The Racer Sessions
I really like this. Greg Sinbaldi sent the link to the sessions he mentioned in the comments below. Each week the playing is organized by a different musician or set of musicians. The music is as thematic as they want to be. Take a look.
Also around the web, guitarist Anthony Wilson wrote this on his blog under the heading Spring Renewal. It resonated for me as I prepare for the deluge of new music at Banff.
Musicians in “jazz” have deliberate choices to make from a wide-open (not polarized) field as they develop an identity: elements such as sound, touch, and the melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic content of their improvisations or compositions: these are all, to a greater or lesser extent, chosen, and they are not chosen for forever and all time. The options stay wide-open, and the responses to those options constantly change. It’s as simple, difficult, and existentially charged for each musician as that. These concerns aren’t really related to whether or not somebody’s music fits some agenda that I have (or that he/she has) about “jazz” or “innovation.” And it seems to me that an appreciation for this progression of complex, individual choices–beyond the limits one’s own taste*—-is central to the act of trying to understand an artist (present or past) in any meaningful way, or to begin to get a grasp on what exactly “moving forward” or “innovation” is within the context of an art form as it develops, morphs, and grows.