Jazz – Discipline and Spontaneity

“Most of us would say that inventing meaning while letting loose is the essence and promise of jazz.”
– Robert Christgau

From its origins in the African-American community of New Orleans in the late 19th century jazz has evolved into the premiere all-American art form, and has been labeled “America’s classical music.” By the 1920’s the genre had been embraced by the mainstream to such an extent that the Twenties and Thirties were declared “the Jazz Age” by author F. Scott Fitzgerald, and European composers including Stravinsky and Ravel incorporated jazz elements into their work.

Developing from roots in country blues, ragtime, field hollers, and spirituals, jazz music is notoriously difficult to define as it embraces many subgenres, among them Dixieland, swing, bebop, hard bop, cool jazz, free jazz, Afro-Cuban, modal jazz, jazz fusion, post-bop, and Latin jazz. However varied these styles, they do share some commonalities, chief among them an emphasis on live performance and on improvisation. Classical music performance is judged by fidelity to the written score and the composer’s intentions; by contrast jazz is more often characterized by interaction and collaboration in the moment. Less value is placed on the composer’s contribution and more on the individual musician’s interpretations of melodies, harmonies, and time signatures. Whereas classical music recordings strive to capture a definitive performance of a given work, jazz recordings document just one interpretation of a piece at a particular moment in time. Because of its improvisational nature no two jazz interpretations are alike, and there are no absolutes. It’s an art form that finds its purest expression in live performance, such as in the UC San Diego Jazz Camp’s Finale Concert.

UC San Diego Jazz Camp is an annual week-long intensive workshop for students aged 14 and older. Attendees are mentored by a distinguished faculty of music professionals and educators in a variety of jazz-related topics, including theory, composition, improvisation, critical listening, technology, performance practice, and ensemble performance. Students are grouped into ensembles under the tutelage of a faculty member, and rehearse standards and original compositions for the Camp’s Finale Concert before an audience of family, friends, and jazz aficionados. In the process student musicians are introduced to that combination of group interplay and individual expression, of discipline and spontaneity, that is unique to jazz.

Watch Finale Concert Highlights – UC San Diego Jazz Camp 2018

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Adapting to Climate Change

As humankind faces massive changes in weather patterns, sea level, ocean acidity, and oxygen levels, Scripps Oceanography has launched a new center focused on understanding and adapting to the impacts of climate change. Mark Merrifield, director of the new center explains how the members of this dynamic network will develop strategies for climate change adaptation.

Watch Center for Climate Change Impacts and Adaptations

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Oh, Our Aging Bones

Starting at about 30 years old, the density of bones begins to decline. As a result, bones become more fragile and are more likely to break. There are over seven million fractures in the United States every year. With a more physically active and increasingly aging population, we are seeing an increasing number of fractures in the elderly. Treatment of older patients, however, often requires different approaches than similar injuries in younger adults.

This series features orthopedists from UCSF who discuss common fractures in the elderly throughout the body: knee, ankle, spine, pelvis, wrist, elbow, shoulder and hip. They address common issues in bone injuries, how they are treated and what you can do to help prevent fractures.

Get an in-depth update as to what is being done to improve the care of geriatric patients with fractures.

Browse the series of programs in Aging Bones: Understanding Fractures, Healing, and Repair

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Landing a Job in Engineering

Getting hired is hard. From finding the right position, to getting a call back, to acing the interview – each step presents its own challenge. There is so much advice out there, but who better to listen to than two senior level managers at San Diego companies?

Silvia De Dea from ASML and Janet Koenig from Cubic Transportation Systems sat down with Startup San Diego’s Neal Bloom to share their insights into getting hired, and growing your career. In addition to great technical skills, both agree communication is more important now than ever before. Koenig and De Dea go into detail about how you can show off your communication skills, even if you’re an introvert, by properly preparing for your interview. In this enlightening conversation, the pair also discusses how to advance your career, while staying open to new opportunities.

Watch Getting Hired: A Manager’s Perspective – Career Transitions in Engineering: Insights from the Field

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Laraine Newman

“We [the SNL cast] all bore witness to each other’s youth.”
– Laraine Newman

There had been improvisational and sketch comedy ensembles before Saturday Night Live (SNL) debuted in 1975, including the venerable Second City, Monty Python, the Goon Show, the Goodies, the Proposition, Firesign Theatre, and the Groundlings (from which sprang Laraine Newman), but none have had the longevity or wide-ranging cultural impact of SNL. What set SNL apart was the breadth and depth of the show’s on- and off-screen talents, combined with a determination to bring risky, youth-oriented “alternative comedy” to a mass audience. SNL is now entering its 43rd season, and the original cast – Newman, John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Gilda Radner, Jane Curtin, Chevy Chase, and Garrett Morris – have become the stuff of legend.

Newman had theater experience at an early age and studied mime in Paris with Marcel Marceau, but she notes that it was her work with the Groundlings that provided the best possible preparation for SNL, a show in which scripts were sometimes treated more as useful suggestions than as holy writ. However much the cast would occasionally stray from the prepared text, though, they appreciated the writers’ work; not surprising, considering that several cast members were established comedy writers themselves. As a performer Newman worked closely with the writers and fellow cast members in developing skits and signature characters.

Following her five-year stint on SNL Newman has maintained a busy film and television career in both leading and supporting roles, and is a prominent voice artist on television and in animated features. She’s also a writer and editor who regularly contributes to several online publications, including McSweeney’s, the Atlantic Online, and Huffington Post. When asked what advice she would offer to aspiring writers and performers, Newman’s response is succinct: “Read a book. Make a compendium. Do things differently.”

Watch Saturday Night Live’s Laraine Newman – Script to Screen

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