What’s wrong with competition in jazz?

We’ve been surrounded by competition this summer – the London 2012 Olympics, the current Paralympics, England cricketers losing their No.1 ranking to South Africa, then regaining it, though probably only briefly. And what about the Tour de France and everyone’s hero: Bradley Wiggins?

Yep, even the least sporting among us has embraced all these competitions, and our hearts have filled as the winners found their lips quivering and the tears starting at that crucial moment when they have to stand still on the topmost step of the podium as the national anthem plays.

Clearly, we are comfortable with the concept of winners, and therefore with their concomitant: the losers. But they’re not really losers, are they? They have taken part. And though some may, in immediate aftermath, weep and wail that they have let everyone down – their friends, their team mates, their family, the country, Team GB, us – there are others who have come in last yet are still chuffed to have been part of the occasion, and maybe to have achieved their personal best.

Now I know sport is not art and art is not sport. But it’s interesting, isn’t it, that while there are many artists, musicians – let’s narrow it down, shall we – jazz musicians and jazz fans who are also avid sports fans – whether it is being a lifelong supporter of the Philadelphia Phillies (Christian McBride – I know this from his tweets) or of West Bromwich Albion (Tony Dudley Evans – I  know this from his tweets) – the jazz world starts to get a little queasy when talk is of competition in jazz.

I don’t think I am imagining this, though I am open to correction… Let me know what you think.

Can you see jazz musicians taking their places here?

Jazz and competition do go way back, and they can have interesting results. Think of the cutting contests, think of how good the pianist Art Tatum became, partly as a result of all his natural talent, but perhaps part of the competition he was up against in those trials of technique and inspiration against other pianists at the time. Think of the famous Big Band and Drum Battles. Yeah, they were showbiz and razzmatazz and all, but are you telling me the bands and the drummers weren’t sharper players as a result?

Jazz players – a lot of them, maybe most of them – are not only highly motivated, self-critical and ambitious (not ambitious for fame necessarily, but to realise their potential, to push at the limits, to get better all the time, in the same way as a golfer is always playing against himself, to improve his won handicap), they are competitive too. Many might hide it, but it’s down there somewhere. Because they want to be in that limelight, they want other people, especially their peers and fellow musicians to react to their solos with: “Damn! That cat can play!”

I don’t think Soweto Kinch regrets having competed for and won the White Saxophone Prize at the Montreux Jazz Festival. I don’t reckon Joshua Redman curses the day he won the Thelonious Monk competition. These are just as important as ways of marketing and promoting the music as a whole in addition to rewarding personal achievement.

The classical music world – which has been going a lot longer and so is far more advanced in infrastructure but also in marketing and promotion – has always embraced competitions, and awards and winners and losers. And jazz has had some (see above). But this competitive thing is under attack. It’s partly under attack from the same liberal educationists who don’t approve of children competing and are against winners and losers at school (I know this is a slightly different issue and don’t wish to get embroiled in a debate about what is the right age to introduce the idea to children that we’re not all equal).

I offer as an example of this general anti-competition-in-the-arts mood, the fact that, as Norman Lebrecht pointed out on his excellent Slipped Disc blog, there was such poor reporting of the 2012 BBC Young Musician Of The Year award. According to Norman, the BBC’s “production and presentation of the final… were low-key to the point of torpor” and “the entire British press… ignored the outcome”. The complete post is here.

Of course, the huge irony is that those very same arts snobs – and there must be some within the BBC, it seems, who feel that competition is beneath the “proper arts” are probably the very same people who love slumming it in front of those abominations of all things musical that Simon Cowell is responsible for.

But the idea of competition also seems to be partly under attack through neglect by the jazz establishment (if that can be said to exist). I remember when there were BBC Jazz Awards. I even remember when they were screened on the TV. I remember that the first time I heard saxophonist Andy Sheppard was  when he won the Best Newcomer prize in those awards in 1987. And then the BBC ditched any jazz awards.

For the last few years the Parliamentary Jazz Awards have been the most high profile awards in the British jazz calendar. There are also the British Jazz Awards, organised by Big Bear Music, and with some connections with Jazz Journal and an internet jazz radio station called UKJR. But both these have slightly vague adjudication processes – we get nomination forms for the Parliamentary ones, but I have no idea how the Big Bear ones are judged – and are certainly of insufficient profile to justify major TV, radio or press coverage.

