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2007 Stories by Francis Davis

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  • The Year of the Woman

    published December 25, 2007

    With apologies to Philip Roth, before I counted a single ballot in the second annual Village Voice Jazz Critics Poll, I sensed my headline... More >>

  • R.I.P. 2007

    published December 25, 2007

    Luqman Ali, Alphonse Ardoin, Frank Assunto Jr., Donald Ayler, Steve Bagby, Whitney Balliett, Bill Barber, Danny Barcelona, Alvin Batiste, Carey... More >>

  • The 2007 Jazz Poll

    published December 25, 2007

    Jazz Record of the Year 1. Maria Schneider, Sky Blue (ArtistShare) 188.5 points (26 ballots) 2. ... More >>

  • Rookies of the Year

    published November 27, 2007

    Bill James is father to that new breed of baseball wonks for whom a walk is as exciting as a home run (we have him to blame for Steve Garvey and... More >>

  • A Composer Ascendant

    published October 23, 2007

    By the middle of the last century, there were three identifiable schools of jazz: traditional, modern, and Duke Ellington. The permutations were... More >>

  • Overshadowing the Shadow

    published October 2, 2007

    An all-star audience turned out for Sonny Rollins's Carnegie Hall show September 18, this year's be-there-or-be-square jazz event. Lou Reed and... More >>

  • Melody Lingers On

    published August 28, 2007

    Before the two styles of music went their separate ways, what kept evergreen melodies common currency in jazz was the faith that their chord... More >>

  • Back in the World

    published July 31, 2007

    For the good of his or her soul, every critic ought to perform at least one good deed. Mine entailed schlepping to a Catskills resort in... More >>

  • Earning His Spurs

    published July 10, 2007

    Whatever your opinion of the movers and shakers of '60s and '70s free jazz, you can't say they didn't pass on good genes. Start with Ravi... More >>

  • Dear Abbey

    published June 12, 2007

    Amid more than 20,000 Chicagoans at a free outdoor festival about 15 years ago, I found myself sitting next to a local critic who mentioned how... More >>

  • File Under "Shows"

    published May 29, 2007

    In 1957, an era when singles were for kids and Broadway shows dominated the LP charts, drummer Shelly Manne scored a surprise hit with an album of... More >>

  • Conceptual jazz that's furious even when it's inarticulate

    published May 15, 2007

    The latest collaboration between pianist Vijay Iyer and performance artist Mike Ladd, following 1994's In What Language?, suffers from a... More >>

  • Chiri Biri Bim, Chiri Biri Bop

    published May 8, 2007

    Twenty years ago, around the time that he and other improvisers from what was still the Soviet Union became subjects of much amazement in the... More >>

  • Hip-Hop Is Dead to Him

    published April 10, 2007

    Amid rancorous critical infighting over free jazz in the early '60s, A.B. Spellman lobbed the following rhetorical hand grenade: "What is... More >>

  • All Things Close Enough

    published March 20, 2007

    Though its champions insist the blues will never die, they know better than anyone that its survival rests on semantics—blues festivals... More >>

  • Blast From the Past

    published February 13, 2007

    Though not nearly the desperate days for jazz some would have you believe, the 1970s were nonetheless a foolhardy decade in which to launch a big... More >>

  • Whitney Balliett, 1926–2007

    published February 13, 2007

    Whitney Balliett’s synesthetic metaphors and similes defied imitation (I learned the hard way), but not parody: In Donald Barthelme’s... More >>

  • Only Emotion Endures

    published January 23, 2007

    When I was a kid, I thought like a kid— I was a kid, you dig it . . . Robert Creeley was one of those... More >>

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