[JPL] I can just imagine asking Mr. Weston to "audition" for us.

Eric Hines EHines at message.nmc.edu
Thu Oct 19 17:29:01 EDT 2006


I don't think telling your friends at diner during a jazz concert how
great Randy Weston is translates to your non sequitur.

So you're the jazz expert among a group of friends and all you can do
for them is write a complaint?  Rather than hip them or yourself to
Randy Weston you declare this isn't what you expect at this time of
night from jazz and pout about it? If that is what it is then things
ain't what they used to be.

An audience member is entitled to their opinion. Taking it the
blogsosphere and the presenter, though, and I'm on the Festival's side
on this one. The complainer has a ways to go before calling himself,
see, he brought it up, an aficionado.


Well, the complainer isn't complaining as an aficionado, and certainly
the concert wasn't pitched to folks as "aficionados only."
This guy is telling us that he, and according to him a lot of folks
like him in the audience were displeased and unimpressed with the
performance. He might be wrong, but festival presenters who are in the
business of proving that their audiences don't quite rise to the
aficionado level don't stay in business for long.
My point with the Latin poetry thing is that there are a great many
things in life that are great or important or historical. Latin poetry
is among these things. But not every audience is ready for every great
thing. In fact, even aficionados don't like a lot of great stuff,
because not everyone can be an aficionado of everything.
But "great" and "important" and no guarantee of and no replacement for
a happy audience. And lectures about how "great" or "important"
something is may not help. It's kind of like trying to make somebody
interested in baseball by telling them little tidbits like "Ben Riley is
a lifetime .278 hitter against Randy Weston. But since Weston started to
train with Thelonious Monk and learned Monk's famous adjacent key
screwball, Riley has only batted .141 with only 2 runs batted in over 50
plate appearances--and his distribution has shifted significantly toward
left field."
Non-afficonados call this sort of thing "trivia."
Imagine for a moment that I'm an event programmer. I'd be an idiot to
expect an audience to enjoy listening to me read Latin poetry. Even if
it is the greatest poetry ever written with the deepest possible
historical significance. Those things don't signify when we consider
that hardly anyone in the audience understands Latin.
If I'm a programmer and I've got an audience at a taxpayer-supported
festival, the point of my program is to make the audience and supporters
of the festival happy. If I don't do that, I've failed. period.
regardless of whether I, the aficionado, say they should have liked it.
So, if this guy is truly speaking for a large portion of the audience,
then somebody made a big mistake somewhere along the line. And he has
every right to make his complaint public--he's complaining as an
audience member. The folks in the audience are, supposedly, the ones
being served, right? They're not supposed to program festivals just to
please the programmers and their few aficionado friends, are they?

Eric Hines
General Manager
WNMC 90.7 FM
1701 East Front St.
Traverse City, MI 49686

More information about the jazzproglist mailing list