Hot Ptah

AAJ Forum R.I.P.

89 posts in this topic

8 hours ago, Big Beat Steve said:

That was about my impression too. I joined there about the same time I came here (discovered both of them at roughly the same time - about 2005 or 2006). Pretty soon after I got there I had to witness a feud between some member (who by coincidence was rather much into swing-style jazz, just like me, so we exchanged repeatedly, even off-forum) and the powers-that-be (probably including both "senior" members and the admins). I canot remember the exact cause but apparently that cat spoke out publicly about certain tendencies in the jazz scene at large that seem to have gone against the grain of some who had a (business?) stake there and eventually he was banned. As I had witnessed similar confrontations on another forum - that relatively soon led to that forum becoming a "ghost town" - in a totally different field of interest at about the same time (and was personally affected there too) this was rather off-putting.

I was there 2003-2005, maybe 2006.  The final straw for me was when they banned Clave, who used to post here as C-Line.  She was one of the more knowledgable participants over there, and I still have no idea why she got the boot.  

Also, in the musician sub-forums, there were a couple of regular blowhards who posted so obsessively that I have no idea when they ever found the time to practice their instruments.  Their posts often came off as, "This is the right way; all other approaches are wrong," "No, you must think about it this way, not that way," etc. 

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16 hours ago, jcam_44 said:

I used to love AAJ. After it went down a couple years ago for extended periods I started to visit less and less

Same with me. 

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I posted on AAJ for several years. Until the past few years it was a reasonably good jazz forum. I did not like the fact that people I like (from my online interactions with them) were banned. AAJ never bothered me personally. 

In the period before 2010 the discussions there were lively and informative. Also some of my college friends posted, and started interesting games, such as guess the film with jazz as a significant part of it, through question and answer clues. That game went on for years and was truly interesting. So I kept coming back.

At one point the board was dominated for about a year by a feud between two musicians, which was strange, but which I stayed out of.

Pat Martino had a long running thread on the site in which he would take questions and hold very interesting, respectful discussions with members.

In the past few years there were not many discussions about jazz any more. It seemed like the jazz discussions had run their course, and that there were no new members to add new enthusiasm to the site.  That also happened on Jazz Corner Speakeasy, another board that was discontinued.

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All the above-mentioned jazz forums bustled with activity 15 years ago. I haven't been posting but sporadically siince about 2007 and am not privy to what transpired since. After getting back into music and returning to this forum, it seems to me that it's only about 1/4 as active as it was 10 years ago. People lose interest, move on, and yes, die. I don' know why the younger jazz lovers don't seem to rejuvenate places like this. Any guesses?  I hope the former members of the AAJ forum join here. I also think that an annual gathering of the organissimo forum members would be a pleasant thing. Perhaps at a festival, like the Newport Jazz Festival, where just about all jazz styles are represented. 

Edited by Dmitry

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I was an AAJ forum regular from 2009-2013. Best wishes to all that were also regulars during that time, i really enjoyed your company. Cheers. 

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There was a very good thread on there about British Jazz but it imploded in acrimony after a few years, too bad. Artists such as Graham Collier also posted and provided fascinating insights. The earlier years on that site were the good ones.

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I contributed to  AAJ and its forum, though I haven't been active in the forum for years and I quit writing for them around a decade ago, aside from a few April Fool's reviews.

 

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6 hours ago, xybert said:

I was an AAJ forum regular from 2009-2013. Best wishes to all that were also regulars during that time, i really enjoyed your company. Cheers. 

That feeling is mutual, xybert. :) Same goes for me.
I have been a member for 11 years and feel warm towards the kind people I've met there over the years, musicians and non-musicians. Someone mentioned Sandi before. She was a good friend. I still miss her and feel grateful for the way she encouraged me(she and another member) to start writing my own lyrics which even resulted in composing my own music. I had never thought I would be able to do that. Someone with a lot of empathy and compassion towards other people and there were more people like that. I'd never expected to feel that way about people from the internet, but I really made some true friends there. Like Randall once said, it was a community we were part of. Especially the period around 2009 when the AAJ orchestra was a fact. That was something else.

Edited by page

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I too enjoyed many years there, under my own name before being banned, then shortly thereafter when I rejoined as Pie-Eyed Blue. R.I.P. to another forum where I spent many hours and made friends.

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I'm sure I've mentioned it before, but I used to post there regularly until I got into a major disagreement with Mike Ricci over what I felt was a joke done in very poor taste. His attitude was "If you don't like it, leave". So I left and never went back.

