Sunday, August 16, 2020

Double Dealing

The politician representing the Jazz District on the Kansas City City Council mistakenly cited the Mississippi bluesman Big Joe Williams as a local jazz hero several weeks ago.  She obviously meant Big Joe Turner.  Melissa Robinson felt obliged to cite past masters in her introduction to a publicly-funded Jazzy Jamdemic performance that attracted less than 50 live viewers. Apparently unaware of the explosion of live-streaming, Congressman Emanuel Cleaver repeatedly insisted that his Jazzy Jamedemic initiative was the world’s sole outlet for jazz performances during his appearances in the series.  In themselves, the slips aren’t a big deal, but the faux pas are emblematic of Kansas City’s fraught relationship with jazz.  De rigueur lip service without historical understanding or a genuine passion for the music results in abuse, waste and further erosion in the public’s tenuous perception of jazz in Kansas City.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

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