[JPL] Time To Re-Think How We Do Radio

Lazaro Vega wblv.wblu.fm at gmail.com
Mon Jan 19 14:30:47 EST 2009


It is presumptuous to put this tremendous cultural decline on jazz
radio. There are many, many factors making this deflationary cultural
spiral occur as it relates to jazz and classical music. Tinkering with
presentation is spitting into the wind. It's in the one on one
experience for the listener that Jae describes, and others have too,
where a change in a single person's life is made as it relates to
music. That's how it is done. As far as a mass audience...there's no
restorationist in me wishing that if only we could hear Bunny Berigan
in the Goodman Orchestra "one more time" the swing era would start
anew.

The African-American community reached a level of appreciation of this
art form that helped develop some of the greatest music of the 20th
Century. Today, that all important community is not as wrapped up in
what's happening musically from jazz, not at all, and the older
listeners didn't bite on the neo-con movement as much as young
musician's did. There are some reasons within the music that it
doesn't get as much attention as it once did. People miss Miles.

Then there's this from Wynton's address that came across JPL today:

"At the root of our current national dilemmas is an accepted lack of
integrity. We are assaulted on all sides by corruption of such
magnitude that it's hard to fathom.

Almost everything and everyone seems to be for sale. Value is assessed
solely in terms of dollars. Quality is sacrificed to commerce and
truthful communication is supplanted by marketing."

This is true. Before, during the swing era, for instance, people loved
the music first, and then money was made on that love. Today, the
market tries to create love.

Oh, as a man who made that mistake many times before finally meeting
my wife, you know, forcing the love leads to all kinds of wasted time.

And I don't agree with the assessment of high school kids getting all
glassy eyed when you talk to them about jazz. Did that the other day
and the whole proposition of the presentation was "What if?" The Jr.
High kids got that. I played them, on my trumpet, "This Old Man,"
which they hate automatically as Barney's Theme Song. Then I said,
"what if" and swung that purple dino by the tail. They were like,
"Oh." And what if you can take any tune and make it a jazz song? And
that was the hour, going through all those "what ifs," basically,
playing records for them. That's what we do on the air is play records
for people. Whatever you can say to make them listen more closely to
the record, do it.

One listener at a time. That's the best you can do. That's not going
to save any economy of scale, but there's some salvation none the
less.


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