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I always found the place a bit boring. But, that was mainly because I was into the fire-breathing, ax swinging fights we normally had at JC. 

I'd probably enjoy AAJ these days, since I've settled down a little. 

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14 hours ago, Dmitry said:

All the above-mentioned jazz forums bustled with activity 15 years ago. I haven't been posting but sporadically siince about 2007 and am not privy to what transpired since. After getting back into music and returning to this forum, it seems to me that it's only about 1/4 as active as it was 10 years ago. People lose interest, move on, and yes, die. I don' know why the younger jazz lovers don't seem to rejuvenate places like this. Any guesses?  I hope the former members of the AAJ forum join here. I also think that an annual gathering of the organissimo forum members would be a pleasant thing. Perhaps at a festival, like the Newport Jazz Festival, where just about all jazz styles are represented. 

I have two theories why the younger generation does not rejuvenate places like AAJ. Younger people tend not to use the computer through a desktop PC. They are more likely to use a smartphone for brief messages, instead of a PC for more extended writing. I know that I find it easier to participate here on a PC with a keyboard. 

Also I have often observed on jazz boards how a newcomer to jazz is treated a bit roughly by the old guard. A newcomer might write "wow! I heard a song by Miles Davis on NPR last night! I had never heard him before but it blew me away. I want to get into some Miles. What are some good albums?" Instead of welcoming the new listener with open arms and helping them in a warm, friendly way, it is much more likely than the established members of a board will make impatient remarks like "really? Miles Davis? Do some reading!" or "here are ten links where we have discussed this before. SIGH! I wish people would use a search function for once!" It is not surprising that the young people never come back.

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Excellent post, HP! I think you are 100% on the money with your assessment. 

Younger people are from the Twitter generation, and conditioned to have shorter attention spans when it comes to online interaction. That's no judgement on their character or intellect, it's simply the way they adapted to their online environment. So even reading a post as relatively short as the one HP posted above would have their inner voice yelling "BOOOOOOOORINGGGGG" before they even got halfway through it. 

And yes, us old curmudgeons aren't always the most welcoming... I'm in my mid 40's and it's rare to find anyone younger than that still participating on message boards. 

Also, let's not kid ourselves. Jazz isn't exactly bursting at the seams with new listeners. Especially younger ones. 

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4 hours ago, Hot Ptah said:

I have two theories why the younger generation does not rejuvenate places like AAJ. Younger people tend not to use the computer through a desktop PC. They are more likely to use a smartphone for brief messages, instead of a PC for more extended writing. I know that I find it easier to participate here on a PC with a keyboard. 

Also I have often observed on jazz boards how a newcomer to jazz is treated a bit roughly by the old guard. A newcomer might write "wow! I heard a song by Miles Davis on NPR last night! I had never heard him before but it blew me away. I want to get into some Miles. What are some good albums?" Instead of welcoming the new listener with open arms and helping them in a warm, friendly way, it is much more likely than the established members of a board will make impatient remarks like "really? Miles Davis? Do some reading!" or "here are ten links where we have discussed this before. SIGH! I wish people would use a search function for once!" It is not surprising that the young people never come back.

That, and as soon as someone recommends Miles or whoever to a newcomer the conversation devolves into minutiae about x album over y, or really obscure albums (to the general populace anyway) cuz as normal as "Miles in Tokyo" is to us, its pretty obscure for most.  It took me a while to see that bigger picture willfully.  Then if a young person gets into jazz through say, Robert Glasper, there are some fans who prefer classic jazz, may not be as up on the current scene, and that drives younger listeners away too.  It's always my hope that listeners in my generation or younger also get interested in the history, not just the scene now, though admittedly I am, probably due to my reviews and other writing more invested in the scene now, though for personal pleasure listening everything I have loved before is in rotation.

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4 hours ago, Hot Ptah said:

I have two theories why the younger generation does not rejuvenate places like AAJ. Younger people tend not to use the computer through a desktop PC. They are more likely to use a smartphone for brief messages, instead of a PC for more extended writing. I know that I find it easier to participate here on a PC with a keyboard. 

Also I have often observed on jazz boards how a newcomer to jazz is treated a bit roughly by the old guard. A newcomer might write "wow! I heard a song by Miles Davis on NPR last night! I had never heard him before but it blew me away. I want to get into some Miles. What are some good albums?" Instead of welcoming the new listener with open arms and helping them in a warm, friendly way, it is much more likely than the established members of a board will make impatient remarks like "really? Miles Davis? Do some reading!" or "here are ten links where we have discussed this before. SIGH! I wish people would use a search function for once!" It is not surprising that the young people never come back.

