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Hot Ptah

Perhaps Not Surprising (Jazz Has Become The Least-Popular Genre In The

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I don't see it so much as removing things from the art box and then placing them in the not-art box; what it is is making sure people know that it is bad art. And that's a good thing to do.

this is serious shit for some of us. Morning, noon, night, sleeping. However ultimately I think of it less as art/not art, than as a kind of ethics of expression and creativity. Just as I owe it to myself to fully commit to anything I make, so do others, and it is not out of line for me to point out when I think they've come up short. I like critics and I can take a bad review.

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Very good points. Fully agreed. This more or less sums up what i tried to get across by way of concrete examples in my earlier post today.

You and I, we may not agree on the exact style(s) of jazz that we find most entertaining but I think we do agree that something went seriously out of balance when those who had the "muscle" (thorugh the media or wherever) tried by all means to elevate jazz to a status if "high art" for "serious", dignified appreciation and ruled out entertainment of the kind that had been the core of jazz up to, say, early post-WWII (and in some areas of jazz even well after that - jump blues! soul jazz! And you CAN jitterbug to bebop ...) as being lowly,, "commercial" and unworthy of remaining at the core of what jazz is (supposed to be) all about.

A lot of time "artistic validity" gets retconned onto this music decades later. i.e., music that was conceived of primarily as "fun entertainment" is, decades later, elevated into "high art" status.

Anybody remember

Edited by Guy

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I don't see it so much as removing things from the art box and then placing them in the not-art box; what it is is making sure people know that it is bad art. And that's a good thing to do.

this is serious shit for some of us. Morning, noon, night, sleeping. However ultimately I think of it less as art/not art, than as a kind of ethics of expression and creativity. Just as I owe it to myself to fully commit to anything I make, so do others, and it is not out of line for me to point out when I think they've come up short. I like critics and I can take a bad review.

I would have to think it's presumptuous to try to determine whether or not someone takes it seriously. That's really not the job of the end user. It's either pleasant to the individuals ears, or it isn't.

We'll leave the inside baseball stuff to you guys.

Edited by Scott Dolan

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As a music teacher at an inner-city HS for over 15 years, i conducted various forms of research into how non- musician kids perceived music before taking my class. Some findings were:

1) About 98% of the kids that didn't play an instrument or sing could not tell if a pitch was higher or lower than another pitch.

2) The only jazz/swing music they responded to was "Sing, Sing, Sing" , probably because it was in that Jim Carey movie, The Mask.

3) Most of them could not identify the sound of most instruments. Almost nobody could tell that Tal Farlow was playing a guitar, on tests(!)

4) They all hated Esther Phillips. :shrug[1]:

5) When given the opportunity to pass the class by doing an extra credit assignment that consisted of simply listening to any jazz recordings, and explaining why they did or did not like the music, about 50% chose to fail the class.

The other 50% would say they liked the recordings because they found the music relaxing.

Since the kids that played instruments and sang were the polar opposite, the solution might be to have as many students as possible learn instruments and sing in chorus, gospel choir, etc...

However, since Bloomberg assumed mayoral control of the schools, music programs hit rock bottom, with no instrumental programs in ANY elementary schools, barely any (maybe 5%) music programs in Middle School, and approximately 25% of high schools having a basic music program (not just a Chorus).

This 25% was further reduced to almost nothing as a result of Bloomberg forcing music out of the curriculum by requiring students to have double math and English periods, and then closing down almost every High School large enough to have a music program, and dividing each school into three independent charter schools which would make it impossible to have a school band, orchestra, etc...within that school(s).

The fact that most jazz musicians, Charlie Parker, Eric Dolphy, etc...learned how to play their instruments in school is almost beside the point.

The point is how can you expect to have an informed listening audience for jazz with the multiple assaults of hip-hop, non-existent school music programs and technology's destruction of the music business.

I find it amazing that there is any listening audience at all, at this point. :rcry

Edited by sgcim

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As a music teacher at an inner-city HS for over 15 years, i conducted various forms of research into how non- musician kids perceived music before taking my class. Some findings were:

1) About 98% of the kids that didn't play an instrument or sing could not tell if a pitch was higher or lower than another pitch.

