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dalemcfarland

Letterman Craps All Over Jazz Again

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For all who missed it last night: Michael Keaton was talking about his early days doing stand up on the old coffee shop circuit, sharing the stage with jazz bands or folk musicians, admitting that his comedy didn't always go well with the music. Letterman mumbles, "What does go well with jazz? Maybe heroin."

Edited by dalemcfarland

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Hmmm... Indirectly, perhaps a stab at us Canadians.

Was mainman baldie-jazzlover-the Hammond-guy around when Letterman said that?

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That's actually funny. I will continue to give Letterman a pass for having Tom Waits on to do "Chocolate Jesus" through a megaphone. Classic.

Chocolate Jesus

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Maybe it's just his typically acerbic 'humor?'

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Dave's a comedian. He made a joke. Don't take the "slight" so seriously.

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Dave's a professional. A professional comedian. How many of us can say that? ....that's what I thought.

Funny is a funny word. I bet most us wouldn't know how or where to begin to know if what he said is funny.

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And I bet his obnoxious little musical director laughed.

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I wouldn't take the "slight" so seriously but for the fact that he has famously boycotted jazz from his show for decades and never misses an opportunity to insult and denigrate the people who play it. It's more than just a passing joke when it takes food out of cat's mouths. Otherwise, I do think he's usually on target and pretty funny.

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He's boycotted jazz? Why did I see Herbie Hancock on there just a few weeks ago?

I thought it was a funny quip. And that's what it is. A quip. Big deal.

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...but for the fact that he has famously boycotted jazz from his show for decades and never misses an opportunity to insult and denigrate the people who play it.

He's boycotted jazz?

Me too Jim: Letterman has boycotted jazz from his show? And he consistently insults jazz musicians? Really? I'm not saying that's not true, but it has certainly flown under my radar and I'm a 45 year old guy who watched him relatively consistently from the mid 80s through about 2000 and keeps abreast of the news and media pretty regular. It's news to me that Letterman "craps all over jazz." I certainly won't put any effort into it but if someone who dislikes Letterman due to his hostility toward jazz and its practitioners wants to offer up some credible articles that evidence this attitude from him, I'd give 'em a look. It's hard for me to believe it - especially when you look at his band. Doesn't make sense. Does he even have much input into who the musical guests are? Maybe so. I don't know. Interesting...

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I wouldn't take the "slight" so seriously but for the fact that he has famously boycotted jazz from his show for decades...

What about Wynton Marsalis, Tito Puente, Quincy Jones, Fathead Newman, David Sanborn, David Amram, Melody Gardot, Diana Krall, Esperanza Spaulding...?

Now tell me about the scores of jazz artists appearing on Leno, Kimmel, and the others.

It's more than just a passing joke when it takes food out of cat's mouths.

So Letterman's responsible for the plight of jazz musicians? How do you feel about Elvis? The Beatles? synthesizers? new age music? recorded music in restaurants?

Otherwise, I do think he's usually on target and pretty funny.

And that's the nature of comedy. What's humorous to one person might not to be funny to another. I think Letterman's remark is funny, you don't.

The same thing applies to "jazz". You might think what I like is crap, and vice versa.

As my dad says, "Fahgettaboudit." ;)

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Sonymax asks: "What about Wynton Marsalis, Tito Puente, Quincy Jones, Fathead Newman, David Sanborn, David Amram, Melody Gardot, Diana Krall, Esperanza Spaulding...?

Now tell me about the scores of jazz artists appearing on Leno, Kimmel, and the others."

