Tagged: charmaine clamor

The Alleged L.A. Jazz Community

Those of us who live in Los Angeles and appreciate jazz music like to think of ourselves as part of an eclectic and passionate family, an intimate clan united in our love for America’s greatest contribution to global arts. We’re part of something we call the Los Angeles Jazz Community.  The evidence, though, suggests there’s...

A Dystopia Called Nacerima

When I was a boy, one of my grade school teachers passed out a Social Studies article about a faraway country called Nacirema. This crazy place was inhabited by natives with strange grooming habits and fanciful modes of transportation and peculiar foods — or at least it seemed that way based on the descriptions. Eventually,...

How the Media Feeds Us Our Cultural Rations

If you aren’t one of the few members of the Media Club, which regurgitates “stories” dreamed up by public relations professionals, you may be blissfully unaware that the popular culture you consume is driven largely by a system of payola that the practitioners prefer to call “news.” The Sunday Calendar section — or Arts, or...

A Listener’s Manifesto

After spending the past week performing in jazz clubs around the East Coast, I ‘ve come to understand that some people go to live music venues for reasons other than listening to live music. Although the booze and food could certainly be found cheaper, the ambiance of a jazz club apparently makes the wining and...

Dog Fighting

My sweet old mutt, Ella, is napping in her corner bed, dreaming, I reckon, of squirrels that are slower than she and big plates of rare prime rib (bone in) that someone mistakenly, providentially, left on the floor for her to bolt. When she was much younger, thinking she was providing essential security for her...

The Joy of Abetting Others

As an author and musician, I’m usually concerned about the humble goods I bring to the cultural marketplace. After I’ve written or recorded, doing the best I can to say whatever it is I’m trying to say, my quotidian worries revolve around selling the wares, earning enough money to have the luxury and privilege of...

The Hipness Equation

This past weekend in Los Angeles, where consumers of popular culture and art probably have more choices than any place in the world except New York City, we had a rematch between Genius and More of the Same, and More of the Same won again.  At the Jazz Bakery, Mark Murphy, one of the most...

Ella Fitzgerald: An Appreciation

Last week, the singer Ella Fitzgerald would have been 90. More than a dozen of Los Angeles’s finest musicians and singers, led by the renowned vocalist Barbara Morrison, congregated at the Musician’s Union in Hollywood to honor a woman who has touched and inspired everyone with functional ears. We heterogeneous Americans usually gather in large...

In the Company of Genius?

This past week I’ve had the honor of producing an album for FreeHam Records, the little record company I own. I’ve lived inside the control room of a studio in Hollywood, listening closely to what the musicians are playing and making sure their most stirring creations are captured properly on a computer disk. My job...

Learning to Live Under Water

For some time now, a small but vocal group of ostriches — some of whom occupy seats in the United States Senate — have described the phenomenon of global warming as one of the most pernicious hoaxes perpetrated on the American people (as well as other less important occupants of this planet). They say that...