Stories about music and the musicians who make it

Seeing, Not Just Hearing, Jazz

June 22, 2009

It’s one thing to listen to scratchy old recordings of your favorite jazz artist, but seeing filmed live footage of greats like Ella Fitzgerald or Clifford Brown ripping it is a completely different kind of treat for the real fan. For the devotee, it’s all in the details: Until I saw late ’50s television footage […]

Big Top Britney

June 11, 2009

Hours before a recent “The Circus: Starring Britney Spears” performance at London’s enormous O2 Arena, a friend called to say he had an extra ticket to the show; mine if I wanted it. “Yes” bounded from my mouth before he had finished his sentence. Two hours later, we found ourselves 20 feet away from Miss […]

Ornette Coleman’s Meltdown

June 11, 2009

So why Coleman? Lots of reasons. Coleman is one of the founders of the “free jazz” genre (he prefers the term “Harmolodics”). He is the recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for music. Jazz at Lincoln Center has given Coleman his due props, and he’s got a Lifetime Achievement Grammy. Compared to more mainstream, conservative ideas […]

Music Review: Vieux Farka Toure

June 8, 2009

Vieux Farka Touré seems to be doing his own thing musically, despite his father’s expectation that he would enter the military. He was in London promoting his new album, Fondo (“the road”), which mixes traditional Malian music with rock and roll, reggae, pop and salsa–something Farka Touré has described as Koroboro rock or black African […]

Ska’s Fourth Wave? Doubtful

May 29, 2009

Ska has repeatedly risen to near-mass appeal and then fallen back into obscurity. About a year ago, Dave Wakeling of the 2-Tone era band The English Beat told me to watch out for a fourth wave of ska in America and Britain. He described the music’s potential to be uplifting in times of crisis, explaining […]

London Does Ethiopian Jazz

May 26, 2009

In short, Astatke is a big fish in the Ethiopian jazz pond. He studied music in England and is reportedly the first African student to attend the Berklee College of Music in Massachusetts. He’s credited with combining Ethiopian melodies with Western funk and jazz to create what often gets called “hypnotic grooves”, most notably on […]

London’s Secret Gigs

May 24, 2009

Attending a Hidden Gig is different than going to most concerts: you purchase tickets and register online, and then wait to receive a text message and email 24 hours before the gig telling you where to go and when to be there. So why all the secrecy and uncertainty? The organization wants to give music […]

Juliette Lewis: “Come on people, this isn’t a fucking movie.”

May 22, 2009

Juliette Lewis was covered in sweat by the time she finished her first song at East London’s Hoxton Bar and Grill, and dove off-stage half-way through the second. Her band (drums, two guitars and bass) is super-tight, but almost too tight. The group is a well-oiled machine that sticks to the script and plays polished […]

Island Records Turns 50

May 19, 2009

There will be a few potentially cool live pairings, including Cat Stevens (Yusuf) with Senegal’s Baaba Maal, and Paul Weller with the Jamaican jazz guitarist Ernest Ranglin. The “Island Life” art exhibition, at London’s Vinyl Factory (Phonica Records, 51 Poland Street, London W1F 7LZ), will run from May 17-22 and will allow die-hard Island fans […]

Dub: Engineer as Artist

May 14, 2009

Some interviews are better than others. The members of Thievery Corporation were hard-pressed to describe exactly how and why their trippy electronic dance music is so heavily influenced by dub reggae (it clearly is). But punchy stories from Don Letts (pictured above), a DJ who is credited with introducing reggae beats to London’s punk scene, […]

about Blogowitz

I write about music and culture. I teach journalism. BLOGOWITZ is a file cabinet for my stories, podcasts, photos, and teaching.

Podcast: Opening Bands

about Blogowitz

I write about music and culture. I teach journalism. BLOGOWITZ is a file cabinet for my stories, podcasts, photos, and teaching.

Podcast: the Search for New African Music

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