[JPL] Response to posting of blog about jazz magazines

Robert Rusch rdr at cadencebuilding.com
Tue Oct 28 14:28:28 EDT 2008

well put lee
but [and this only my second time ive done this on line] it is useless  
to respond
they just drag you down to their level
note as usual they do not identify themselves
we all serve purpose and have value
if there is support   then we exist  if not we pass on
cheers rdr [cadence magazine etc]

Note: This post may contain misspellings, grammatical errors,  
sentence structure, or may entirely lack a coherent theme. These  
come  naturally  to me  and will only add to the overall beauty of the
email. Overlook the style and know  that if you can discern the  
message it
is sincere.

Robert D. Rusch

On Oct 28, 2008, at 2:16 PM, Lee Mergner wrote:

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> ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
> I'm not sure how to respond to such a vitriolic and inaccurate blog,
> replete with typos, posted on this listserve.  I wasn't sure that I
> should even respond at all to a random bashing like this.  But how the
> members of this listserve perceive us matters greatly to me.  I will  
> say
> it's the very first time I've been called a corporate suit.  I'm  
> sort of
> excited by that since, as most of you know, I'm neither a suit wearer
> nor a corporate guy.  I'm hoping this appellation means a  
> corresponding
> increase in my salary.
> Objectively, I believe he's overreacted to our cover choices,  
> including
> most recently Return to Forever, Esperanza Spalding, Freddie Hubbard  
> and
> David Sanborn.  I'm not sure why he dropped the cover artist Rahsaan
> Roland Kirk; I suppose it didn't fit his argument.  Apparently,  
> picking
> what we deem as the most commercial and accessible story for the cover
> makes me a corporate suit and the magazine a tool of publicity flacks.
> Besides the fact that these cover subjects are pretty damn worthy as
> artists, if you look at the depth and breadth of coverage in those
> issues, you see that we are serving the music and our readership quite
> well.  Clearly, he doesn't dig Sanborn and his heartfelt tribute to  
> Hank
> Crawford and David Fathead Newman, but in that same issue were  
> features
> or stories on Ari Hoenig, Bill Stewart, Corey Wilkes, Billy Cobham,
> Alvin Queen, Tim Warfield, John McLaughlin & Chick Corea.  The issue  
> had
> a drum theme, as you might guess from that list, but in any case, that
> list is a nice representative sampling of the music - past, present  
> and
> future.  Also, if he had spoken directly with the jazz publicity  
> folks,
> he'd find that their suggestions and pitches are rejected at an
> uncomfortably high rate, for various reasons including space and
> relevance.  For the record, we solicited the cover stories on each of
> those artists.  And in fact the piece on Spalding was about the
> machinery of hype.  Finally, if we did these covers for advertising,  
> as
> is commonly charged, then we really messed up because you won't see  
> many
> ads for releases from those artists.
> For the record, I believe firmly that JazzTimes and Downbeat are much
> better magazines than most people in the jazz community realize.  Are
> there comparably strong publications in other roots music niches, such
> as blues, bluegrass, reggae, Latin and world music?  I don't think so.
> And that nostalgia for the magazines of the past is something I've
> experienced myself, but then I went through the archives of Metronome
> and old issues of Downbeat, Musician and other publications and  
> realized
> that the level of professionalism in contemporary magazines like
> JazzTimes and Downbeat is so much higher today in every aspect.  I  
> miss
> my old baseball glove, but my catcher's mitt back then was more like a
> stiff throw pillow, hardly comparable to the flexible and durable  
> gloves
> of today.
> And calling our writers mediocre seems nearly insane.  I would not use
> that word to describe Gary Giddins, Nat Hentoff, Nate Chinen, Don
> Heckman, David R. Adler, Geoffrey Himes, Larry Appelbaum, George  
> Varga,
> Marc Hopkins, Ashley Kahn, Mike Joyce, Josef Woodard, Laurel Gross,
> Steve Greenlee, Rebeca Mauleon and many other regular contributors.   
> If
> anything, we have benefited from the unfortunate purging of daily and
> weekly newspapers' newsrooms.  Our next issue features a great  
> column by
> K. Leander Williams, a longtime weekly vet.  Hardly mediocre stuff.
> Regarding his valuation of the editors, I'm cool with being called
> "mediocre," or to paraphrase Stanley Crouch, "a minor man," but our
> managing editor Evan Haga and associate editor Jeff Tamarkin are
> first-class editors and I feel lucky to be able to work with them.
> Mediocre they're not.   I can't speak for Jason at Downbeat, but I'd
> have to think he feels the same way about his editors. It looked to me
> like the blogger could have used a bit of editing, mediocre or
> otherwise.
> With the major newspapers cutting back on arts and jazz coverage, we  
> all
> should appreciate any print media outlets paying close attention to  
> this
> music, much less the ones who are doing it very well.
> Honestly, I can take criticism pretty well, but what stung the most is
> the blogger's thesis that we're bad for jazz and that we don't care
> about the music.  As my teenaged daughter would say, "whatever."   
> Or, as
> stated in a quote often attributed to LBJ, "Any jackass can burn  
> down a
> barn, but it takes a hellluva carpenter to build one."
> Thanks for listening.
> ________________________________
> Lee Mergner
> Editor-in-Chief
> JazzTimes
> 8737 Colesville Road, Ninth Floor
> Silver Spring, MD 20910
> www.jazztimes.com <http://www.jazztimes.com/>
> (301) 588-4114, ext. 513
> Fax: (301) 588-5531
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