How are closing jazz clubs changing the music and the profession?

Ian S

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Okay yes, if people just need to dance, I totally get that. No problem, that's the drummer's job anyway, make them get up and dance.

Yep, totally fine, jazz can be sneaked back to the public on the sly, by softening them up with super funky and cool break beats, samba groove, ambient drum and bass rhythms, approachable and soulful melodies that take them over with the ritmo de la noche. Then pow, right when they were least expecting it! Right in the face. Jazz! "Oops, didn't see that coming did you.. but you kinda liked it didn't you.. don't lie, you kinda liked it...." :glasses2:
 

Tornado

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I don't personally know many people, hell, maybe anybody, who likes jazz that don't have some formal education in music. How do you go back? I don't think you do. Once someone develops a taste for the complex and "out there", I don't see it changing. So audiences will continue to be fellow musicians and other music school dropouts who "get it" and also enjoy the fact that they do while others don't.
I feel like taking a shot a the audiences, because they bear some responsibility for the state of things. Cheap bastards that sit in their chair and nurse one drink all night. I guess it depends on the city and venue, but holy crap man, I've seen these young dudes that look like barely old enough to get in the door, obviously players, taking up seats from people that have money to spend. But the avant-garde is what they are there to see. Your mileage may vary. I live in a musical wasteland.
 

thenuge

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As long as there’s humans there’s music. It’s all there in the air. Maybe a new air would be discovered due to this. Not a bad thing. It’s all ok. We’re all going to be ok despite the pain.
 

dyland

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I have to disagree. A casual music fan suddenly digging jazz in the last 15 years? Never happened. Jazz has become much more abstract and dense ever since at least 2000. Appreciation requires a lot of attention, background info, and even education. Is that a good thing? Heck no. If jazz paid more attention to melody and song form, it would have attracted way more fans. Instead, jazz now requires frequent time signature changes and strict avoidance of anything approaching a singable melody. There are exceptions (of course), but not enough
Where were jazz club performances that were full of energy happening? A very very rare thing in my past experience. It’s not that many jazz musicians are incapable of it. The majority seem to not think it’s important. I definite never saw punk rock energy at a jazz performance.

I’ve been to a few great performances but there have been way more times when I drove to a club, listened in, and then left. Lots of effort and little payoff.



If there was a club that consistently had the melody, song form, energizing and enjoyable jazz music, I would have been a regular and brought people with me. When out-of-town sales people visited where I worked, I would have steered people to it. Since there was rarely a likeable jazz group at local clubs, I stopped trying. There are lots of skillful players out there but I was very rarely running across a group making me glad that I was there.
It seems to me like you guys are just voicing your opinions on contemporary jazz, which is fine but isn't really relevant to my post. My point is that music in a live setting is distinct from recorded music.

I've personally been to many jazz shows over the last 10 years that were enjoyable, filled with energy, and in many cases sold out. Our subjective experiences differ and I see value where perhaps you don't. To each his own.
 
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dsop

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Our subjective experiences differ and I see value where perhaps you don't. To each his own.
We see value too, but we're just stating the fact that live jazz (or at least a lot of it) has lost a lot of its audience by being much too self indulgent and/or self absorbed (masturbatory).
 
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Dillasdonuts

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I'd say by and large that the music industry as a whole has been shifting during the pandemic. If you are lucky enough to Livestream then you can still perform albeit without a live audience. I have some friends that have been doing that and some venues around town have been giving it a go. If we look into the past several decades we can see how the live music thing shifts. Sometimes it is big arenas, sometimes it is festivals, sometimes people gravitate to local venues. It is hard to tell where things will land after this. It may be that more venues will invest in a hybrid setup where people can "pay-per-view" the performance and others can buy tickets. I know some places already do that, I just think more may look into it.

Clubs and performance spaces are always a fleeting thing -- even legendary places will eventually close.

I think there will always be the search to play somewhere while the listener is always trying to find the place to listen. Witha little imagination and know-how, the venue will be there.
 

BennyK

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I was a bar player till 2011 . Other things too, but primarily a bar player for many years . I had a pretty good kick at the can, all things considered . I couldn't imagine keeping it up today , it'd kill me . Been places I probably shouldn't have been , doing things I shouldn't have been doing with people I longer associate with ,but drums and drumming were always first . Kids today ,well, I kinda feel sorry for what they've missed .

Up here in Ottawa jazz clubs had a very short lifespan . Patrons sipping from a carafe of wine all night don't pay the bills and its been that way long before ***** virus was even an imagined possibility .

The music itself will survive . The how, when and where of it is anybody's guess . Come the day this current situation is over ,there'll be a demand for celebratory, not cerebrelatory( sp.) music. Could be it'll go back to its roots . 24/7 fish fry for months .
 