There is some hope on the horizon with the announcement of the JazzFM Awards, coming in January 2013 (and I’m grateful to Sebastian Scotney at LondonJazz for this news – see the blog post here).

As another part of the debate, there’s a great piece here from Patrick Jarenwattananon on the NPR Music’s A Blog Supreme entitled: Could Thelonious Monk Win The Competition Named After Him? The link is here. Of course, this reminds us that the US has always been less queasy about competition in the arts, as in all else.

Sorry this is all a bit rambling, but these are just thoughts that have been swilling round in the back of my mind for a while now. So, what do you all think? Is competition in jazz a bad thing? Or might it be something we can be more sympathetic to in the light of this competitive summer?



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19 replies

  1. Whilst it was very much “showbiz and razzmatazz”, as you put it, by far the most enthusiastically attended event at Coutances this year was the Battle Sous Les Pommiers between a French quartet and one from Quebec. Wildly exuberant fun and accessible despite some technically challenging playing in parts, it engaged the audience more than any jazz event I’ve ever been to before.

  2. My own experience, for what it’s worth, is that competition was bad for me. It was a distraction. I think art should be fueled by a desire to create, not compete. It’s one thing to be inspired by one’s peers, and a completely different thing to want to crush them. I think seeing other great players can light a fire under a person, but the overriding motivation for greatness needs to come from within.

  3. There were also the Royal Sun Alliance jazz awards in the 1990s for Young Jazz Musician of the Year.

  4. I too attended the Battle Sous Les Pommiers described by K Hoadley and agree that it was a very enjoyable ‘fun’ event. As I recall, there were two bands in the Battle which played in turn tunes suggested by the audience. The audience then voted on which they thought was the best version with coloured cards, red for the one band and blue for the other (I forget the actual colours) and the adjudicator made a not very rigorous assessment of who had won. At the end one of the bands was declared the overall winner based on the cumulative votes. It was all great fun and not too serious, though the playing was excellent, but it created a great atmosphere with a lot of laughter and cheering. We must set up an event like this in Birmingham!

    I am not in principle against competition, loved the Olympics and Paralympics, and, as Peter notes, love cheering on The Albion. Incidentally, they are doing well so far this season, but, yes, it is early days. But I have my doubts about jazz competitions.

    I think we should make a distinction between Awards Ceremonies and Competitions. Awards ceremonies such as the former BBC Jazz Awards and the current Parliamentary Awards run by the all party Jazz Appreciation Society acknowledge the achievements of players, bands, promoters, and is a celebration of the scene in which it is almost as good to be nominated as to win the prize. But I tend to agree with Ethan Iverson who argues on his blog site (http://dothemath.typepad.com/dtm/2012/08/please-the-committee-.html) that competitions tend to push players towards conformity and playing safe. He argues that Thelonious Monk probably would not even be shortlisted if he entered the competition named after him, as he was not a great technician and played in his own distinctive and idiosyncratic style. The debate between Ethan and those commenting on his thoughts is very interesting and I accept that the winners of aforementioned Thelonious Monk competition have usually been of a very high standard and have gone on to make waves in jazz. Saxophonist Jon Irabagon is an example of an excellent player first heard of through the competition who has gone on to become a highly regarded player at ease in both straightahead and free contexts. But the Thelonious Monk competition is a well established and respected competition with a focus on excellence; competitions in this country have been less successful seeming to favour either particular styles of jazz to the exclusion of others or more ‘populist’ bands to exclusion of others more rooted in the tradition or really pushing the boundaries of jazz. I remember the Schlitz competition that took place in the 1980s in which Andy Sheppard came second in the final. It was a big event with heats in all regions of the country, but the criteria for choosing a winner seemed not to have been thought through and the decisions of the various panels in the regions were hugely controversial.

    To have in UK a competition like the Monk competition would be great, but it would need to be as rigorous and as well-informed as that in the USA.

  5. re the once BT-sponsored british jazz awards, didn’t you have to be an old white geezer with a bus pass to win? I remember a pithy guardian piece by jack massarik pointing out the anomalies….

    and who decides the competition criteria? the most technically assured players are rarely the ones who scratch your soul and both the classical and jazz scenes are littered with ex-wunderkinder who never lived up to their wunder……”I coulda had class, I coulda been a contender, I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am, let’s face it.”, as many a disenchanted youngest-ever tenor champion nearly said.

