Thursday, April 14, 2011

Thursday's pill: Lewis Porter's blog

©Ed Berger, 2006
Last Monday I recommended some serious reading about jazz. Today I bring you some more. Dr. Lewis Porter (pictured) is one of the most consistent authors about jazz in the last few years. A pianist (here, with Dave Liebman) and one of the prime ideologists on how jazz research should be carried out, as well as founder and director of the Masters in Jazz History and Research Rutgers University (New Jersey) and acclaimed biographer of John Coltrane. Perfect Sound Forever interviewed him thoroughly, mainly about those two subjects, jazz research and Coltrane. Dr. Porter is a staunch empiricist, a giant in jazz knowledge, not so much as an erudite - that's what encyclopedias are for - but for the independence and originality of his work. He's one of the few authors on jazz who can be recommended unreservedly. With the help of MA student Alex "Lubricity" Rodriguez and under the auspices of WBGO, he started a blog a couple of weeks ago. Right after his introduction, where he states that

Experience has shown me that jazz musicians, fans, authors and teachers are reluctant to give up their old stories. This series will challenge you to change how you talk about jazz. Guess what? You can do it! Read, comment and share so that we can all work to spread accurate information about our beloved music, free of distracting myths and rumors.

he introduces, to that end, a proto-blues recorded in Congo in 1906! Nice way to start a blog! Dr. Porter explains

African MELODIES [not only rhythms] have survived in African American music--especially the blues--and this recording proves it! [...] Not only can you hear the flutist(s) playing very familiar blues licks over and over, he constantly goes back and forth between the major third and the “blue” third!

Besides explaining that small technicality, in this entry you can listen to the whole recording on line, here. Next entry is scheduled for today, Thursday 14th. Don't miss it!

PS: Today's entry is about the origins of the word "jazz", and it's here. Not to be missed.

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