Tag Archives: Austin TX

Dances with Dinosaurs

I saw recently that my old junior high band director, Gene Stephenson, had come out of retirement and is teaching at Coastal Bend College in his native Beeville.  I credit Mr. Stephenson with essentially handing me my livelihood.  He must be somewhere in his mid-70’s by now.  I’m glad to see he’s still musically active. …

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Doing, Being, Creating, Becoming

Today I attended a press conference at Austin City Hall that brought together a handful of heavyweights–Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell, City Manager Marc Ott, Austin ISD Superintendent Mariah Carstarphen, MindPop Executive Director Brent Hasty, and Darrell Ayers of the Kennedy Center–all assembled to announce that Austin is the seventh and newest partner city in the …

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Growing Up Artistically

I just finished reading Weird City:  A Sense of Place and Creative Resistance in Austin, Texas by Joshua Long (University of Texas Press, 2010).  Found it a somewhat thin but nonetheless engaging account of recent chapters in the ongoing culture war that makes living in Austin a unique experience.  Not a ‘weird’ one, as some …

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James Polk, Living Legend

One of the best things about working the AJW project is that it has given me the opportunity over the years to work with some tremendously talented people.  And in the jazz world, one mark of great stature is not only an individual’s performing skill, but also how he or she supports their fellow musicians …

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How To Do What We Do

From time to time, an email arrives in my inbox from a jazz group in another part of the country interested in starting a school program such as the AJW in their area, and asking for advice.  Like this one: “I would really appreciate any advice that you have about starting a program that focuses …

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Notes on Practicing Flute under the Annie Street Bridge

That’s where I was this morning. I love playing outside.  Even in a Texas summer, where the mercury climbs sky-high after 8:00 a.m. and the humidity can choke an iguana, outdoors is the place to be.  One of my big problems in music school was going into those stuffy little practice rooms and trying to …

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DA GONG IN ACTION

One of my favorite seasons in recent memory (because recent memory is all I have left) was the Rahsaan Roland Kirk season, presented in 2008-09.  Partly this was due to the incredible talent we had lined up, including Ron Westray on trombone (more on him to come) and Alex Coke on flute, saxophone, and garden …

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