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Club d’Elf at Le Poisson Rouge in NYC: A New Swing

Russ Davis of MOJA Radio reports on show by ensemble led by Mike Rivard

John Medeski with Club D'Elf
Club D'Elf

Recently I attended an event staged by The New York Policy Forum, an organization that usually addresses topics of a political nature such as Hydrofracking and Money in Politics. The organizers decided to do something “light and fun” for the holiday season so the topic was “Jazz And Democracy.” I’ll let you ponder the possibilities of levity and humor related to that discussion but I did find it most enjoyable and enlightening. Included in the panel of musicians, broadcasters and educators were T.S. Monk, the famous drummer, composer and educator son of Thelonious, and pianist Helen Sung. You can find out more about it and the NYPF on their Facebook page.

Helen was asked how she got into jazz and she mentioned that she was originally a classical pianist but was captured by the idea of improvisation and the undeniable power of swing. Immediately something profound that another pianist, NEA Jazz Master Kenny Barron, had said to me once during an interview came to mind. He had just released an album of Brazilian jazz recorded with Trio Da Paz and I asked if he felt that some of his contemporaries might give him trouble since he wasn’t “swinging” on this new record. His answer pops in my head quite often since then as it did at the “Jazz And Democracy” forum. He said, “Every kind of music has its own kind of swing!”

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