While jazz is almost certainly not the first thing to come to mind when one thinks about Israel, the country has produced some of the most exciting emerging and established artists on the international jazz scene: bassists Avishai Cohen and Omer Avital; Cohen siblings Anat (clarinet and sax), Avishai (trumpet) and Yuval (sax); flautist Hadar Noiberg; pianists Shai Maestro and Omer Klein; guitarist Gilad Hekselman; and many more.
Josh Grossman's blog
We're about to enter an exciting flurry of activity, with four Special Projects presentations and the Israeli Jazz Showcase all coming up before the end of April. I look forward to the Special Projects each year; since creating the initiative in 2010 we've supported 13 fantastic performances by local artists.
Okay, first - I don't mean do the creep. That's something different:
Something about keeping New Year's resolutions and blogging more or something…
Anyway, three quick items of business.
We're already eight days in, but I think I can still safely say - happy new year! I hope you all had a chance to relax and unwind.
As you may have already read elsewhere, I had the honour of sitting on the jury which decided who would receive the inaugural Toronto Arts Foundation Emerging Jazz Artist Award. (TAFEJAA for short. Hmm. Needs work.) This past Tuesday evening, I also had the honour of announcing the winner at the awards prevention reception - congratulations once again go to Chelsea McBride for taking the prize, and to the two other deserving nominees, Ernesto Cervini and Alexis Baro.
I've had the honour over the past few weeks - through my work here at TDJ and through my work with the Toronto Arts Council - to sit on various panels making decisions about grants and awards. I say honour because the decisions made by the various panels had a direct impact on the pocket books of the applicants - a task not to be taken lightly.
I've been enjoying, these past few weeks, being out and about more frequently to hear live music. I've been able to hear lots of good stuff - Avi Granite at The Rex, Tara Davidson's CD release at the Jazz Bistro, Boom Crane at The Rex, and even Opera Atelier's Alcina at the Elgin Theatre. This past Monday night, I was one of many musicians (as it turns out) in the audience for the Dirty Loops show at the Opera House.
I need to process this show with you.
Alright, let's get into something here. Some salty language coming, so watch out.
This summer, I decided to watch the video to the Nicki Minaj song "Anaconda." I came away from the experience amazed - amazed that this is what passes for "good" in mainstream pop; amazed that an "artist" decided this was the best use of her talents; amazed that the lyrics and accompanying video were even deemed fit for public display.
There is a small rotation of books I turn to when practicing trumpet or composing - books which remind me of fundamentals, steer me in new directions, or reconnect me with the basic enjoyment I derive from making music. When I need input on a particular topic like voicings or orchestration, or am looking for a new study to play through, I'm always grateful for the well-leafed tomes on my bookshelf. Of course, technology has opened up a whole new wealth of resources. If I'm ever really stumped, or if I'm looking for a particular recording, I can quickly look things up online.