2) The only jazz/swing music they responded to was "Sing, Sing, Sing" , probably because it was in that Jim Carey movie, The Mask.

3) Most of them could not identify the sound of most instruments. Almost nobody could tell that Tal Farlow was playing a guitar, on tests(!)

4) They all hated Esther Phillips. :shrug[1]:

5) When given the opportunity to pass the class by doing an extra credit assignment that consisted of simply listening to any jazz recordings, and explaining why they did or did not like the music, about 50% chose to fail the class.

The other 50% would say they liked the recordings because they found the music relaxing.

Since the kids that played instruments and sang were the polar opposite, the solution might be to have as many students as possible learn instruments and sing in chorus, gospel choir, etc...

However, since Bloomberg assumed mayoral control of the schools, music programs hit rock bottom, with no instrumental programs in ANY elementary schools, barely any (maybe 5%) music programs in Middle School, and approximately 25% of high schools having a basic music program (Chorus).

This 25% was further reduced to almost nothing as a result of Bloomberg forcing music out of the curriculum by requiring students to have double math and English periods, and then closing down almost every High School large enough to have a music program, and dividing each school into three independent charter schools which would make it impossible to have a school band, orchestra, etc...within that school(s).

The fact that most jazz musicians, Charlie Parker, Eric Dolphy, etc...learned how to play their instruments in school is almost beside the point.

The point is how can you expect to have an informed listening audience for jazz with the multiple assaults of hip-hop, non-existent school music programs and technology's destruction of the music business.

I find it amazing that there is any listening audience at all, at this point. :rcry

This is probably the most depressing post I've read recently. What makes it more depressing is that I believe it's true.

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As a music teacher at an inner-city HS for over 15 years, i conducted various forms of research into how non- musician kids perceived music before taking my class. Some findings were:

1) About 98% of the kids that didn't play an instrument or sing could not tell if a pitch was higher or lower than another pitch.

2) The only jazz/swing music they responded to was "Sing, Sing, Sing" , probably because it was in that Jim Carey movie, The Mask.

3) Most of them could not identify the sound of most instruments. Almost nobody could tell that Tal Farlow was playing a guitar, on tests(!)

4) They all hated Esther Phillips. :shrug[1]:

5) When given the opportunity to pass the class by doing an extra credit assignment that consisted of simply listening to any jazz recordings, and explaining why they did or did not like the music, about 50% chose to fail the class.

The other 50% would say they liked the recordings because they found the music relaxing.

Since the kids that played instruments and sang were the polar opposite, the solution might be to have as many students as possible learn instruments and sing in chorus, gospel choir, etc...

However, since Bloomberg assumed mayoral control of the schools, music programs hit rock bottom, with no instrumental programs in ANY elementary schools, barely any (maybe 5%) music programs in Middle School, and approximately 25% of high schools having a basic music program (Chorus).

E

The fact that most jazz musicians, Charlie Parker, Eric Dolphy, etc...learned how to play their instruments in school is almost beside the point.

The point is how can you expect to have an informed listening audience for jazz with the multiple assaults of hip-hop, non-existent school music programs and technology's destruction of the music business.

I find it amazing that there is any listening audience at all, at this point. :rcry

Really some amazing facts, Somebody on this thread mentioned that KennyG was or is the last popular instrumental music in Engl . . I wander how many of the 75 million people who bought his album know that he plays soprano sax. no need to go into a is it or isn't it discussion. for the purpose of this dicussion let's call it what we wanna, post fusion or whatever. from the fact alone that he sold 75 million albums and that he is reportedly street level popular in China i'd almost t

be tempted to call it post Cagean.

.

Edited by uli

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Sorry, but I think that's anecdotal nonsense.

I have absolutely no musical training whatsoever. Most Jazz fans I've ever met don't have any either.

Thinking that has something to do with the drop in popularity strikes me as quite a reach.

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always knew you didn't know anything. ;-)

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Sorry, but I think that's anecdotal nonsense.

I have absolutely no musical training whatsoever. Most Jazz fans I've ever met don't have any either.

Thinking that has something to do with the drop in popularity strikes me as quite a reach.

In the first part of my post, I'm not talking about training; I'm talking about exposure to jazz or any other types of music other than hip-hop.

