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

Loud

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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.
Can you give some examples of other money making offerings? It used to be tobacco & alcohol.
 

dsop

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Can you give some examples of other money making offerings? It used to be tobacco & alcohol.
Food, coffee, soda. The laws in many places are such that you have to serve X amount of food in order to serve Y amount of alcohol.
 

dcrigger

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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.
Didn't say attracting audiences don't matter - just that they don't for jazz as a whole define the art.

Sorry but you're jumping to absolutes to make a point - just describing the driving force behind so many jazz artists. Every artist would love to share their art with a large audience... but "their art"... not some well worn art created by someone 30 years, rehashed over and over. Which is what a lo of what's being described in this thread amounts to.

Bring back SWING MUSIC??????

That music is 75 years old!!!!! Why don't we bring back She Na Na and Happy Days - which was only a 20 year adventure in nostalgia?

It gets so old hearing the plea "Why can't jazz today sound like "Kind Of Blue"??? Short answer - because it's 50 years old!!

Longer answer - because jazz is not classical music. Or at least many are trying to keep it from becoming that. Why? Because classical music is effectively a dead art form. 99.99% of the orchestral music played by orchestra's today was written by long dead artists. As a living musical art form it is the equivalent of an ancient marble statue.

My apologies to those that strive to write and program current modern classical composers - an endeavor I wholeheartedly support - but hardly any one else does.

Jazz is far along that path - with re-issues far outselling new releases. And it may end up as dead of an art form as is classical music.

I'm just arguing that it would not be a good thing... because while there might be some work for those re-playing "hits" of the past...the journey that has been jazz would be over... basically.

Heck maybe it already is - and those of us trying, are just wrestling with a corpse. I don't know.

(Looking up I kipped something - Of course, critics aren't always wrong. That wasn't my point. My point was that when it comes to new music - new music that turned out to be highly influential - looking back, there were always the "traditionalist" critics that indeed got it wrong. And no to this day, there isn't a single competent "Essential Jazz" listening guide that omits Ornette Coleman

As for there being an "objective way to measure success or failure" - ultimately, of course there isn't. Art is subjective. But... to even be part of any wide, popular discussion (like this) there clearly must some degree of practical success... or the artist and their music would simple be unknown. Do I believe that "free jazz" is the ulimate in jazz expression - personally, no. But none of that changes the fact that Ornette did significantly change and influence the art and is remembered to this day - and will be for some time to come.)
 

Loud

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Didn't say attracting audiences don't matter - just that they don't for jazz as a whole define the art.

Sorry but you're jumping to absolutes to make a point - just describing the driving force behind so many jazz artists. Every artist would love to share their art with a large audience... but "their art"... not some well worn art created by someone 30 years, rehashed over and over. Which is what a lo of what's being described in this thread amounts to.

Bring back SWING MUSIC??????

That music is 75 years old!!!!! Why don't we bring back She Na Na and Happy Days - which was only a 20 year adventure in nostalgia?

It gets so old hearing the plea "Why can't jazz today sound like "Kind Of Blue"??? Short answer - because it's 50 years old!!

Longer answer - because jazz is not classical music. Or at least many are trying to keep it from becoming that. Why? Because classical music is effectively a dead art form. 99.99% of the orchestral music played by orchestra's today was written by long dead artists. As a living musical art form it is the equivalent of an ancient marble statue.

My apologies to those that strive to write and program current modern classical composers - an endeavor I wholeheartedly support - but hardly any one else does.

Jazz is far along that path - with re-issues far outselling new releases. And it may end up as dead of an art form as is classical music.

I'm just arguing that it would not be a good thing... because while there might be some work for those re-playing "hits" of the past...the journey that has been jazz would be over... basically.

Heck maybe it already is - and those of us trying, are just wrestling with a corpse. I don't know.

(Looking up I kipped something - Of course, critics aren't always wrong. That wasn't my point. My point was that when it comes to new music - new music that turned out to be highly influential - looking back, there were always the "traditionalist" critics that indeed got it wrong. And no to this day, there isn't a single competent "Essential Jazz" listening guide that omits Ornette Coleman

As for there being an "objective way to measure success or failure" - ultimately, of course there isn't. Art is subjective. But... to even be part of any wide, popular discussion (like this) there clearly must some degree of practical success... or the artist and their music would simple be unknown. Do I believe that "free jazz" is the ulimate in jazz expression - personally, no. But none of that changes the fact that Ornette did significantly change and influence the art and is remembered to this day - and will be for some time to come.)
Actually classical music is more popular than jazz. Also, quite a few pop songs directly rip off melodies from classical music so classical music is continuing on in contemporary music.

(Just to restate my intentions, I’m not trying to shape jazz music as a whole. I believe there would be more jazz club business if the club’s musicians played a popular style with melody, etc. @dsop posted the Branford Marsalis video which says essentially the same thing)


Overall, about one-in-three adults are classical music fans, and the genre is the fourth-most popular behind pop, classic rock, and country.

