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

Jae Sinnett jaejazz at yahoo.com
Mon Jan 19 16:34:18 EST 2009

You're absolutely right Lazaro. At times it is one at a time. From this perspective my reference to radio in this splat was if there is more we can do. I believe there is. Your note also reminds me of this discussion I was in with some high school students in reference to Ellington. I was ask to come in and "introduce" Duke to these kids. 

This was an "urban" school with low budget metal detectors with a creaky gym floor with dead spots. It was like a search and seize moment for me in that room. Talk and pay close attention to what whiff gets them to shut up and listen. I played some music...didn't work. Talked about it...didn't work. Then I thought about the societal mechanisms he had to deal...like having to ride in private Pullman railroad cars. "What's that?" "Why?" It was "one on one" for about five minutes but it got others to tune in. Like his manager putting his name on compositions he didn't write. "What?" "Really?" "That's fucked up." Teacher ignores comment...smartly. Then he styled all the way through this BS with class and grace and became a great and profound artist and man. That was "inspirational." There ya go. Now you give a shit about someone you didn't know before I appeared and they play jazz.  

My point is whatever it took to get them to want to investigate Ellington I was going to do it. Since, I've had two parents of those kids contact and thank me for getting their sons to pull up Duke on the internet. Even checking out "his" MySpace page. Diggin the way he dressed cool in black and white. If he was that cool his music must be cool. I got to a few of them...one at a time. The next night my listening audience was bigger by 15 that I knew of. 


--- On Mon, 1/19/09, Lazaro Vega <wblv.wblu.fm at gmail.com> wrote:

> From: Lazaro Vega <wblv.wblu.fm at gmail.com>
> Subject: Re: [JPL] Time To Re-Think How We Do Radio
> To: jazzproglist at jazzweek.com
> Date: Monday, January 19, 2009, 2:30 PM
> Sponsored by: JazzWeek Summit 2009
>               http://summit.jazzweek.com/
> -----
> 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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