Sunday, July 19, 2009

Modal Money

The economy stinks.

It's a fact. Still, I get tired of hearing prominent members of the jazz community use today's weak economy as an excuse for flagging support. It's not necessarily true.

I see quite a bit of live music. So do thousands of other people in the Kansas City area. Here's a recap of my last four nights out.

Last night I stood amid 8,000 people for Incubus' rock show at City Market. Tickets were $35. I witnessed a standing-room-only performance by a couple of Kansas City-based roots-rock acts Saturday afternoon at The Record Bar. About 125 people paid $6 each to attend. On Friday afternoon, approximately 600 people saw reggae artist Matisyahu perform at Crossroads. Tickets were $35. The previous day I caught Chris Isaak at the VooDoo. He hasn't had a hit in over a decade, but close to a 1,000 people paid $70 to sit or $55 to stand at his vintage rock show.

That's a lot of discretionary income being spent on four distinct flavors of music. And that's just my experience in 96 hours.

Here's an another example that hits close to home. Parking has been at a premium at a certain jazz club since a new upscale bar and restaurant opened up the block. I continually marvel at the throngs of people cavorting on the outdoor deck.

I wish I knew where all this money was coming from (and I wish more of it was mine.) It's deeply troubling, of course, that more of these funds aren't being spent on jazz.

(Original image of a Friday afternoon reggae performance by Plastic Sax.)


Anonymous said...

Well, there's money somewhere; JazzTimes found a savior:

Anonymous said...

People want to hear jazz in a concert setting. All of our local jazz concert series...KCJO, Folly Jazz, Jammin' at the Gem, Tim Whitmer's SATJ have a consistent 400 to 1000 attendees season after season.

Jazz does not have the mass appeal that the other musics you mentioned have. I'm not sure we want ot to. One thing I've noticed in the clubs is that there is very little attention to the quality of sound coming from the PA and often the pianos are out of tune. The attention to detail is not always the there. Jazz musicians also need to make sure that the audience gets their moneys worth.

Jazz will continue to evolve in after hours night clubs but will sustain a long shelf life if it is presented in the concert hall.