelle Fontaine, Jordan Samuels, with guests Jeff Hamilton, Nate Ketner, Jeff Magidson, Michel Saga.

The repertoire neatly balances the familiar (going all the way back to 1964) and the less well-known: ALL MY LOVIN’ / BECAUSE / MICHELLE / I WILL / HERE THERE AND EVERYWHERE / YOU WON’T SEE ME / THE FOOL ON THE HILL / IF I NEEDE SOMEONE / JULIA / YOU CAN’T DO THAT / FOR NO ONE / DON’T BOTHER ME / HEY JUDE – DUKE & DUKIE / THINGS WE SAID TODAY / YELLOW SUBMARINE.  Because Mehling is a gleeful subversive, there is a French group vocal, visits from musical saw, banjo, melodica, and barrel organ. It isn’t the Beatles on hallucinogens visiting an abandoned gypsy caravan, but it has immense wit, verve, and variety.  As impatient as I can be, I listened to this CD without a break many times.

In the Sixties and beyond, there were many recordings of Beatles “covers”: the Hollyridge Strings Play Lennon and McCartney; Nelson Eddy Sings the Beatles; Wilbur Sweatman Plays the Hits of Today (seriously, both Basie and Ellington attempted this, and Louis sang — most convincingly — GIVE PEACE A CHANCE).  In general, these recordings were often an attempt to bridge the generations and to give record buyers senior and junior something to purchase. But the end result was often watery.

Not so the HCSF CD.  Each song is quietly linked to the ones before and after — so the end result is a charming Beatles suite, a too-brief immersion.  But it’s also a brightly colored journey, with each track exhibiting its own glowing personality: brilliant and sometimes surprising arranging makes this delightfully possible.  And if you are worried about such things, the session swings mightily and is wonderful dance music. To describe this CD track-by-track would be to spoil the fun, but I can see why devoted fans of the HCSF had been after Paul to make a CD like this.

May your happiness increase!


Election decompression with Ian Moore

By Kathy Edwards McFarland

Dan’s Silverleaf, 103 Industrial, will be the place to watch the 2016 Presidential Election returns tomorrow night. (Yeah, we all have to be somewhere to see what happens, why not among friends?)

  • The good news is – Thursday, Nov. 10, at Dan’s, you can breathe a sigh of relief (one would hope) and take in some major sound with Ian Moore and The Lossy Coils!

“Hands-down one of the most dynamic, riveting stage performers you’ll ever see up close. Scathing guitar work, perfectly displayed, brought into the room with crystal clarity, then duly projected into your psyche without trepidation,” according to Dan Mojica, owner of Dan’s Silverleaf.

Doors open – 8:30pm. Band – 9pm. |$12ADV/$15DOS| Buy Tickets

Playing with Moore Thursday will be his full band: Matt Harris, Greg Beshers, Falcon Valdez, Branden Harper, Kyle Schneider, Kullen Fuchs, George Reiff, JJ Johnson, Chris Searles, Michael Villegas, Chris White, Bukka Allen and Chris Dye.

Editor’s Note: I remember seeing Moore in Abilene, back in the 1990s. He had sexy charm, ianmoore1but moreover stunning abilities. Unfortunately, his first go at stardom caused him a devastating downward turn, culminating with his suicide attempt in August, 1996. By the mid ’90s, Ian disappeared into obscurity.

Moore met band mate Matt Harris, musician and studio artist, in 2002, bonding over their mutual love of middle eastern psych and Marcella Hazanthe cookbook author who changed the way Americans cook Italian food. They began experimenting with form and function in Ian’s home studio. They worked there for the next two years, playing local shows as the ‘Holy Soltices’ and the ‘Echo sissy toll’, until forming the Lossy Coils in early 2005.

FMI, visit:


When Sunny Gets Blue

By Kathy Edwards McFarland

Covering a Johnny Mathis tune, Jan Daley opens a raspy-Bluesy Jazz vocal that at once grabs and holds one’s attention.