All in all I agree. Although ...

1) ... there is no reason to take it as an established fact of life that these shorter "attenton spans" are the maximun they will ever need to master. Of course you have to gradually EASE them into realizing that reading and communicating (and, above all, CONCENTRATING) a bit more is something that will serve them well elsewhere in their lives, particularly in their professional lives where they will HAVE to acquire these competencies if they want to get ahead at all.  A discussion board where the subject on hand is FUN would not be worst place to start to GRADUALLY develop these competencies on their own impetus IMHO. Besides, there is nothing wrong with being able to "read coherent somewhat longer written texts and understand their contents". You don't think, do you, that it would be a good idea to ALWAYS sit and watch those "digital natives "of today turn into a state where "digital native" comes to rhyme with "semi-illiterate when it comes to read and write more than 2 consecutive lines"? ;)

2) About those newbie questions à la Miles Davis (which indeed are very frequent and were COMMON over there IIRC): Fair enough - be patient and, again, EASE them into the subject. But how would you tackle a subject like this if that feller is unable, for example, to describe more accurately about what he ACTUALLY heard? Birth of The Cool, Prestige Quintet, Sketches of Spain, Bitches Brew etc.? ANY newbie would consider all these to be totally diferent music by totally different artists and is not likely to find all of them to his liking at the same time from the start (understandably ..). So how do you go about recommending what he expects you to? It's real tough, this kind of ultra-blindfold guesswork tests .... Particularly if (like I have witnessed in occasional discussions of this kind), after someone has explained the problem and asked for particulars of what he heard, the reply sounds more like "How am I to know? YOU are the experts. Why can't you just recommend me something?" ("Attention span" at work again, you know ... ;))

 

 

 

Edited by Big Beat Steve

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1 hour ago, Big Beat Steve said:

All in all I agree. Although ...

1) ... there is no reason one should take it as an established fact of life that these shorter "attenton spans" are the maximun they will ever need to master. Of course you have to gradually EASE them into realizing that reading and communicating (and, above all, CONCENTRATING) a bit more is something that will serve them well elsewhere in their lives, particularly in their professional lives where they will HAVE to acquire these competencies if they want to get ahead at all.  A discussion board where the subject on hand is FUN would not be worst place to start to GRADUALLY develop these competencies on their own impetus IMHO. Besides, there is nothing wrong with being able to "read coherent somewhat longer written texts and understand their contents". You don't think, do you, that it would be a good idea to just sit and watch those "digital natives "of today turn into a state where "digital native" comes to rhyme with "reading and writing semi-illiterate"?

2) About those newbie questions à la Miles Davis (which indeed are very frequent and were COMMON over there IIRC): Fair enough - be patient and, again, EASE them into the subject. But how would you tackle a subject like this if that feller is unable to describe more accurately about what he ACTUALLY heard? Birth of The Cool, Prestige Quintet, Sketches of Spain, Bitches Brew? ANY newbie would consider all these to be totally diferent music by totally different artists and is not likely to find all of them to his liking at the same time from the start (understandably ..). So how do you go about recommending what he expects you to? It's real tough, this kind of ultra-blindfold guessowrk tests .... Particularly if, after you have explained the problem and asked for particulars of what he heard, the reply (which I have witnessed too) sounds more like "How am I to know? YOU are the experts. Why can't you just recommend me something?" ("Attention span" at work again, you know ... ;))

 

 

 

What I am thinking of is a response such as "so glad you liked the Miles Davis you heard. Here are some of his best known albums: Kind of Blue, Milestones, Miles Smiles, In a Silent Way. You might start there. Please get back to us with your reactions and we will have more ideas. Welcome to the board!"

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2 hours ago, CJ Shearn said:

That, and as soon as someone recommends Miles or whoever to a newcomer the conversation devolves into minutiae about x album over y, or really obscure albums (to the general populace anyway) cuz as normal as "Miles in Tokyo" is to us, its pretty obscure for most.  It took me a while to see that bigger picture willfully.  Then if a young person gets into jazz through say, Robert Glasper, there are some fans who prefer classic jazz, may not be as up on the current scene, and that drives younger listeners away too.  It's always my hope that listeners in my generation or younger also get interested in the history, not just the scene now, though admittedly I am, probably due to my reviews and other writing more invested in the scene now, though for personal pleasure listening everything I have loved before is in rotation.

