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The Gig: Game Pieces

About a year ago, news satirist Stephen Colbert of Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report took a quick but memorable swipe at the tenuous connection between sports and jazz. The scene was a neighborhood blacktop, or a chintzy replica of one, and the premise was a sequel to Colbert’s fictitious documentary Hiphopketball: A Jazzebration. (type those words into a search engine and see for yourself.) Colbert, dangerously armed with an alto saxophone, stands beside NBA great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who grasps an upright bass. Over the unsteady beat of a bouncing basketball (guess who’s dribbling?), they team up for a clumsy rap exchange:

Kareem: Colbert is back, but he’s not alone

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Originally Published
Nate Chinen

Nate Chinen

Nate Chinen is the director of editorial content for WBGO and a longtime contributor to JazzTimes, which published 125 installments of his column “The Gig” between 2004 and 2017. For 12 years, he was a critic for The New York Times; prior to that, he wrote about jazz for the Village Voice, the Philadelphia City Paper, and several other publications. He is the author of Playing Changes: Jazz for the New Century (2018) and the co-author of George Wein’s autobiography Myself Among Others: A Life in Music (2003).