 
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Whitten

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I feel for dcrigger.
Just to add, all but the top 10% of full time musicians have suffered greatly since piracy, streaming and now Covid.
The finances of recording disappeared during piracy and in the transition into streaming (Spotify, Apple Music etc). The only people who have continued to earn significantly from recording are the top 10% of popular artists, the Taylor Swifts, the Drakes. In the early 2000's tech bloggers told us to adapt or die, so we all hit the road. Since then most full time musicians (jazz, pop, indie etc) have been away from home most of the year, playing live. Last March venues started to shut and travel started to become more difficult all due to the pandemic and lockdown. Live music is global. You can't really survive by just performing locally. So most of us were travelling large distances across many different nations. That can't happen in a pandemic.
We're approaching 12 months with virtually no income from performing, in a time where streaming pays $0.0006 per play. It looks highly likely there will be no return to live performance for another 6 months, probably another 12 months.
If people want good music, played by good musicians, they are going to have to get used toping for it again.
Jazz is part of a rich and diverse culture we have all enjoyed. It's difficult to assign lasting value to any culture over the course of one lifetime. For example, a great deal of culture that was more or less ignored in it's time of creation, we now see as highly valuable to civilisation. We don't know what music will be seen as extremely important to humans 100-200 years from now, but based on history, it is probably not going to be the most popular music right now.
 

charliesgoodtonight

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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.
••••••••

Echoing Black Pearl's post. Jazz seems in rude health in London.

Last two times I visited (pre-pandemic), I couldn't fit all the shows I wanted to see into my schedule. Still managed to see Ezra Collective, Binker & Moses, and some local acts around Shoreditch. What these young cats are playing isn't "bop," but it's rhythmic, soulful, harmonically sophisticated, improvisational.

Yussef Dayes, Moses Boyd, Femi Koleoso, Jamie Houghton: great young drummers who know the traditions and fuse it with the music of their own youth (typically hip-hop, house, drum & bass). Matthew Halsall, Alfa Mist, Kamal Williams: UK/London-based, all great. Christian Scott, from New Orleans, sounds like a kindred spirit with these cats. Makaya McCraven from Chicago. Lots of good "jazz" out there right now.

I don't know how pandemic has affected London's scene, but these musicians tend to play anywhere: clubs, all-ages shared spaces (art galleries, warehouses), community centers, parks. When Covid is in the rearview, there will be more music to see than hours in the day.

 
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Vistalite Black

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Not sure how this thread could have gone on so long without revisiting the Feb. 2019 "Who Killed Jazz" thread.

As a reminder: If Jazz is not dead (and I personally believe it was murdered by Kenny G passing off what he does as Jazz), is the 50 Essential Jazz Albums thread wrong in listing (I think) one Jazz album released since 2000 and about 40 that were released 50 or more years ago?

 

Whitten

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Last time I looked, ECM were still releasing several very good jazz albums each year, including 2020.
 

David M Scott

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I love jazz and I listen to it daily. I have been playing jazz drums for nearly 30 years in various combos (and some big bands). But I am inclined to think it's becoming a lost art. Jazz supporters are unfortunately dying off and there aren't enough youngsters to replace them.

I see it at my own jazz gigs, which have decreased over the past 15 or so years. With the decrease in support brings the decrease in venues.
I grew up in a small Canadian city that has had a University music program for over 100 years. They started a Jazz school in the 60s that placed them as one of the best nation wide and that had guest Jazz great musicians in residence for a term or two. And in the 70s - early 90s we had a Jazz Society with Quarterly Sunday jams at a great venue. The students attendance was very sketchy. Most of them studied Jazz as it was required for a degree to become a Music Teacher. On weekends they played Rock.
In the early 80s I fronted a combo hoping to do Jazz even working out of the same venue but the older people wanted dance music and the younger Rock when they showed up in their Jeans and B Ball caps to that
lovely club. I’m 80 and two years ago moved to a warmer climate in B.C. where there are loads of retired music educators or ex pros. I’ve hooked up with some great competent Jazz folks.. Blues too. A local fine restaurant has quarterly Jazz nights featuring these musicians and it’s always a sell out. Average age 60 plus .. need I say more ?
Old story: How do you end up with a million dollars playing Jazz ? Start with two
million !
 

A.TomicMorganic

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The idea that jazz is only music for intellectuals doesn't hold up when you have thriving jazz radio in your area. In the greater Seattle area, (Western WA) you have 24 hour jazz and blues programming on KNKX. A mix of blues, be bop, avant guard and contemporary funk will have you tapping your toes most of the day.
 

Tornado

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The idea that jazz is only music for intellectuals doesn't hold up when you have thriving jazz radio in your area. In the greater Seattle area, (Western WA) you have 24 hour jazz and blues programming on KNKX. A mix of blues, be bop, avant guard and contemporary funk will have you tapping your toes most of the day.
That might be the most educated part of the country outside of Boston. With a lot of great music and jazz education in the schools too. Last time I was in Seattle, I saw that a school jazz band was playing a real club in an early slot, didn't have time to check it out unfortunately.
 

