[JPL] Bad Plus - what I did NOT say

MS speaklow at earthlink.net
Tue Mar 1 13:49:27 EST 2005


I regret that you feel you were insulted. However, if you reread my posts, I hope you will see that I did not claim that a decision to play The Bad Plus is necessarily to cater to marketers and to intend to play what is commercial at the expense of what is good. 

I was clear that some people believe that The Bad Plus are good jazz, and that is fine. If one thinks The Bad Plus are good jazz, then one should play them. Also, I made clear that I recognize that every station has its own objectives, which include appealing to its audience. 

I said that, at least for ME, The Bad Plus albums don't cut it as good jazz, therefore I don't play them. I mentioned this primarily to point out that one's disinclination to play The Bad Plus is not necessarily a function of a supposed disinclination for new music or innovation in jazz. Some people had defended (I hope I am accurately characterizing those comments) The Bad Plus on the grounds that some detractors don't appreciate the band due to being put off by the band's repertoire and non-straightahead style. While some people do reject the albums for those reasons, others, such as I, have other reasons not to like the albums. If a band plays Nirvana songs but makes great jazz doing that, then, as long as the tracks fit the premise of my show, I'd play them in an instant, since a track is not necessarily outside my show premise just for being of a Nirvana composition.

But many people (not necessarily you) have argued that it is necessary to play music that may not have great value as jazz in order to attract people who will eventually enjoy music that has more jazz value. It was in doubt of that argument that I mentioned that, for me, the strategy does not justify itself and that, for me, playing tracks as part of such a strategy would be to allow what is meritorious to suffer for what is marketable. As mentioned above, that does not imply that I believe that anyone who plays The Bad Plus does so for commerciality at the expense of integrity.

Aside from all of that, it seems to me that The Bad Plus trio members are skilled and talented. And their recordings are not musically and emotionally puerile as so much other music is. So I don't revile the band or anything like that. And I recognize that at least their first album is not as far away from jazz as a lot of other music that gets played on jazz radio. On the other hand, the fact that some people report that the band gives good concerts doesn't influence me very much to play the tracks, since I can't recreate those concert experiences just by playing tracks. The tracks stand or fall on their own. 

Please reconsider the exact text of the messages I posted, hopefully to see that you've mistaken my meaning. Nevertheless, again, I do regret any insult that was taken.


Mark Shapiro

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