The View From Behind The Mouthpiece

A Thought About Modern Wave Surfing

I’m getting a lot of info from the BSA about upcoming contests and it makes me a bit sad to see surfing going that way on Barbados. Trying to shoehorn surfing into an olympic sport is a serious misunderstanding of what surfing is all about. Every wave is different, each surfer has his own style and there exists no serious basis or framework for producing a winner or a loser beyond the artificial and silly constructs in “professional” surfing. Just because clothing companies need a champion to sell their shirts and swimwear to teens doesn’t give legitimacy to the concept of surfing as a competitive sport. Take the beautiful art as it is rather than trying to twist it into a beach version of a track and field event. In my humble opinion surfing contests cheapen wave riding by dividing surfers into winner and losers. If your a surfer you are surely a winner no matter what a “judge” tells you.

Doncha think?

Is Music Besides The Point Today?

What is the value of art in the current international culture of increasing violence? Its a question raised by the mounting regularity of mayhem of which the recent bombing of TWA flight 800 and and the explosion in Atlanta this summer are only the latest examples. From pervasive political turmoil to the general decay of our cities it becomes apparent that the world is going to hell in a handbasket at an ever accelerating pace. The question is what can we artists do about it.

Its not that artists can’t be part of the problem. As musicians do we want to be connected with the same entertainment industry that capitalizes on the broad commercial appeal of the pornography of violence to sell everything from records to movies? Some of the same conglomerates that present classic jazz recordings find it profitable to raise the threshold of violence on television and in movie theaters. For them only morality is money.
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A Night In Berlin

When the world’s pre eminent jazz trombonist Jay Jay Johnson passed away in the spring of 2001 it came as a shock. The great modern jazz pioneer had been an inspiration to me from the day a jazz fan gave the young neighbor next door a small red and silver label Savoy recording of Jay Jay and Kai Winding playing Lament and Bernies Tune. After hearing that 10 inch piece of vinyl my journey on the trombone became clear and Mr. Johnson, a man I met only once very briefly 3 decades later, became a personal hero.

His was a genius that went beyond mastery of the trombone into a realm rarely attainable by the rest of us mere mortals. Even thought he insisted that sound came first Jay Jay’s unmatched technical facility was also an important part of his message and his solos were an extensive catalogue of right choices played flawlessly with a prodigious technique. In addition Mr. Johnson was at home in a variety of musical settings.His catholic musical tastes roamed beyond the jazz world to great 20th century composers such as Stravinsky, Berg and Hindemith and his work reflected their sophistication and by extension drew trombone performance to a new plateau. Jay Jay’s death leaves a big black hole right in the middle of the trombone universe.
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A Jazz Fans Guide To Hamburg

Until recently many jazz fans outside Hamburg were unaware that the city is in any sense a jazz town. Other than the ocassional trad jazz band influenced by the musical tastes of the British occupying forces after WWII, jazz seemed destined to remain an imported item here much like baseball hats and Hires root beer. To be sure there were jazz clubs over the years like the River Kasematten which catered to swing fans and tourists on the Reeperbahn. But who could have ever imagined that a German city reputed for its commercial prowess would become a center for the new jazz explosion in Europe.
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Download or Buy these CD's & Tracks:

The Tale Of Two Cities The New York Tapes The Dance Of The Living Room Sofa Back to Back

Copyright © 2013 Jerry Tilitz