  6. To add to these ongoing discussions on the subject of the competitive in jazz, I would like to make what I hope is a useful point. It concerns the example of sporting competition Peter gave in his original post. I think there is a danger in looking to the world of sports for useful analogies to the world of music-making. For one, even though many people run for enjoyment, recreationally, and may be cheered on by friends and well-wishers if taking part in an event for charity, say, the atheletes who the crowds at the 2012 games were cheering for were expected to perform to a quantifiable (i.e., measureable) standard – striving for a personal best, a medal placing, and/or a record of some description. The people who paid their money to sit in the Olympic stadium and experience sporting events would have soon been asking for their money back had the runners in the eagerly anticipated 100-metres men’s final all linked arms and trotted across the finishing tape en masse to collective gold… The singularity of sport at the professional level is that it is competitive first, and participatory second. People may say that it’s the taking part that counts, but at the professional level, it’s the winning that counts all the way.

    Music-making, on the other hand, is relational, and qualitative, from the outset. Even in solo performance, a soloist enters into relation with their instrument (you’re unlikely to pay to go and watch Keith Jarrett perform in concert without a piano), not to mention the relation with the audience members in attendance. Then there are the acoustics of a given venue, and other less tangible factors like ‘vibe’ and ‘atmosphere’ that, despite their ephemeral nature, are just as capable of contributing to the qualitative success of an event of music-making in performance as the technical ability of the performer on his/her chosen instrument. I’ve recently been listening again to Miles Davis’ 1964 “My Funny Valentine” concert (the quintet with George Coleman), and the contribution of the acoustics of the Lincoln Centre Philharmonic Hall, and the sense of occasion and the general buzz of the audience, all make for a magical music-making experience. Not to take away from Davis et al’s stellar abilities, of course, but I doubt whether the quintet’s jazz would have been as hip if they’d had to perform in front of the ladies toilets (as I once had to on a jazz gig some years back, at a club that shall remain nameless) – or, more pertinently, in front of a panel of examining judges in a music competition…

    While it is certainly true that many jazz musicians have a healthy competitive attitude in performance, and while it is also a well-known fact that the beboppers honed their skills in cutting contests, players ignore the relational aspect of music-making at their peril. There is a whole generation who learnt to blow sweetly over Aebersold play-alongs only to have those same notes sour rapidly on exposure to the complex and fast-moving interactivity inherent in performing as part of a ‘real’ band. It seems to me that sports performance and music performance are incommensurable, despite the common grounding in the noun ‘performance’.

    The problem for judging jazz in competition, then, comes down to how on earth you can expect to separate out, in quantifiable, measurable terms, the music-making of a single performer (the competitor) from that of the other performers on stage, or from the various other contributory factors (some of which were highlighted earlier) that feed into the making of music in events of performance. There are no gold medals in music-making. As Ellis Marsalis once advised a youthful Wynton, by way of a reprimand: “If you play for applause, that’s all you’re ever going to get.” Ouch…

  7. Everytime you get on the bandstand you compete! You are an immediate comparator of those engaged with the music at that moment. The competition should be fierce, but should always be within a spirit of co-operation as we simultaneously improve and grow in respect of our fellow players. A topical metaphor would be Usain Bolt/Yohan Blake, before and immediately after their Olympic showdown. Leave it all on the ‘track’, then go home and ‘shed’ some more!!

  8. Interesting – especially Tony’s points about the distinction of competition and awards ceremonies; and this:

    “To have in the UK a competition like the Monk competition would be great, but it would need to be as rigorous and as well-informed as that in the USA.”

    I for one – as a musician – love relating sport and music to each other. I get a lot out of sport, and I find that it helps me understand a lot about my body, concentration levels, attitude, rationality and work ethic.

    However, from an incredibly simplistic view, I find a problem. To Judge sport (maybe with exceptions such as Boxing, Gymnastics, Equestrian (!)) is easy. You aim for the line first; you throw as far as you can; You complete a task as quickly as you can. Simple: Winner/Loser.

    Music isn’t like that – the trouble is, we all like different songs/artists/sounds; we like different approaches to making music; we like non-musical elements thrown in to the musical show; we like personality; we like to be moved by simplicity. All good – I’m with this. How can you adjudicate this though? We need to insert criteria and/or discipline. Who decides that though!??!