They're not getting exposed to jazz on "Hot 97", they're not getting exposed to it as Mike said on the streets, the schools etc...

My guess is that you were at least exposed to it somewhere earlier, but today it has become as Ralph Ellison would say, the 'invisible man'.

And don't tell me the internet has made things better, because they just follow what ever becomes 'viral' on you tube.

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Right.

It's not on the radio, which is exactly what some,of,us have already stated previously.

Your assessment got too close to crossing that "people are just too stupid to get Jazz" line for my tastes. Perhaps that's not what you meant, but that's how it came across to me.

And I grew up in a household where my mother, father, brother, and sister all had different tastes in music. So I was exposed to a fairly wide variety, but none of it was Jazz. About the closest thing to it was my brother sometimes playing early Chicago or

Chuck Mangione. Though, whenever he did I usually hightailed it for my sister's room to listen to some Elton John or Led Zepplin. But, I get your point.

While I didn't really start to listening to Jazz until my mid 20's, I think being exposed to so many different genres as a child (Classical, old school Country, Smooth Jazz/Adult Contemporary, Classic Rock, Gospel, etc...) possibly me tuned me in to exploring more.

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People got their heads in The Cloud, gonna be a hellstorm of human-sized skullstones when they all get chopped.

In the meantime, I'd like it if kids got to play instruments, but if not, okay, use what you got, just make music, creative music. Have a vision, not just a view.

You take away vision, you take away imagination, you take away a diversion of the redirective/reconstructive impulse, you cloud the mind with a lack of clarity and induce a mentality where confusion seems normal and unquestioning servitude is not as much a choice as it is a perceived successful fulfillment of destiny. The unnatural becomes the apparent natural, and the individual does indeed become dehumanized to at least some degree. Service is beautiful, servility is insidious, one being willful, the other being programmed.

Malcolm X will have died in vain unless and until EVERYBODY gets that.

Whether "jazz" is or is not "popular", I mean, hello, Missed Point Allowing The Ongoing Enslavement To Continue Undetected.

george_clinton-you_shouldnt-nuf_bit_fish

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It occurs to me that none of us has asked the question...Where would jazz have ranked in 1970? 1980? 2010?

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I didn't start listening to jazz until I was 31-32.

Before that my only ancillary exposure was hearing and liking Birds of Fire and Inner Mounting Flame maybe when I was 20-22 and I simply moved on.

A guy named Don Van Vliet mentioned a few names in an interview I read and they included Cecil Taylor and Ornette Coleman

I didn't start with them but I bought Kind of Blue, Mingus @ Antibes and Waltz for Debby.

Liked 2 of the 3 and it was intrigued

Well You Needn't from Monk's Music sealed the deal. I then investigated backwards and frontwards - more frontwards as I wanted to know what existed in 1994 or 1995. It never occurred to me that this music was oly historical once I read the Penguin Guide as they seemed to treat it less nostalgically than I was reading elsewhere.

Then I found jazz central station after having found black saint, hat art, Leo and found out Andrew Cyrille lived a town away and Oliver Lake made a record with him and Reggie Workman called Trio 3 Live in Willisau and to me it was as great as any of the great old records so I learned to love it all.

Then I saw them live

Then a few of us from the old board saw quite a few of them. We saw Joe Maneri, Brotzmann Tentet, Andrew Hill, David S Ware, Gerry Hemingway, Barry Guy, Evan Parker. We loved it like it was 1948 @ Birdland.

No musical background in my house, my school, etc.

I sought it out myself

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It occurs to me that none of us has asked the question...Where would jazz have ranked in 1970? 1980? 2010?

And 1960 - a time often referred to as the jazz boom.

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Almost anyone I know with even a passing interest in jazz has been buying used LPs for decades, and, since prices have tanked, used CDs.

Granted, sales of used albums are not helping dead artists, but I would guess that these listeners represent a substantial part of the jazz audience that is not captured in the sales figures.

I have a room full of jazz LPs and I cannot remember the last time I bought a new, sealed jazz album.