Published on Oct 18, 2016

“So excited to share this Video of my Single and EP entitled “When Sunny Gets Blue.” I think Jon Burk did a great job creating the mood of this song, in the video. Jack Segal, who wrote “When Sunny Get Blue,” was my songwriting coach, and co-producer on this track. It was he and Michael B. Sutton, (CEO of Imerica Entertainment LLC), who dragged me back into the recording studio saying, “With that voice, you’ve got to record this.” So … Voila! Hope you ‘like’ it.”
With Love,

About Jan Daley
Her international career started as Miss California which led to starring roles in the stage plays “Oklahoma,” “Anything Goes,” “Taming of the Shrew,” “Two by Two” and “Carousel.”

She broke into television at an early age and has appeared on The Tonight Show, The Merv Griffin Show, The Dean Martin Show, The David Frost Show, BBC’s Morcumb and Wise, England’s “Roy Castle Show,” and various variety shows and specials. She has toured the world and opened for comedians such as Don Rickles, David Brenner and Rodney Dangerfield. Her most treasured highlight in her career was singing to 40,000 GIs in Vietnam and around the world as the singing star of The Bob Hope Christmas Tour.

Jan has recorded five albums, including the tribute to Bob Hope, “Where There’s Hope,” and the Academy Award nominated “Till Love Touches Your Life.” In 2013, she released her first Christmas CD, “There’s Nothing Like Christmas” to rave reviews.

Miss Daley became a regular guest soloist on Dr. Robert Schuller‘s internationally known “Hour of Power,” and has two inspirational albums, “His Light” and “Live.”

Over the past years she has become a prolific and versatile composer writing music from Country and Pop to Rhythm & Blues. She has a song in the film “The Ride,” and you can even exercise to some of Jan’s songs on the Kathy Smith‘s walking tapes.

Miss Daley‘s acting career has kept her busy, – with such popular actors as Bruce Willis, Alec Baldwin, Cybil Shepherd, Stephanie Zimbalist, Peter Fonda, George Kennedy, Hugh O’Brian, and Tom Hanks (in “Forrest Gump”). She is also well-known for appearing in over 150 television commercials.

Jan Daley – “When Sunny Gets Blue” EP

The Finkelsteiners play Oom-pah for you

By Kathy Edwards McFarland

This Friday, in downtown Denton, Texas, the third annual Oktoberfest on Walnut will


Ron Fink at the 2014 Oktoberfest on Walnut. Photo by Ed Steele.

feature one of the most recognized band leaders/drummers around … Ron Fink and the Finkelsteiners, (dressed in Lederhosen, of course) playing traditional German “oom-pah” music from 7:30-9 pm.

This amazing drummer and former University of North Texas Jazz Prof, enjoys history – history of music, more specifically, percussion and drum music, as seen by his involvement with Denton‘s Vintage Jazz Society, his rousing Dixieland band – Ron & the Rowdies, the long-running Sweetwater Jazz Quartet (with Jim Riggs, Neil Slater and Lou Carfa), and Ron & the Finkelsteiners – a traditional German band (the Chicken Dance is in their repertoire.)

Retiring in 2000, Ron began teaching at UNT in 1964 and was one of the first full-time college percussion instructors in Texas. He is the former principal percussionist and timpanist with the Fort Worth Symphony, Opera and Ballet Orchestras, as well as a frequent performer in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Ron has also played with the Singapore Slingers, and the illustrious (and only) live rodeo band in the world (until the Fort Worth Livestock Show and Rodeo pulled the band’s plug this past year.)


Sunday morning warm-up … Drummers … if you don’t know this book, you should … Ron Fink “Chop Busters” I studied with Ron at North Texas and still love playing these exercises. -Rick Latham


The Vintage Jazz Society takes to the Sweetwater Grill & Tavern patio stage every Spring on Fat Tuesday for one heck of a fun New Orleans Mardi Gras party, playing Dixieland in ensemble groups, but always with Ron on his wonderful vintage drum kit. “Vintage drums, vintage cymbals, lovin’ it. Takes an older drummer to figure out how to set all this up.” Ron stated in a Facebook comment.


Ron wrote: Gig on 1934 painted head 26″ Ludwig Pioneer bass drum, and other old drums and cymbals. Drum came with inside lights, original calf-skin heads.

