Category Reading…

Considering the Approach before the Aesthetics: Vijay Iyer’s Research and Writings on Jazz

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 […]

Enunciating Power and Ex…Plosive Time: Cécile McLorin Salvant’s “Woman Child” and Silence Undone

Of all the countless, captivating moments I have heard and re-heard in WomanChild, there are two that struck me right away—on my first listen to the album—and that continue to surprise me each time I hear them. I haven’t been able to let these moments go—not for the three months prior to the album release […]

Book review…Jean-Michel Pilc, “It’s About Music: The Art and Heart of Improvisation” (Glen Lyon Books, 2012)

An intimate look into the philosophies of pianist and educator Jean-Michel Pilc, It’s About Music provides a potent and widely applicable model for artistic growth through fostering essential musicianship and the individual creativity of the student of improvised music. Pilc’s inspired pedagogy leads through clarity of thought and the power of suggestion rather than heavy-handed […]

Inspired Intuition and Dissociative Play: The Improvising World of Jean-Michel Pilc

One of my old piano teachers used to tell me, “Play the note all the way to the bottom of the key.” His advice was less about volume than about intent: he was cautioning me against the timid play of young improvisers. In that moment, I might know generally what I hoped to accomplish, but […]

Sense, Feeling, and the Rhythm of Study: A Conversation with Jean-Michel Pilc

[The following transcript is excerpted from a conversation with pianist Jean-Michel Pilc recorded on January 15, 2013, at the Kitano Hotel in New York City.] Mark Lomanno (for “The Rhythm of Study”): The blog is brand new, but the work is not. This is one place where I can include my academic writing, my teaching, […]

“Jazz in the Middle East” (Discover Jazz)

[The following essay appears in the textbook Discover Jazz, edited by John Edward Hasse and Tad Lathrop and published by Pearson in 2011.] The term Middle East signifies not only a vast geographical region of the world stretching from Morocco to western India but also a diverse set of cultural constructs that derive from population migration, […]

Book review…Making the Changes: Jazz in South African Literature and Reportage (by Michael Titlestad)

[This review was published in a 2010 issue of the academic journal African Music (volume 8, issue 4). While reading this book and researching the review, I discovered the sociologist David Sudnow’s work on jazz piano, which proved to be a seminal moment for me as a performer and scholar. Sudnow’s research was an essential […]

Biography…Arturo Sandoval (jazz.com)

An important part of the jazz.com site is its encyclopedia of jazz musicians. I wrote this entry for Arturo Sandoval in 2008 (the original post can be found here): In 1982, Dizzy Gillespie hatched a plan to introduce a young discovery of his, Cuban trumpeter Arturo Sandoval, to the world. When the two met at […]