Corey Mwamba


Classic reviews - a call

We have an idea of a classic album—a collection of music that holds sway of a section of society for many years and fulfils the criteria of quality, contextual resonance and intrigue. And having written that I realise that I've just said something that I never got around to writing up, so let me explain what I mean.

In my thinking, the quality of something is not related to preference; I am able to dislike something without faulting the particular skill, knowledge and effort with which it was made. The contextual resonance is to do with how the object connects with us, and does tap into our preferences: does that album remind us of a special time? Did that sound fire an emotion that was not felt before hearing it? Similarly the intrigue—that which compels us to engage and then go back to find something else—is tied with our tastes. I think the way these three work together is involved and possibly worth exploring.

Anyway, the idea of a classic album is there. But what of the classic review? I'd like to posit some of these, from the short-lived Jazz Review. Within most of the writing there is knowledge, skill and effort in the writing—regardless of any agreements with the conclusions of the review; an ability to conjure the environment and time in which the review was written; and an allure to read it again, and to explore what was then new music again and again.

If you've seen any current music writing that does that to you, please post a comment below!

comments (3)

Corey Mwamba

17th Mar 2013 | 7:00am

My two starters for ten: Hank Shteamer's Dark Forces Swing, especially the interview with Walt Dickerson, which is revealing; and although it's not a blog but a Twitter stream Cevie Dubesky writes compellingly about the music she listens to.


17th Mar 2013 | 7:55am

Not jazz, and not all (or even mostly) reviews, but I always find Lauren Redhead's thoughts on contemporary classical music enlightening and thought-provoking

Corey Mwamba

17th Mar 2013 | 7:59am | replying to samgrinsell


Certainly doesn't have to be jazz—it's just the field that I know more about. Thanks for posting!

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