Sunday, February 6, 2011

Your Looks Are Laughable

Laughable. Unphotographable. Jazz may be, as the Rodgers and Hart standard would have it, my favorite work of art.

Yet I'm continually amazed at the miniscule number of people who share my passion. As I monitored the NEA Jazz Masters induction ceremony online on January 11, I was alarmed to see that the view count never surpassed 575. It's arguably jazz's biggest night of the year. A February 2 webcast by the Aaron Goldberg Trio + 1, well-promoted by NPR for at least a week in advance, drew less than 320 viewers. (A screenshot of the outstanding performance is below.)

Need context? A Ustream chat about video gaming that aired at the same time as the Goldberg concert had 2,873 viewers when I checked on it. And when Kansas City-based rapper Tech N9ne recently made a spontaneous Ustream appearance he attracted over a thousand viewers. (Screenshot above.)

Popular music is, by definition, bigger than jazz. But jazz may be more marginalized today than ever. Several friends openly mock my dedication to Plastic Sax. So why do I bother? That's easy. I love Kansas City's jazz scene and I want to see it prosper again. And maybe- hopefully someday soon- the tide will turn.

Stay, little valentine, stay.


Hermon Mehari said...

I was at Aaron Goldberg's show at the Vanguard on the following night. It was the best jazz I've seen in a loooong time. Truly inspiring.

It was also cool to see both sets packed with attentive audiences (Thursday night). The case was the same for the 55 Bar just before that (Mike Moreno was playing).

Happy In Bag said...

I'm jealous, Hermon. I caught Jackie McLean on my first trip to the Vanguard.