Sunday, December 5, 2010
Saturday afternoon at the Blue Room was a great hang. Joey Calderazzo, Gerald Dunn, Bobby Watson and Dennis Winslett were on hand to ponder "Jazz and the Music Industry." Their freewheeling discussion included trash talk, salacious gossip and a handful of genuine insights. It was hip, entertaining and over two hours behind schedule. The latter component might partially explain why less than a dozen people, including American Jazz Museum staff members and spouses of panelists, attended.
An anonymous commenter at the previous Plastic Sax post characterized Calderazzo as a "bitter a******." The talented pianist may be jaded, but I appreciated his candor. And like his three fellow panelists, he's really smart. Even so, I disagreed with much of what I heard.
Two video cameras were rolling and the four men had to have seen me taking notes. I'm not comfortable, however, quoting anyone directly. Instead, I'll broadly generalize the primary topics of the discussion and toss in my two cents.
The bad economy is responsible for poor attendance at jazz clubs.
I'm so tired of hearing this lame excuse. Times are undoubtedly tough, but Saturday's free event featured two internationally-acclaimed musicians and attracted less than twelve people. The previous night I was a member of a capacity audience of 2,000 at the Midland Theater. The cheapest tickets for the rock show were $45. The next day I was among a crowd of almost 1,000 people who paid $17 each to hear Kansas City jazz artists play Christmas carols. People still spend lots of money to hear the musicians that excite them.
Hip hop is horrible and fusions of jazz and hip hop are whack.
If you say so, Grampa.
Kenny G is a hack.
Whatever. I'd rather listen to Kenny G than hear people bash him for the hundredth time.
Club owners and jazz promoters are often unpleasant and unethical.
Stop the presses!
Money is more important than art to music industry executives. Case in point: Grammy Award nominations don't always go to the best artists.
An audience member fretted that jazz is becoming "blond-haired and blue eyed." She asked how this trend could be reversed.
None of us have any easy answers.
Jazz musicians are smarter than everybody else.
Bitter and better are two different things.
The youth of today are insolent, poorly-educated louts.
Preferring Young Jeezy over Sonny Rollins doesn't make someone a bad person.
Someone asked what "the blueprint" for a young jazz artist should look like.
I guess she didn't realize that this guy was in the room.
(Original image by Plastic Sax.)