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I'm sure we'd all concede that jazz was always less popular than vocal music, but instrumental singles were still feasible in the 60s and perhaps even the early 70s. Jazz would have been heard on the radio, feature prominently in soundtracks (whereas it is quite an anomaly nowadays) and successful record labels could be launched dedicated to jazz. I don't think any of these things is true any more, except in the narrowest technical terms. Yes, you can launch a boutique label and have some CDs pressed, yes, there are some internet radio stations with jazz, etc.

While I think it is extremely foolish for anyone to go to college to study jazz or jazz studies or however it is labeled, I also have pity on these kids. They are longing for a world that ended when Gen X was growing up. And either they will be labeled as mere imitators of the legends of the past, shameful sellouts who try to merge jazz with hip-hop, rap or some other populist genre, or (most likely) soul-less innovators in esoteric, anti-populist free jazz.

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I'm sure we'd all concede that jazz was always less popular than vocal music, but instrumental singles were still feasible in the 60s and perhaps even the early 70s.

And don't forget the huge popularity of instrumental electronica in the 1990s and early 2000s.

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I'm sure we'd all concede that jazz was always less popular than vocal music, but instrumental singles were still feasible in the 60s and perhaps even the early 70s.

And don't forget the huge popularity of instrumental electronica in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Yes, though I am not sure how much of that charted aside from something like US3 Cantaloop (which if I recall accurately, many here loathe).

Looking through these various posts and key threads, with a semi-detached eye, there really is just so much snobbery it is pretty sickening. Any artist that is under 50 that gets halfway popular is almost immediately knocked off the pedestal. I have indulged from time to time, though try to stay out of it, mostly since my emotional attachment to jazz is probably half of what it was 10 to 15 years ago.

But yes, in terms of its overall cultural relevance, I do think jazz is now dead. Sure, there are some legacy projects (perhaps more in Europe where there is some public funding keeping this stuff going) and a few cities where jazz seems truly alive, but not for the majority of people who couldn't care less.

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It occurs to me that none of us has asked the question...Where would jazz have ranked in 1970? 1980? 2010?

And 1960 - a time often referred to as the jazz boom.

i don' know sales figures but the narrative has it that since the end of the swing dance bands in the late the 30ies the popularity of jazz has been declining.i don't know if there where peaks in between but the trend was downward. one thing for sure can be said the music itself is incredibly resistant to the temptations of audiance expectations..think about it, for maybe 70 % of it's total history up to now it went it's own way.

.

Edited by uli

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As a music teacher at an inner-city HS for over 15 years, i conducted various forms of research into how non- musician kids perceived music before taking my class. Some findings were:

1) About 98% of the kids that didn't play an instrument or sing could not tell if a pitch was higher or lower than another pitch.

2) The only jazz/swing music they responded to was "Sing, Sing, Sing" , probably because it was in that Jim Carey movie, The Mask.

3) Most of them could not identify the sound of most instruments. Almost nobody could tell that Tal Farlow was playing a guitar, on tests(!)

4) They all hated Esther Phillips. :shrug[1]:

5) When given the opportunity to pass the class by doing an extra credit assignment that consisted of simply listening to any jazz recordings, and explaining why they did or did not like the music, about 50% chose to fail the class.

The other 50% would say they liked the recordings because they found the music relaxing.

Since the kids that played instruments and sang were the polar opposite, the solution might be to have as many students as possible learn instruments and sing in chorus, gospel choir, etc...

However, since Bloomberg assumed mayoral control of the schools, music programs hit rock bottom, with no instrumental programs in ANY elementary schools, barely any (maybe 5%) music programs in Middle School, and approximately 25% of high schools having a basic music program (Chorus).

This 25% was further reduced to almost nothing as a result of Bloomberg forcing music out of the curriculum by requiring students to have double math and English periods, and then closing down almost every High School large enough to have a music program, and dividing each school into three independent charter schools which would make it impossible to have a school band, orchestra, etc...within that school(s).

The fact that most jazz musicians, Charlie Parker, Eric Dolphy, etc...learned how to play their instruments in school is almost beside the point.

The point is how can you expect to have an informed listening audience for jazz with the multiple assaults of hip-hop, non-existent school music programs and technology's destruction of the music business.

