[JPL] Harry, Wynton & more
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.
WEMU Music Director
lyohn at emich.edu
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