  • Wynton Marsalis - Let's be real, this guy has contributed more to his ego than he has to jazz. Booking him as a guest is hardly an indication of jazz interest.
  • Tito Puente - Great band, but better known for his contributions to another idiom.
  • Quincy Jones - A lousy trumpet player turned exploiter. Like Wynton, this guy knows how to do the hype.
  • Fathead Newman - I'll buy that one.
  • David Sanborn - This one, too, but why not Sonny Rollins or Sam Rivers.
  • David Amram - David loves jazz and knows how to play it, but he is also known for his film scores, books, etc. David can do no wrong, as far as I am concerned (I once recorded him giving a memorable performance as Ladybird Johnson).
  • Melody Gardot - Now that is a stretch. Was it her music or her survival instinct that made Letterman interested?
  • Diana Krall - Well, she looks good, emulates well, and has a familiar repertoire. She is no Bridgewater. She is no Toshiko.
  • Esperanza Spaulding - She has the looks and the blandness people like when they aren't into jazz but feel compelled to flirt with it.

Only kidding re Herbie. But he did stray a couple of times :)

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Much better than other network shows.

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It's funny. But you'd think that since Carson loved jazz, that Letterman would at least maybe try, a little. He looked up to Johnny so much, didn't he?

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I saw Stan Getz on his show years ago.

And wasn't that Mats Gustafson on bass saxophone ("You're going to hurt someone with that," Letterman said to him) backing up Laurie Anderson's recent appearance?

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woof ... what a tough crowd.

at least now when you google "letterman" and "jazz" you get "craps all over" courtesy of the organissimo forums. :crazy:

and I'd take Paul the Shiv at a wedding any day.

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Damn that Letterman! If only it weren't for him, jazz would be as popular as rap.

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Granted, a few jazzers have snuck under the barbed wire (were Fathead, Sanborn, Puente and Getz ever Featured Performers, or did they just sit in with the house band?) and, granted, some vocal-oriented pop bands that perform may accidentally include a sideman who's considered a jazz player (Laurie Anderson?? get serious) and, granted, Leno et.al. have equally crappy track records. But Letterman passionately HATES jazz, and has happily said so on more than one occasion. (I'm not going to search through old magazine interviews to prove this, you're just gonna have to take my word that I've read it.) I don't dislike Letterman. Not one bit. It just irked me to hear him imply that the only people who appreciate jazz are heroin-addled morons.

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But Letterman passionately HATES jazz, and has happily said so on more than one occasion. (I'm not going to search through old magazine interviews to prove this, you're just gonna have to take my word that I've read it.)

No, I won't. You have no history here that would earn you that kind of trust. Lots of people (actually, most people) don't like or understand jazz. You've obviously got a chip on your shoulder to claim that someone "passionately HATES jazz". Speaking bluntly, put up or shut up. Or at least contribute positively to another thread.

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But sonnymax, take another look at your list. If that's the best you can do to show that Letterman has an interest in jazz, I think you may have supported dalemcfarland's claim. For someone who is on 5 nights a week, year after year, that is a pathetic list. Add to that the show's location—New York City! You shouldn't have had to stretch like that to come up with a handful of jazz guests.

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imo, the idea that letterman should be putting energy into having jazz artists on his show is ridiculous. it'd be great for all of us on the board who watch it every once in a while, but it's a late night talk show. they have musical guests on who they feel the majority of their viewers will enjoy. if people don't like what they see on the show, they won't watch, and it goes off the air. simple. additionally, they keep the popular music acts for the end of the show to bait people to stay through the whole program (ie: watch more commercials, $$, you get the idea). this isn't rocket science people.

anyone who knows the first thing about jazz knows that it's not very popular among the masses - ie: the people who watch late night talk shows. he's not obliged to have jazz on the show, and he's not obliged to like jazz himself. and as far as i'm concerned, the argument that "if it was on these shows every once in a while, it would become more popular and jazz musicians would prosper" is nonsense. carson was an exception, and all thanks to him and his world class band. but it was the exception. nobody is obligated to do as he did.

and by the way, imo letterman's little "heroin" joke was not funny. so what...

Edited by thedwork

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I can't see Letterman putting much jazz on his show. Maybe some kind of cross-over thing like Willie Nelson did with WM, but that's about it. As much as I wish otherwise. I don't think TV viewers have the patience to watch instrumental jazz. We're a minority; not a persecuted minority, but a minority nonetheless.

I'm already on record above, but I thought the "heroin" joke was funny.

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