Loud

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The idea that jazz is only music for intellectuals doesn't hold up when you have thriving jazz radio in your area. In the greater Seattle area, (Western WA) you have 24 hour jazz and blues programming on KNKX. A mix of blues, be bop, avant guard and contemporary funk will have you tapping your toes most of the day.
KNKX is a PUBLIC radio station. Yes, PBS/NPR stations play jazz. Few commercial station do so. KNKX is owned by a non-profit group so it doesn’t pay taxes.

Edit: There was a commercial new-age / smooth-jazz station in my area many years ago. Gone now but around when that sort of music was popular. I never listened to it. To me, it was elevator music. No dynamics or energy to it.
 
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dcrigger

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I feel for dcrigger.
Just to add, all but the top 10% of full time musicians have suffered greatly since piracy, streaming and now Covid.
The finances of recording disappeared during piracy and in the transition into streaming (Spotify, Apple Music etc). The only people who have continued to earn significantly from recording are the top 10% of popular artists, the Taylor Swifts, the Drakes. In the early 2000's tech bloggers told us to adapt or die, so we all hit the road. Since then most full time musicians (jazz, pop, indie etc) have been away from home most of the year, playing live. Last March venues started to shut and travel started to become more difficult all due to the pandemic and lockdown. Live music is global. You can't really survive by just performing locally. So most of us were travelling large distances across many different nations. That can't happen in a pandemic.
We're approaching 12 months with virtually no income from performing, in a time where streaming pays $0.0006 per play. It looks highly likely there will be no return to live performance for another 6 months, probably another 12 months.
If people want good music, played by good musicians, they are going to have to get used toping for it again.
Jazz is part of a rich and diverse culture we have all enjoyed. It's difficult to assign lasting value to any culture over the course of one lifetime. For example, a great deal of culture that was more or less ignored in it's time of creation, we now see as highly valuable to civilisation. We don't know what music will be seen as extremely important to humans 100-200 years from now, but based on history, it is probably not going to be the most popular music right now.
First off - great post.

And thanks so much for the concern... I appreciate it, though luckily it's unnecessary.

Personally - if this had happened 10-15 years, while in debt up to my eyeballs and not just my wife and I, but also an ailing mother to care for as well.... I don't know.... no, actually I do, it would've been catastrophic, certainly bankruptcy, likely the loss of one of the houses (ours or hers).... Fortunately it was then - as now finds me in a quite different place... Mom has passed, we pulled entirely out of debt, though we did split up - and I'm in semi-retirement. To a great degree, as the result of the reconnection with my "high school sweetheart" that I've know since I was 12 - and luckily from a financial standpoint, she had a long successful career in her field. A career not being in music, which makes things like a reasonable retirement possible.

But I still work enough to stay connected with folks - and for the younger ones (that have amassed no back-up) I think it's just being a nightmare. Frankly I can't imagine...

So by all means - aim those good wishes in their direction, because tons of them could really use it. I'm fine... thank you.
 

dcrigger

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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.
"...is that bad for a musical genre as a whole?"

(Sorry I skipped right passed this - and I think it's a great question)

I don't think so. It is for the artist, of course. But the whole genre?

Not saying it doesn't matter - just thinking that I don't believe jazz is as monolithic as we often times speak about it.

At every stage of my lifetime, there has always been lots of different forms of jazz - all co-existing in the world at one time. We love these all-in-one-box ways of analyzing things - and the big major genres are far broader and more diverse than that. Each almost too big to put under a single umbrella.

I feel very fortunate to have grown up in a house where the diversity of jazz was made clear just from the music I was exposed to. Initially this was all from my mom - took piano lessons as a kid, but no means a player - she just liked what she liked...

So two of the first albums I can remember from our house were these -



Stan Kenton's West Side Story and Ramsey Lewis' The In Crowd

About as diverse as it comes - and featured prominently in the record collection of this middle class working mother from Des Moines, Iowa.

Oh and there was this -


And then some Ellington, some Ahmad Jamal.... my uncle's collection (housed at my grandmother's - he was in the Navy) turned me onto Take Five and later Bitches Brew. Grandmother - a member of the Columbia Record club - provided my first hands on listening of Meet The Beatles.... I think she had everything released by The Ventures.... and of course all of them had soundtracks - West Side Story, Camelot... and the obligatory, Jerry Vale, etc... crooner stuff.

Nobody ever talked in terms of jazz or rock (my Dad did "long hair hippies" and all of that nonsense) - but with my Mom's family it was always - I like it, I don't.... too weird... too boring... love it.... not my cup of tea.

I can't believe how fortunate I was to stumble into that odd mid-western family that started me out not fretting about the boxes, the pigeonholes and just focusing on whether something seemed to good, worth listening to again, etc.

Anyway - always a great topic for discussion - but at the same time - jazz's problems are fundamentally no different than they've ever been. Always with some jazz faring better with the public and other worse - and the wheels of the bus go 'round and 'round.... :)
 


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