Monday 29 November 2021

But Beautiful. A Book about Jazz (1991)

But Beautiful is a book by Geoff Dyer about jazz. It is neither fiction nor non-fiction, but a brilliant blend of the two. Dyer imagines some of the key events and processes in the lives of jazz musicians Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus, Art Pepper, Lester Young, Bud Powell, Chet Baker, Ben Webster and Thelonious Monk.  

He also includes a more traditional piece of criticism - an Afterword on Tradition, Influence and Innovation which talks about the way that jazz musisians have played with tradition and improvisation to innovate in a unique way.

Because jazz has continued evolving in this way, it has remained uniquely in touch with the animating force of its origins. From time to time in his solos a saxophonist may quote from other musicians, but every time he picks up his horn he cannot avoid commenting, automatically and implicitly, even if only through his inadequacy, on the tradition that has laid this music at his feet. At its worst this involves simple repetition (those interminable Coltrane imitations); sometimes it involves exploring possibilities that were previously only touched upon. At its best it expands the possibilities of the form.

Tuesday 23 November 2021

Walk Tall (1967)


On top of a stately Hammond organ and drum shuffle, the jazz saxophonist Cannonball Adderley (1928 –  1975) introduced his 1967 Hollwood California live recording of Walk Tall by saying: 

Here we go. 

Like I said before, there are times when, there are times when things don't lay the way they're supposed to lay. 

But regardless, you're supposed to hold your head up high and walk tall. 

Walk tall.

Image Copyright M.G. Reed 1987 - 2021



Monday 22 November 2021

Tiny Barber, Post Office (2021)


Craig Mod is at it again. His latest walk is called Tiny Barber, Post Office. In it he plans to visit 10 “mid” to “smallish” sized cities around Japan's main islands, and spend 3 nights in each city. Once he is in a city, only walking is allowed. More details and how to subscribe to his newsletter on the walk are HERE.

Image Copyright M.G. Reed 2021

Monday 8 November 2021

Methodology over metrics (2022)


Many people who are not involved in scientific research might be forgiven for thinking that the quality of science that goes on today is as good as it has ever been. In fact, the exact opposite seems to be the case, particularly in bio-medical research. 

A new paper by Van Calster and friends HERE, explains what they think the problem is, and the solution. 

The Abstract in full is as follows:

Covid-19 research made it painfully clear that the scandal of poor medical research, as denounced by Altman in 1994, persists today. The overall quality of medical research remains poor, despite longstanding criticisms. The problems are well known, but the research community fails to properly address them. We suggest that most problems stem from an underlying paradox: although methodology is undeniably the backbone of high-quality and responsible research, science consistently undervalues methodology. The focus remains more on the destination (research claims and metrics) than on the journey. Notwithstanding, research should serve society more than the reputation of those involved. While we notice that many initiatives are being established to improve components of the research cycle, these initiatives are too disjointed. The overall system is monolithic and slow to adapt. We assert that top-down action is needed from journals, universities, funders and governments to break the cycle and put methodology first. These actions should involve the widespread adoption of registered reports, balanced research funding between innovative, incremental and methodological research projects, full recognition and demystification of peer review, improved methodological review of reports, adherence to reporting guidelines, and investment in methodological education and research. Currently, the scientific enterprise is doing a major disservice to patients and society.