A New Way of Seeing Jazz

Aesthetic Realism and The Siegel Theory of Opposites offer a new way of understanding the beauty of jazz and all music.


I grew up outside of Philadelphia and have lived in New York for over 20 years. I'm a jazz pianist, singer, arranger, choral conductor and music teacher. I've been teaching full-time for about 18 years. Currently I teach on the junior and senior high school levels, though I've taught from elementary school through college. I also teach privately. Since 1985 I've been studying Aesthetic Realism, first in consultations and now in professional classes taught by Ellen Reiss.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

A new novel can make us deeper about people and jazz

One of the new ways of seeing jazz Aesthetic Realism teaches is the seeing of jazz in relation--to other kinds of music, to other arts, to the world itself. I just finished a new Novel by anthropologist Arnold Perey, titled "Gwe: Young Man of New Guinea" and subtitled "A Novel Against Racism." I think it is a beautiful and important book--and it's a real page turner! I couldn't put it down. As each chapter ended, I couldn't wait to read the next and find out what was going to happen to the people in this far away land. What does it have to do with jazz? For one thing, reading the book I felt something primative also had terrrific nuance; life as earthy and as ever so subtle came together. And jazz, at its best, puts together these same opposites. Louis Armstrong, for example, as he plays and sings, has roughness and blare at one with the subtlest inflections. The biggest thing is that reading "Gwe: Young Man of New Guinea" can make a person deeper about other people, and have us see our relation to them more accurately and kindly.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Elvis Presley

Here is a link to a paper by singer Kevin Fennell about "The Urgent Question for Men and Women: How Do We Want to Affect People?" It includes a discussion of Elvis Presley's life and music, and it's thrilling! Looking at "Jailhouse Rock" and "Heartbreak Hotel," Mr. Fennell takes up statements Eli Siegel made about the meaning of Rock and Roll (and afterall, Rock and Roll is such a close cousin to jazz). For anyone who loves Rock and Roll this is not to be missed!

Monday, January 17, 2005

Duke Ellington's "Happy Go Lucky Local"

A paper I wrote, "Wildness and Order in Duke Ellington's Happy Go Lucky Local" is now up on my website. One of Ellington's wonderful "train" pieces, I was thrilled to study it--it really is wild! Yet it has an almost classical structure, and is very carefully put together. Click on the link and enjoy!

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Count Basie, Joe Williams--and more!

Here is a link to a wonderful article about the classic recording "Every Day I Have the Blues," by Joe Williams with the Count Basie Orchestra. "Basie, Williams, and the Blues" by Michael Palmer. While you're at it, check out Mike Palmer's website. You'll find much more there, including papers about Muhammad Ali, Charles De Gaulle, the American painter John Sloan.

A poem tells of the beauty and importance of jazz

"Hymn to Jazz and the Like," by Eli Siegel, is a great poem! In it, Mr. Siegel shows the grandeur of jazz, relating it to other kinds of music, to sound itself, and to some of the most important poetry of the world. Anyone who loves jazz, as I do, can appreciate this music more--and value our own care for it more--through this poem. Click on this link to read the poem and an article about it by singer Shirley Jones: "Eli Siegel's Hymn to Jazz and the Like — & Why I Love It!"

Saturday, January 15, 2005

My First Post

Composer Edward Green has given a great talk about the music of Duke Ellington. Titled "Aesthetic Realism Explains the Beauty of Jazz and of Duke Ellington," it was originally given at the Smithsonian Institution. Click on the link to read an article by Carrie Wilson about this talk.