I find it amazing that there is any listening audience at all, at this point. :rcry

This does not surprise me at all. I have to socialize with a lot of adults, ages 21 to 65, for my business, from different types of work and different areas of the U.S. Many are highly educated, and some are blue collar workers. Virtually none of them know what a trumpet sounds like as opposed to a saxophone, but what surprised me a little is that virtually none of them know whether they are looking at a trumpet, trombone, or saxophone when they see one in person.

I don't think it matters at all whether swing music is presented to these adults as opposed to bop or avant garde. They will not be receptive to any of it.

My experience with this large number of adults in the past few years is that virtually no one knows anything about jazz, no one ever thinks about jazz, and if jazz is brought up in passing, they react very negatively, as a knee jerk reaction. If someone suggests going to a bar where live jazz is playing, a common reaction is that the group would rather be dipped in hot oil than have to enter a room where jazz is playing.

I was surprised at the lack of awareness of jazz and the negativity toward jazz. Basically it seems to me that these adults like catchy songs with singing (pop, country and hip hop, for the most part), and do not think about expanding their cultural horizons. Also, adults in their 30s and 40s seem to have a different frame of reference for pop music than the "classic rock" of the 1960s/70s/80s. a whole other world of pop music which came later and which they think is just great.

We are in a cocoon here on this board, not representative of the general public. I hasten to add that it is a cocoon I am very glad to be part of.

Edited by Hot Ptah

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My experience with this large number of adults in the past few years is that virtually no one knows anything about jazz, no one ever thinks about jazz, and if jazz is brought up in passing, they react very negatively, as a knee jerk reaction. If someone suggests going to a bar where live jazz is playing, a common reaction is that the group would rather be dipped in hot oil than have to enter a room where jazz is playing.

I was surprised at the lack of awareness of jazz and the negativity toward jazz. Basically it seems to me that these adults like catchy songs with singing (pop, country and hip hop, for the most part), and do not think about expanding their cultural horizons. Also, adults in their 30s and 40s seem to have a different frame of reference for pop music than the "classic rock" of the 1960s/70s/80s. a whole other world of pop music which came later and which they think is just great.

Certainly true, overall, but the non-presence of jazz (which again invariably raises the question "WHICH STYLE OF JAZZ are we talking about"?) in the awareness of the music-listening public AT LARGE to a certain degree is of the own making of the jazz "in-crowd" (the self-professed "true jazz fans").

Small wonder many occasional listeners would not venture into jazz places if the only jazz foisted unto them was "far-out weird noises" that they could not relate to at first listening. You cannot expect people to embrace music (which ALWAYS is a matter of very personal TASTE) if you confront them with something radically different they have never been exposed to before instead of EASING them into it and providing them with opportunities to gradually find their way into the music and then let them decide for themselves. Expecting people to expand their cultural horizons when it is just about a night out in a bar is maybe not the best approach for hardcore jazz zealots to make converts.

In the 90s certain styles of jazz (yes, Neo-Swing or "Retro Swing" or whatever you would like to call it) was indeed comparatively big and had its following (and some of it is still going on today). And of course the keepers of (self-professed, again) "true" jazz faith had nothing better to do but to blast everything from that corner - too diluted, too much watered-down, not enough art in it, musically dissatisfying, pale imitations, etc. etc.

And all this without even bothering to distinguish between what's good (there were/are good bands with quite some originality) and bad (yes, there were/are weak bands, just like eversywhere else - I'd bet avantgarde has its share of "emperor's clothes" cases too if you look closer).

OTOH, even if hardcore jazz fans would fault many of these bands for the above in one swipe (which I still feel is unfounded if you do not differentiate) they'd have to admit a lot of what has been played by these bands (and still is, in certain places) is much closer to jazz than a lot of really non-jazz pop music that the general public is exposed to everywhere today.

And those who went to live gigs by these bands (and not all of them had been diehard jazz fans before - far from it) certainly knew what a trumpet looked like and would have been able to tell a trumpet, a trombone and the various saxes apart (as well as their sounds). ;)

Regardless of whether you'd loathe these bands because, for example, they combined (oh horror!) punk rock influences with big band sax sections and lounge vocals. After all, where's the fundamental difference betwen the influences these band sworked under and the influences from non-jazz at work in some of those "world-music-cum-jazz" projects? One man's meat is another man's poison. Everywhere, all the time ...

