For the sake of forming a system, click this link--Do The Math--and then click the link on that website directing you back here--to Cold Jazz. (Click the Cold Jazz link if you want--just for the hell of it.)
I'm not completely serious, but if you did it, I'm glad. Blogging is awkward. It's hard to know who you're affecting if you don't know who's reading your entries. When I started blogging about two months ago, I had a few agendas: to have a reason to write on a regular basis, to have a focus, to build an online portfolio of my thoughts. I didn't really know how to go about establishing online connections. I had just heard of Patrick Jarenwattananon's A Blog Supreme and thought it would be nice if I got his attention. I eventually did, here. But most of the time, I felt like I was only writing to myself.
I didn't know there was actually a jazz blogosphere--that musicians and journalists and aficionados and self-made critics are actually writing about each other and responding to each other on the internet, right now. So when the excellent pianist George Colligan, of jazztruth, commented on--by way of aggreeing with--one of my entries last month, I was happily surprised. It made me feel sort of validated. It felt good to know he had sat down, gone to my site, read one of my entries and actually considered it. I wondered how many other people had.
Maybe the internet depersonalizes relationships, but I'm pretty sure that the people I've met through my blog are good people--including Sebastien Helary and Anthony Dean-Harris of Nextbop (whom I've written for here and here); Alex W. Rodriguez of Lubricity (who recommended my blog here); cristin in Chicago, who comments on my blog (and also blogs here).
I've never met Ethan Iverson (of Do The Math) in person or online, but he has apparently read my blog. (If you didn't actually click the first link, you should now.) I know I've read his. I remember the first time I saw Mr. Iverson perform, in Princeton with the Bad Plus. I was in high school, was listening to a lot of jazz from the 1950s, but I didn't have any preconceived notions of what jazz should be. The Bad Plus are like the Jacques Derrida of jazz. They interrogate the binaries, they deconstruct, but not at the expense of their sense of place, their empathy.
Mr. Iverson served as spokesman for the band the night I saw him--introducing the songs, revealing who wrote them, wryly unspooling anecdotes. He was quite funny and interactive. I remember wondering that night where his next show would be, how long he had been on the road, how many audiences he had performed for in his life, how many people he had affected.
It's hard to qualify that last thought. But it's helpful to think that affection is usually better when reciprocal. In my second semester at McGill, I took a jazz history class with local Montreal drummer Dave Laing. I had seen him play the semester before with the singer Ranee Lee, and I had really admired his playing. I was surprised to find that he would be my teacher. Surprised to the point of shyness. I never told him that I saw him, that I enjoyed his performance. I should have. He seemed a confident musician, but I'm sure he could have taken a compliment. We could all take a compliment.
So I felt complimented when Ethan Iverson linked me from his blog. It's not a momentous occasion, but it means, maybe, he likes my writing. I hope he feels complimented by the first link in this entry.