Next Show

March 5th, 2016
Saturday, 5pm

In-store performance at the famous Music Millennium record store, Portland, OR

Free! Hank will be there with his full band.

Calendar

What’s New

New poster

It's solid! Instantly classes up any room. Click here to check it out.

Email me

Ask to receive regular updates, or just send a note.
Just click here.

Dying jazz

There was a good opinion piece recently in the Wall Street Journal, titled “Can Jazz Be Saved?”  It quoted some statistics to drive home the point that jazz listening is down 30%, just in the past six years. 

Surely this is no surprise to most people.  But the author, Terry Teachout, makes a keen observation…

What does this tell us? I suspect it means, among other things, that the average American now sees jazz as a form of high art. Nor should this come as a surprise to anyone, since most of the jazz musicians that I know feel pretty much the same way. They regard themselves as artists, not entertainers, masters of a musical language that is comparable in seriousness to classical music—and just as off-putting to pop-loving listeners who have no more use for Wynton Marsalis than they do for Felix Mendelssohn.

Interesting thought.  Jazz changed from entertainment to “art”.  The jazz musician started caring less about pleasing the audience and more about pursuing their “vision”.  And if the audience is lucky, they get to watch.

As late as the early ’50s, jazz was still for the most part a genuinely popular music, a utilitarian, song-based idiom to which ordinary people could dance if they felt like it. But by the ’60s, it had evolved into a challenging concert music whose complexities repelled many of the same youngsters who were falling hard for rock and soul.

I guess that’s why I identify with the musicians and music of the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s.  To me, it’s all about communicating with the audience and having a good time together. 

Otherwise, I might as well stay home and play in my room, for myself.

Leave a Reply

 

 

 

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>