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What Makes an Artist?

  • What Makes an Artist?

    A Message From the “Producer”

    I’ve thought my way around the blues for quite some time. It defies my imagination that any white blues musician could have such little regard for the culture that gave birth to the very music said musician claims to celebrate.

    For example… A white blues musician, apparently in good conscience, glorifying the confederate flag, or singing about “chucking steel like a slave”. It’s crazy. They have no connection whatsoever to the black American legacy of subjugation.

    I think maybe you should sing about shit you know.

    Wouldn’t you want to open up your soul and perform authentically instead of usurping others cultural identity?

    I’m not suggesting us white boys and girls have no right to play the Blues; I am suggesting that while we have a right to be devotees (even worshipers) of the blues, we don’t have the rights to certain subject matter.

    This lack of awareness is what I find particularly shameful.

    I’d feel great if this statement caused even one person to think about it. That’s all you have to do.

    Think about it.

  • What Makes an Artist?

    Conversation on Artistry with Dr. Matthew Bishop

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    Dr. Matthew Bishop is a highly active performer, scholar, and educator. In concerts across the country he has offered audiences a wide range of music on guitar and lute from the 11th century to newly-composed works. He is also a founding member of Etudes.co, an online resource for guitarists. Recently Dr. Bishop has presented his research on the Weiss/Bach Sonata across the country and is currently working to publish it for the guitar, either as a solo or in a chamber setting. Currently, Dr. Bishop is a Professor at Laredo College in Texas where he teaches guitar and music history.

  • What Makes an Artist?

    Chatting with Matthew Rotker-Lynn

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    At 22, guitarist Matthew Rotker-Lynn, from Milwaukee, WI, is a rising star on the New York jazz scene. He started playing guitar at the age of 8, inspired by his father’s taste in music and the many recordings he was hearing around the house. As a high school student, he was a member of the Downbeat award winning Jazz Lab combo and was introduced to more challenging material in his studies with UW-Milwaukee professor Don Linke. A multi-instrumentalist, Matthew was the winner of the prestigious Wilson Center International Guitar Competition in 2015, recipient of the Jah Jerry Scholarship, the Chuck Hedges Scholarship, and the Bob Kames Scholarship for Music. He has already played with greats such as Dr. Lonnie Smith, Steve Wilson, Mike LeDonne, Rich Perry, Joe Farnsworth, Rodney Green, Ray Gallon, and Joe Sanders.

  • What Makes an Artist?

    Has the word “jazz” become impotent?

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    Why do otherwise intelligent and talented musicians allow themselves to be used by the “posers” to play a mediocre approximation of what this wonderful music could be.

    Why wouldn’t any capable musician come to a jazz gig ready to play at their highest level instead of being complicit and diluting the art?

    Ultimately isn’t the highest level how you’d want to play, and what the audience would want to hear?

    Why would any “player” compromise themselves and compensate for lesser musicians when they should be expecting everyone on stage to play the highest level? And if they can’t do it simply fire those NPMFs. Lesson learned.

    Is it the money? I don’t think so, especially not if it’s $50 bucks. Is it an ego driven need to be on stage? Maybe. Is it a mendacious concern for the feelings of lesser musicians? I’ve certainly witnessed that. Is it fear of appearing elitist? Is it a lack of confidence in your own ability? I don’t know? I’d actually love to hear your thoughts.

    This issue is obviously not as black and white as my rant would suggest, but this is a real problem in the jazz community.

    Maybe the word jazz has become impotent?

    Maybe we should (as Terence Blanchard proports) call the “real thing” black American art music?

    Have we become satisfied with a bland representation of this amazing Art?

    I sure haven’t!