    However, to come back to Tony’s point:

    “To have in the UK a competition like the Monk competition would be great, but it would need to be as rigorous and as well-informed as that in the USA.”

    The last portion of the sentence is SO important. Good luck to the people/judges tasked with it, because there’ll always be those who don’t share the same ideas and can’t separate from the given competition criteria (musical, technical, emotive etc). Which will probably be me.

    Personally, I have mixed feelings. Competition within the musical community (inclusive of all here: musicians, promoters, retailers, Journalists; the whole lot!) is existent, and – mostly – very necessary. However, I am judged every time I play – sometimes favourably and sometimes not – and this, more than any ‘established’, and criteria driven competition will always be at the forefront in my mind. If you have this, then why enter the single discipline when you can change and swap and bend into the others at will? You be your own (imaginary) finish line/judge/coach/insert as you like.

  9. While I think (naturally) I’m more competitive as a musician than I like to think I am, ultimately, I believe encouraging competitive nature can be more harmful than good. I believe (as some posters have pointed out) it can distract you from creativity and creating music (I’m assuming most people reading this either compose or improvise to some degree). I think progression and development as a musician should be emphasis but somehow it seems to loosely be translated into competing against each other. There is a certain amount that is needed (for instance if yr feeling intimidated by fellow peers musical ability). However by putting all the attention on the kids with (initially at least) natural ability, can lead others who dont shine so bright, but may still have potential, feeling disheartened and rejecting their own abilities.

    To summarize, in the 36 rules for band happiness (http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=256×110), rule 16 states “Never enter a “battle of the bands” contest. If you do you’re already a loser.”

  10. I think Tom Challenger gets to the nub of the matter. Can any competition really establish criteria that are sufficiently rigorous and find judges that are truly open minded? This is precisely that the point that Ethan Iverson makes in his blog (reference above in my first comment). One has to be pessimistic. On the other hand, there are now many jazz courses in UK on which students are partly assessed on a Final Recital. Many of the same points apply to the problems of judging students’ performance in these recitals; it is inevitably a competitive situation, but the individual student is also dependent on the cooperation of his or her fellow band members. If they let him/her down, the student may well do less well than s/he deserves. These problems seem to be at least partly overcome by the establishment of agreed criteria that are written down and can be referred to when disagreements arise, and by the appointment of examiners open to different styles of the music. Of course controversial decisions are still made, but I think it would be tactful to leave it at that!

    I also agree that there are parallels between jazz and sport. One goes to say a football match or to a jazz concert not knowing exactly what is going to happen and both involve on the part of the players improvisation within certain patterns. I love the moments in sport when an individual gets into a tricky situation and has to use his/her initiative to get out of it. Broken play in American Football when the quarter back is unable to follow a set play is a good example. And for me the excitement of a quick passing movement in football that leads to a goal, or a rugby player making a break through a gap (I’m a League person and this happens more in League!) is akin to those magic moments in jazz when suddenly something exciting and unexpected happens, say between the soloist and the rhythm section.

  11. There is a big difference between competition and award…

    A completion is something that you train specifically for where an award is not necessarily given for a completion. If you look at the non jazz competitions that you have eluded to (Xfactor and young musician of the year) both are amateur. I don’t think that there are any professional competitions in other genres of music, this may be that to judge fairly you can only judge based on technical criteria, which is fine but music being an art form has more to it than the technical ability to play.

    The idea that jazz musicians are not in competition, is probably not true especially in this day and age, there are a limited number of gigs and a limited audience to purchase cds, to the point that many (most) jazz musicians have to fund their music with other sources of income. Do we really want to generate further completion?

    The awards are a good idea for those that are nominated and winners, for promotional purposes etc, however they are normally based on subjectivity rather than a given set of criteria like running a race and coming first, mind you that could be an interesting concept for jazz awards – the first to get to the end of this piece of music, on you marks, get set, go! What a racquet that would be!

    If you look at the entry criteria and fees for other music awards (Grammys, Mobos etc) you will understand why most jazz musicians tend not to enter! I have to say that you missed out two very important awards – the Scottish Jazz awards and what was the Jazz Yorkshire awards and probably others that I am not aware of.
    There is other kinds of awards such as attendance at gigs, applaud, reviews, a nice comment or thanks at the end of a gig, following a musician (not the stalking type of following) etc which we can all partake in.

