[JPL] Harry, Wynton & more

Linda Yohn lyohn at emich.edu
Tue Mar 6 17:44:24 EST 2007


I sure hope the Jazz Alliance International has been paying attention 
to this great thread on the JPL.  Because I get the digest, I haven't 
had a chance to digest every comment regarding a "front" person for 
jazz, but Wynton Marsalis is the one right now.  That doesn't mean 
that someone else isn't welcome or necessary.  We need many good 
spokespersons for our music.

I like the nod to Harry Connick, Jr.  Listeners like him.  Whoever 
represents jazz has to be someone that people like.

And for the most part, non-jazz folks like Wynton Marsalis.  He has a 
great relationship with a camera.  I beleive that non-jazz folks 
perceive him as charming, intelligent, concerned and articulate.  My 
sister, a non-jazz fan, thought he was the highlight of Ken Burns 
Jazz.  She bought the series.  I don't think she's purchased many jazz 
CDs, but she did buy the series.  

I've read the posts and articles about the exclusive coterie that is 
Jazz At Lincoln Center.  Some of the stories may be true.  But, I'm 
going to keep that to myself when I'm dealing with non-jazz folks.  
I'm just a little chubby 55 year old schlub in Ypsilanti, Michigan.  I 
can't sing or play piano like I used to.  I'm not going to pick at 
someone who accomplishes so many things for our music.

Privately, I do think someone else would have been a better choice to 
host the show.  NPR had nothing to do with that.  That is Murray 
Street Productions and JALC's perview.  It would be nice to cultivate 
more national spokespersons for the music.  Maybe Mr. Marsalis will 
back off this responsibility and mentor someone else to take his place 
in a year or so.  It could happen.  In the meantime, I wish him well 
with the show.  It will take on a different flavor with him as the 
host.  There might be more humour in the presentation. 

In the end, the people who end up being in the forefront is like 
putting the best music in the forefront.  We can endlessly analyze why 
a piece is really hip, it's history, it's musical structure, etc.  
But, if listeners don't like the music or if it isn't entertaining to 
them, then we shouldn't play it!  If non-jazz people--that's who we 
have to reach--like Wynton Marsalis, let the man talk.


Linda Yohn
WEMU Music Director
lyohn at emich.edu

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