Sunday, October 12, 2008


I was upset when Dennis Winslett announced Friday afternoon that a panel session would start at least thirty minutes late. I'd been looking forward to hearing jazz greats Curtis Fuller, Javon Jackson and Bobby Watson address the topic: Blakey Training vs. Academic Training: Reflections of the Blakey Institution.

I had rescheduled my day so that I could attend the American Jazz Museum-sponsored discussion; the delay meant I'd be forced to miss it.

My anger, however, was displaced by sadness. Only five people were in the room fifteen minutes after the event's scheduled start time. Perhaps I shouldn't blame the musicians for being so cavalier with the time. Public indifference could inspire such behavior.

The sour experience so annoyed me that I decided not to buy a ticket to the Art Blakey tribute concert Saturday at the Gem Theater. Anyone who went to the show is encouraged to leave a review in this post's comment section.


Anonymous said...

I'd like to contribute my blog on this event, if that is cool...

Peace, Cb

bgo said...

The Central Library hosted jazz historian and musician David Baker last Friday and only 40 people attended. It was part of the whole Art Blakey weekend thingy.

Jazz is dead in this town.

Anonymous said...

ONLY 40?!? I would think that's not too bad.

But I would credit the Jazz Museum experience to their lame business practices. Promotion goes a long way. That place has SO much potential. It's really a shame.

Anonymous said...

Anyone know who the guy in the photo is? Great dresser and great photo.

To bad what it represents, but great pic nonetheless.

That photo wraps up the Blue Room in a nutshell.

Happy In Bag said...

Thanks for the contribution, Chris.

Like Anon 4:56, BGO, I think 40 is pretty good. It's cool that the Library offered that program.

I appreciate you pointing out the outstanding image, Anon 4:58. The man in the hat was far more patient than I. He decided to stay as I stormed out in a snit. Nice guy, too.

Anonymous said...

anon, i'm curious to know what the lame business practices to which you referred are. i suppose as it pertains to promotion, as indicated in your comment.

i think it's easy for folks to point fingers and constantly point out what's wrong or missing or what has been unsuccessful, but there's not as much recognition of the good things that happen. which depends on one's perspective. as the saying goes, "if it bleeds it leads."

i think if an organization can present over 200 live shows a year and also reach thousands of students in education programs, that's something to be applauded. what other organizations are doing that with jazz here in kc?

true - the exhibits could certainly tell a more rich story. for that, i'd question the folks who built the place from the ground up, not the current administration. it takes millions of dollars to renovate and/or expand museum space as well acquire/restore artifacts, not to mention the time and resources it takes to launch a campaign of that magnitude.

i don't think there's been as much development activity going on at the museum in the last 10 years, which is why you'd find it at the state it's in now. there's bridges to be rebuilt, political posturing and broken relationships within the community that need to be fixed.

sources in the jazz community tell me that those are all issues that are being addressed. that's a tall order. i wouldn't want to be in those shoes. but i do see the value and potential, and want to do my part to help.

as for promotion, i've seen and heard plenty of ads for events at the museum (including the whole Blakey Tribute weekend), but i've encountered some folks seem to be under the impression that if they don't hear about it on their particular radio station or in their paper, then they're not promoting anything.

jazz events are listed on several online calendars as well as in newspapers and in articles every week. much like the redevelopment of the exhibit, it takes a robust marketing budget to achieve the kind of reach and frequency that other arts presenters have.

i doubt the museum has a very large marketing budget. moreover, organizations need to have the resources to invest in media partnerships for donated ad space or more air time. if you can't drop any money into it, then you probably won't get much out of it.

and fyi - the library event was a partnership with the museum, according to their website. it was actually the museum that brought in dr. baker. i think the museum and the library were looking for some crossover between their audiences...maybe?

it's sad, though, that some people might have their impressions of the museum or the blue room formed by one photo they saw. hell, it's been pointed out at this blog numerous times that KC might not really be a jazz town.

if that's the case, then it shouldn't be a surprise that the blue room wasn't brimming over with hardcore jazz fans who wanted to hear some very iconic names in the genre speak.

if media sources displayed more photos of well-attended events or wrote about jazz events - at any location in kc - that would be a step in a positive direction.

if kc isn't a jazz town, it's not just the presenters that are to be blamed. the people with pens and cameras aren't doing a lot either to help raise the awareness of what's going on.

perhaps as plasticsax indicated on its therestandstheglass blog, jazz just won't matter to anybody in another 25 years.

it will be interesting to see...