New release: The Flow

Please choose from the articles below:

Jazz - Dividing and
Conquering Itself
Some of my political stress relief from the "Bush League"The Future Is Moving Forward


Jazz - Dividing and Conquering Itself

Jazz, as a viable genre of music, has fallen off the Billboard Chart of percentages of the market. The lowest figure listed is 3% and jazz is below that, obviously.

What are the reasons? I will give you a viewpoint I think holds water and you decide.

When jazz was the popular music of the day, it was permeated with pairings of the best of the instrumental and vocal worlds of jazz. Instrumentalists and vocalists played and recorded together on a regular basis. Record producers did this to maximize marketability and take advantage of great musicians and great vocalists (using language) to create the synergy by which the audience could relate no matter how futuristic the music.

Examples of this are Billy Holiday and Lester Young, Duke Ellington with Ella Fitzgerald and Count Basie with Jimmy Rushing and Joe Williams. Even as bebop began changing the dances and lessening the popularity of the music to dancers en masse, there was Billy Eckstine, with Sarah Vaughan, leading a band with Parker, Dizzy, Coltrane, Cannonball and Miles to kick off the era. Later Cannonball, a former teacher and showman to boot, learned the lesson well and had Nancy Wilson working with him. Even John Coltrane recorded with the wonderful Johnny Hartman. The best singers of the time with the best players of the time - WHAT A CONCEPT!

Now, in the aftermath of bebop and Miles' and Coltrane's instrumental explorations, we come to the DIVIDE. Players hoping to emulate Coltrane and Miles, near-sighted record companies and currently, many jazz venues collaborate to keep the two elements apart and either do not use vocalists at all, or way too infrequently. (New York's Village Vanguard has token vocalist engagements twice a year, I'd guess. What's that - 3.8% of the time?). Too many record companies don't even have one vocalist, while some will tell you point blank that they don't want any, making today's vocalists, as a lot, jazz's second-class citizens, hiring players but not being hired by players, all at the expense of expanding the idiom by vocal inclusion in the marketplace.

The frequent talk of the "new jazz audience" and where it will come from brings me to my point. I dare you to count one hand's worth of 10-16 year old kids who listen to instrumental music at all. Try it and let me know if you can or how long it takes you to find five young kids that do. Most all other genres of music incorporate vocals and language and thrive doing so.

Lessons can be learned from classical music which has separated instrumental and opera to the point where the idiom needs constant subsidy. Jazz, too, has separated the players and singers (with too few exceptions, Corea-McFerrin and Metheny's use of vocals on his most monetarily successful albums) so the best instrumentalists almost never perform or record with the best vocalists and the greatest vocalists rarely, if ever, get to sing with the greatest players of the day.

Players, singers, record companies, presenters and the press need to recognize this as divisive to jazz and fix it if we hope to compete for that future audience we all give lip service to wanting so badly to develop.

Tom Lellis

Some of my political stress relief from the "Bush League"

George Bush stars in, "The Texas Detain Saw Massacre" and sings "Blurry with the Binge on Top" (Surrey /Fringe) and "It's My Party and I'll Lie If I Want To" (Cry), and "Still Crazy After All These Beers" (Years)

Dick Cheney sings, "Chen(ey) of Fools" (Chain)

Condi Rice sings, "Oh What A Beautiful Warning" (Morning)

Karl Rove plays Ned Beaty in, The Red State remake of "Deliverance"

Colin Powell sings to Bush, "I Only Have Lies For You" (Eyes)

John Bolton sings, "I'm Spittin' On Top Of The World" (sittin’)

Brownie sings "A Horse With No Game” (Name)

Tom DeLay sings "Does Anybody Know What Slime It Is" (Time) or "I Didn't Know What Slime It Was"

"Scotter" Libby sings, Un-Cheneyed Melody (Chain) and "Don't Fence Me In"

Robert Novak sings Johnny Mathis' "It's Not for Me to Say"

Wolfowitz sings "If I Ruled the World"

Scalia sings from "The King And I" "We Miss in the Shadows" (Kiss)

The State Of Kansas sings "If I Only Had A Brain" and "Smack Drab In The Middle" (dab)

Ted Stevens sings Herman's Hermit's "There's A Kind Of Slush (fund) Oil Over the World Tonight" (hush)(all)

Jeb Bush sings "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother"

Washington D.C. sings "Cherry Stink and Apple Blossom Blight" (Pink/White)

Rudy Giuliani sings, "America the Rudiful" (Beautiful)

—Tom Lellis

The Future Is Moving Forward

The Bush Age, under the guidance of Karl Rove, has ushered in the Moving Forward of speech in the U.S.

How? By excising the single word Future and using two words instead on one, of course. We look to the Moving Forward with hope and confidence.

1. Back to the Moving Forward
2. Moving Forward Shock
3. The Moving Forward is Now
4. The Once and Moving Forward King
5. I’d like to introduce my Moving Forward Wife
6. Stock Moving Forwards
7. The Moving Forwards Market
8. A look into the Moving Forward
9. No one can see into the Moving Forward
10. If one could only see into the Moving Forward
11. Our Youth is the Moving Forward of our country
12. Moving Forward Leaders of America
13. Moving Forward Rama
14. Moving Forwardistic
15. The 74 Ford Moving Forward-a
16. A shoe-in Moving Forward Hall of Famer
17. You have a bright Moving Forward in this Company
18. There will be a Moving Forward female President one day.
19. And a Moving Forward African American President too.
20. Of course, it could happen in the near Moving Forward.
21. I worry about another Bush in our Moving Forward
22. But Bush says it’s hard work making the Moving Forward secure in America
23. I see a tall handsome man in your Moving Forward
24. There’s no Moving Forward in it.
25. It’s definitely in our Moving Forward plans
26. Energy independence for our Moving Forward
27. In the Moving Forward, we will all be famous for 15 minutes
28. What is your prediction for the Moving Forward?
29. We’ve been given a glimpse into the Moving Forward

Now that’s progress.