Monday, May 18, 2009

Is it the "j" word?

Peter Bacon, in his blog, berates the Observer Music Monthly for the lack of jazz coverage. Indeed, the last time I recall more than a paragraph of jazz is when they had a photo of Gwilym Simcock as an up and coming jazz musician. Wearing a Superman costume! (Tried to find it on the web but couldn't)
Andy Sheppard, interviewed about John Coltrane by Matthew Parris, had to put up with most of the programme discussing Coltrane's drug habit as clearly Parris had no interest in the music. (Andy did a great job in turning the subject round to Coltrane's genius despite this.)
Is there a problem with the word "jazz" and its connotations? Has it been putting women off going to gigs as mentioned in Howard Mandel's blog. I think that, for me, too many musicians and people get hung up about the word. The word isn't the problem, it's sometimes an intimidating atmosphere, sometimes ignorance of journalists and people in the music industry who don't appreciate music - just "product".
On Saturday, for Ian Shaw's gig at the Vortex, we had at least two groups of women on a night out together and most of the rest were couples or families. Last week we even had one night (for The North Trio) where the audience was split 60:40 female to male. It's the same debate about the age of audiences.
Well, if one spends the whole time putting people off with high admission prices and making people feel that they need to understand the full repertoire of Charlie Parker before they are allowed in through the door, what can one expect? And if the music media is getting lazy and looking for quick fixes, ditto?
The music itself is fine. It's the people

1 comment:

Jazzcds said...

This is where you can find the Observer article about Gwilym Simcock, although the fab picture is no longer there!
Gwilym Simcock- Fast ForwardChris Allen