This is Pt. 7 in our series of dialogues with musicians where we pose the following burning question:
When you read music journalism and criticism, what qualities are you looking for in the writer and the writing?
This week’s correspondents: Drummer-bandleader ALLISON MILLER, and flutist-bandleader-composer NICOLE MITCHELL.
“I look for writers who are open to, and take the time to understand the “concept and statement” behind an artists musical presentation. I like writers who attempt to interpret the music beyond just the notes and technical prowess. I like when writers express, through words, their emotional responses to the particular piece of music they are listening to and writing about. I believe creative music, like fine art, should evoke an emotional response when listened to with intent. And, I always appreciate it when writers are willing to humbly reveal their emotional reactions to the music.”
“I’m interested in seeing if the critic has researched my history and output so that they have a context to review the present work. It is usually clear what the writer’s musical aesthetics are and from what angle they view the music based on their own preferences. When they know more about the musicians and the context they usually can write with more detail. It is always obvious if they are writing directly off the one-sheet or the liner notes. I’m more interested to hear their honest assessment of the music than just working off what was already written by someone else. When the writer can use detail to describe the improvisation as well as the compositional approach, that’s most fulfilling.”