Posts Tagged ‘music’

Protest of the day

Posted: 26 May 2016 in Uncategorized
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[ht: bn]*

Meanwhile, unions (led by the CGT, the Confédération générale du travailare leading strike actions across France at oil refineries, nuclear power stations, ports, and transportation hubs to protest the labor reform bill the government pushed through the National Assembly without a vote.

FRANCE-LABOUR-LAW-STRIKE

 

*Here is a link to the lyrics of the famous Italian partisan song “Bella Ciao.” And another link to the Nuit Debout orchestra’s performance of Verdi’s “Nabucco.”

 

Chicago-born-and-raised composer-instrumentalist and veteran of the collective The Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), Henry Threadgill was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his 2015 album In for a Penny, In for a Pound (listen to the opening track here).

Prior to Monday, the only jazz performers to win a Pulitzer prize for music (while still alive) were Wynton Marsalis and Ornette Coleman. A few other greats, such as Thelonious Monk, had been honored posthumously – but denied the increased standing and support that might have been valuable when they were still creating art.

So-called classical compositions and performances have dominated, with few exceptions, the Pulitzer music prizes. According to Howard Reich,

Why would one genre dominate the prize for more than half a century?

Perhaps no one summed up the answer better than Duke Ellington, who had been recommended for a Pulitzer by the jury in 1965 but was rejected by the board.

“I’m hardly surprised that my kind of music is still without, let us say, official honor at home,” Ellington told writer Nat Hentoff in a 1965 New York Times magazine piece titled “This Cat Needs No Pulitzer Prize.”

“Most Americans,” added Ellington, “still take it for granted that European music – classical music, if you will – is the only really respectable kind. I remember, for example, that when Franklin Roosevelt died, practically no American music was played on the air in tribute to him … by and large, then as now, jazz was like the kind of man you wouldn’t want your daughter to associate with.”

Merle Haggard RIP

Posted: 6 April 2016 in Uncategorized
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Merle Haggard was, for me, the undisputed king of the Bakersfield sound.

Merle Haggard, one of the most successful singers in the history of country music, a contrarian populist whose songs about his scuffling early life and his time in prison made him the closest thing that the genre had to a real-life outlaw hero, died at his home in California, on Wednesday, his 79th birthday. . .

Mr. Haggard had an immense influence on other performers — not just other country singers but also ’60s rock bands like the Byrds and the Grateful Dead, as well as acts like Elvis Costello and the Mekons, all of whom recorded Mr. Haggard’s songs. Some 400 artists have released versions of his 1968 hit “Today I Started Loving You Again.”

He was always the outsider. His band was aptly named the Strangers.

Gato Barbieri RIP

Posted: 2 April 2016 in Uncategorized
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Born in Argentina (in the same city to which part of my family emigrated), Gato Barbieri was one of the best jazz musicians to emerge from South America. He managed to combine, with virtuosity on the alto and tenor saxophones, the heights of the free-jazz revolution with traditional latin rhythms, harmonies, and melodic themes.

Yesterday, I wrote about the attacks of liberal mainstream economists on Bernie Sanders and one of his economic advisers, Gerald Friedman.

Today, Neil Irwin tries to explain why the “liberal wonkosphere has a problem with Bernie Sanders.”

there may be something broader going on here beyond the specific disagreements about growth assumptions, or cost savings from a single-payer health system, or how to regulate the financial system.

Behind closed doors, among the left-of-center policy types who populate the congressional offices, executive agencies and think tanks of Washington, I’ve seen enough eye rolls when Mr. Sanders’s name comes up to suspect something more tribal is going on.

The wonkosphere vs. Bernie clash is not just a story of center-left versus left-left. It is also a clash between those who have been in the trenches of trying to make public policy for the last seven years versus those who can exist in a kind of theoretical world of imagining what public policy ought to be.

That’s pretty much what I argued yesterday: “The liberal mainstream economists who are now attacking Sanders and Friedman seem to be taking it personally, as if their monopoly on analysis and policy has been challenged.”

Irwin concludes by asserting that Sanders needs to mend “fences with left-of-center policy wonks.”

Alternatively, liberal mainstream economists might want to put aside their delicate sensibilities and, to invoke a saying from a time when a similar standoff between liberals and radicals took place, stop being part of the problem and start being part of the solution.

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I spent a lot of time over the years browsing and purchasing items from the inventory of music, especially jazz and blues, at Chicago’s Jazz Record Mart. I also enjoyed taking friends from out of town there.

Now, due to rising rent, the shop that billed itself as “The World’s Largest Jazz and Blues Record Store” has closed its doors.

A new report from the UCLA Labor Center [ht: ja], “I am a #YOUNGWORKER,” challenges the prevailing cliché of “young people as self-indulgent millennials who live with their parents, idly wait for the perfect job, and collect paychecks mostly for shopping and weekend leisure.”

In reality, many employers rely on youth to supply “cheap, surplus, temporary and easy-to-discipline labor” that can be recruited or disposed of according to the whims of the business cycle. Adults often portray these early jobs as brief interludes or rites of passage to justify the precarious conditions of “youth” forms of work.

The study focuses on workers between the ages of 18 and 29 in retail and food service, the two largest employers of young people in Los Angeles. Together, they employ a quarter-million young workers—almost half (42.6%) their workforce.

work status

The authors of the report discovered that young workers are often employed in part-time jobs, they play an integral role in supporting their families, and one in ten live below the poverty line.

In addition, young workers struggle to balance work and school (“They need to work in order to afford school, and they need to attend school so they can get ahead at work”) and owe increasing amounts of educational debt (more than $19 thousand on average).

On the job, most (90 percent) do not have a set schedule, since they are forced to “depend on schedule assignments that are staggered weekly and build an intricate web of overlapping shifts that ensure that workers are constantly present on the store floor or stockrooms.” They are also vulnerable to various forms of wage threat (not getting paid for overtime or working off the clock), are often harassed by both bosses and customers, and do not receive the benefits (such as sick days, vacation, and health insurance) other workers have managed to secure.

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As if that were not bad enough, the youth unemployment rate (11.2 percent) is more than twice the official rate (5 percent).

In other words, young workers today are often living on a “dead end street.”