Jazz Jottings November 2023

In print jazz jottings led with: The Saga of Navy Band 22

The Jazzinstitut Darmstadt is a cultural institution of the City of Sciences Darmstadt in Germany that houses Europe’s largest public jazz archive. The Institute’s collection includes books, periodicals, recordings, photos, and extensive information about the history and current developments of jazz all over the world. The Institute bridges scholarly and practical demands, regional and multi-cultural activities, as well as transnational scholarly discourses in order to support the music and the many people who keep it alive. It has also earned a reputation in the jazz world for its reliable services answering inquiries of any kind.

Hot Jazz Jubile

Founded in 1990, the Jazzinstitut is housed in a baroque hunting chalet called the Bessunger Kavaliershaus (built between 1709 and 1725). The historical vaulted cellar underneath the Jazzinstitut has become a performance space for intimate concerts.

Forum on “Future of Jazz” 

The subject of the recent 18th Darmstadt Jazzforum was “The Future of Jazz.” The conclusion of the participants was “Destination Unknown.” A summation of the proceedings by one attendee was “We still have no idea. None of the speakers brought a crystal ball to the Conference and let us listen to it. But we spoke about the necessity of securing spaces, and about having to be aware of whom we reach with the music.”

UpBeat Records

“Another topic was educational projects, as well as where we stand in reaching something like gender equality. We discussed the need to connect students of jazz with the music’s historical context, and noted that musicians are key change-agents in sustainability. We reviewed what funding can and cannot achieve, as well as how grassroots initiatives can work to change public funding systems.”

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Historian David Pietrusza has dedicated his latest book, Gangsterland, A Tour Through the Dark Heart of Jazz-Age New York City, to bandleader Vince Giordano and his vintage Nighthawks jazz band, known for their renditions of the music of the Jazz Age. In Gangsterland, Pietrusza tours the Big Apple’s rotten core: the bars, nightclubs and floating craps games; the whorehouses, courtrooms, and gambling dens that bring the era’s underworld into vivid light.

The Roaring ’20s blaze and sparkle with Times Square’s bright lights and showgirls, but its dark shadows mask a web of notorious gangsters ruling New York City. At the heart of this wickedness nests a “Prince of Darkness,” Arnold Rothstein, the kingpin most noted for fixing baseball’s infamous 1919 World Series, who also bankrolled high-stakes gambling dens, speakeasies, trigger-happy bootleggers, and even a record-setting Broadway show. Shake hands with Rothstein, but count your fingers afterwards.

Site-by-site, crime-by-crime, outlaw-by-outlaw, the book takes readers on a walking tour through the seedy underbelly of the 1920s Manhattan—where gamblers and gangsters, crooks and cops, showgirls and speakeasies ruled the day … and always, the night.

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The American Banjo Museum Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City inducted five new members last month: Buck Trent, Kurt Abell, Grandpa Jones, Akira Tsumura, and Norbert Pietsch. The Bricktown Banjo Bash, held the same weekend, featured performances by an array of internationally-know banjo artists, along with jam sessions and parties. Past Hall of Fame inductee Randy Morris, plus Bill Dendle and Shelley Burns, were among those performing.


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Baseball teams frequently offered bobbleheads of their players as incentives for fans to attend games. During the 2004 season, the Quad Cities River Bandits (an affiliate of the Kansas City Royals) gave away bobbleheads of native son Bix Beiderbecke to promote a Midwest League game.

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If project co-founder/bandleader Glenn Crytzer and his associates are successful in raising the necessary funds, Café Metronome will be NYC’s first major venue dedicated to presenting and preserving the music, dance, and history of the Jazz Age and Swing Era. Roughly one-third of the equity capital required for the project to proceed has been raised to date, according to Crytzer.

Plans call for a 272-seat Art Deco location near Times Square in midtown Manhattan. The main performance each evening will be a Broadway-sized musical revue featuring a resident company and guest artists from Broadway, Cabaret, Jazz, and Dance. After the performance, the orchestra will return to play a set for listening and social dancing.


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“Jazz, in its most exciting form, is an art of musical improvisation. It is an immediate creation. Jazz music emanates from the reality of the musician’s life experiences.” ~ William Claxton

Lew Shaw started writing about music as the publicist for the famous Berkshire Music Barn in the 1960s. He joined the West Coast Rag in 1989 and has been a guiding light to this paper through the two name changes since then as we grew to become The Syncopated Times.  47 of his profiles of today's top musicians are collected in Jazz Beat: Notes on Classic Jazz. Volume two, Jazz Beat Encore: More Notes on Classic Jazz contains 43 more! Lew taps his extensive network of connections and friends throughout the traditional jazz world to bring us his Jazz Jottings column every month.

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