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On the Horns of Abundance: Jazz Festivals Resound

N extraordinary amount of jazz hits New York over the next two weeks: four festivals, about 150 sets, and much of it extracurricular to the usual riches at the clubs. It´s a time of marathons and breadth and goes in heavy for the new: not just youth, but also new aesthetic combinations, new attitudes toward repertory, new influences and paradigms, new clubs and theaters. Unlike some past jazz festival seasons, with more brand-polishing and sentimental favorites, this one – in the aggregate – can really show you where both the music and the culture of jazz in New York have gotten to. The news releases plonked into e-mailboxes throughout the spring. First to announce a schedule was the old-school jazz promoter George Wein. After the exit of JVC as his regular sponsor, he returns this year with the first annual CareFusion Jazz Festival, named after the medical technology company that is writing its checks. It´s a mixture: typical JVC-esque big-hall bookings (Herbie Hancock, Keith Jarrett, Joao Gilberto); carefully chosen smaller shows with some of the best younger bandleaders, including Ambrose Akinmusire and Darcy James Argue; and a few gigs for early and swing-era jazz fans.Next, the 15th Vision Festival, an event planned and run community-style, with minimum sponsorship and maximum input from musicians, by Patricia Parker; it´s built around the lineage of free improvisation and jazz´s nonmainstream. This year´s festival is half again as big as last year´s. It contains an evening devoted to the Chicago pianist Muhal Richard Abrams and his circle and gigs by the local scene´s veterans, including the saxophonists Charles Gayle and David S. Ware, as well as the improvising singer Fay Victor, the scholarly and freewheeling Chicago-based quintet People, Places & Things and the rock band Akron/Family. The shows spread through the Lower East Side: clubs, cultural centers, even the playground of the Campos Plaza housing development on East 13th Street. Then came news of the first Undead Jazzfest, two nights of hear-a-thons in clubs on a stretch of Bleecker and Sullivan Streets, this Saturday and Sunday. It occupies, roughly, the middle path between Vision Festival and CareFusion: heavy on neither free improvisation nor the mainstream-jazz continuum.

Its the sound of the adventurous present, including the drummer and composer John Hollenbeck, the saxophonist Steve Coleman, and Fight the Big Bull, a roustabout little big band from Richmond, Va. It´s produced by Brice Rosenbloom and Adam Schatz, who are doing much to expand, diversify and generally excite the New York jazz audience through their annual Winter Jazzfest.

Tapping the Roots of American Music

The closing concert of the enterprising Riverside Symphony´s 29th season, on Wednesday evening at Alice Tully Hall, was a thematic program that pulled together 20th-century works with roots in American vernacular music. It was, in a way, the perfect program for our eclectic, genre-hopping time, not only because it illustrated the porousness between formal and popular styles, but it also showed that this supposedly trendy approach is really nothing new. The two works on the first half of the program, after all, were composed in the 1920s.

Copland´s "Music for the Theater" (1925) was not composed for theatrical use at all, but for the concert hall; the Boston Symphony, under Serge Koussevitzky, gave the piece its premiere. But the work is steeped in the pop conventions of its time. The fast movements, especially, draw on jazz moves, and are meant to swing – as they did in this performance, led by George Rothman; the slow movements, with their prominent trumpet and English horn solos, evoke crooning vocalists and slow dances. You even hear a hint of Gershwin´s "Rhapsody in Blue," a predecessor (by a year) in the world of symphonic jazz crossovers.

Weill´s "Threepenny Opera" (1928) has tendrils that reach toward American jazz too. But its allusions are more oblique – a matter of rhythm and spirit rather than harmony or melody – and its more dominant accent is that of the German cabaret. In a tight, vigorous performance of a suite from that work, the orchestra´s woodwinds, brasses and percussion (with guitar, banjo and piano) thoroughly captured the music´s essence and conveyed a palpable sense of its dark atmosphere and pervasive restlessness.

january jones and the walk of shame

Mad Men star and internet favorite January Jones is about to become even favoritor because this morning at 10:30am she came crawling back home in the same dress she wore last night to the Oceana World Oceans Day Party. Does this mean she hooked up with some random guy or girl and had a night of deviant sex? Yes, yes it does. It´s undeniable proof. Throw an Ocean Day party and watch the panties start droppin, apparently. It sure as hell got January all worked up. I´m gonna go to her house dressed as Poseidon, see if I can get anal.

Lady Madonna? Gaga Channels Madge in Video

Is Lady Gagas Alejandro Video a Rip-Off or Homage to Madonna?
Gagas most-recent single, Alejandro,premiered, fans and music writers have been divided over whether Gaga was trying to flatter the Material Girl or rip-off her best-known videos.Madge has yet to weigh in on the debate. Her rep did not respond to ABCNews.com request for comment. But if her remarks at last Sundays MTV Movie Awards in which she called Gaga beautiful are any indication, then Madonna is most likely flattered.The nearly nine-minute video in which Gaga pays homage to Madonnas Like a Prayer and Vogue videos, has been drawing controversy for other reasons, too. Gaga swallows rosary beads while dressed as a nun in red latex, and simulates having sex while in the presence of a crucifix.

Tom Cruises Career Reboot: Mission Possible?

ROCKLAND, ME

Brad Pitts Psychic Speaks

Brad Pitt may have no use for religion, but his psychic tells Life & Style he is very spiritual and often seeks divine advice.

Life & Styles press release follows:

When super dad Brad Pitt has tough decisions to make, he turns to a surprising source–his psychic! Life & Style has learned that psychic Ron Bard has helped Brad through many important moments in his life. “Yes, Brad has come to me for a reading,” Bard tells Life & Style exclusively. “I know him both personally and through my business. He is very, very spiritual.”

Brad first visited Bard while married to Jen and filming Mr. & Mrs. Smith with Angelina. While he is keeping his visions of Brads future to himself, Bard tells Life & Style, I meet a lot of celebrities in this business, and he is truly one of the nicest people. He is gracious and generous, just such a great person.”

Brads psychic describes himself as “an adviser to some of the richest and most powerful people around the world…from powerful CEOs of American and Japanese conglomerates to Hollywood celebrities.Earlier this year, he founded a paranormal social networking site, of all things, with his friend, Frasier star Kelsey Grammer.

Obama To Make Reassuring Eye Contact With Every Last American

ROCKLAND, ME

Massive Flow Of Bullshit Continues To Gush From BP Headquarters.

LONDON

Actress, Musician To Wed.

HOLLYWOOD, CA

Few Hometown Heroes at a Hip-Hop Showcase

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – As hip-hop rites of passage go, the annual Summer Jam, hosted by the New York radio station Hot 97, is ostensibly an event of genre-wide significance, but really its an opportunity for local boosterism. Summer Jam is supposed to be a reminder not just of the importance of New York hip-hop but also of New York as vital turf where outsiders come to prove themselves.
Its going to take place on a tropical island owned by the couples super-rich friend, said the blonde entertainment reporter. And her dress will be created by the fashion designer who did all those Oscar gowns. The scrum that took over the New Meadowlands Stadium stage here toward the end of this five-hour show on Sunday night was vintage Summer Jam in attitude and structure. There were easily 100 people muscling for space – some of them rappers, most hangers-on – and the performance not so artfully but thrillingly crashed together a fistful of recent hits. The ringleaders of this barely controlled explosion were the screech-voiced DJ Khaled and the casually sharp rapper Rick Ross