[JPL] blue note, so what?
OntheBeach at aol.com
OntheBeach at aol.com
Mon Jul 25 14:31:16 EDT 2005
as if all the infighting through the ages hasn't been destructive enough for
[we would be that much stronger if we could all get along/agree a little
it remains the domain and perogative of the radio programmer to choose what
he or she wishes to offer to their listeners and everyone is entitled to their
opinions--but it's amazing how little some folks understand the dynamic of th
e jazz record business to this day.
we could (and no doubt will), vamp endlessly upon the art/commerce conundrum
but when i read or hear about criticism and indifference towards any
committed jazz label or entity it gives me pause...
whether one loves everything currently being released or not, how could
ANYONE be indifferent or uncaring about Blue Note??? is their commitment to jazz
to be questioned???
louisx at verizon.net writes:
norah jones, no way. she sounds like soft rock. that she put money in
>the blue note bank, so what? blue note has been putting out some
>dreadful CDs. there is little left on their roster that plays straight
>ahead. and i wonder what all the musicians who made blue note what it
>is,that are no longer under contract,must think of some of the artists
>who are on blue note these days
if blue note tanked would you still say so what? dreadful CDs? haven't they
been putting out some superb discs too?
let's wish every jazz label of note catches a surprise left field hit now
and then--the business will be healthier and more vibrant as a result...its
those unexpected commercial surprises that often provide the jazz executive (at
any size label) the means and latitude to strtch out and be more daring: to
take more chances, to give more artists opportuntites or support...
blue note has "little left that plays straight ahead?" huh?!
don't you think all the blue note artists from the past are happy that blue
note continues to thrive/survive and that so much of their work continues to
be available? seems to me bruce and tom, et al represent a wonderfully
diverse, largely steeped-in-the-tradition roster of artists...and how many labels
are building substantial, long-term catalogs with important players? [or
aren't the Osby's, Lovanos, Morans, Rubulcabas et al important?]
times change, business conditions change...audiences change...
like a successful jazz musician a successful jazz executive masters the art
of improvisation: rolling with the changes. not many executives get to
experience fronting a jazz operation within a major corporation and as a result
few understand the realities and pressures that exist there. take it from a
former corporate jazz warrior...
yes, hooray (always! for the indies--they will always be crucial to all
forms of recorded music)
but does anyone want to see the majors get out of the jazz business? to put
their great catalogs in mothballs?
i remember a time (early 80s) when the Blue Note catalog was NOT available
and the label was not active. capital records was a client. i approached
their president about going into the vaults to put together a reissue
series--the response "there wasn't enough revenue to bother with it."
i related this story to bruce whose response was "let's try to buy it".
wish i had been in the position! fortunately for everyone who loves jazz
and Blue Note around the world, bruce got into a position in the next couple of
years to take the reins and resurrect Blue Note--its to his and his team's
credit (with the occassional surprise, a bobby mcferrin here, a norah jones
there) that he's held onto to them so well, for so long.
the world of jazz is the richer for it...
a sudden regime change at a major and even the most successful jazz
divisions can be threatened...the star making machinery has its benefits too...that
some artists can attain a greater level of exposure and celebrity [wynton,
joshua redman, pat metheny, al jarreau, diana krall-yes, she is a jazz artist,
herbie hancock etc etc] is GOOD for the music...we need to develop artist
careers and we need to develop new stars...
some artists elect to make more commercial recordings to attract larger
audiences to their concerts and club dates so they can present more challenging
musicin a context more amenable to stretching out. the recording (read
broadcast for example) medium and the live performance medium obvuiously are very
different. it's all good...
an interesting thing: setting aside the fact that ALL record folks want
radio to play more of THEIR artists records, i don't hear record people
criticizing radio folks and how they do their jobs anywhere near as much as i hear
radio folks criticizing how record folks go about their business. everyone
seems to think A & R is easy.
let's keep in mind too, we live in the information age--EVERYONE has
diminshed attention spans in our now seemingly all A-D-D culture. for artists and
labels, it can be frustrating how
little time radio, journalists et al have available to review a project, yet
it is understood that everyone has piles of work!
my hats off to today's promotion executives--their task is much harder than
mine was...time was you could always talk to someone or leave a message with
someone. today there is email, Vmail and the ever present computer
terminal...the quality of conversations today (when they actuall take place!) is
considerable less than it used to be.
ok, enough....long live Blue Note! and all the other committed jazz labels
large and small.
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