Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Hot Ptah

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

221 posts in this topic

It may not be jazz the way y'all want it, but Kendrick Lamar is either betting against the idea that people don't like jazz, or he doesn't care.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe that formulaic radio programming of most of your radio stations is to blame in part that people just don't get exposed to anything but the most obvious acts and styles of music?

I actually think that people in the U.S. are widely exposed to jazz and other forms of non-contemporary pop music. It's playing in the background at Starbucks, Barnes & Noble, restaurants and bars. Anyone can access jazz, blues, folk, classical on Spotify, Pandora, etc. I don't think that exposure is the issue.

It is interesting to me that a thread which started with an article about jazz's sales figures has become a thread about what some view as a declining standard of musical worth, and others view as a population which just doesn't care, for whatever reason.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can guarantee that Kendrick's record sells very well.

Flying Lotus' last record YOU'RE DEAD is in a similar vein. There is jazz all over it, but I doubt jazz fans are the ones buying it because it is classified as hip-hop or electronic.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I actually think that people in the U.S. are widely exposed to jazz and other forms of non-contemporary pop music. It's playing in the background at Starbucks, Barnes & Noble, restaurants and bars. Anyone can access jazz, blues, folk, classical on Spotify, Pandora, etc. I don't think that exposure is the issue.

Man, that strikes me as wildly optimistic. Playing in the background at shops and restaurants counts as meaningful exposure? I'd be willing to bet in most places, if you asked people when they left if they remembered if there even WAS music playing in the background they'd likely not remember.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's kind of funny. I have a handful of friends who AREN'T into music that will call me from time to time to tell me that they were at Panera or you name it and they really liked the jazz that was playing. I remember one time specifically when a friend had a particularly good signal. I responded "Of course you like it. Everybody does! That's Herbie Fucking Nichols!" Result: iTunes purchase. He has at least one full album of Herbie Nichols, and probably no other jazz in his "collection." I did turn that same friend on to Nilsson does Newman though. I had a shot and I took it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Over the past fifteen years or so, I've put my butt in as many or more seats in Chicago venues that presented the music of the local avant-garde scene than I did in any club or concert seats when I was reviewing jazz performances regularly for the Chicago Tribune from the late '70s to the late '80s and in all the years before that, from the time I could get into places that sold alcohol. But in the last several years (I'm now 72) my attendance has dropped off a good deal -- in part because I've remarried and have a 13-year-old stepdaughter, which means that my wife wakes up at 6:45 a.m. to drive her to school, which means that I pretty much wake up at the same time, which makes staying up late the night before less attractive; in part because it seems like the very yeasty Chicago AG scene began to get a bit less yeasty about the time my attendance began to fall off; in part because my favorite venue folded and one of the chief newer ones doesn't feel that comfortable to me (the folded favorite one was the most comfortable place, physically and terms of atmosphere, that I've ever listened to music). I should add that I don't like to go to the chief local mainstream venue for the lack of a comfortable atmosphere reason; also there just aren't many people who play there that I have a strong desire to see these days. Benny Golson, for example, would be an exception; venerable he is but still fervently creative. Not to insult his memory, but in the latter portion of his career I had no desire to catch, say, Clark Terry because I felt I'd already heard most everything he was going to play.

Sorry if I'm being too discursive, but perhaps my behavior and feelings are indicative of some aspect of the lay of the land. I would say that my general stance -- details of age and second-marriage life taken into account -- is that basically I want to hear NEW music: either music that's stylistically novel in the sense that part of the pleasure it gives me, when it's good, is the pleasure of figuring out the novel what and how of what is being said, or music that is stylistically familiar to me but still feels like it's being made "in the now" (Golson or Lee Konitz might be good examples). If the music isn't new in one of those two senses, I'm not that interested anymore.

According to a trumpet player friend of mine, Clark Terry couldn't even play the trumpet for the last 20 years.

He saw people like Clark at Town Hall in Queens about 20 years ago, and he had difficulty even getting notes out.

The same thing happened with his idol, Freddie Hubbard- he could barely play towards the end.

IMHO, Lee Konitz is a shadow of what he used to be...

Jazz musicians are like athletes in that sense.

Sgcim, it seems like you often resort to what friends tell you and then post rumors or outright falsehoods. What do your ears tell you?

Regarding Clark Terry, if you're referring to the last 20 years of his active career, that's false. I saw him toward the end of his touring days, in December 2007, and he still could play. If you'd like to hear him on record from his later years, his 2004 album of Gil Evans's Porgy and Bess arrangements is masterful. Although you've claimed to have great admiration for him, to post such utter nonsense in the wake of his passing is very disrespectful, in my opinion.

