Sunday, October 30, 2016

Echo Chamber

Warning: stop reading now if you can't stomach yet another sniveling essay decrying the diminishing audience for jazz. 

My faith in the viability of jazz took a couple jarring hits this week.  I recognize that hordes of youth born in the 1990s may not be clamoring to hear a quartet of area luminaries interpret standards like "Autumn Leaves," but the fact that not even a single student under the age of 25 was compelled to relax in Polsky Theatre at a well-publicized free lunch-hour concert on the bustling campus of Johnson County Community College is troubling.

A second incident was just as discouraging.  Lured by the siren sound of the music, I stumbled into a private function at which prominent locally-based jazz musicians played in a room of about 50 distracted baby boomers and millennials.  None of them acknowledged the efforts of the band during the few minutes I encroached on the event.

If the mission of Plastic Sax is to expand jazz’s audience and enhance appreciation of the music in Kansas City, the nine years I’ve invested in this site seem to have been for naught.  Only after a restorative listening session with some of my favorite old recordings (pictured) and new releases (such as Laura Jurd’s Dinosaur’s Together, As One) was I able to convince myself to carry on.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)


Chris Hazelton said...

Playing devil's advocate here, but they have done a terrible job of advertising the revamped Winterlude series. I've only heard about it via the artist's social media sites. My dad TEACHES at JCCC and even he hadn't heard about it until I texted him personally about last Tuesday's concert.

Happy In Bag said...

The shows are posted on the rolling event listings that appear on the television monitors in almost every common room on campus.