And at least over here, those neo-swing bands spawned a subculture of fans, listeners, dancers and bands that do keep playing their own variations on a SWING theme. They do listen to the old masters and just as much to current bands playing in that idiom. Can't find much wrong with that. There are MUCH worse stepping stones into other (maybe more advanced) styles of jazz.

But if jazz cannot or won't reach out to the straw that might help to keep jazz above water, then ... well ... :shrug[1]:

Edited by Big Beat Steve

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I was surprised at the lack of awareness of jazz and the negativity toward jazz. Basically it seems to me that these adults like catchy songs with singing (pop, country and hip hop, for the most part), and do not think about expanding their cultural horizons. Also, adults in their 30s and 40s seem to have a different frame of reference for pop music than the "classic rock" of the 1960s/70s/80s. a whole other world of pop music which came later and which they think is just great.

And this kind of statement plays right into the uppity attitude that too many people associate with Jazz.

How do you know their cultural experience and pursuits don't outpace yours 2 to 1? Just because they have no interest in Jazz doesn't make them a bunch of troglodytes picking fleas off of each other.

Also, who cares what their frame of reference is for Pop music?It's their frame of reference, not yours. Nobody should have to clear their frame of reference for anything with anyone else. Nor should they be judged on it.

I don't hunt for my own food, but many folks I live around do. Are they to stand aghast because I'd rather go to the grocery store than learn how to hunt and fish?

We all choose different paths in this world. It's time Jazz fans get a fucking grip.

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My experience with this large number of adults in the past few years is that virtually no one knows anything about jazz, no one ever thinks about jazz, and if jazz is brought up in passing, they react very negatively, as a knee jerk reaction. If someone suggests going to a bar where live jazz is playing, a common reaction is that the group would rather be dipped in hot oil than have to enter a room where jazz is playing.

I was surprised at the lack of awareness of jazz and the negativity toward jazz. Basically it seems to me that these adults like catchy songs with singing (pop, country and hip hop, for the most part), and do not think about expanding their cultural horizons. Also, adults in their 30s and 40s seem to have a different frame of reference for pop music than the "classic rock" of the 1960s/70s/80s. a whole other world of pop music which came later and which they think is just great.

Certainly true, overall, but the non-presence of jazz (which again invariably raises the question "WHICH STYLE OF JAZZ are we talking about"?) in the awareness of the music-listening public AT LARGE to a certain degree is of the own making of the jazz "in-crowd" (the self-professed "true jazz fans").

Small wonder many occasional listeners would not venture into jazz places if the only jazz foisted unto them was "far-out weird noises" that they could not relate to at first listening. You cannot expect people to embrace music (which ALWAYS is a matter of very personal TASTE) if you confront them with something radically different they have never been exposed to before instead of EASING them into it and providing them with opportunities to gradually find their way into the music and then let them decide for themselves. Expecting people to expand their cultural horizons when it is just about a night out in a bar is maybe not the best approach for hardcore jazz zealots to make converts.

In the 90s certain styles of jazz (yes, Neo-Swing or "Retro Swing" or whatever you would like to call it) was indeed comparatively big and had its following (and some of it is still going on today). And of course the keepers of (self-professed, again) "true" jazz faith had nothing better to do but to blast everything from that corner - too diluted, too much watered-down, not enough art in it, musically dissatisfying, pale imitations, etc. etc.

And all this without even bothering to distinguish between what's good (there were/are good bands with quite some originality) and bad (yes, there were/are weak bands, just like eversywhere else - I'd bet avantgarde has its share of "emperor's clothes" cases too if you look closer).

OTOH, even if hardcore jazz fans would fault many of these bands for the above in one swipe (which I still feel is unfounded if you do not differentiate) they'd have to admit a lot of what has been played by these bands (and still is, in certain places) is much closer to jazz than a lot of really non-jazz pop music that the general public is exposed to everywhere today.