Freddie Hubbard suffered a well-documented playing injury to his lip, which is discussed in this JazzTimes article. Before he suffered that injury in 1992, he still had his chops (see his album Bolivia, recorded in 1990), so any decline in his playing wasn't some kind of natural event like an athlete's fight with age.

I saw / heard Lee live in a quartet last night.

It was a little sad & surrealistic.

He sang (scatted?) on every song.

Appeared to be out of breath. Maybe it was the altitude.

When he played mostly it was 8 bar segments.

Set overall was quite short.

Hope he's O.K.

BTW, George Schuller played very nicely.

Sorry to hear that. But a friend who may have the most acute ear of anyone I know heard Lee in Chicago recently and was very impressed.

I had only heard Lee Konitz a bit on record before first catching him in August 2012. Since then, I have seen him play in five states, including catching both sets last month and in December. I posted my thoughts on a West Virginia concert Howard Reich reviews the Chicago concert here . From what I have experienced over the past 2.5 years, I can definitely say that Konitz is still playing at a high level, and I am very fortunate to have had so many opportunities to see him. I was hoping to catch him at the Regattabar in June, but I am in a friend's wedding that day and it appears that the wedding is still on, unfortunately. :rfr

Edited by Justin V

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I suppose if you went alone…:impossible.

But if I'm out with family and/or friends, I'm not the least bit interested in background music.

Perhaps it's just me...

Edited by Scott Dolan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Young people who are into rock or techno or hip hop will not and do not necessarily hear a tenor saxophone being played brilliantly which might include altissimo or overblowing as "far-out wierd noises".

Your stereotyping and generalizations about music you are barely familiar with can only be matched by the volume of words you apply to denigrate such music.

These potential new listeners might, in fact, find more subdued or historical forms of jazz limited in sound and not nearly aggressive, bracing, striking or intense enough based on many modern forms of music that include many sounds/approaches that they have listened to - sounds that the free jazz and avant-garde masters have incorporated into their music over the past 50 years. Why the best of these forms remain vibrant, fresh and alive. Because they are still in the process of creation. Often seemingly timeless - but if one's ears are open, the music is there to be heard.

Thank you Steve. That needed to be said and you did in your usual heat-seeking manner.

Edited by mjazzg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you Steve. That needed to be said and you did in your usual heat-seeking manner.

Read the sequel to this to get a somewhat more balanced picture, if you will and if you care to ... ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you Steve. That needed to be said and you did in your usual heat-seeking manner.

Read the sequel to this to get a somewhat more balanced picture, if you will and if you care to ... ;)

but I'm not sure Steve's point is 'unbalanced'or requires balancing. I was struck by his and Impossible's posts (re: Flying Lotus, Kendrick Lamarr) that both widen things to think about how other contemporary and exploratory music in other genres can create a cross pollination for and of audiences.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I actually think that people in the U.S. are widely exposed to jazz and other forms of non-contemporary pop music. It's playing in the background at Starbucks, Barnes & Noble, restaurants and bars. Anyone can access jazz, blues, folk, classical on Spotify, Pandora, etc. I don't think that exposure is the issue.

Man, that strikes me as wildly optimistic. Playing in the background at shops and restaurants counts as meaningful exposure? I'd be willing to bet in most places, if you asked people when they left if they remembered if there even WAS music playing in the background they'd likely not remember.

When I worked in records shops (various shops and times in the '90s), 'I heard this in a coffee shop' was a big source of inquiries - also a hard one because even if they asked for info on the recording it often got messed up somehow...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I imagine most of us on this site went through a pretty similar experience back in the days of our youth (whenever that youth was) . Developing an interest in music, realising that there were even greater riches to be found beyond what was easy to hear and then finding a completely involving hobby in satisfying that curiosity. It's a bit patronising to believe that much the same sort of experience is not happening to lots of young people today. It's just that music is less compartmentalised today (despite the best efforts of 'the industry'). Maybe once you've got beyond the naturally tribal years of your teens if you've got that itch for music you are less likely to think in terms of being a jazz or classical or whatever fan. The 'tradition' and 'history' that mean so much to older listeners (and the boundary drawing that accompanies it) is possibly of limited interest.

Very interesting article in April's issue of Froots exploring 'whatever happened to World Music?'. It charts a steep decline in interest around 2008 which it puts down to the recession, difficulties of bands from outside Europe/USA in getting into Britain given the anti-terror restrictions and a growing disinterest in the media (it itemises the programmes lost on the BBC). As the article says, the music is still there. It's just harder to hear here (yes, it's out there on the web...once you know it's there).

Edited by A Lark Ascending

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I actually think that people in the U.S. are widely exposed to jazz and other forms of non-contemporary pop music. It's playing in the background at Starbucks, Barnes & Noble, restaurants and bars. Anyone can access jazz, blues, folk, classical on Spotify, Pandora, etc. I don't think that exposure is the issue.