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Pat A Flafla

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I feel like taking a shot a the audiences, because they bear some responsibility for the state of things. Cheap bastards that sit in their chair and nurse one drink all night. I guess it depends on the city and venue, but holy crap man, I've seen these young dudes that look like barely old enough to get in the door, obviously players, taking up seats from people that have money to spend. But the avant-garde is what they are there to see. Your mileage may vary. I live in a musical wasteland.
If you have a product, and you stick a price tag on it, you absolutely can't blame people who don't want to give you their bread for it, if they don't think it's worth that. At that point all you can do is either make peace with what you're getting, get out, or start selling something they want to buy.
 

JimmySticks

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It seems to me like you guys are just voicing your opinions on contemporary jazz, which is fine but isn't really relevant to my post. My point is that music in a live setting is distinct from recorded music.

I've personally been to many jazz shows over the last 10 years that were enjoyable, filled with energy, and in many cases sold out. Our subjective experiences differ and I see value where perhaps you don't. To each his own.
Threads often morph into discussions that while aren’t on point, are still relevant. This is a great discussion that I think needs to be aired. Just saying...
 

BlackPearl

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The jazz scene in London seems to be going through a real resurgence with young artists like Nubya Garcia, the Esra Collective, the great drummer Moses Boyd,etc. They are appealing to a young club going audience, because the music draws influence from a variety of influences including Afro beat, reggae and hip hop.

 

Phantomlimb777

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We always figure it out, always have. If this is something you HAVE to do, for whatever reason, you do it.
 

swarfrat

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Nursing one drink all night? Come on man. Not everyone lives with subway to their door. Its often said in arguments that no one really wants to present their side as "pro drunk driving", but I guess I can no longer say that
 
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Pat A Flafla

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A dude nursing a drink goes unnoticed if the club is packed.
 

Tornado

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Nursing one drink all night? Come on man. Not everyone lives with subway to their door. Its often said in arguments that no one really wants to present their side as "pro drunk driving", but I guess I can no longer say that
Just saying that audiences that don't spend money don't keep clubs open. I'm not promoting drunk driving.
 

dcrigger

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No, I don’t like it all, I think that’s almost impossible. That’s like saying do you like all the rock that ever came out. Of course not.

As I mentioned the later Coltrane and Miles was pretty dreadful stuff. I think even hard core fans were at at a loss for what they were doing. I know jazz stretches boundaries, but sometimes...

I don’t like prog jazz/prog rock, whatever brand it is, very much either. It’s very serious stuff, and not much fun. Like I never really got Weather Report music, great musicians but the music didn’t resonate with me. Some rag time and New Orleans stuff is good, but swing and be bop are my thing for jazz.
"Later Coltane and Miles was pretty dreadful stuff. I think even hard core fans were at at a loss for what they were doing."

Then you would be wrong.

I have no problem with you not liking it or not getting it (like with Weather Report) - that's 100% totally fine... You can take comfort with being part of the vast majority of the public that didn't/don't like that music either. Of course, the bulk of that bull never liked bebop either - and still don't.

But please don't even think to imagine that hard core jazz fans were "at a loss for what they were doing". You're talking about specific accomplishments in jazz that packed clubs and jazz festivals - that inspired whole generations of players.

The way many on the thread are talking about jazz has been going on since, well, the beginning of jazz. At every single step forward in jazz's development there has been a quite vocal "jazz establishment" crying that the next new thing is a step too far. Bebop was a step too far. The bombastic arrangements of Kenton's orchestra... a step too far... Ornette... a step too far.... Coltrane...Electric Miles... Don Ellis... Mahavishnu... Weather Report and on and on.... "a step too far" "not real jazz" "will jazz's undoing" etc. etc.

I've heard this my entire professional life....

Sure for a while, you can fashion cocktail hour jazz into some kind of trendy upscale hang.... but again, that's always come and gone - fallen in and out of trendiness (and profitability). Wynton made a huge play over years to stick jazz into basically a "museum" - which might work - though is more likely to the jazz down the path of classical music (which is even less popular than jazz is).

And yet, jazz survives. Jazz ignores all of the good intentioned advice on how it could "best" survive - and instead stays true itself and just grows.... pushing boundaries, moving forward, challenging listeners, continuing to bring more and more influences and inspirations under it's wing and does its jazz thing to them.... just like always... started with marches and tin pan alley songs, and onto to show tunes and "standards", absorbing modern classical harmony, neo-classic forms and structures, rock, Hendrix, Sly, Indian classical music, electronics, hip hop - taking the music of the world and making jazz with it.... that's what jazz does.... it's what it always does... and I seriously doubt it is going to stop because it's hard to find an audience and the pay is non-existent.... because it kinda always has been- so I don't think it's going to start mattering now. :)
 

dcrigger

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I'd say by and large that the music industry as a whole has been shifting during the pandemic.
So without going "there" again. :)

Shifting is sort of the understatement of all time.