And those who went to live gigs by these bands (and not all of them had been diehard jazz fans before - far from it) certainly knew what a trumpet looked like and would have been able to tell a trumpet, a trombone and the various saxes apart (as well as their sounds). ;)

Regardless of whether you'd loathe these bands because, for example, they combined (oh horror!) punk rock influences with big band sax sections and lounge vocals. After all, where's the fundamental difference betwen the influences these band sworked under and the influences from non-jazz at work in some of those "world-music-cum-jazz" projects? One man's meat is another man's poison. Everywhere, all the time ...

And at least over here, those neo-swing bands spawned a subculture of fans, listeners, dancers and bands that do keep playing their own variations on a SWING theme. They do listen to the old masters and just as much to current bands playing in that idiom. Can't find much wrong with that. There are MUCH worse stepping stones into other (maybe more advanced) styles of jazz.

But if jazz cannot or won't reach out to the straw that might help to keep jazz above water, then ... well ... :shrug[1]:

Got nothing against Neo-Swing or "Retro Swing" for what it is, but let's be clear about what it is/was and is/was not. Given that that trend, or what you will, emerged in the '90s, one would think that if it had then the potential to draw its fans to any related form of jazz, we would have been aware (or would have been made aware) of that. I'm still waiting. Rather -- and again no blame here, provided one had no such expectations -- it was an arguably fun phenomenon for a while, and then it more or less wound down of its own accord, as such phenomena do -- not, in this case, because the jazz world didn't embrace/acted snotty toward it. If you're going to tell me that what happened or didn't happen to Neo-Swing or "Retro Swing" was significantly a matter of jazz's not being able or willing "to reach out to the straw that might help to keep jazz above water," I see no evidence that that straw ever existed. That is, again, Neo-Swing or "Retro Swing" was just the fun and mostly social phenomenon it was; what evidence is there that anyone or anything in or around it was a straw for jazz to reach out to -- other than it gave some players some more or less enjoyable gigs that they otherwise would not have gotten?

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I was surprised at the lack of awareness of jazz and the negativity toward jazz. Basically it seems to me that these adults like catchy songs with singing (pop, country and hip hop, for the most part), and do not think about expanding their cultural horizons. Also, adults in their 30s and 40s seem to have a different frame of reference for pop music than the "classic rock" of the 1960s/70s/80s. a whole other world of pop music which came later and which they think is just great.

And this kind of statement plays right into the uppity attitude that too many people associate with Jazz.

How do you know their cultural experience and pursuits don't outpace yours 2 to 1? Just because they have no interest in Jazz doesn't make them a bunch of troglodytes picking fleas off of each other.

Also, who cares what their frame of reference is for Pop music?It's their frame of reference, not yours. Nobody should have to clear their frame of reference for anything with anyone else. Nor should they be judged on it.

I don't hunt for my own food, but many folks I live around do. Are they to stand aghast because I'd rather go to the grocery store than learn how to hunt and fish?

We all choose different paths in this world. It's time Jazz fans get a fucking grip.

Oh, you misunderstood me. I am not saying that it is a bad thing that these people like later pop, country and hip hop, and have no interest in jazz. I think that there is much worthy music in those genres. They seem happy listening to what they like. Live and let live, I say. I was just commenting that it is unrealistic that adults with no interest in jazz could develop such interests if only.....if only they heard swing instead of avant garde........if only there was more jazz radio......if only something else. No, I think it is not realistic that they will ever like jazz no matter what. I don't have a problem with that.

I was making the observation that some of the discussion on this thread seems to assume that more people have more of a knowledge and interest in jazz, or could have such an interest, than is realistic.

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My experience with this large number of adults in the past few years is that virtually no one knows anything about jazz, no one ever thinks about jazz, and if jazz is brought up in passing, they react very negatively, as a knee jerk reaction. If someone suggests going to a bar where live jazz is playing, a common reaction is that the group would rather be dipped in hot oil than have to enter a room where jazz is playing.

I was surprised at the lack of awareness of jazz and the negativity toward jazz. Basically it seems to me that these adults like catchy songs with singing (pop, country and hip hop, for the most part), and do not think about expanding their cultural horizons. Also, adults in their 30s and 40s seem to have a different frame of reference for pop music than the "classic rock" of the 1960s/70s/80s. a whole other world of pop music which came later and which they think is just great.

