True Stories from the Rippingtons


True Stories
, the new recording from Russ Freeman and the Rippingtons is out on June 24. I love the fun new cover, presumably done by the masterful Bill Mayer who has done every Rippingtons “jazz cat” illustration.

True Stories album cover from the Rippingtons

The band has been announcing tour dates on Twitter so you will be able to hear the new songs live at some locations around the States. Attendees at the Berks Jazz Fest have already heard some of them – check out Peter Boehi’s recap of the performance. See them from Berks playing the new “Wild Tales” – I like it!

Branford Marsalis on piracy in 2000

I’m going through some of my ContemporaryJazz.com archives and laughed at this bit of news I reported on July 16, 2000:

Earlier this week, an organization called “Artists Against Piracy” began a campaign calling attention to the issue of distribution of music on the Internet. AAP would like to see their work respected and not distributed in an improper fashion. Among the 70 artists who have endorsed the AAP include Joe Sample, David Sanborn, Herbie Hancock, and Us3 (didn’t know they still around). For more on AAP, visit their site (link defunct). On the other hand, Branford Marsalis posted his opinion on the subject on his bulletin board (link still points to Branford’s site): “Regarding the illegal trading of studio jazz albums, we don’t make much money off of them anyway, so more power to them.”

New music glance: Go Go Penguin, Dr. Lonnie Smith

album cover of Evolution from Dr. Lonnie Smith

Here’s some music that just came out that I was able to sample and enjoy:

Man Made Object – Go Go Penguin
Manchester based trio plays a mash-up of minimalist piano themes, deeply propulsive bass lines and electronica-inspired drums.

Evolution – Dr. Lonnie Smith
The Hammond B-3 organist returns to Blue Note with his tight band and guests Robert Glasper and Joe Lovano. Put on the first track, “Play It Back,” to kick-start your day!

Also out:
More Serious Business – Jazz Funk Soul (Chuck Loeb, Everette Harp, Jeff Lorber)

 

Twenty years of contemporary jazz!

original logo for ContemporaryJazz.com, from 1996

Twenty years ago this month, I launched this site.

Where does the time go? When I started out in 1996, I was 25 years old. Being a fan of contemporary jazz was a core part of my identity. I seemed to have all the time in the world. I loved working on the site as much as possible. My wife and the site were my top passions. Since then, a lot has happened with me and contemporary jazz. I found a deeper passion – being a father. I could not be more blessed with my two wonderful children. Contemporary jazz was overshadowed by smooth jazz. And then vocals became the thing – the worst music I remember is when instrumentalists tried to be singers. Illegal downloading cut into record company profits and genres were cut. Jazz, with a couple of rare exceptions, was solely delegated to independent labels. The smooth jazz radio format disappeared. Touring seems to have been eliminated.

At least, that’s what I’ve observed.

Today, it’s easier than ever to find the music you want to hear through an abundance of online radio and services. AccuJazz has nearly every type of jazz you can imagine. For ten dollars a month you can listen to almost any recording with Google Play Music or Apple Music. Getting the word out is the hard part. Without a centralized hub, you can’t spread the word to the masses. So artists are on their own a lot to get the word out. I think most of them want to make music and not spend time with the business and marketing aspect of it. You can communicate with your existing audience with social media but how do you build a new audience? It’s the best of times and the worst of times for some. Record labels were sometimes seen as a pain if they insisted on a certain type of record or a set number of vocals. But they had a resource or resources to get the music to people who could write about it or play it. Now there is freedom from record companies since you can pretty easily sell your music online but the outreach is gone.

This is speculation on my part. I’m a communicator, not a musician. Your thoughts are welcome.

I have plans for ContemporaryJazz.com. It’s been an important part of my life and I’ll never let it go. So stay tuned as I am determined to have 40th and 60th anniversaries too!

First logo for the site, made in late 1995 with Paint Shop Pro:

original logo for ContemporaryJazz.com, from 1996

 

 

 

 

Jazz writers – damn!

I’ve seen comments like this a dozen times.  Look at this brief bio of David Benoit you can find on AllMusic and other sites:

One of the more popular performers in the idiom somewhat inaccurately called “contemporary jazz,” David Benoit has mostly performed light melodic background music, what critic Alex Henderson has dubbed “new age with a beat.”

This guy leads off the bio with a tangent about contemporary jazz, immediately forsaking the goal of a bio. It’s hard to respect jazz writers who always slam an iteration of the genre because it’s not to their liking. Pretty sad.