Thursday, August 20, 2009

Social Media Killed the Jazz Film Archive

I've previously expressed skepticism regarding the John Baker Film Collection. The stuff has been moldering in storage for decades. Next month, however, some of the material will finally go on display at the American Jazz Museum.

It would have been a really big deal twenty years ago. Today? Not so much.

Since the acquisition of the collection by the government of Kansas City, Missouri, a virtual revolution has entirely upended the old way of preserving and disseminating media. YouTube is one example. Another, of course, is Plastic Sax, an ad-free blog created by a passionate Kansas City jazz fan.

It's not as if the art documented in the John Baker Film Collection has lost any of its value. Quite the contrary. In 2009, however, people don't need to visit a museum to access similar material. Gems like the clip featured here are available to anyone with an internet connection.

On a related note, a friend of Plastic Sax just forwarded me an email about an intriguing event scheduled for this Saturday, August 22 August 29. The "1st Annual Yardbird Jazz & Film Festival" will take place in the jazz district.

Who knew?

Because the festival doesn't have a site and there's literally no information online, I've uploaded the festival's flyer myself. Grab it here.


Cb said...

Hear, hear, again. I just watched a DVD from Netflix titled: "Swing Era: Count Basie". It was, what amounted to, a compilation of various historic short films of several other swing band performances. Joe Turner, Henry "Red" Allen, BIll "Bojangles" Robinson, Gene Krupa, Fats Waller, and others. So, I see your point about actually going somewhere to view something like this. It might be just as effective if they put this newly acquired collective online in a pay per view section as well... Peace, Cb

Happy In Bag said...

Thanks for the confirmation, CB. I'll cue up that title on Netflix. Or I could just watch it on one of the many legal or illegal video sites tonight.

Per your suggestion, I'd encourage the museum to monetize their film collection by licensing it to Bravo, PBS or BET Jazz.

I'd also buy a DVD copy if it was reasonably priced at the museum's gift shop.

Rick Louie said...

Hah! I love when people put jazz footage up on Youtube and write at the top: **RARE FOOTAGE!!**

Um, as soon as its up on Youtube it's not rare anymore.....

Happy In Bag said...

And thank heaven for that, Rick!