[JPL] My Comments: Wynton & More

Jackson, Bobby Bobby.Jackson at ideastream.org
Tue Mar 6 16:15:00 EST 2007


Hi Ron,

Thanks for your email.  It does get at the heart of things and I
appreciate the wisdom of your post.

Bobby Jackson

-----Original Message-----
From: jazzproglist-bounces at jazzweek.com
[mailto:jazzproglist-bounces at jazzweek.com] On Behalf Of Ron Gill
Sent: Tuesday, March 06, 2007 3:23 PM
To: jazzproglist at jazzweek.com
Subject: [JPL] My Comments: Wynton & More

This Week's JPL Sponsor: SUMMIT RECORDS


Reading comments on the list regarding Wynton Marsalis makes me have to
make a statement on my opinion. 
There are others besides Wynton who can speak for this music and most of
us know who they are, Billy Taylor is one that comes to mind. 
I saw Dr. Taylor for a minute in the lobby of the hotel at IAJE and told
him how much I missed him on 'Sunday Morning' the CBS program. He
immediately told me that the current host was not that supportive of
jazz as the previous host was for many years.
Jazz suffers from the lack of spokespersons in the major media
marketplace. In my opinion, because those who were lovers of jazz are
slowly passing on and the current professionals in their place did not
hear or listen to jazz as they grew up, thus, I can understand the Oprah
situation. Imagine what would happen if she was a jazz fan, selling jazz
as she does books.
I respect our colleague Tom Mallison so much because he has put himself
in a position to talk about jazz at every opportunity. Some of us in
radio host concerts, perform at concerts, do interviews as hosts and
performers, and that should give us all an opportunity to speak about
the music, engage the audience and invite them to bring their children
to jazz programs. I have grandchildren too, and while they are
experiencing listening to the music of their peers they know jazz is out
there because  I perform it as well as play it on the air. Exposure is
important. Ask Eric Jackson about his experience bringing his children
on his annual Father's Day programs. 
As programmers we must show respect for those who have an opportunity to
speak publicly such as Wynton does. I don't know the man personally as
others may, but while I don't have to agree with all he says, I give him
his due as a musician, producer, spokesman, and activist. We all may not
agree with how he operates Lincoln Jazz Center, but what he has done
there is important and the jazz programming and that building would not
have happened there if it wasn't for him.
Look at what happened at Carnegie Hall with the demise of Jon Faddis'
band. Because someone who came into position who was unable to see the
importance of jazz decided to drop the program, we lost an important
voice that equaled Wynton's program, and there is no replacement. The
board there had George Wein, and George made a statement at Boston
University at a discussion held there a few years ago that he did not
challenge the decision because he did not want to pre-judge the new
director. I saw that as a missed opportunity from someone who we look up
to as an important jazz person and spokesman.
We are all important in the direction jazz takes in this country. We
have to figure out a way for all of us to collectively become involved.
We are all professionals, working daily, weekly and year round for many
years doing what we do, playing and producing jazz music. Musicians,
promoters and everyone included in this market depend on us to play
their wares. We let them down when we  don't. Yes, we expect the best
out of them and rightly so. We have no choice, and we demand they step
up to the plate professionally. But, we get nowhere dissing our
contemporaries. I will not voice my opinion as vehemently as I see here.
I had a chance meeting with Wynton while attending a performance at
Dizzy's Club last year and Wynton was a gentleman and very personable in
our short discussion with each other. I made no indication on what I do,
so I was just another customer to him, and that says alot about a
person.
We all have opinions, some keep them to themselves, others voice them
and that's ok, but remember, your views may not be the same as others,
for many reasons, but respect the views of others and be careful on how
you say what you say. You may have to take them back once you realize
things are not what they seem.
I agree that we have problems in the marketplace, but it's not because
of the lack of good product. We are caught up in a world that seems to
focus on the here and now. People generally don't hear good music,
PERIOD!
It's a shame that there is no respect and knowledge for what is good in
music, and art. There are those out there who find it and love it. We
have to do what we do best, make them aware of it.
I'm sorry to see Bob Stockton give it up. I know he does not want to do
that. He LOVES what he does. But can you blame him? Any one of us can be
in the same situation at any time. Lots of luck to whatever you do, Bob.
To close, there are those on this list who have lots to learn about this
music, on what they play, what they know, the history of radio and all
that goes with it. We all don't know everything and that's the reason
for this kind of forum. Being careful of your opinions and how you voice
them is important. Listen to those who have been there, and seek them
out when there is something you don't understand. We don't have to wait
for a Jazz Week or IAJE conference to ask questions.
Ron Gill
Jazz Gallery
WGBH 89.7 FM
Boston, MA




Ron Gill
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