  12. I’m sorry that no mention has been made of the annual Worshipful Company of Musicians annual competition for “young jazz musician of the year” – which by coincidence takes place again this Sunday 9 September at the Pizza Express Jazz Club, Dean St, Soho. In the 20 years since it was started, a large number of players have taken part in it with every evidence of enjoyment, assuring the organisers that it was a worthwhile expereince whether they won or not, and usually confirming that they thought it was entirely valid as a concept (though I remember Zoe Rahman expressing some doubts).

    The first 7 winners were Tina May, Andy Panayi, Mark Nightingale, Tim Garland, Jim Watson, Steve Brown, and Tom Cawley – not a bad record for picking stars early in their careers. Recent winners have included Michael Janisch, Zem Audu, and Nathaniel Facey.

    The competitors are selected from nominations by working jazz musicians, Heads of Jazz at Conservatoires, and previous winners. The Company’s Jazz Committee (which includesTina, Andy, Tim and Martin Taylor) selects a 6-piece band from these nominations, normally a standard rhythm section plus 3 front-line instruments which can include guitar and vibes as well as horns. Part of the point is that this band will never have funtioned as a band before, there is no leader, and the repertoire is decided by the 6 players in the hour before the gig – yet the quality of the music is invariably terrific. At the end, the audience votes for the winner.

    Here is an extract from the Rules of the competition :

    The six finalists are expected to:
    • Play two 45-minute sets as a band, with no rehearsal or bandleader.
    • Include in each set at least two “Standards” from the classic American songbook
    • Give artistic space to each other, working as a team and allowing room for solos.
    • Have a stage presentation which addresses the audience rather than ignores it.
    • Deliver mature, intelligible, informative announcements to maximise the audience’s enjoyment of the play list.
    • While not obligatory, all finalists are permitted to bring one arrangement of their own.

    All the competitors are paid a proper gig fee (currently £150). The prize includes a “Winner’s Gig” for which the winner is paid £500 personally and another £400 for the band of their choice, plus the Company’s Bronze Medal with the winner’s name engraved on it.

    I have deliberately focussed on the facts of the competition rather than defend its modus operandi – I think its successful track record over 20 years speaks for itself. It invariably impresses classical musicians, who accept that their discipline simply could not promote an equivalent event – no music on the stage, but loads of great ensemble playing & improvisation.

    Two final gee-whizz facts :
    * This Sunday’s competition features 3 females and 3 males
    * No trumpeter has ever won ! but 2 bass players and 3 drummers have.

    • And one of those females is me! I’ve just been reading this article and the replies to it have been very good reading indeed! I’m playing alto tonight in the WCOM young jazz musician of the year prize along with my good friend Andy bunting on piano. This is the first time I’ve taken part in something like this and Im really looking forward to it. I can’t really say that I’m that bothered about the competition aspect, when its an audience vote we all know what they want…….higher!…..louder!………faster!!! So if thats not your bag then you just have to do your own thing. You’ve been nomitated because of your standard of musicianship, so who cares if the dude next to you is setting himself on fire, you just have to bring your own vibe which will relate to the people who actually know what they’re talking about! Anyway we’ll see how it goes and I will be sure to post another reply after the event and give you all my thoughts on the whole debate then.

      • I played at the Worshipful Company of Musicians Jazz Medal last night so I thought I’d share my thoughts on this interesting thread.

        I was very honored to be asked to ‘compete’ but at the same time dubious as I don’t believe creativity and competition go hand in hand. For me trust is such an important part of the creative process, not only in your own ability but also in the rest of your band to ‘go with you’ (or against you if they choose to do so) always with a shared desire to make the music not themselves sound good. If you are competing with your band mates the trust element can get somewhat distorted.

        Kenny Werner talks about a lack of attachment to the music. Things such as ego, pride and desire to sound killing fill up the mind with distractions and you inevitably begin a path of self criticism and over analysis that takes away your own enjoyment (and the audience’s) from a performance. Competition brings out all of these negative emotions and if I’m honest by the time I’d got to Pizza Express I’d whipped myself up into such a frenzy thinking about how I would perform I was in no fit state to play a gig! I’d succumbed to my own ego and this was in part to do with the competitive nature of the event.

