[JPL] Get Out'Tha Ghetto!

MERRILLFLA at aol.com MERRILLFLA at aol.com
Fri Aug 8 13:06:20 EDT 2008

Amen !!!!! Miles (I love the Name)
You are right on target."If they hear it they will dig  it"
I play Jazz in the straight ahead tradition. I get calls from  people who are 
not Jazz aficionados who happen to hear something  with a Beat or a Vocal 
that's understandable that they like.That's what  makes them a listener. 
Getting too technical about the music can turn them  off and they could care 
less about the label and who is playing (ith some  exceptions of course)The 
New Listener  doesn't know them anyway and doesn't  want a music appreciation 
course.It scares them away.The regular listener  gets the idea and already knows 
the details most of the  time.
You don't need to be a baseball player to enjoy a baseball game or  a 
musician to enjoy Jazz
Listen and enjoy it.The rest will follow.
"Melodious Mel" Lipton
" Jazz Party"
WDNA 88.9 FM Miami 
Serious Jazz
In a message dated 8/8/2008 11:35:30 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time,  
mileswillis at wpfw.org writes:

Dear Mr.  Davis,

I think that I understand your sentiments  but must take strong  
exception to your characterization of a  commitment to playing 'pure'  
jazz as some stubborn 'ghetto-ization'  of the music that may  
ultimately lead to it's disappearance from the  radio airwaves.

I assume that what you are hinting  at is the mixing of music that  
is referred to as 'smooth' or  'contemporary' along with jazz for the  
purpose of gaining greater  general audience appeal. You go on to infer  
that doing so will lead  to "developing a mindset... that programs jazz  
as a part of an  interesting, challenging, sophisticated general music  
format", as  though the playing of ONLY jazz cannot precipitate such a   
development. This thought makes apparent that you, inexplicably, do   
not find jazz itself to be 'interesting, sophisticated and   
challenging' on it's own and can only become so by diluting it's   
presention with non-jazz music. 

Being  that you are (or claim to be) a jazz radio programmer, I'm  
deeply  troubled by your assertion that we must 'rid (ourselves) of the  
idea  that (we)... owe something to this genre... (or that) it must be   
kept "pure"'!? First of all, it is the musicians who keep it the  art  
form "pure" by respecting and absorbing it's traditions as   
they continue it's evolvement. Even more disconcerting is your  belief  
that it is BOTH musicians and radio people who are  responsible for  
this 'ghetto-ization', which you define, rather  clumsily, as "making  
music that appeals primarily to academic  circles--conservatory  
musicians and a few fellow travellers". While  I do acknowledge that  
some of jazz' more abstract forms/genres are  difficult for even some  
of it's most avid fans to appreciate, there  is no reason why the more  
traditional and/or mainstream works cannot  have more broad popular  
appeal far beyond the conservatories and  academic circles,  
particularly if it... you know,  swings.

You blame the music and  the 'purity' with which we stubbornly  
present it as the reason for  it's disappearance from radio, implying  
is that a larger  potential audience awaits if we'd all just 'lighten  
up'. The  truth is that too few people ever get to hear jazz in the  
first  place. We, the musicians and 'radio people', need to promote the   
music to, shall we say, 'underserved' populations. Let's go to the   
schools, community centers, bookstores, etc. to talk about and play   
this great music for those who've never had the opportunity to hear   
it, which would include just about everyone, everwhere. The music  can  
create it own demand or, to paraphrase, 'if they hear it they  will dig  
it'. For nearly a century jazz has stood upon its  own merits,  
diluting, however well-intentioned, it is the  surest path toward its  

Miles Willis
WPFW - Washington,  DC  

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