Good points too - the points of entry into jazz, including on forums. But like is tried to exmplan in my Miles Davis example above - if the question is too fogg,y how ARE you top provide a useful answer to a newbie?

As for other way of getting into jazz - be it Robert Glasper or anybody else ...there is a LOT of snobbery out there among the "old hands" on the forums, particularly when it comes to forms of jazz that ARE accessible as an "introduction to jazz" to the "general music consumers populace" ;). One thing that really bugged me about AAJ not long after I joined there was that much to my pleasant surprise there were some who actually spoke out in favor of what in the 90s came to be called the "neo-swing" movement (which still went on in places - and still does now, including over here). But as soon as that subject was raised, there was the immediate avalanche of posts by those who found all this of "of no musical merit", "unworthy of discussion", "no real jazz" etc. etc. (like on this forum over here every now and then too, unfortunately). I happen to know of enough cases in this part of the subculture where people got into jazz (which even today DOES include swing springoffs, BTW, not just crossover, avantgarde or world music or whatever today's most frequently used labels are, FWIW) that way and eventuall explored other styles of jazz too. But of course if young'uns are confronted with this kind of B.S. statements they will turn their back on jazz forums too and just shake their heads in disbelief at those old'uns. I'd not be bugged by any such attacks by self-proclaimed popes of "good taste in valuable jazz" who may have "seen the light" for themselves when free jazz came along but fail to see the parallels, for example, between what went into "jazz rock" in the 70s and what happened in the 90s when punk and swing met (sometimes for betteer, sometimes for worse, but often interestingly enough), but I'd understand the young ones who just cannot be bothered by this kind of high-brow lecturing.

2 hours ago, Hot Ptah said:

What I am thinking of is a response such as "so glad you liked the Miles Davis you heard. Here are some of his best known albums: Kind of Blue, Milestones, Miles Smiles, In a Silent Way. You might start there. Please get back to us with your reactions and we will have more ideas. Welcome to the board!"

If that works - fine. I'd be all for it.

 

Edited by Big Beat Steve

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2 hours ago, Big Beat Steve said:

All in all I agree. Although ...

1) ... there is no reason to take it as an established fact of life that these shorter "attenton spans" are the maximun they will ever need to master. Of course you have to gradually EASE them into realizing that reading and communicating (and, above all, CONCENTRATING) a bit more is something that will serve them well elsewhere in their lives, particularly in their professional lives where they will HAVE to acquire these competencies if they want to get ahead at all.  A discussion board where the subject on hand is FUN would not be worst place to start to GRADUALLY develop these competencies on their own impetus IMHO. Besides, there is nothing wrong with being able to "read coherent somewhat longer written texts and understand their contents". You don't think, do you, that it would be a good idea to ALWAYS sit and watch those "digital natives "of today turn into a state where "digital native" comes to rhyme with "semi-illiterate when it comes to read and write more than 2 consecutive lines"? ;)

2) About those newbie questions à la Miles Davis (which indeed are very frequent and were COMMON over there IIRC): Fair enough - be patient and, again, EASE them into the subject. But how would you tackle a subject like this if that feller is unable, for example, to describe more accurately about what he ACTUALLY heard? Birth of The Cool, Prestige Quintet, Sketches of Spain, Bitches Brew etc.? ANY newbie would consider all these to be totally diferent music by totally different artists and is not likely to find all of them to his liking at the same time from the start (understandably ..). So how do you go about recommending what he expects you to? It's real tough, this kind of ultra-blindfold guesswork tests .... Particularly if (like I have witnessed in occasional discussions of this kind), after someone has explained the problem and asked for particulars of what he heard, the reply sounds more like "How am I to know? YOU are the experts. Why can't you just recommend me something?" ("Attention span" at work again, you know ... ;))

 

 

 

The problem is that you have no idea whether they possess that competency or not. In personal, real life work/conversations they may excel at a long-term and fluid thought process. But in the online environment they gravitate towards, they don't have to. 

To that point, I actually have to admit the first half of your post comes across as rather snooty, in a comical way. :) 

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The point is, the snootiness (I'd call it sarcasm - like it or not :P) was intentional - because this is a widespread problem, i.e not as a matter of "spoken" sonversation but as a matter of being able to put into coherent WRITING what you want and have to say in any depth. Those 2-line twitterisms and facebookisms really don't help.

