The Technological Exhaustion Of Music : Why Jimmy Jam And Terry Lewis Are The Best Producers Ever

Pending Legislation Could Cripple Consumer Music Choices

Lauderdale in January 2014 on the Eurodam with a lineup that includes the Clayton Brothers Quintet, Bill Charlap Trio, Ann Hampton Callaway Quartet, Freddy Cole Trio, Ernie Adams, John Allred, and more than 30 additional performers. thejazzcruise.com/2014 For jazz fans on the West Coast who would prefer a sailing closer to home, the same cruise line offers the “Smooth Jazz Cruise” from San Diego this October onboard the Westerdam . The seven-night voyage includes the coast of Baja California, a stop in Puerto Vallarta, and Cabo San Lucas. Artists include Jonathan Butler, DW3, Richard Elliot, Marcus Miller, Brian Culbertson, Candy Dulfer, Chance Howard, and many more musicians. thesmoothjazzcruise.com/ Mountain Song at Sea (Bluegrass) In February 2014, the “Mountain Song at Sea” kicks off for the second year from Miami with bluegrass and folk artists like Steep Canyon Rangers, Trampled by Turtles, The Travelin’ McCourys, The Kruger Brothers, David Grisman Folk Jazz Trio, and many more. En route to Nassau and Great Stirrup Cay, expect spontaneous artist collaborations, theme nights, Q&A sessions, and of course, fabulous musical performances. Onboard the Norwegian Pearl , there is also a bowling alley, casino, spa, and even a rock-climbing wall among other amenities. mountainsongatsea.com/ Country Music Cruise Get those dancing boots ready to “stomp the boat” on a week-long cruise from Fort Lauderdale with stops in Grand Turk, San Juan, and St. Maarten aboard one of Holland America ‘s newest ships, the Eurodam . More than 16 musicians and bands are already booked for the January sailing, including Kenny Rogers, Vince Gill, Patty Loveless, Larry Gatlin and The Gatlin Brothers, Ronnie Milsap, Restless Heart, and many others including comedian John Reep. countrymusiccruise.com/ The KISS Cruise Bring your costumes and your face paint and get ready to rock and roll all night! This October the “KISS Cruise” kicks off from Miami on the Norwegian Pearl . Like the Kid Rock voyage, the ship visits Key West and Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas and includes live performances on the deck as well as an indoor rock show. Passengers have an opportunity to take a photo with the band, participate in a Q&A session, and join various activities with each of the KISS members, like a belly flop contest, a guitar pick-throwing competition with Gene Simmons, and a Halloween costume contest. thekisskruise.com/ The Groove Cruise What’s called the “world’s largest fully charted dance music cruise,” The “Groove Cruise” throws more than a dozen parties onboard the Norwegian Pearl .

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Blige and Mariah Carey over the last two decades matters, it really is the period from 1983 to 1988 where the soundwasevolvedand enjoyed an innocent climb into hearts and minds. So its no surprise that their most universal work is beinglicensed today with mixed feelings. Human by the Human League has sentimental value for many but had it not been for Liberty Mutual Insuranceusing it in commercials an entirely new generation would never have heard of it (interestingly on the companys You Tube page featuring the commercial the first comment of the nearly 2 million views is I just wanted to hear the song. Who can name that track?). There are definitely grounds to argue that others are greater than Jam & Lewis (Ill acknowledge a few in a minute) but the idea that musicianship isone of them doesnt hold weight. It is hard to find a body of work with equal parts simplicity and sophistication. From anchoring a simple signature drum pattern the same way and then taking itinto two different directions (Cherrelle and Alexander ONeals Saturday Love and Patti Austins Heat of Heat ) to Livin In A World They Didnt Make (made in 1989 but somoving and relevantthat it has been interpolated in tribute to the Sandy Hook shooting victims) to arrangements like I Believe for Gospel Ensemble, Sounds Of Blackness to credible sample-laced rap productions like MC Lytes risqueIce Cream Dream (howperfect isLisa Keiths voice in chorus?) to slept on arrangements for female vocalistsChante Moore, Jessica Simpson, Mya, Ledisiand Heather Headley to humorousbut heartfelt relationship anthems for males like Fake and Criticize for Alexander ONeal; Jam and Lewis made statements and history with a simple time-tested formula, recently summarized by ASCAP in itsexcellent September interview of Jam and Lewis , When the two first began collaborating on original music, Lewis would lay down the groove and Jam would lighten it with melody and harmony. That combination evolved into an intoxicating mix of sounds R&B, funk and disco -that percolated with synthesized percussion. When married to impeccably crafted songwriting, the result became their calling card. Alto saxophone (Photo credit: Wikipedia) A muted criticism of Jam and Lewis comes in the form of their choice of heavily electronic instrumentation. It sounds eerily similar to Wynton Marsalis tired rants against Hip-Hop (which even Quincy Jones had to rebut ) or the purist positions ofNew York Daily News columnist and critic Stanley Crouch which James Mtume thoroughly destroyed in 2010 as a second-hand smokescreen. Relevant to the hesitation of some in giving Jam & Lewis their due in one of the most impressive arguments in defense of Miles Davis innovations with fusion music,Mtume emphatically states, This whole dichotomy really comes out of an old argumentacoustic music versus electronic.Now there are many people of the persuasion that acoustic music somehow has a more natural sound. Maybe I bumped my head but tell me whats natural about a saxophone? What was natural about the [440 hz scale]? Music is as much involved with technology as everything else. For example anyone who wants to be a writerstarted out with a pencil and paper. At some point we probably evolved to an ink pen. Many of us, if you are old enough had a type-writer. Now everybody uses a computer. Thats called technology. Does that make ones writing any less valid because Im doing it on a computer as opposed to long-hand? Thats called preference. Now why in everything else in life -of technology we take advantage? As a matter of fact were talking through microphones; its called electricity.If you are going to be consistent, lets not use lights. When the sun goes down, thats it. Lets not fly in airplanes because if man or woman were meant to fly theyd have wings. Dont fly. It is so ridiculous. But how is it that when it gets to music, somebody plugs into a computer or somebody plugs into a synthesizer and thats the most horrific thing in the world? All art is a combination of art and technology. In speaking ofjazz musics evolution and how it facedtechnological exhaustion, Mtume in referencing a conversation with Miles Davis stated, If you are going to create new music you must have access to new sounds and new colors. And thats what the electronics opened. Thats what Jam and Lewis accomplished in the early 1980s when Soul music, in the wake of the Disco phenomenon, faced a kind of creative exhaustion. They expanded the palette of available sounds and colorful shades in the meaning and diction of words through innovative re-combination, song-writing and technology a classic example of creative destruction and entrepreneurial risk-taking in music.

