jazz

A New Year’s Goal-Setting Session — by Mark Summer

As the New Year dawns bright and full of possibilities, (the financial cliff not withstanding), this is a useful time to contemplate where we stand on our path of development as musicians, and to think thoughtfully about where we’d like to be in the coming year. My wife and I make it a priority to take turns, voicing our goals, and writing down each other’s dreams and aspirations for the coming year. It gives us a supportive place to dream big and to begin to put into practice what we are imagining for ourselves. Even if you don’t put much credence in books like “The Secret”, which posits that positive thinking brings us what we think about, I think that we can all agree that it’s useful to know what [...]

Backstage with the Boston Cello Quartet — by Blaise Déjardin

A few weeks ago, I had a video conversation with my 4 years-old nephew and my brother on Skype. At one point, my brother (also a cellist) tells my nephew: “You know Blaise plays in a cello quartet? He plays with three other cellists.” My nephew starts laughing: “A cello quartet? Noooo…That’s not possible!” Yes, it is! But it is indeed a strange concept and I believe it is rare to get a chance to have such a group with a long-term commitment. Since the Boston Cello Quartet is now releasing its first CD album, “Pictures”, it was interesting to look back on our three years together and talk about the challenges of being in a cello quartet. When I asked my colleagues to form a cello quartet, I knew [...]

Doing More with Less — by Brant Taylor

I recently had the opportunity to travel to Havana, Cuba, accompanying a jazz band that was invited to perform at the Havana International Jazz Festival.  Considered a “cultural exchange,” the trip was approved by the U. S. Department of the Treasury and we made the short flight to Havana from Miami. (Because our embargo is a financial one, the U.S. Treasury oversees all travel between the U.S. and Cuba.  A full report on my impressions of Havana or on the 50 years of economic strangulation the Cuban people have experienced is far outside the scope and purpose of this space!) Among many other activities, we visited Havana’s Amadeo Roldan Conservatory, which teaches music to high school students.  While I am aware that Cuba has a vibrant, colorful musical tradition and [...]