Bookending Ron and the Finkelsteiners at Oktoberfest on WalnutDenton Road, a Fort Worth Indie Rock band – playing 5:30-7 pm; and The Holler Time, a Denton-Gainseville Country  Rock Americana band – playing from 9:30-11 pm.




Out of Bounds: Cooking

Poblano Pepper Hamburgers

By Kathy Edwards McFarland

Editor’s Note: Sizzling summer days in North Texas have me sheltered in my dark, air-conditioned cooled quarters. I rarely go out in the sun – mainly from door to car and car to door.
Hence a dilemma … do I creep out at sunset to take in live Jazz around Denton. Attempt an open-air festival? Or sacrifice my mobility for other pursuits?
Summertime cooking is a good choice right now.

I miss A Taste of Herb, especially in the summer …

My husband, Steve, is a true container gardener – mainly because of our tiny backyard. He grows beautiful peppers, tomatoes, herbs, etc.

This season, he grew Poblano Peppers for me. (I enjoy the flavor in my burgers, Mexican food dishes, and more.)

Our mission for the harvested bounty this season, was for Grilled Poblano Burgers.

When using fresh peppers, one must prepare the peppers, as peels, stems and seeds are not very appetizing.


Oven-roasted Poblano Peppers. From

And so, we roast …

I don’t have a gas stove/oven. Simply said, most pepper roasting techniques rely on the open flames of that very appliance.

So, thanks to Poblano Chiles | Vegetarian Times,, I found a reliable “electric” version.

  • Preheat oven to 425°F.
  • Rub whole Poblano with (canola or other high-heat) oil, and place on baking sheet.
  • Roast 30 to 45 minutes, or until charred on all sides, turning with tongs.
  • Transfer to bowl, cover, and let steam 15 minutes. Rub off skins.

Main event …

I tend to shop price, not grade, most of the time. So, when I see a fab discount on ground beef (73% fat), not lean ground sirloin, I jump on it.

Many recipes for the 0%-fat crowd ask you to add milk and bread, essentially reintroducing moisture into the meat. If you choose this option, add one crustless piece of white bread – torn up, mashed and mixed with 1 tablespoon 1% low-fat milk

My grind doesn’t require this, but I want to incorporate roasted Poblano peppers, and other spices to add spirited flavor to the meat. (So I’ve borrow seasoning ideas from various sources.)

  • Combine Poblano peppers (2), 1 1/2 tablespoons cilantro, cumin, coriander, paprika, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper to beef. Note: Don’t overwork the mixture, as this will toughen burgers.

Finished, adulterated Poblano Hamburger with Pickled Onions and Chipotle Cream. By

  • Place patties on a grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 3 minutes or until grill marks appear. Carefully turn patties; grill an additional 3 minutes or until desired degree of doneness. Place 1 patty on bottom half of each bun.

Here’s the challenge – do you add further flavors to your awesome patties? Or do you apply the simplest combination of condiments?

Many recipes dare you to pile on layers of heat. You have that option.

Remember to press a nickel-size indention into the raw patty if you plan to pile on extras.

Chipotle Cream

  • Combine 1-1/2 tablespoons cilantro, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper in a medium bowl. Stir in 1/2 cup light sour cream, 1 tablespoon shallots, and 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice. Remove 1 chipotle pepper and 2 teaspoons adobo sauce from a 7-ounce can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce. Chop chile. Stir chopped chipotle and 2 teaspoons adobo sauce into sour cream mixture.
  • When assembling burgers, add three tablespoons to the top of the patty before covering it with the top bun.

Adobo sauce is powerful stuff. Take care not to breathe it in as you open the can. And do not rub eyes, nose before washing your hands, after using.

Put up the remainder of the chipotle-adobo can for other recipes. (Like I said, powerful stuff – one can will take you far in spicy cooking.)

Pickled Red Onions

Another level of flavor, this time to cool hot elements, is the tangy zip of these onions, cutting through the rich chipotle cream.

Other uses: Leftovers in bean burritos, on a beef sandwich, or mixed with fresh cilantro and orange sections for a quick relish for grilled Alaskan salmon. Yield: 2 cups (serving size: 1 tablespoon drained pickled onions)


  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, halved lengthwise
  • 2 1/2 cups thinly vertically sliced red onion


  • Combine the first 4 ingredients in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add onion to pan, and cover. Remove from heat, and cool to room temperature. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.