        My worries were soon nipped in the bud when I met the rest of the nominees. No-one was ‘in it to win it’ and there was a shared attitude to just have a good time. The notion of competition seemed odd to all of us and I ended up having a great night playing with and listening to all the fantastic musicians that had been chosen to take part.

        In my view the ‘Competition’ element to the evening was entirely about promotion and completely detached from any positive effects it may have on the music. However, we live in an age riddled with shows like X-Factor and I feel if we want more exposure for creative music and musicians it doesn’t hurt to dress it up sometimes to get more people talking. It’s your choice as a musician to attend or not and it’s also your choice to ‘compete’.

        Competitions and awards are excellent opportunities for self-promotion which is a hard task as a jazz musician. They’re great tools when applying for funding and getting gigs and I’d like to thank everyone at the Worshipful Company of Musicians for allowing me to be involved. I had a lovely evening and met some incredible musicians. I felt a real sense of kindness and passion from the organisers who give up their time and energy into promoting and helping young people in jazz and I hope they feel very appreciated!

        P.S Congratulations to Laura Jurd! (winner)

  13. The BBC in Scotland is still involved in promoting the Young Scottish Jazz Musician of the Year competition, which was won last year by Ruaridh Pattison and this year by pianist Peter Johnstone.

    It’s great publicity for all the musicians involved, and particularly for the winner, who gets a support slot at the Glasgow Jazz Festival which is broadcast on Radio Three.

    The problem with it, I think, is that you’re not necessarily comparing like with like. How do you compare a pianist with a bass player, or a 17 year old who’s just left school with someone in their early twenties who’s in the later stages of a jazz degree course and has a couple of years of fairly solid gigging under their belt? But what ever you think of competitions, it does demonstrate that there are a lot of good young players around.

    The final was broadcast live on Radio Scotland, and you can hear all the performances from it via the BBC web site. Search for Young Scottish Jazz Musician and you should find it fairly easily.

  14. Here’s the direct link to the Young Scottish Jazz Musician clips page: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01lh7z8/clips

  15. I have very mixed views about competing in jazz. Firstly, to address your point about jazz awards, I find the lack of awards a very sad thing as it’s a very straight-forward and simple way of giving jazz a higher profile, and giving jazz musicians (for whom the competition is immense) a higher profile. But jazz awards aren’t really “competition” as such – they’re not allocated after competitors have fought it out against each other.

    The jazz competitions that do exist as straight competitions, (Thelonius Monk, Montreux – and there are countless others, particularly in Eastern Europe), have me divided. The main reason being that they are purely subjective – whereas in the Olympics, you will have a person that undoubtedly runs the fastest or throws the furthest or scores more goals. But the jazz competitions are judged by a panel who may or may not like what a competitor does, and possibly don’t even play the instrument being judged!

    I have had experience in two competitions: Jazz Voices in Lithuania, and the Montreux Voice Competition. I entered both these competitions to win – I wanted to be called the best out of the group, and I wanted to get the money prize at the end. I actually did win Jazz Voices, and got the money (2000 Euros which, believe it or not, was stolen from my purse later that week!!! But that’s another story!) but the thing that I found so brilliant about that competition was going to another country, hearing and meeting other jazz singers, and being exposed to jazz scenes from around the world that I simply wasn’t aware existed. That’s more valuable than any money (even if my prize hadn’t been stolen, let’s face it, 2000 Euros wouldn’t have changed my career).

    Coming back to the subjective thing, when I went to do the Montreux competition the following year, I was competing against people who had been beaten by people I beat in my competition (still following?!), and yet I didn’t make it to the final. The experience was still amazing, but it made me re-think why I was taking part in this competition in the first place. I didn’t really learn anything from it, apart from the fact that I got cross that they had preferred a high-note-funky-warbling singer than a subtle singer like me!

    So really, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with competitions, particularly as some of the prizes really can help your career – look at Jane Monheit and Gretchen Parlato – but you have to approach these things knowing it’s entirely subjective. Much like when you do a gig, there will always be someone in the audience who doesn’t quite ‘get’ you, or doesn’t really like it as much as the person they’re sitting next to. And I guess these are your greatest and most important judges anyway!

  16. It all gets a bit complicated on Ethan Iverson’s always interesting Do The Math blog, but it’s a reminder of where that whole Monk Prize side-debate started. The latest, with links to previous posts, is http://dothemath.typepad.com/dtm/2012/09/still-on-the-moon.html

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