Jana Dagdagan

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Jana Dagdagan  |  Jul 25, 2016  |  11 comments
A fleeting memory:

Hazy.
Early morning.
I'm sitting outside Penn Station.
Next to me sits Jim Hall.
A boy with an upright bass walks past us.
"Is that a walking bass?" Jim chuckles.
The boy, in passing, raises an eyebrow, glances over.
Keeps walking, doesn't think twice.
Oh, the irony.

If you are a lover or a maker of jazz (or any music at all) you must be a fan of the legendary guitarist Jim Hall. At least, that is the hope I have seared into my mind, as to not completely lose all faith in humanity.

Jana Dagdagan  |  Jul 18, 2016  |  15 comments
New York, NY—News Bar Cafe, Union Square. It's 11am. Low jazz can be heard playing on the overhead speakers, along with background chatter and the occasional ambulance. Caffeinated beverages and breakfast sandwiches are present. I take a tentative sip of cappuccino, reach under the table for my trusty Zoom H5. Across from me sits jazz pianist and composer Fred Hersch. A man who has meant many things to me in my lifetime—a musical role model, a source of inspiration, a friend, a set of frequently played digital music files... I sit anxiously—is it the awe or the beverage? I think to myself: he's now entering the realm of debatable audiophile and breakfast co-conspirator. Cappuccino sip. Let us begin.
Jana Dagdagan  |  Jul 11, 2016  |  8 comments
At 5pm on a Thursday, some Thursdays ago, Robert Baird and I embarked on a post-work record hunt in Brooklyn. More specifically, we explored Williamsburg, otherwise referred to as "Hipster Land" (footnote 1). Aside from being an all-round neat neighborhood, Williamsburg is also home to quite a few record shops. This trip, we decided to keep our stops to a minimum and focus on two of our favorites: Rough Trade (64 N 9th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11249) and Earwax Records (167 N 9th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11211).
Jana Dagdagan  |  Jul 02, 2016  |  110 comments
Apple is reportedly in exploratory talks to acquire Tidal. Though it's possible that nothing could come of this, and much of the online chatter surrounding this news is processed, regurgitated press release—I'd like to contribute to the speculation by sharing my thoughts: I think it's exactly what the world needs. It would be an intelligent move on Apple's part that would simultaneously benefit listeners, musicians—and of course, boost the high-end audio industry.
Jana Dagdagan  |  Jun 27, 2016  |  87 comments
As I was scanning the comments under Jason Victor Serinus's insightful piece, "What If They Gave a CES and Nobody Came?", Bill Leebens's words caught my eye. Being the (relatively) new audiophile on the block with high hopes to entice the masses, the concept of forming a trade body to promote high-end audio was immediately appealing to me. Dying to know more, I decided to stalk Bill and get to the bottom of this.
Jana Dagdagan  |  Jun 20, 2016  |  4 comments
I'm sitting on a dark leather sofa, legs crossed, lips pursed, brow furrowed.

Glenn Gould playing Bach's Goldberg Variations can be faintly heard through a tape recorder in another room. To be more specific, a Realistic CTR-68 Model 14-808B.

"Jana, you're such a strong woman. I don't understand why you so desperately rely on Elton John for emotional support and inspiration."

Jana Dagdagan  |  Jun 13, 2016  |  9 comments
Photo: Kelsey Ohira

May 12, 2014. The day it all began. Three major events happened in my life on May the 12th:

1. My violent hatred towards the USPS was born.
2. I spent the most I ever have, till this very day, on a yellow cab.
3. A divine pair of Technics SL1200 Mk.II turntables entered my life.

Well, they didn't exactly enter my life, per se. They were left on my (then) doorstep in West Harlem, which may give you some insight on #1. More on that later. I need to calm myself. (Sips Earl Grey vehemently in straightjacket.)

Jana Dagdagan  |  Jun 06, 2016  |  18 comments
Millennials are—allegedly—the scum of the earth. They're a load of lazy, self-absorbed, uninformed, whiny twerps who are in for a rude awakening. At least, those are what seem to be the highlights of the fraction of internet drivel I've come across.
Jana Dagdagan  |  May 30, 2016  |  2 comments
Photo: Michele Canova

"Punch me."

"What?"

Conversations with Tim Lefebvre are often like this. That was backstage at the Jazz Standard last week after the Donny McCaslin Group's final set. I later realized that Tim wanted me to be in a compilation of timelapse video clips involving slow motion punches. Naturally, I gladly obliged.

Jana Dagdagan  |  May 23, 2016  |  54 comments
Boy meets girl.
Boy and girl fall in love.
Boy and girl live happily ever after.

This is the traditional fairytale romance we've all been spoon-fed from birth. You know, Disney, unicorns, white picket fences, medieval castles, Ryan Gosling, etc, etc. There are many variations, but each one essentially tells the same story.

Unfortunately, the fact of the matter is, reality often falls quite short of fairytale, and very rarely is one story identical to the next. Modern romance is often more like this...

Jana Dagdagan  |  May 16, 2016  |  15 comments
Photos: Brian Li

It's half past seven on a drizzly Friday night in New York City. I'm a little bit of a mess; soggy from the sporadic downpour, weakened by a full day's work, and still regretting the sub-par pork and chive dumplings I wolfed down earlier. All day long I've been fighting off the urge to inject myself with cold beers (preferably Guinness) and binge watch Wong Kar Wai films. It's one of those days.

Jana Dagdagan  |  May 09, 2016  |  12 comments
"Are you an audiophile?" I find myself yelling into my semi-functional smart phone, sitting in my dimly lit cubicle in Stereophile's New York office.

On the other end of the line is my close friend and long-time mentor, David Binney. We're FaceTiming in slow, fragmented motions as he eats his dinner in a lively restaurant before a gig in central Belgrade.

"No, definitely not." He says quite matter-of-factly. "I subscribe to Stereophile but I don't consider myself an audiophile. I wish I was, but it's too expensive.

Jana Dagdagan  |  May 02, 2016  |  28 comments
It's me, Jana. I know you're probably not reading this because you most likely don't spend your down time on Stereophile.com, but I feel compelled to write to you nevertheless on the off chance that you might. If I've managed to catch your attention so far, please don't go away.
Jana Dagdagan  |  Apr 25, 2016  |  76 comments
Photo: Dan Havlik

A lady walks into an audiophile bar. She sees four men. They all turn to look at her.

All the first audiophile sees is some lady in a bar. He thinks nothing more. Can't be bothered. Let's face it—how often do you even see a lady audiophile?

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