Sunday, August 13, 2017

By the Numbers

In the aftermath of Saturday’s reprehensible “hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides” statement by the President, I’m receiving a bit of deserved backlash for comments I made to a journalist a few weeks ago.  My assertion that “they’re not racist- they’re just afraid” serves as the headline of an editorial in today’s The Kansas City Star.  

While I’m not going to recant my words,  I understand why I’ve been rebuked by a critic who insists that “being afraid of crime when there’s no evidence of crime means that you’re racist.”  Instead, I’ll reiterate two key points.

I’ve never felt threatened or unwelcome during the hundreds of times I’ve visited the Jazz District in the last twenty years,  Once sketchy, the immediate radius of the museum complex is safe.  The Star’s editorial gets that right.  The piece falters, however, in its implied assertion that jazz can still serve as a major attraction.  The successful festivals it cites are headlined by pop, rock and hip-hop acts.

The poor attendance at the American Jazz Museum’s Kansas City Jazz & Heritage Festival three months ago shouldn’t have come as a surprise.  John Scofield, the jazz headliner on the first night of the event, attracted about 400 fans.  That more or less matches the similarly woeful turnout for the jazz giant’s concert at the Folly Theater in 2014 (my review).

(Original image of Bill Stewart and John Scofield at the Kansas City Jazz & Heritage Festival by Plastic Sax.)

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