The Read: September 6, 2011

1. In July, Mercury News critic Richard Scheinin posted his top jazz albums for the summer, and as usual, he’s shown an ear for the unconventional. Lisa Mezzacappa‘s Bait & Switch‘s What Is Known made the list — congratulations! — as did Peter EvansGhosts, which I really already knew I needed to hear. I’ll be checking out Tarbaby‘s The End of Fear, based on Scheinin’s description. Nice list overall. I’m so grateful that the Merc retains a reporter to cover jazz and classical, including live performances.

2. Speaking of whom. Scheinin reviewed the 40-year Philip Glass retrospective performed at Glass’ Days and Nights Festival in Carmel Valley. I liked this part:

“You have to wonder: In 250 years, will there be an ‘early music’ debate over the most authentic way to perform Glass’ music? With a piece like ‘Dance 1’ (also from ‘Einstein [on the Beach],’ it followed intermission), how do you bring it all into balance — the kaleidoscope colors, the spaciousness as well as the density, the slick repeating modulations, the pulsing motion?”

3. Recently, I brought up Keith Jarrett while writing about Craig Taborn‘s solo piano album. Nate Chinen took it one further, putting Taborn  in the context of a history of solo piano.  (Hat tip: @fullyaltered, a couple of months ago.)

4. DIY venues are the heart and soul of avant-garde music, a tradition exemplified by the loft jazz era of the ’70s. A July article in the Toledo Blade describes one such venue in Ohio, the Robinwood Concert House. It’s written with sincere and respectful curiosity, aimed at an audience that’s never heard of such goings-on. And the narrative crosses paths with a Bay Area group, Basshaters (Jacob Felix Heule on “cymbals and machines” and Tony Dryer on electronics). For me, the story is a reminder not to take places like Robinwood for granted.