The course I’ll be teaching in the Spring 2015 semester, “Traditional Musics of World Cultures,” will feature a survey of world cultures and how people preserve, celebrate, and alter their traditions through music. Knowledge of and participation in traditions create senses of belonging and can be crucial sites of identity formation. While some view tradition as immutable and […]

How appropriate that the Thursday night performance at the Kitano by Sara Serpa and Ran Blake began with “The Short Life of Barbara Monk”: the duo—still basking in the glow of their most recent and highly successful record Aurora—performed this Blake original as the first of many short vignettes, all characterized by subtle musicality and understated but unceasing […]

This upcoming Fall I’ll be teaching two exciting, brand new courses at Swarthmore College. They’re open to all students on campus, as well as students at Bryn Mawr, Haverford, and some students at the University of Pennsylvania. (Swarthmore music majors or minors can receive credit in the Music Program for these programs with the completion of […]

Such is the life of full-time professor who blogs part-time: lesson plans, class prep, and grading always come before new posts (the numerous half-drafted entries notwithstanding). I have been so immersed in grant applications, freelance academic writing, but most especially my majors-level jazz theory & improv course that I even forgot to mark the one-year […]

At the Painted Bride Saturday night (March 8th), five titans of improvised music gathered in honor of their friend, colleague, and mentor Cecil Taylor in anticipation of the pianist’s upcoming 85th birthday. The performance was the first of three concerts—billed as the “Still the New Thing” Festival—which saxophonist Bobby Zankel is curating. In his program notes […]

Pianist Mara Rosenbloom suffuses artistic vision into each musical gesture—each corner and crevice—of her recent release, Songs from the Ground. The album’s cover art shows her audience in simple and poignant terms the foundation for her music—roots. More specifically, the cover art shows the roots of an orchid, photographed by childhood friend and long-time collaborator […]

As a recently announced recipient of both the MacArthur Foundation’s “Genius Grant” and a professorship at Harvard University, pianist Vijay Iyer is commanding a level of public attention seldom witnessed among those in the jazz world. The attention has drawn praise and ire, with opinions ranging from extolling his virtues to questioning not just his […]

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