Jive Junction You're not wrong Walter, you're just an asshole. -The Dude


Book Review: “This Is Your Brain On Music” -Daniel Levitin

Posted by Mr. Music Hall


(Warning: Don’t read this. It’s too long.)

This is the most important book about music I have ever read, because it explains, based on scientific studies, why musicality is a characteristic of all human societies, and why that should be so. The book even suggests that music (oral song and rhythm, etc.) were the proto-sounds which paved the way for the human behavior of using the spoken word i.e. language. Further, a consensus of world scientists agreed that the most important human invention was oral language. So, it might appear that our ancient humanoid ancestors sang and drummed their way into speaking, after which came structured language, religion, rationality, jingoism, politics, war, poetry, science-fiction, Sunday morning political food-fight TV programs, and railroad box-car tagging (not necessarily in that order).

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2012 Dance Event Recommendations For…

Posted by Reuben Brown

Showdown Second Line

...people primarily just looking to have a good time. You may ask "but doesn't everyone go to dance events to have a good time?" Well, yeah, but these are for people who don't care about dance contests, don't care about lessons, don't care about being on the dance floor every living second it's available. Sure, these events have all that, if you want, but to me these events also offer that extra fun factor of having a great space to hang out in and/or are in a city that's interesting enough that you actually want to leave the main event to explore. Sorry I won't be going into the details of all the things you can do in each of the cities these events are in, but that's what Google's for. I did one of these late last year as well, but for this year's I'm realizing that these are actually the attributes I care about in a dance event, so I've adjusted my list accordingly. So here we go, the dance events I'd personally make a special effort to attend (even if I already know I'm not going to make it to most of them):

Click ‘continue reading’ below to read on to this year's list of recommendations.


Book Review: “Rhythm-a-ning: Jazz Traditions and Innovation” -Gary Giddins

Posted by Mr. Music Hall

Rhythm-a-ning Cover Art

The Loon, a.k.a. Allen Hall, has put this review in both “Fruit o’ the Loon” and “News and Views from the Hall LindyJazzMobile” because it is about jazz, and thus allows the Loon to air, to a wider audience, some huzzahs as well as some grievances and prejudices building to a dangerous head of pressure. So, if you get both periodicals, don’t puzzle over a bewildering feeling of déjà Loon.

The book is a compilation of 66 pieces found in various publications, and all are about jazz. Giddins is a premier student of music and an admired critic of jazz, even though Giddins oft annoys the Loon. Giddins lives and works in NYC, which affords benefit and absurdity. The benefit is that NYC is at the pointy end of the world jazz spear and many of the best jazz musicians reside in NYC or stray through, and, perchance, gather some valuable Giddins ink. The absurdity is that the pointy end of the jazz spear can be so damned avant garde it might not even be Jazz.  The Loon will freely point out the absurdities, but, otherwise, he will try to be fair. To wit

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Editorial Comments Aplenty: “The Grump” Opines

Posted by Mr. Music Hall

Django Reinhardt

1. Thoughts on Jazz Quotes:

“Jazz attracted me because in it I found a formal perfection and instrumental precision that I admire in classical music, but which popular music doesn't have.” – Django Reinhardt

“The Grump” believes that no written music is perfect, and all can be improved upon or embellished by the talented improvisationalist. The trick is not to destroy the original with excursions into the entirely personal, self-serving avant garde. If you don’t like the damned tune that much, then, for crying out loud, don’t play it, and go ahead and write your own damned tune.

Click ‘continue reading’ below to read "The Grump" go on.


Book Review: “Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong” -Terry Teachout

Posted by Mr. Music Hall

Pops Cover

This hefty 674 page paperback biography of Louis Armstrong should stand as the best, and perhaps the last complete story of his life. The book is scrupulously researched and detailed to a fault. That said, the high quality of Mr. Teachout’s writing breathes life into “Pops,” and keeps the biographical narrative moving like a juggernaut.  Further, unlike all the other biographers of Armstrong, Terry Teachout is a musician, and that skill is evident in the many interesting music particulars found in the book.

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2011 Dance Event Recommendations

Posted by Reuben Brown

Showdown Second Line

Sure this is a bit late in the year to be coming out with a list of events I'd personally recommend, but I'm doing it anyway. Of course that means it's pointless to recommend a couple events that already happened, but I'll go ahead and mention the DC Lindy Exchange and Camp Jitterbug, which happened in April and May respectively, anyway. I wasn't able to attend either this year, but we'll see what next year has in store. So, what other events would I make a special effort to attend?

Click "Continue reading" below to read on to my actual list of recommendations...