Wayne Shorter at Berklee Performance Center
Although I count Wayne Shorter among my all-time musical heroes, I admit I haven’t kept current with his recent output—and by “recent” I mean pretty much anything post-Weather Report. Which is why when I arrived at Berklee Performance Center on a frigid Boston night last month, I honestly didn’t know what to expect, aside from a month of subsisting on top ramen after being TicketMastered to the tune of $60.
Being unburdened by expectations turned out to be a good thing. The set they played was not really a set at all, but rather, as John Garelick noted in his review in The Boston Phoenix, a “concert-long group improvisation.” And while it was breathtakingly beautiful at many points (and incredibly skillful throughout), I felt like READ MORE →
As revolt continues to spread across the Arab world, I’d like to take a moment to deal with a tamer, more domestic disturbance. I’m speaking, of course, of the dustup created last week when the GRAMMY® committee chose to recognize a relative unknown, the bassist and vocalist Esperanza Spalding, with the Best New Artist award, sending the fans of presumed winner Justin Bieber into a state of utter shock. Shock quickly turned to rage as “Beliebers,” as they are known, took to the web to express their displeasure in just about every available forum, including some nasty — and, frankly, racist — edits to Esperanza’s Wikipedia page.
For us in The Arts, however, this whole episode has been celebrated as a triumph of artistry over commercialism: the David of jazz slew the Goliath of adolescent pop. And while it is certainly true that Justin’s market share is just a wee bit bigger than Esperanza’s, the two are probably closer in appeal than all the hubbub would suggest. READ MORE →