C. Andrew Hovan

C. Andrew Hovan

There once was a time when the big bands accounted for a surge in jazz music’s popularity, the likes of which we will never see again. The economical landscape of the ’30, ‘40s and ‘50s was quite different from the current era of high inflation and diminishing returns. It is only on rare occasions then that today’s jazz musician finds himself (or herself, in the case of Maria Schneider) able to wield large ensembles and when it does occur it’s usually in the form of a special one-shot offering o …
It’s been several years now since Blue Note’s Japanese counterpart Toshiba-EMI enlisted the services of master recording engineer Rudy Van Gelder in order to reissue classic items from the catalog in new 24-bit remasters handled by the man himself. Albeit with more modest aspirations in terms of mere quantity, it wasn’t long before the folks at Blue Note here in the United States decided to launch their own series of Van Gelder mastered reissues. At summer’s end, we saw another half dozen titles …
To put things candidly, the music industry has suffered through a year of conservatism and slim pickings at best, yet another victim of the post 9/11 state of affairs that has hampered business and the health of the economy in general. While the past few years have seen a decrease in the number of reissues to hit the market, the real surprise this year came in the modest amount of new releases and even among these it was a hit and miss affair in terms of real quality. Gone are the days when one …
For many avid jazz followers, producer Jordi Pujol’s Fresh Sound label served as a bastion for reissues of some of the most obscure catalog items. The independent Spanish company leased a number of classic sides from such labels as Jubilee, Hi-Fi Jazz, Roulette, Regina, and many others. A few years ago though, Pujol decided to get into the business of recording new music and now Fresh Sound New Talent can count itself among such other distinguished Indies as Criss Cross Jazz, SteepleChase, and R …
Since the ‘70s, producer Nils Winther has documented European and American jazz artists in a no-frills manner and released a plethora of albums on his own grass roots SteepleChase imprimatur. With an active release schedule, it seems that more albums get released over the course of a year that any one reviewer can possibly make time for and so with this in mind, this is the first of a two-part piece that will discuss in brief some of the label’s most recent activity.

A mainstay of the label f …

With continued financial woes to face, the aftermath of a war on foreign soil still to be wrapped up, and snipers here in our own backyard, 2003 really wasn’t much to write home about. As has been the case for centuries, man’s art tends to reflect in some shape or form the social conditions of the time and so it should come as no surprise that jazz fortunes were at a low point this past year to say the least. The industry continued to feel the effects of a reissue boon over the last ten years th …
As jazz continued this year to solidify its stature as the proverbial little fish in the big sea of corporate conglomeration, more of the same seemed to be the order of the day. Now it’s possible that the older I get the more jaded I become. Still, of the hundreds of discs that came my way this year, the law of diminishing returns seemed to kick in with a vengeance as it had in 2003 and the number of albums of new music that were truly outstanding could definitely be counted on two hands.

Int …

Of course it goes without saying that jazz has continued to struggle to find its place within a market that has changed dramatically over the past few years. In many ways, the presentation of jazz recordings from a historical perspective is directly opposed to current technological favorites such as iPods and MP3s. For the jazz fan, the album has always been the main artifact in developing familiarity with an artist. From the cover and liner notes to the programming of the t …

An icon of American music, Ornette Coleman’s innovations of the ‘50s and ‘60s continue to have an impact on forward-thinking jazz, both in terms of the way Coleman broke free of harmonic constraints and the way he placed a formal emphasis on melody. Although he has continued to document his latest developments via recordings, performance opportunities have been somewhat more limited over the years, making his appearance on the campus of the University of Michigan a rare treat. Add to that the fa
The Jazz Journalists Association (JJA), representing more than 400 writers, broadcasters, photographers and new media professionals worldwide, announces final nominees in 40 categories of achievement for the Jazz Awards 2005, its ninth annual ceremony honoring jazz musicians and their supporters. The Jazz Awards is a benefit for the Jazz Foundation of America's Musicians Emergency Fund, and for the Jazz Journalists Association's educational initiatives.

Jazz Journalist and Photographer C. An

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