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28.8.01

1) There seems to be a bit of a gender imbalance in the jazz band this year. I just came from the first meeting, which was attended by 16 men and no women. Even our teacher (a new guy this year) is male. Connie may show up eventually, and Emily will probably join when she gets back from Spain next semester, but still. It's been like this all four years. Besides Emily and Connie, Missi was the only other female to be in the Colgate jazz band when I was. Did I miss something? Is jazz inherently a male musical form? I'm tempted to make some jokes here about, for example, Thelonious Monk writing "Straight, No Estrogen," but I don't think I have enough jazz-fan readers that would actually get it.

Jazz band is going to be a lot more serious this year now that we have a new leader. I should have expected this, because all the candidates for this position led a practice last year as part of their interview. The guy they hired was the guy I liked least. He did a very strict, by-the-book sort of approach -- having us work on the exact crescendoes and articulations marked in the music and such. It felt like high school concert band. The other guys were looser, more like what jazz should be like. One guy taught us a song by ear. The other one had us play II BS/Haitian Fight Song, which is an inherently unstructured song -- you just cue various lines to come in and out. Both of them had us do a lot of improvising.

It's certainly possible to be too loose, as I learned freshman year. Daryl (our leader) didn't even come to our performances, and we played some songs without drums because we didn't have a drummer. A lot of times on stage we just made stuff up. We had a few weird arrangements that we created, like the funk version of "Mr. PC." We've had attendance problems all along, which hopefully the stricter approach will clear up. But now I'm concerned that things will be too restrictive; that we'll lose some of the casual creativity that made jazz band fun.

We also need to recruit some trombone players.

2) New Zealand has a .iwi extension (as in, ngatitahu.iwi.nz, which is in some email addresses but apparently doesn't have a website). I found that to be really cool. Iwi is the Maori word that means (roughly) tribe. Ngati Tahu, for example, is a Maori Iwi. But they insist on using the British-style .ac for universities, instead of .edu like the US and Australia do.

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