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

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.
 

JDA

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still remove shoes at the airport..
the state of jazz pre pandemic is irrelevant now as no one knows what trajectory jazz or any art & entertainment (or main street business period) would have taken or have been at this moment. the trajectory (of everything) was in all sectors up- that's the last we know.


wages.
you read


homelessness
could have been solved
 
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dcrigger

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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.
I'm sorry but all you are saying still boils down - "I'm cool with it up to here, but not one step further." Because again, there were folks that railed just as passionately against bebop as you are against later day Coltrane - using the exact same words and reasoning.

And "receiving terrible reviews" - sorry but all great new jazz has always gotten terrible reviews. From the outset jazz has gotten terrible reviews - at each new phase, there were jazz "experts" warning that this "new thing" will be "the death of jazz" - claiming it to be an assault on audiences... barely music at all. They said it about bop, free jazz, fusion...

Fact is - most people like music that makes them comfortable - and while some jazz musicians have always provided that music, that has never been the primary thrust of jazz... ever.
 

JDA

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now stuck making lemonade out of the sourest lemon ever


ha!
 

Tornado

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I'm sorry but all you are saying still boils down - "I'm cool with it up to here, but not one step further." Because again, there were folks that railed just as passionately against bebop as you are against later day Coltrane - using the exact same words and reasoning.

And "receiving terrible reviews" - sorry but all great new jazz has always gotten terrible reviews. From the outset jazz has gotten terrible reviews - at each new phase, there were jazz "experts" warning that this "new thing" will be "the death of jazz" - claiming it to be an assault on audiences... barely music at all. They said it about bop, free jazz, fusion...

Fact is - most people like music that makes them comfortable - and while some jazz musicians have always provided that music, that has never been the primary thrust of jazz... ever.
Surely there are limits to how far something like free jazz can go? But if we've written off the need for an audience and the money related to having one, maybe not?

Yes, the new stuff has always gotten bad reviews. Sometimes they were wrong, sometimes they weren't. The critics aren't always wrong. The stuff that Ornette Coleman was doing... I don't think you can really say that endured. Maybe you can in some sense that some were influenced by it, but who is still playing like that? To an audience?

But again, if attracting audiences doesn't matter, then the discussion is really meaningless. There is then no objective way to measure success or failure.
 

Ian S

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Some good points above..

Does the large money-spending audience matter as much as, or more than the music itself?

Or does there need to be a fine balance, easy/hard.. Maybe Jeckyl / Hyde.. smooth jazz in elevators for the faint of heart, saving the gritty and slimy stuff for midnight when the freaks come out?

I'd assert there's room at the table for all this and more. Humans are strange creatures man.
 

Tornado

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Some good points above..

Does the large money-spending audience matter as much as, or more than the music itself?

Or does there need to be a fine balance, easy/hard.. Maybe Jeckyl / Hyde.. smooth jazz in elevators for the faint of heart, saving the gritty and slimy stuff for midnight when the freaks come out?

I'd assert there's room at the table for all this and more. Humans are strange creatures man.
Well, this discussion always seems to divide down two paths. First path is that the music will always be there, and it thrives on pushing the boundaries. It's the artist that decides what is art. That is true. The second path is, "If a tree falls in the forrest and there is no one there to hear it..." That is an important question because it gets to the "So what?". But if someone does hear it and it actually repels people, is that bad for a musical genre as a whole? These two things are really only loosely coupled, which makes the discussion more difficult to have.
 

dsop

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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
I think he was pointing out that many of these patrons aren't spending money. Spending money in a bar doesn't always mean buying and drinking alcoholic beverages.
 

dsop

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the trajectory (of everything) was in all sectors up- that's the last we know.
Except for wages. Another trajectory that was up is homelessness, and that's now a complete disaster. Don't kid yourself. The world has been transitioning to a gig economy and jobs without benefits or unions.
Some bedtime reading for you:
 
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dsop

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Branford: "You have this situation where you have different parts of the audience reacting to different things at different times. And I think that that's a successful formula for playing music, and having people pay money..."

 

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While repulsion is bad, at least it is subjective, one person's repulsion is another person's passion. There should be available some selection of all of those things, enough to go around for everyone.

So while magazines complained that Coltrane and Gato Barbieri were ruining jazz, my mom and dad were buying those records and later played them loud on Sunday mornings. Sure, maybe a neighbor or two thought we lost our way somewhere, but man I loved Sunday mornings. Pancakes and whipped cream, torrential saxophone downpour and a strawberry on top.
When I bring up the suggestion of “popular” jazz at clubs (see prior posts), I am not trying to convince anyone to not listen to more “difficult” (for me) forms.

I would have been a customer at jazz clubs a 100+ times more over the years if the popular (melodic, vocalist, etc.) form was consistently available. I think there are many others like me. Since the subject is somewhat about the future of jazz clubs, I am making suggestions on what could help bring more people to jazz clubs.
 

Pat A Flafla

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What we loosely define as ' jazz ' is barely one hundred years old .
Music, however, has arguably been around as long as humans, and man do we love to file stuff away into tidy little boxes.
 


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