This 6/2012 post is chock full of information and comments. I hope the diverse subjects that I am addressing here make for an interesting conversation between us. There are some comments about the state of jazz, some personal comments about family, the political scene, an update on the Travon Martin case that were introduced from comments from readers of the blog. So, let’s get to it.
Your comments are welcomed.
My first comment is to inform you that my grandson, Deion Gill, who is working on a career in singing is in the recording studio in Toronto, Canada. He’s been working on a new four song project that will introduce him to several producers. It’s very exciting and he is working so hard and long hours. But, Deion loves it.
While we’re at it, I told you about my grandchildren, besides Deion, who are very talented and following their dreams at such a young age. When I was Deion’s age I was already performing on stage as a singer, and now my granddaughter, Lauren Morris, seems to be following her cousin’s interest in the performing arts. Her dance recital was held recently and after beginning in professional dance classes in January, by March the dance studio owner already acknowledged her talent. She began to prep her to be invited to be part of The Company, which is a group of chosen dancers to compete in the 2012-2013 dance competition year. She performed excellently at the recital, and we could see why she was chosen. She has the obvious talent. We are so proud of her. Here is her professional photo from dance school.
Not to be outdone, my grandson, DeVaughn Gill, is now taking a break for the summer, but no doubt is getting ready for his new school in which he has been adding to his ability on the basketball court looking forward to a career in the sport. He is excellent on the court and is putting all his efforts to be ready for the upcoming season.
Steve Elman is a well respected broadcaster; classical, jazz, and a producer in the Boston area. His judgement and writings for various publications is wide and varied and one of them is The Art Fuse. Check it out. He comments here:
The Miles sessions from Miles in the Sky to Jack Johnson were the source of so much innovation that you almost need a family tree chart to show it all – think of the music that emerged directly or indirectly from the ideas Miles had and the interaction of the players he brought into the studio – Zawinul’s second solo LP with Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter; Miroslav Vitous’s “Infinite Search” (with John McLaughlin, Herbie and Jack DeJohnette; Weather Report (Zawinul and Wayne, with Vitous); Herbie’s space music / Mwandishi band with Bennie Maupin, and the funk incarnations that followed; Chick Corea’s free music group Circle with Dave Holland playing bass; the Tony Williams Lifetime with John McLaughlin; the Mahavishnu Orchestra; even Keith Jarrett’s solo concerts and his decision to abandon electric instruments (these were a kind of flip-side reaction to the music he made with Miles). An amazingly fertile period of time, in retrospect.
Fellow broadcaster, Jae Sinnett, comments in a Face Book posting, about the state of jazz and how we hear and listen to the music. His point was that he felt something was missing in his hours of listening to the music. Jae is a well known broadcaster in VA who has several programs in different genres of music that includes jazz and R&B music. What is missing he says is, melody. So, let’s talk about that.
For many years one of the most important elements in jazz was the melody. Sure, there were the many musicians that depended on their ability to stray from the melody line in solos, but more often in the early adaptations of the music, there was a melody, either from a popular song or created from the instrumentalist. Often, jazz instrumentals were derived from the writings of jazz musicians, and some who created a melody line. That, of course, led to the implementation of vocalise or the creation of jazz lyrics based on a melody line from a jazz composition. In some cases the jazz composition with the adaptation of lyrics based on the melody line become more established than the original composition. Thus, I think, Jae may have something here. Making music in this manner, especially if the composition becomes familiar, as it did in the past, the old idea of something new becomes valid in this circumstance.
Lately, there have been discussions regarding jazz, from Williard Jenkins’ Open Sky blog, or to articles written in the Huffington Post, that talks about the diminishing Black audience in jazz. Apparently, there has been an on-going problem with audiences listening to jazz and the importance of its future as a Black Art.
From the outset lets make some things clear. For those interested in jazz music and it’s developing element, jazz is alive and well. There are jazz magazines devoted to the music, such as Jazz Times and Downbeat, and the many artists currently in the education of jazz, that are concentrated on the growing and developed young jazz artist; the plethora of mainstream jazz artists that are continuing to develop their art and performing in jazz.
But there are concerned listeners and writers who are devoted to the music and its development. While there are devoted listeners over time, there have been discussions going on as well that are critical of the music and its growth, and one of the reasons is how its identity is formalized in the process.
One of the crticisms of jazz is that it does not relate to the general audience that other music does, and therefore that makes it difficult into becoming popular music. Maybe what is old can be new again. That idea of the absence of melody in jazz may be the key to the listener becoming interested again because of the familiarity of the melody line…or as we see it, the tune. Let’s address that further in our next posting in Talkin’ Jazz .
