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

JimmySticks

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So to you, do you like all jazz in the last 100 years? I’ve given my point of view on which types I like and which give me no enjoyment.
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.
 

jaymandude

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Thanks poetman for posting this thread, and everyone for their observations and opinions. This is a really important conversation. It's good to be aware of the work ahead.

Call me deluded, but I don't think jazz needs to become dance music to survive or even thrive. Like any art, it just needs nurturing through tough times, some TLC and maintenance, someone who cares enough to stoke the coals and add some mossy driftweed, and roast some s'mores.

Whether bebop, swing, modern abstract, fusion, whatever. Adventures in musical improvisation.

Call me naive, stupid, childish, fine no problem, I'll cop to that. I won't give up on live music or jazz.
Dazz dazz disco jazz
 

dyland

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Welcome to the forums Loud.

I think folks brought up on pop and rock would simply be blown away if they walked into a jazz club and heard a big band blowing or a cooking jazz quartet was just kicking it.

The music just needs exposure. People just need to be open to it, and most will get it immediately, but for some reason most reflexively just go, ahhh jazz? No thanks. I got into that way. I was a rocker, but I walked into The Birdland one night for kicks and I was blown away by the talent, the sound, the musicality, it was just so different. It was an awesome night and I got it immediately. And I think that’s how jazz and jazz clubs survive, people out on the town and they just walk in as part of a night in the city, and they dig it. Jazz clubs are an urban thing for that reason. May they survive this mess...
When I was 13 there was a hardcore punk scene and I, being a Zeppelin t-shirt wearing classic rock kid, HATED the idea of it. I thought all the "screaming stuff" was stupid, required no talent, and made no sense.

One day I ended up at a local hardcore show and saw how the bands all played on the floor, not the stage, and how the live experience was full of energy, something that didn't translate listening to the records. All of a sudden I "got it" and I was hooked. I went to shows until my early 20s and look back on some of those days as the highlight of my teen years.

My long winded point is that seeing music performed live can completely change one's perspective on it and I think this certainly applies to jazz. A casual music fan could head into a club for a nightcap with a preconceived notion about what jazz is and leave with a completely different outlook. In fact I'm willing to bet that that happened many times over, nightly, in clubs before March 2020 and will continue to happen so long as there are clubs to attend.
 

dsop

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A casual music fan could head into a club for a nightcap with a preconceived notion about what jazz is and leave with a completely different outlook. In fact I'm willing to bet that that happened many times over, nightly, in clubs before March 2020 and will continue to happen so long as there are clubs to attend.
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 of them.
 

Tornado

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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 of them.
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.
 

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.
 

Loud

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When I was 13 there was a hardcore punk scene and I, being a Zeppelin t-shirt wearing classic rock kid, HATED the idea of it. I thought all the "screaming stuff" was stupid, required no talent, and made no sense.

One day I ended up at a local hardcore show and saw how the bands all played on the floor, not the stage, and how the live experience was full of energy, something that didn't translate listening to the records. All of a sudden I "got it" and I was hooked. I went to shows until my early 20s and look back on some of those days as the highlight of my teen years.

My long winded point is that seeing music performed live can completely change one's perspective on it and I think this certainly applies to jazz. A casual music fan could head into a club for a nightcap with a preconceived notion about what jazz is and leave with a completely different outlook. In fact I'm willing to bet that that happened many times over, nightly, in clubs before March 2020 and will continue to happen so long as there are clubs to attend.
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.
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 of them.
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.
 

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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chillybase

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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...
 

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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.
 


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