Ted Gioia and Jazz enchantment

By Kathy Edwards McFarland

Long before his latest Daily Beast article, The Zombification of Popular Music,” I had followed Ted Gioia’s writing as a fan and a writer.

As a fan, I am amazed at Gioia’s knowledge and insights into the music genre closest to my heart. Because of that, I hereby recommend to all who desire a better understanding of Jazz (Why am I supposed to like Jazz?), those who like the genre (What makes music Jazz?), or any out there seeking more in-depth connections of race and culture and its evolution Gioia’s ten non-fiction books (How do we connect the dots?).

Gioia’s migration to Jazz guides our own music appreciation journey – he describes it as “enchantment.” And that is a wonderful description from my own perspective.

ted gioia

Ted Gioia can be contacted at

“To this day, one of my core beliefs is that music has a force of enchantment. Music is, in a very real sense, magical and transformative. Those who are familiar with my books Healing Songs and Work Songs know that I often speak of music as a “change agent.” This is not an abstract idea in my head, but a conviction based on personal experience.

One of my gripes about so many jazz educational efforts (and the Ken Burns documentary in particular) is that they don’t nurture this sense of enchantment. When you treat jazz as a “historical sociological phenomenon,” don’t be surprised when people don’t go to the jazz clubs. No one goes to a jazz club for a sociology lesson—or if they do, they only go once. – From How I Learned I Was a Jazz Fan

My first Jazz experience was by way of my dad, a true “man of the 50s,” who played Dave Brubeck vinyl records on the ubiquitous  Hi-Fi. So very cool, me not knowing what I was hearing – eight-years-old – but still, I smiled, danced and sang along.

Since that long-ago indoctrination, I have struggled to capture the magic wherever I can, despite growing up 125 miles West of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, in the red-dust tinge setting of Abilene, with more County-Western music than Nashville.

Gioia writes, “All jazz fans have a ‘gateway experience’ of the sort I described—a pivotal moment when they first felt the magic of the music. The jazz world needs to spend less time arguing with itself and put more thought and energy into expanding these gateways and building new ones. … I am sure that there are millions of people who have the same hunger for something magical in music that brought me to jazz, a desire for soundscapes that can be both intellectually satisfying and emotionally invigorating. Jazz could be part of their enchantment, as it was a key part of mine. But if all the gateways are closed, they may never realize it.


“If you look up just one title in The Jazz Standards, before you realize it you will have spent an intriguing hour or two learning fascinating and new things about old songs that you have known most of your life.” Dave Brubeck

Ted Gioia is a musician and author, and has published ten non-fiction books, most recently the acclaimed How to Listen to Jazz (Basic Books).
“Mr Gioia could not have done a better job.” writes
The Economist. “Through him, jazz might even find new devotees.” This book “fills an important and obvious gap by offering a sensible and jargon-free introduction,” according to the Washington Post, and “deserves a place alongside … classic works of jazz criticism.”

Gioia has been called “one of the outstanding music historians in America”
by the
Dallas Morning News.  He has served on the faculty of Stanford
University, and published in many of the leading newspapers, periodicals
and websites, including the
New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Wall
Street Journal
, The American Scholar, Music Quarterly, Bookforum,
Salon, Dallas Morning News, San Francisco Chronicle, Popular Music,
Los Angeles Review of Books, The Millions, The Atlantic Monthly,
City Journal, The Threepenny Review, PopMatters, and The Hudson
. He is currently columnist for The Daily Beast.

Gioia is perhaps best known as the author of The History of Jazz, which
has sold more than 100,000 copies and ranks as the bestselling survey of jazz
published during the last quarter century.
The History of Jazz was selected as
one of the twenty best books of the year by Jonathan Yardley in the
Washington Post, and was chosen as a notable book of the year in the
New York Times.