Man, that strikes me as wildly optimistic. Playing in the background at shops and restaurants counts as meaningful exposure? I'd be willing to bet in most places, if you asked people when they left if they remembered if there even WAS music playing in the background they'd likely not remember.

When I worked in records shops (various shops and times in the '90s), 'I heard this in a coffee shop' was a big source of inquiries - also a hard one because even if they asked for info on the recording it often got messed up somehow...

Fair enough, my friend.

I rescind my previous comments on the matter. I'll gladly accept what you, Hot Ptah, and .:.impossible have stated. I haven't had the same experience, but know well enough when I'm outnumbered 3-1 by folks whose opinions and insight I respect, I'm most likely betting on the wrong horse.

Besides, what you three are stating is far more positive in the grand scheme.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

theres a lot of margins of error in something like this, 1st of all it is about CD sales, and thus they are concluding from that- jazz is least popular genre in US.....

.....jazz is believe it or not, a genre of music primarily intended for vinyl format, so most ppl who really like jazz, arent buying cds anyway. jazz isnt the least popular genre, all u can conclude is that jazz cd sales are in the toilet, but all cd sales are in the toilet...

Edited by chewy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey, we can't all be popular. I think the real problem for a lot of us is not the overall lack of popularity in general, but that a lot of smart people we know that tend to have good taste in movies/books/art/food/fashion etc avoid jazz like a bad smell, or at best pay it lip service.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the real problem for a lot of us is not the overall lack of popularity in general, but that a lot of smart people we know that tend to have good taste in movies/books/art/food/fashion etc avoid jazz like a bad smell, or at best pay it lip service.

As for lip service, I remember having heard more than one story (from a secondhand record dealer with a huge selection of jazz) about how he had received an order from a client to compile him a selection of BLUE NOTE vinyls to go with his hip, trendy, designer/loft apartment he had only recently had refurbished and furnished. Blue Notes displayed like coffee table books for the impressionable visitors of those lofts to marvel at? :D

Combine this with the attraction that "jazz" still seems to hold to some who tend to label under "jazz" quite a variety of music not classifiable anywhere else and you have lots of lip service indeed.

"Jazz" still seems to have some mileage left as a label associated with a specific image, but if you try to pin down WHAT kind of jazz (or muisc marketed as jazz) we are ACTUALLY talking about in any given instance, this seems to be getting harder and harder and might well be a reason why those you refer to above tend to shy away.

Edited by Big Beat Steve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

.....jazz is believe it or not, a genre of music primarily intended for vinyl format...

I love how you present this as fact, when the reality is that it's one of the sillier things that been said in this thread.

Edited by Scott Dolan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

.....jazz is believe it or not, a genre of music primarily intended for vinyl format...

I love how you present this as fact, when the reality is that it's one of the sillier things that been said in this thread.

I must admit that even I - an inveterate vinyl fan - would definitely not subscribe to this "statement". ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In terms of vintage recordings, chewy might be right - people I know who own record stores sell far, far more jazz on LP than they ever have on CD. It's like night and day. Used LPs wouldn't factor into such ratings but new reissues might - I'm not sure if all formats are tracked equally.

Edited by clifford_thornton

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Vinyl fetish in no way implies a genre was intended for a specific playback medium. If that were the case you'd have had record labels and artists refusing to put their product on CD.

Sorry, it's an absurd notion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would have thought in these technologically advanced but strangely dumbed down and diminished times, that a genre being the least popular in terms of sales as having some distinct value.

Who cares about the herd and what they are buying?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Who cares about the herd and what they are buying?

Because at some point, music companies will simply cut their losses and refuse to even reissue the product they own, let alone release new recordings. At some point it won't even be worth it for advertisers to support legacy jazz festivals. Of course, those of us who have hoarded the music can listen to it in our man caves to our hearts' content.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's not complicated, really, Aebersold records need to be turned into Karaoke libraries, then a few people start showing up doing Jazz Karaoke, those people get laid because of their radiantcool jazzaura, then next thing you know, you got a trend, because everybody likes getting laid. Then people start buying records to learn the tunes to get the sex next time at the club. Clubs will not look askance at any of that, because being there for people showing up trying to get laid is pretty much what they do, ok?

The first person who does the Woody Shaw Karaoke goes into the Hall Of Fame right with the first human to eat an oyster.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Because at some point, music companies will simply cut their losses and refuse to even reissue the product they own, let alone release new recordings.

I seriously doubt that. They can simply digitize everything and sell it for the same price they're getting for CDs, but with a lot lower overhead. The majors have already done that for the most part.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.