To the greatest degree, initially the music industry came to a complete and total standstill. A temporary reality that has barely changed since March. I understand there is starting to be a small amount of recording happening in LA (though now with things getting so much worse - I seriously doubt that continued). There are no major venues open anywhere. I know of a few acts doing some drive-in type venues. I know Broadway is closed. Americans can literally not travel hardly anywhere - so international touring is a no go (for the few places where it would even be happening).

I know many players that are surviving primarily on teaching - my ex literally lost none of her students throughout this. And people are doing and releasing was they with remote recording - to get something done - and keep people engaged to some small degree.

And all probably made worse by the shifts in recent years as to where most artist income comes from - putting a heavier need to lean more on personal appearances than recording sales - which has been sort of gutted as an income stream.

On the other hand - the YouTube streaming thing has allowed some, particularly those that had already established themselves in that space, to keep building.

So in a nutshell - things were already in huge flux and change... but the pandemic has been just like the music industry's light switch being flipped to the off position. And it all went dark in the space of about two weeks.... an unprecedentedly odd time for sure.

The take I get from all of the folks I regularly work with is simply to stay safe, to stay alive until it passes and we get back to the business of playing music for a living.
 

BennyK

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As long as people keep having ideas and the facility to articulate them , there will be others willing to look,listen and hopefully reflect on them . This a primary dimension of human existence and community .

Ray Charles,George Shearing . Some things you see with your eyes , some things with your heart . Blind musicians intrigue me . Can you hear what I hear ?

The ideas of people who passed away centuries ago have provided the foundation of whole civilizations .

What we loosely define as ' jazz ' is barely one hundred years old .

In what direction will my species take it ?

Time will tell , as it always has .

Restricted or not.
 
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JimmySticks

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"Later Coltane and Miles was pretty dreadful stuff. I think even hard core fans were at at a loss for what they were doing."

Then you would be wrong.

I have no problem with you not liking it or not getting it (like with Weather Report) - that's 100% totally fine... You can take comfort with being part of the vast majority of the public that didn't/don't like that music either. Of course, the bulk of that bull never liked bebop either - and still don't.

But please don't even think to imagine that hard core jazz fans were "at a loss for what they were doing". You're talking about specific accomplishments in jazz that packed clubs and jazz festivals - that inspired whole generations of players.

The way many on the thread are talking about jazz has been going on since, well, the beginning of jazz. At every single step forward in jazz's development there has been a quite vocal "jazz establishment" crying that the next new thing is a step too far. Bebop was a step too far. The bombastic arrangements of Kenton's orchestra... a step too far... Ornette... a step too far.... Coltrane...Electric Miles... Don Ellis... Mahavishnu... Weather Report and on and on.... "a step too far" "not real jazz" "will jazz's undoing" etc. etc.

I've heard this my entire professional life....

Sure for a while, you can fashion cocktail hour jazz into some kind of trendy upscale hang.... but again, that's always come and gone - fallen in and out of trendiness (and profitability). Wynton made a huge play over years to stick jazz into basically a "museum" - which might work - though is more likely to the jazz down the path of classical music (which is even less popular than jazz is).

And yet, jazz survives. Jazz ignores all of the good intentioned advice on how it could "best" survive - and instead stays true itself and just grows.... pushing boundaries, moving forward, challenging listeners, continuing to bring more and more influences and inspirations under it's wing and does its jazz thing to them.... just like always... started with marches and tin pan alley songs, and onto to show tunes and "standards", absorbing modern classical harmony, neo-classic forms and structures, rock, Hendrix, Sly, Indian classical music, electronics, hip hop - taking the music of the world and making jazz with it.... that's what jazz does.... it's what it always does... and I seriously doubt it is going to stop because it's hard to find an audience and the pay is non-existent.... because it kinda always has been- so I don't think it's going to start mattering now. :)
Not to pile onto Coltrane, because I love so much of what he did, but in his later years he was emptying clubs out and receiving terrible reviews. So my point of all of that was, is that what people talk about when they say that jazz is to self indulgent? It was bad for jazz and bad for jazz clubs.

I think, and I think a lot of people think, that music should be at least a little bit of fun, have a little bounce and just generally bring some joy to the listener. It needs to have some form, and some sense of a rhythm and some drama. A decipherable beat is always nice to. So yes, you can push the boundaries, but the boundaries are always there or else it’s no longer music.
 

BennyK

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" poetry in motion "

" Bananas half price down at the Metro -That's music to my ears "

What curious expressions .

Some styles of jazz are like -

" Bananas are half price - that's poetry in motion " . No big deal, vive la difference.
 

Deafmoon

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Well, there have been more and more artists asking donations, years before Covid, to even put out online music; so money has been vanishing long before covid. And venues have a long way to go. Especially since NYS says ‘possibly, end of summer’ for opening venues to full capacity. Example: The Turning Point statement letter. That said, there may be some pent up demand to get out, but when you put change into people for 30 days or more, this has been 1 year almost, you condition them to live that way. Fear is a tough spirit to break now.
 


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