In 2012, Gioia released the bestselling The Jazz Standards: A Guide to the Repertoire, published by Oxford University Press. The book received early praise from Dave Brubeck and Sonny Rollins, and was lauded by the Wall Street Journal as “the first general-interest, wide-ranging and authoritative guide to the basic contemporary jazz canon.”   – From

Ted Gioia’s recordings

  • Ted Gioia Trio, The End of the Open Road
  • Ted Gioia and Mark Lewis, Tango Cool
  • Ted Gioia, The City is a Chinese Vase


Is Pop the Future of Jazz?

By Ted Gioia
Reprint from The Daily Beast

The best way for the jazz world to avoid this second scenario is for the music’s advocates to embrace these exciting new hybrids. Jazz has always benefited from a dialogue with popular music. That was true in the ’20s and the ’40s and the ’60s … and it’s still true today.


Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett

The music is hot again, but it’s happening outside of the traditional jazz economy and some jazz musicians are scornful when they should be jumping for joy.

I’ve been hearing jazz in the most unlikely places lately.
I didn’t expect to encounter a trumpeter playing New Orleans-style jazz on the new Beyoncé album Lemonade. But that’s exactly what I found on the “Daddy Lessons” track. This jazz intrusion didn’t prevent Lemonade from rising to the top of the Billboard chart. “Daddy Lessons” even showed up on the Billboard Hot 100
A few days earlier, I was listening to Kendrick Lamar’s Untitled Unmastered album, a hip-hop bestseller that also leaped to the top of the Billboard chart immediately after its release. I was dumbfounded to hear the chord changes to Miles Davis’s “Nardis” in the background to one of the songs. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Lamar frequently collaborates with jazz musicians, yet this nod to a fairly abstract 1958 jazz composition almost seemed like a coded message to the cognoscenti.
Then there was the high-profile televised jazz celebration at the White House on April 29, with Sting and Aretha Franklin in attendance—the biggest presidential jazz event in more than two decades. Three days before, Pitchfork—a periodical slavishly devoted to pop, rock, hip-hop, and R&B—published an issue of its quarterly review entirely devoted to jazz. Around this same time, Bob Dylan released his second project devoted to jazz standards. Willie Nelson is trying to match it with his recent Gershwin tribute album.


Bob Dylan

What’s going on?

I see the same phenomenon when I look at the movie listings. Hollywood is now promoting competing jazz bio-pics. You can choose the Miles Davis movie, featuring Don Cheadle, who has an acting Oscar nomination on his resume. Or you can pick the Chet Baker film with Ethan Hawke, who also has an acting Oscar nomination on his resume. And these come on the heels of other recent films with a jazz twist, including two other Oscar winners—the 2015 Amy Winehouse documentary Amy and Whiplash from 2014—and last year’s Emmy-winning Bessie Smith bio-pic on HBO.Is 2016 the Year Jazz Came Back? Recall that January kicked off with the release of David Bowie’s final album, Blackstar, on January 8. It also reached the top of the chart with jazz backing on every track. As Bowie prepared his last project, he hired some of the leading jazz musicians in the world, and gave them the freedom to push the limits of his songs. Yet far from hindering the commercial potential of the album, this jazz element only seemed to add to Blackstar’s allure and success.Of course, all of this comes on the heels of Lady Gaga’s rediscovery of jazz last year.

I learned the power of that crossover market firsthand when Ms. Gaga re-tweeted one of my jazz musings, and my Twitter account started ringing like a Vegas slot machine with a mega-jackpot. I soon had 5,000 more re-tweets, and a bunch of “little monsters” (as the Lady affectionately calls her fans) following my staid feed.Welcome to the strange jazz resurgence of the new millennium. Jazz is definitely hot again … yet all of this is happening outside of the jazz world.
This is a peculiar turn of events. Jazz record sales are stagnant—stuck at around 2 percent of total industry revenues—and show no sign of breaking out of that tiny niche. Jazz festivals are booking fewer jazz artists than ever before. Jazz radio stations are an endangered species. I’m not exaggerating: there are more panda bears than jazz radio hosts earning a living wage.But jazz still possesses its mystique. The mainstream audience might not hang out at the jazz club, but it still respects jazz, perhaps even more than it did in the glory years for the idiom. In an age in which much of our music-making has shifted from human beings to samples, software, and machines, these artisan performers stand out all the more. Jazz, despite its anemic economic prospects, has become a touchstone for craft and excellence. Music superstars aren’t embracing it out of charity, but to enhance their own credentials.
How do jazz insiders react to this turn of events? Many are unaware or indifferent. Others even respond with hostility. The recent ascendancy of saxophonist Kamasi Washington, Lamar’s collaborator on hip-hop projects, to crossover stardom has generated a backlash, especially among older jazz fans. When Washington’s album The Epic won the NPR jazz poll last year, the venerable critic who organized the poll even felt compelled to publish his own vigorous dissent. (Full disclosure: I voted for The Epic in the poll, and also picked it as the most important jazz album of the year.)

