Monday, January 02, 2006

Greenleaf Music blog

One of the highlights of last summer was hearing Dave Douglas, jazz trumpeter and composer extraordinaire, live at the St. Louis Jazz Festival. During our sometimes less than brilliant conversation with him, C. and I mentioned that we had heard some of his new album online. His face lit up at this news, and he went on to say how he would now be releasing all his albums online, and that he was glad we had found the website.

Um, didn't want to tell you, Dave, but we had heard the excerpts on

And though I'm grateful to Amazon for those excerpts, I'm now here to extoll the virtues of the website I previously visited only rarely: Dave is doing it right. The Greenleaf Music site now features a blog on its main page, with contributions by a number of Greenleaf Music artists. Dave Douglas's recent entry on "Improvisation as Explosive Device" speaks not only to the power of this device in art but in the circulation of affect:

[Improvisation] is an element of music with explosive potential. Sparks fly when musicians are forced to make choices. The energy of surprise is one of the things I love most in music: The sense that anything could happen. There's also a power in hearing the individual make a choice that I find captivating. Hearing the voice of an individual musician is one of the hallmarks of jazz, and I believe it's a strength that can travel.

The circulation of surprise: yes. Isn't that what makes blogging a pleasure? Not that blogging is art, exactly. But there is that element of energy, of surprise, that keeps us coming back.

So: jazz and blogs. Makes sense to bring them together.

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