Sunday, November 25, 2012
I Can Feel Your Energy From Two Planets Away
Allow me to begin with an apology. I acknowledge that the Plastic Sax post of November 19 was ill-advised.
Instead of deleting the post or editing its contents, I'll let it stand as a permanent record of my poor judgement. My intention was to remind readers that UMKC's Conservatory of Music and Dance- one of Kansas City's most significant cultural assets- regularly offers concerts that are free and open to the public. I now recognize that I abused the institution's community service. I hope any students I may have offended use a blogger's misguided opinions as motivation rather than as a roadblock.
While I accept the personal attacks I suffered among the numerous comments left at the post, I can't help but think that part of the animosity is rooted in our shared frustration about the diminished role jazz occupies in Kansas City. I witnessed another prominent affront last week.
Most everyone from Pittsburgh to Paris associates Kansas City with two things- jazz and barbecue. If pressed to offer a third hallmark of the Kansas City experience, many would mention the Plaza's holiday lights. That's why the fact that the annual lighting ceremony on Thanksgiving no longer features jazz seems to epitomize jazz's declining prominence.
Unless I'm mistaken, jazz acts played an integral role in the ceremony until a Glee-style ensemble provided the entertainment in 2011. Last week The Elders performed before and after the light flip was switched. The Elders are one of Kansas City's most popular rock-based bands for a reason, but a performance by a jazz band would have been far more inclusive.
Until jazz manages to regain a conspicuous position in Kansas City's cultural landscape, I expect the discourse at Plastic Sax to remain disconcertingly contentious.
(Original image by Plastic Sax.)