Certainly true, overall, but the non-presence of jazz (which again invariably raises the question "WHICH STYLE OF JAZZ are we talking about"?) in the awareness of the music-listening public AT LARGE to a certain degree is of the own making of the jazz "in-crowd" (the self-professed "true jazz fans").

Small wonder many occasional listeners would not venture into jazz places if the only jazz foisted unto them was "far-out weird noises" that they could not relate to at first listening. You cannot expect people to embrace music (which ALWAYS is a matter of very personal TASTE) if you confront them with something radically different they have never been exposed to before instead of EASING them into it and providing them with opportunities to gradually find their way into the music and then let them decide for themselves. Expecting people to expand their cultural horizons when it is just about a night out in a bar is maybe not the best approach for hardcore jazz zealots to make converts.

In the 90s certain styles of jazz (yes, Neo-Swing or "Retro Swing" or whatever you would like to call it) was indeed comparatively big and had its following (and some of it is still going on today). And of course the keepers of (self-professed, again) "true" jazz faith had nothing better to do but to blast everything from that corner - too diluted, too much watered-down, not enough art in it, musically dissatisfying, pale imitations, etc. etc.

And all this without even bothering to distinguish between what's good (there were/are good bands with quite some originality) and bad (yes, there were/are weak bands, just like eversywhere else - I'd bet avantgarde has its share of "emperor's clothes" cases too if you look closer).

OTOH, even if hardcore jazz fans would fault many of these bands for the above in one swipe (which I still feel is unfounded if you do not differentiate) they'd have to admit a lot of what has been played by these bands (and still is, in certain places) is much closer to jazz than a lot of really non-jazz pop music that the general public is exposed to everywhere today.

And those who went to live gigs by these bands (and not all of them had been diehard jazz fans before - far from it) certainly knew what a trumpet looked like and would have been able to tell a trumpet, a trombone and the various saxes apart (as well as their sounds). ;)

Regardless of whether you'd loathe these bands because, for example, they combined (oh horror!) punk rock influences with big band sax sections and lounge vocals. After all, where's the fundamental difference betwen the influences these band sworked under and the influences from non-jazz at work in some of those "world-music-cum-jazz" projects? One man's meat is another man's poison. Everywhere, all the time ...

And at least over here, those neo-swing bands spawned a subculture of fans, listeners, dancers and bands that do keep playing their own variations on a SWING theme. They do listen to the old masters and just as much to current bands playing in that idiom. Can't find much wrong with that. There are MUCH worse stepping stones into other (maybe more advanced) styles of jazz.

But if jazz cannot or won't reach out to the straw that might help to keep jazz above water, then ... well ... :shrug[1]:

Got nothing against Neo-Swing or "Retro Swing" for what it is, but let's be clear about what it is/was and is/was not. Given that that trend, or what you will, emerged in the '90s, one would think that if it had then the potential to draw its fans to any related form of jazz, we would have been aware (or would have been made aware) of that. I'm still waiting. Rather -- and again no blame here, provided one had no such expectations -- it was an arguably fun phenomenon for a while, and then it more or less wound down of its own accord, as such phenomena do -- not, in this case, because the jazz world didn't embrace/acted snotty toward it. If you're going to tell me that what happened or didn't happen to Neo-Swing or "Retro Swing" was significantly a matter of jazz's not being able or willing "to reach out to the straw that might help to keep jazz above water," I see no evidence that that straw ever existed. That is, again, Neo-Swing or "Retro Swing" was just the fun and mostly social phenomenon it was; what evidence is there that anyone or anything in or around it was a straw for jazz to reach out to -- other than it gave some players some more or less enjoyable gigs that they otherwise would not have gotten?

I agree with Larry here. I think that we have actually seen this phenomena before and after the Neo Swing bands, and it is always short lived, when the swing era music gets a brief moment in the pop sun. I am thinking of the Nat King Cole/Natalle Cole duet, Bette Midler's hit with "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy", Tony Bennett's moments of general popularity. To me, these are much like Hugh Masekela's hit with "Grazing in the Grass", or Malo's hit with "Suavecito". The pop world sometimes embraces a different element for a very brief time and gives it some unexpected popularity, but it is not sustaining.

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