Vermont Music Teacher for At-Risk Children Makes Grammy Semifinals

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130930/NE88935 ) Kurn Hattin Homes for Children is a residential school serving children, ages 6-15, from disadvantaged backgrounds. The school’s one-person music department, Bianconi is the only nominee from all six New England states to move on to the semifinals. The GrammyMusic Educator Awardwas established to recognize current music educators from K-college, in both public and private schools, who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the field of music education and who demonstrate a commitment to maintaining music education in the schools. The award will have its inaugural presentation during Grammy Week in February, 2014. In May, Bianconi learned that she was one of 217 music teachers in total, and one of three nominees from Vermont, who had been chosen as quarterfinalists. The 25 semifinalists were then chosen based on an essay submission, video footage of actual teaching sessions, and testimonials from students and colleagues. Ten finalists will be selected based on a school visit by Grammy representatives and additional face-to-face interviews. After a several-month wait, on September 11, Lisa Bianconi received a phone call from Kellyn Robison of the Grammy Foundation letting her know the exciting news. “I am deeply honored to be recognized by this award,” Bianconi said “The support of Kurn Hattin’s staff and students over the past twenty-eight years has been amazing. They have allowed me to spread the joy of music, and I’m so thankful to teach here.” Kurn Hattin Homes’ Co-Executive Director, Connie Sanderson, nominated Bianconi for the award. Sanderson said, “When you see Lisa’s passion for teaching children and using music as a tool to make a difference in their lives, it seems natural that she would be chosen as a semifinalist. She creates an educational environment that is infused with excitement and she brings out the best in every child.” The past year included several landmark performances for the Kurn Hattin Select Choir under Bianconi’s direction, including appearing on stage with Grammy-winning fiddler Natalie MacMaster and winning top children’s gospel performer in Western New England public television member station WGBY’s “Together in Song” choral competition. The Kurn Hattin Jazz Ensemble performed for the first time at the Discover Jazz Festival in Burlington, VT.

Music cruises promise access, good times

There have been changes in business models that been beneficial to those companies mentioned above that either saw the future and embraced it. There have also been companies that have struggled along the way. Some companies, like The New York Times, are trying to find their way while others like Newsweek have been forced to embrace an all digital model. Beneath the distributors of content Apple, Spotify, Pandora, newspaper and magazine publishers and so on the ripple effect is also being felt on content creators musicians, authors and the like. While authors are seeing their articles and books downloaded, musicians have seen the playing field shift from consumers having to buy entire albums regardless of the format to individual tracks. No loner does the the music industry book the bulk of its revenue on a per album basis, but rather on digital singles. Despite that economic shift, airplay on broadcast is still the number one determinate of whether a song is a hit or a bust. For generations, music played on broadcast radio was viewed as promotional material for the artists. While companies in other industries pay to get their material on the air through ad sales, musicians and their record labels get their promotions for free. Even today, 240 million Americans still listen to broadcast radio, even as competition for listeners becomes stiffer thanks to MP3 players like iPods and cell phones, satellite and Internet radio. Even as Internet radio grows in popularity and I expect it will given the install base of Apples new iRadio, the costs make profitability difficult to achieve because the government royalty board at the Library of Congress determined that Internet radio stations like Pandora pay six times the royalty rate of other mediums. Some in the music industry have recognized the changing landscape and have begun negotiating comprehensive deals that acknowledge the current multi dimensional aspect of the industry today. Warner Music Group and radio giant Clear Channel (CCO) recently agreed to a deal where Clear Channel agreed to compensate Warner and their artists when their music is played on the air and in exchange, Warner agreed to lower the royalty rates for music Clear Channel streams on the Internet. The Warner Music Clear Channel deal benefits both companies Clear Channel will gain profitability on the growth of streaming music while Warner Music will get compensation for music played on the air. And the consumer get what they want a wider range of music selection and the ability to consume that content where they want and how they want. Despite the progress made by Warner Music and Clear Channel, there are those in the recording industry are seeking a governmental solution that would again give them the upper hand at the expense of consumers.