[JPL] Benson, Jarreau...etc
jaejazz at yahoo.com
Fri Sep 1 14:25:08 EDT 2006
One of the problems I've noticed with a large part of the jazz community as we know it - is the level of complacency in how they respond to what's being promoted as jazz. When the smooth jazz station closed shop here there were a kzillion letters to the editors to various publications complaining that now they have no jazz to listen to. I didn't see one from within the "jazz" community standing up and saying what a minute....we do have jazz on the radio and I've noticed this in other markets. I've seen stories when writers get into talking about how much "jazz" Boney James and company are playing and not one letter to challenge those claims so consequently these mis-perceptions are perpetuated. Many times...even when the artists aren't proclaiming to be playing jazz. I would bet Jarreau and Benson aren't going around talking about how much jazz they are singing or playing now but their history somehow keeps them there from a media and audience standpoint. Strange.
One of the advantages of being a jazz performer is that you see how the audience really perceives this music. You get to talk with folk....much more so than in radio and sadly it's not a pretty picture at times. You see the problems from a much clearer perspective. Ultimately to me....jazz is defined by the artists intentions.......that's the first thing I listen for and it's obvious in the music. Do you want a commercial success or artistic achievement? Where it becomes murky are in the levels of each. Too often a little bit of jazz justifys the labeling and this is proven to be what the masses are more willing to embrace. Simplicity but jazz is structured on complexity - particularly since the Bop era. The music will tell you and this is where many folk listening unfortunately could care less or worse...know the difference.
From the bow of the Ark...YIKES!
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