Winnipeg's Jazz Magazine

one article at a time

Associate editor and writer Charlene Diehl muses on the connections between jazz and its sister arts in reflections.

In this section

July/August 2017: Anna-Lisa Kirby

The Tales We Tell

In a big tent under the warm June sun, I had a chance to hear Inuit master storyteller Michael Kusugak. In under an hour, we ran alongside dogsleds on snowy tundra and we curled up in igloos lit by seal oil lamps to hear a grandmother’s stories. We were mesmerized by tales of a mythical […]

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May/June 2017: Buster Williams (Festival Edition)

Waiting for Wings

A lovely young friend of mine showed up at my door a couple of weeks back with a big branch of pussywillows—she knows me well. I plunked them in a vase, and in return for water, they have been giving me a little buzz of happiness each time pass by. I clearly am on the […]

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March/April 2017: Neil Watson

Seeking Refuge

I had a chance in February to see “Beyond the Ordinary,” an exhibit of photos and watercolour paintings at the Shenkman Arts Centre in Ottawa, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. The subjects were all familiar and simple—basically leaves or blossoms—yet each image was alive with vivid colour and sensuous lines. I left […]

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January/February 2017: Warren Wolf

Stepping Across the Abyss

For years I had a dream about walking across a horizontal ladder. Most often it was stretched over darkness, without a start or end point, and rungs were often missing. It was treacherous, and the only certainty was the need to press on. I can still feel the terror—one misstep and I will fall forever. […]

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November/December 2016: Alicia Olatuja

Finding Your Medicine

My friend Dana is slogging through chemo these days. Periodically she sends a note out to all of her friends detailing the daily grind—the weakness, the medical challenges, the indignities. Then she reflects on the blessings she ekes out of this journey. I suspect these occasional missives are therapeutic for her, but I’ve been struck […]

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Stepping Up

I learned a lot about life when I was parenting toddlers. They have no filters—they laugh when they’re delighted, they spit out food they don’t like, they whine when they’re tired. They’re noisy, bossy, fearful, playful, sensitive, arrogant, curious, affectionate, impatient, kind. Their lives are on sensory overload. It’s not easy being a kid. When […]

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July/August 2016: Greg Lowe

The Bracing Embrace

I discovered The Book of Embraces, by the Uruguayan writer/philosopher/artist Eduardo Galeano, in the early 1990s when it was new. It’s a curious book, a mosaic of tiny stories and musings. I loved the brevity of the pieces (most were a page, some were a glimpse), and I was captivated by the proximity of muscle […]

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May/June 2016: Kamasi Washington (Festival Edition)


Strange things happen when your brain is interrupted. I fell toward the end of February and banged my head on the ice. The next few weeks are a murky haze of sleep, dim rooms, and headaches. I’m pulling back into full-speed traffic now, but it’s been an exercise in accommodation and patience—from others, and from […]

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The Art of the Daily

A few weeks ago, I spent a wonderful hour listening to a recording of the BBC’s 2015 John Peel Lecture. (Facebook can be a great portal…) The featured speaker, Brian Eno—sound artist, producer, and thinker extraordinaire—was tasked with exploring the value of the creative industries. To get there, he started by tangling with the big […]

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January/February 2016: Seamus Blake

Crossing the River

I’m immersed in the audiobook version of Toni Morrison’s magnificent novel, Beloved, recorded by the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer herself. I read the book nearly thirty years ago, when it was new. I was a grad student then, and I remember being stunned by Morrison’s writing, by the richness of her characters, by the shimmering overlay […]

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November/December 2015: Grace Kelly

Sharing our Castles

If you were in the audience when Israeli bassist Omer Avital and his quintet performed in October, you’ll know what I mean when I say there was magic in that room. They delivered a blazing concert of original music, dizzying in its range and pyrotechnical skill. But they shared something else too, something long-lasting and […]

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If you’re of a certain age, you might not know about the on-line multi-player video game, League of Legends. I don’t have much of a clue about it, but Google informs me that 27 million people played it daily last year. I’m sure that number is higher now. On a recent drive with my son, […]

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July/August 2015: Walle Larsson

Where the Wild Things Are

My friends are avid birders. They carry around their list, and they’re ecstatic when they can identify and check off yet another species. At first it was easy, with many species so close to home. It gets progressively tougher though, and if you don’t have the resources to travel to exotic places, you have to […]

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May/June 2015: Esperanza Spalding

One Bold Step

Recently I heard about a fascinating experiment in early childhood education. In one scenario, the researcher plops down with a group of young kids and says, “Hey, I just got this new toy. I wonder what it does?” She pokes away at it, makes it peep. In the other scenario, the researcher plops down with […]

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March/April 2015: Regina Carter

Move On Over!

I’m the parent of teens. I’m always surprised when that information elicits groans of sympathy. It’s a tempestuous patch, for sure, when peer culture collides with parental expectations. Throw in rampant hormones and a dawning realization that you’re going to join a larger world that appears to be on the brink of ruin—it’s a lot […]

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January/February 2015: big dig! band

Take a Trip with Me

My friend recently told me about weekly visits with her aged father-in-law in a lock-down dementia ward. Her husband thanks her profusely for going, but she admitted to me that she goes as much for herself as for the old man. “I’ll go to England with him,” she says. “I ask him what we’re going […]

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November/December 2014: dig! magazine Turns Ten!

Digging It!

I met Steve Kirby in October of 2004, right around the time of the first issue of dig! magazine. A clever graduate student thought we’d be a good match of skills and temperament for a poetry-bass duo. We had great fun at our gig, and before he left, he handed me a magazine, proudly and […]

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Messing Around

I ran across a wonderful book last year called The Art of Clean Up: Life Made Neat and Tidy. It’s a collection of paired photos by Swiss artist Ursus Wehrli that makes me laugh—and makes me think. The back cover shows a red polka-dot bowl of a spectacular fruit salad with a dollop of whipped […]

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July/August 2014: Curtis Nowosad

Inside the Circle

I’m thinking a lot these days about a compelling conversation I hosted at McNally’s recently. Rupert Ross, a retired crown attorney and prosecutor who worked for several decades in northern Ontario was in town with a new book, Indigenous Healing: Exploring Traditional Paths. He talked about what he has learned—and what he continues to learn—from […]

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May/June 2014: Jimmy Greene

A Bird in the Hand

Every once in awhile, I have an experience with a piece of art, a moment where everything slows down and reformulates itself as I watch. It happens with music, it happens with paintings, it happens with dance, it happens with writing. It’s not about understanding, though comprehension is in there somewhere. It’s not about pleasure […]

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