Sunday, August 10, 2014

Jazz and The Washington Post First Blood Part Two

Looks like the somewhat opportunistic piece from The Washington Post is causing quite the uproar in the jazz community. I took some heat yesterday for some comments so I would like to briefly address those and a few new issues that popped up. I'll attempt to be pithy and ask you read what it actually written - not what you "think" I might mean.

1.) I love jazz and have for the last 42 years. You can love the music and hate where the business has gone. These are two totally separate issues.

2.) Some old school players began posting comments on social media that students need to leave school and hit the stage!

O.K. What stage would that be? Clubs are booked well in advance leaving hundreds of players destined to languish in abject poverty while playing five nights a week at a coffee house. While the old school players continue to have both feet firmly planted in 1968 - They have, can and will tell the young player - you need more time. So which is it? You suffered so everyone suffers?

Newsflash - In all walks of life length of time and competency do not go hand in hand.

3.) Finally - Independent artists are getting screwed on a repeated basis. It is in fact that old school mentality that forces some of the brightest stars jazz has ever seen to take second jobs or in some cases quit altogether. These independent artists are desperate for reviews and press of any kind in an attempt to try and gain just a sliver of the improvisational pie and in the meantime their passion over rules their common sense and they go broke. I devote as much time and space as possible working the independent market and have had more than one artist tell me that I made a difference. Meanwhile I go broke. Most critics don't make a dime. All About Jazz writers are volunteers. Free lance submissions to Down Beat might score you $30.00 but the business is fine right?

Like it or not, Jazz is in trouble. The music may survive but if the business of jazz does not then there is a storm cloud brewing. I have published a graphic showing a drop in sales OVERALL in the music business of close to 60% in the last year. New releases are down...But jazz is doing fine right? Ignoring the problem doesn't make it go away.