I witness this with a lot of young'uns (within my family and on other forums where young'uns DO hang around) and usually am fairly relaxed about this because "time will tell" (and "time will show them"). But what I have observed over and over again is that if you have acquired such competences you feel PARTICULARLY at ease if you can make use of them in a setting where it is not about hack work and duties but about fun and your private hobbies and interests. And in most cases I have seen those who "had it together" just made use of it quite naturally and it all made sense. But those who didn't for the life of it were unable to cope, even after repeated, extremely patient questions about what they actually wanted to get at. With those of the older generation who may never have had any sort of higher education it just is so and needs to be accepted as such (life is like that ..., and it'sto their credit they are confident in using a PC anyway) but with the younger ones (particularly including those who basically DID get a decent education) it all too often seems to be so that competences that you used to acquire quite naturally way back now just get sort of lost. A bit like what's happening in some schools where the curricula say "it is no longer mandatory to teach pupils how to write decently in handwriting - they are using keyboards and tablets these days to communicate anyway" (seriously - don't know about the US but this IS what has been on some curriculum agendas here). Can you imagine where we are likely to be heading if this goes on unabated? ;)

Edited by Big Beat Steve

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I doubt we're the first generation to worry about such things. ;) 

I do understand what you're saying, and for the most part agree. I just don't think it's fair to base your assessment on how younger generations interact online. It might tell us something, it might tell us nothing. 

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I never did that one. Came here from "rec.music.bluenote" back in the aughts. I think Stereo Jack put me on to this one, and you guys have been stuck with me ever since!  Blame him!

 

 

gregmo

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Does Stereo Jack still post here? I don't recall seeing him lately. 

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Haven't seen anything from him in a while.

 

 

gregmo

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5 hours ago, Big Beat Steve said:

Good points too - the points of entry into jazz, including on forums. But like is tried to exmplan in my Miles Davis example above - if the question is too fogg,y how ARE you top provide a useful answer to a newbie?

As for other way of getting into jazz - be it Robert Glasper or anybody else ...there is a LOT of snobbery out there among the "old hands" on the forums, particularly when it comes to forms of jazz that ARE accessible as an "introduction to jazz" to the "general music consumers populace" ;). One thing that really bugged me about AAJ not long after I joined there was that much to my pleasant surprise there were some who actually spoke out in favor of what in the 90s came to be called the "neo-swing" movement (which still went on in places - and still does now, including over here). But as soon as that subject was raised, there was the immediate avalanche of posts by those who found all this of "of no musical merit", "unworthy of discussion", "no real jazz" etc. etc. (like on this forum over here every now and then too, unfortunately). I happen to know of enough cases in this part of the subculture where people got into jazz (which even today DOES include swing springoffs, BTW, not just crossover, avantgarde or world music or whatever today's most frequently used labels are, FWIW) that way and eventuall explored other styles of jazz too. But of course if young'uns are confronted with this kind of B.S. statements they will turn their back on jazz forums too and just shake their heads in disbelief at those old'uns. I'd not be bugged by any such attacks by self-proclaimed popes of "good taste in valuable jazz" who may have "seen the light" for themselves when free jazz came along but fail to see the parallels, for example, between what went into "jazz rock" in the 70s and what happened in the 90s when punk and swing met (sometimes for betteer, sometimes for worse, but often interestingly enough), but I'd understand the young ones who just cannot be bothered by this kind of high-brow lecturing.

If that works - fine. I'd be all for it.

 

Right, and the accessible forms of jazz to the general populace, didn't the snobbery exist in every era? People who liked Paul Whiteman I'm sure got ridiculed by those who liked the "real jazz" of Louis Armstrong, King Oliver, those into Glenn Miller or Tommy Dorsey chastized by Basie, Ellington, Fletcher Henderson fans, those who might have gotten into the music with "Time Out" or "Bird With Strings", "Headhunters", etc ("oh that isn't the true Herbie, the true Herbie is on "Empyrean Isles" or with Miles") "Heavy Weather", "First Light" the Pat Metheny Group's "Letter From Home", I can think of many albums that serve as a wider gateway.  Then I'd argue what alienates new jazz fans further is when the discussion turns to race or "this is how swinging  is, that's not swinging" etc.........  The neo swing thing that started with Squirrel Nut Zippers, Brian Setzer, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, of course that still reverberates  as you were saying.

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Let me just say I'll miss AAJ.  I was a regular reader for about the last five years, a browser.  I read much of the content but wasn't much of a contributor.  I'll especially miss the more technical examinations of music, though I hasten to say that some of them went over my head.  As for the personal disagreements and squabbles, who cares--simply ignore them and move on to the next thread.

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