Kamasi Washington

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Kamasi WashingtonThe wider music audience doesn’t pay much attention to this rearguard movement in the inner circles of jazzdom. The people who buy albums from Kendrick Lamar, Lady Gaga, and David Bowie don’t read jazz critics. And these members of the audience hold the key to the jazz resurgence of 2016. The big question remains: will a significant number of them embrace the jazz idiom after this introduction?

There’s no guarantee that jazz musicians can benefit from this new-found notoriety. Trumpeter Roy Hargrove appears on D’Angelo’s Black Messiah, which won the Grammy for best R&B album earlier this year. How did this benefit his career? When Hargrove was recently asked why he hadn’t released a new studio album since 2009, he concurred with his manager’s verdict that “nobody’s buying anything anymore.”On the other hand, Kamasi Washington has parlayed his hip-hop credentials into jazz stardom and sold-out performances. When he fronts his own band, he plays serious jazz, undiluted for crossover appeal, yet has somehow found a huge audience for this music. There is no shortage of naysayers among older jazz fans, but it’s hard not to look at the Kamasi effect and see it as heralding the path by which the art form reinvents himself as it approaches next year’s hundredth anniversary of the first jazz recordings.
I should point out that the jazz world has been planning its own comeback, but a very different one. Many of the most influential insiders in the art form believe that jazz should be revived with non-profit organizations, jazz museums, and academic respectability. They see classical music and opera as the role models, and want to develop the future of jazz along the same lines.I beg to disagree. Jazz should celebrate its heritage, but it can’t live in the past. It needs to bring jazz to schools and communities, and the art form deserves help from nonprofits, but when this institutionalization become the main support structure for the music, it loses much of its vitality and turns into a kind of cultural vitamin or nutritional supplement. “Take this, it’s good for you,” has never been a successful marketing campaign. The jazz revival that’s happening in 2016 isn’t taking place in a museum, and is all the stronger for that fact.
Even old-time jazz fans may be pleased with the end result of this process. I can easily envision fans introduced to jazz via Kendrick Lamar or Lady Gaga moving deeper into the art form. Strange to say, hip-hop or pop in the year 2016 might be the gateway drug for the next generation of devoted jazz lovers.Of course, I could be wrong. There’s a risk that this resurgence will have little impact on the jazz economy, and musicians in the idiom will continue to struggle just as before. Under this scenario, jazz music will continue to represent 1-2 percent of music sales. Pop and R&B stars might enhance their artistry by drawing on jazz, but it won’t make much difference to your average saxophonist or trumpeter. Most music fans will remain blissfully unaware of the riches that jazz has to offer.The best way for the jazz world to avoid this second scenario is for the music’s advocates to embrace these exciting new hybrids. Jazz has always benefited from a dialogue with popular music. That was true in the ’20s and the ’40s and the ’60s … and it’s still true today.
I’d like to see jazz labels and festivals create bold new paths of dialogue between old and new, insider music and mainstream styles, established pros and up-and-coming youngsters. I’d especially like to see musical exchanges in which jazz musicians are more than just window-dressing for a pop star, but help dictate the terms of engagement for new ways of thinking about commercial music.But the first step in this process is for all participants to have an open mind. Instead of bringing back the shortsighted jazz wars of the past—in which proponents of one jazz style felt compelled to dismiss the validity of other approaches—let’s celebrate the diversity and cross-fertilization opportunities presented by the remarkable events of 2016.This may be the best opportunity jazz lovers will ever have for bringing their case to the broader public. It would be a shame if they squandered it by elitist disdain for the very musicians who are embracing jazz and bringing it to tens of millions of new listeners.