Travon Martin Update: The latest, June 1, 2012
A Florida judge on Friday revoked the bail for George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin case, saying he had misled the court about his finances, and ordered him to present himself to the court within 48 hours. Prosecutors alleged in a court filing that Zimmerman, 28, hid from the court the fact that he had raised $135,000 on a website he set up before he was granted $150,000 bail on April 20. Zimmerman is facing second-degree murder charges in the shooting death of Martin, 17, in February. In a hearing in Sanford, Fla., that Zimmerman did not attend, Judge Kenneth Lester said Zimmerman engaged in a “material falsehood” about his finances. Assistant State Attorney Bernie de la Rionda said Zimmerman’s wife, Shelly, led the court to believe they were penniless, which he called a “blatant lie.”
There is more to this story, but I will not go into detail here on this post. I am sure that those who are interested in following this story will find it important to determine their own opinions of the story.
There are comments here on the blog that relates to the tragedy of this young teen, and I appreciate the interest and the feelings transmitted to me here on the blog. I will attempt to continue to follow as much as I can on the story from news reports and the media. I will also try and inform you as the story developments.
I wish to follow up here with comments I made after the bail was administered by Zimmerman’s lawyer.
My comments after Zimmerman’s bail.
The Travon Martin case is going to be with us for a while, and it is important to stay connected to the developments that will transpire in the months ahead until the full blown trial is upon us.
Not since the O.J. Simpson trial that consummed us years ago have we been witnesses to a trial of the scope that we will encounter, even though it is a trial that has special circumstances connectted with it, but because it is a trial, sadly to say, that has racists overtones and implications.
There are reports currently that autopsy reports have uncovered new injuries to Travon’s body and Zimmerman’s body as well. No doubt there was an altercation, and that is an indication that supports the Zimmerman story, but apparently gives indication that Travon may have been a victim because he was protecting himself.
Time has a way of diffusing a story, and even though some of us will take the time to try and retrace a storyline, the difficulty here is that apparently there are no definite witnesses, so the true story will not come out. Martin and Zimmerman are the only witnesses during that altercation and there is no one else to complete the story because Martin is dead.
One thing is for sure, if the person who did the shooting did not have a gun, Travon Martin no doubt would be still alive.
My personal comments on April 13, 2012
Recently, there has been much discussion regarding the events surrounding the 17 year old teenager that was shot and killed a few weeks ago on his way to his father’s home from a store purchasing iced tea and candy.
That incident came to culmination when the person that killed the teen was charged, arrested and was now preparing to be released on bond.
There will be much to be discussed when from now and until the trial begins, if there ever will be a trial. Much is to be determined on that decision, based on Florida’s Stand Aground Laws.
But, my comment here is that what happened on the day the court made the decision to place bond at one hundred and fifty thousand dollars. Much to be said about the worth of the life of a deceased teen that was killed for no reason. Further, the decision of the defense to suggest and allow the person who killed the teen to tell the family members he was sorry for killing their son. Really? How disingenuous. Based on his opinion he did not realize that their son was as young as he was and he thought he may be older. And he did not know whether he was armed or not. Which he wasn’t. But, that was not his concern when he approached the young man in the apartment complex.
This man who committed the crime decided long before he made the decision to follow, intimidate, and take action against the teen and using force because he was carrying a gun and was intending to use it. If the person who killed the teen was unarmed, was only watching his neighborhood from a distance, and did not approach the teen as instructed, he would not have been able to commit the crime against him.
That man is a shallow human being, and I only hope that justice is rewarded in the memory of this young man.
It is important for those of us who are tracking the information on the Martin/Zimmerman incident to understand one thing. There is an effort on the defense side to protect the shooter under any circumstances and to get him a not guilty result. This is evident to see that blaming the victim is the name of the game and to tear down Martin’s credibility as a teen.
Well, we must not allow that to happen. We must challenge any legal action that gives claim to Zimmerman’s innocence. WE MUST NOT LET THAT HAPPEN!!!
We all know and understand that Martin was an innocent bystander and was prey to Zimmerman, and in no way should we let him get away with that plea.
We as citizens should make it impossible for Zimmerman to get in court as a victim. He shot and killed Martin and he should not get away with it.
As I write this last paragraph I reminded myself that I had decided to change directions and wait on a future date to make some statements relating to some of the politics that I am reading and pondering on currently. The next few months we will encounter in the current and future political climate will be most definitive in the coming months.
I also wanted to update you as readers to the current Travon Martin case and my comments on it. You are always welcome to add your voice to anything I may post, especially on this issue.
As you may notice I added a feature, Talkin’ Jazz, that came about from my earlier discussion on jazz audiences with Williard Jenkins of Open Sky and currently with broadcaster, Jae Sinnett, that I will continue in the next posting. I will also discuss a jazz education article I read and its relationship to the jazz audience as well. So, I hope you will continue to read my blog and if you have any advice to give me I will appreciate reading them. Also, I have saved comments that others have made about the improvements I can make to be spam proof as well. Thanks for that.