[JPL] Yoshi's Pulls Anniversary CD Due to Lack of RacialDiversityin Artist Roster

Jackson, Bobby Bobby.Jackson at ideastream.org
Thu Jun 14 15:12:12 EDT 2007


Thanks for the peek out of the window of what's happening in the Bay
area.  I just got this email from a former jazz programmer that lives in
Chicago.  I was surprised to see this.  I've known Peter Williams for
quite some time.  He used to be a jazz programmer before accepting the
gig at Yoshi's (right around the time the Oakland location opened up).
I have a lot of respect for Peter and was taken off guard completely
when I saw this.  It's hard to believe this happened on his watch.  It's
even harder to believe that they're moving to San Francisco after the
city of Oakland embraced them with open arms.  

Perhaps this negative publicity will serve as a wake up call for them to
seriously consider how better to serve the Bay area and the jazz
community.  It is sad commentary any way you cut it.

Bobby Jackson
WCPN-FM/Cleveland, OH

-----Original Message-----
From: jazzproglist-bounces at jazzweek.com
[mailto:jazzproglist-bounces at jazzweek.com] On Behalf Of Phillip
Sent: Thursday, June 14, 2007 2:48 PM
To: 'Jazz Programmers Mailing List'
Subject: RE: [JPL] Yoshi's Pulls Anniversary CD Due to Lack of
RacialDiversityin Artist Roster

This Week's JPL Sponsor: The New JazzWeek

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-----Original Message-----
On Behalf Of Jackson, Bobby
To: Jazz Programmers Mailing List
Subject: [JPL] Yoshi's Pulls Anniversary CD Due to Lack of Racial
Diversityin Artist Roster

This Week's JPL Sponsor: The New JazzWeek

Relaunching this summer


How does this happen....(over and over and over again)?
Bobby Jackson
WCPN-FM/Cleveland, OH

Q: How does anything like that happen? 
A: They are idiots. 

I'm surprised to see this again - didn't someone post it already? 

There were a few articles (on the front page even!) about this and also
about African American musicians complaining that there were no black
artists represented at the Berkeley Jazz Festival this year. The
concerts were not even completely booked when the article came out, so
it was a premature protest.

I'm not sure what's going on at Yoshi's these days. They've stopped
presenting live music on Monday nights - which used to be reserved for
local groups and touring groups that were not as well known as someone
like Diana Krall (who sold out two nights last week at $75 a ticket -
which is usually what tix go for New Year's Eve at that place...). Now
they're having Salsa dancing night on Mondays. That's nice, but you can
find that sort of thing all over the bay area, I'm not sure why it has
to happen at the one last vestige of a "real" jazz club in the SF bay
area. It's science fiction, my friends, really...

Now Yoshi's is moving to San Francisco. If you know the history of this
club, you know that several years ago they moved from their old location
to a new Jack London Square location. The city of Oakland gave them one
million dollars to open the place and set things up so it would be a
world class jazz club. It is just that, and the adjoining restaurant
serves great sushi, other traditional Japanese cuisine, and other
asian-flavored selections (I had one of the greatest pork chops of my
life the other night before seeing DK - served over a kind of sweet
sesame sauce - absolutely sublime!). 

At first, they said they would keep the Oakland location open and have
the "sister" club over in SF. They said that most of their audience was
east-bay residents, and that the SF club wouldn't pull from the east bay
venue. Now they're saying the east bay location is closing and the SF
club will be the only venue.

But I stray from your thread...sorry!

The programming has been off-base there since the present booking person
has been running the show. That's been about 3 years now. Yes, the club
features lots of great African American musicians! Why they didn't
"think" of representing the mix of musicians that play there on the CD
is completely bizarre. I'm even more saddened that the local players
that work there (that play great music and pack the room and are also an
important part of "what goes on there") are not represented on the disc

It used to be that as a local, you could figure on playing there at
least once a year. I haven't played there in six years. I have had
several great projects I could have brought in, and some great projects
from players from Europe and NY and Tokyo that would have been great to
present there, but my proposals have been turned down categorically for
some time now.  

Rather than get pissed off, as so many musicians are wont to do, I have
found other venues to book those shows at. They've always drawn great
crowds and the evenings are really satisfying musically/artistically. So
I don't understand why they have largely shut their doors to musicians
on the local scene here. I'm not sure why they think it's more important
to have Latin dancing lessons and dance night on Monday nights. I'm not
sure how that fills their mission of presenting great live jazz and jazz
related music there (it's in the charter they posited at the launch of
the "new" location, when they received all that money to make things

The "trend" of shifting from jazz to "latin dance nights" is a re-run of
what happened at Kimball's Jazz Club in SF. First it moved to the east
bay, then it started offering more and more Latin dance nights, now it's
no longer a jazz club - it's a dance club that offers DJs. It would be a
real tragedy if Yoshi's followed the same suit.

Who knows how any of this stuff happens? A few weeks we were talking
about how great the folks are in Montreal and how they really dig the
music and that they are LISTENERS of this music. I've never really got
the impression that the folks running (booking) Yoshi's listen to "this"


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