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Jazz events with no jazz

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by brianrost, May 1, 2018.

  1. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    I've promoted my own events in the past, so I understand the need to have acts on the bill that will draw but I am getting tired of events that use the word jazz in the name but have little or no jazz.

    The latest is a "Jazz at Sunset" series of shows near where I live. So far, the lineup is a zydeco band (I love zydeco, but it's not jazz) and a Chicago blues band. Seems like anything that isn't rock qualifies as jazz to the promoters :banghead: :banghead: :banghead:

    In other festival listings for this summer I've seen "jazz" fests headlined by the Mavericks (great band, but country!), Edgar Winter and Todd Rundgren (both rock). Then many more with soul/R&B performers topping the bill.
    gebass6, Pbassmanca, csc2048b and 5 others like this.
  2. They all attract the same 'Wine & Cheese' crowd.

    The best way to deter the Beer/Denim/Motorcycle type crowds is put Jazz or Classical in the title.
  3. Keyser Soze

    Keyser Soze Supporting Member

    The shark was jumped 20+ years ago when the Montreux Jazz Festival booked Foreigner.
  4. eJake


    May 22, 2011
    New Orleans
    I don't want to troll too hard here but what's the problem? Seems like some serious first world issues to me. Being from New Orleans (where jazz fest is going on right now at a racetrack with 10 stages and one jazz tent) people are always saying it's not really a "jazz" fest. My response is always, did you go? Did you have a good time? What's the effing problem?!
    mexicant likes this.
  5. dhergert

    dhergert Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2018
    Blue Zone, California
    The same issues and almost identical discussions happen often with bluegrass. It's the evolution of a genre. Resistance is futile, you will be assimilated.
    Pbassmanca, DrayMiles and JRA like this.
  6. Steven Ayres

    Steven Ayres Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2007
    Northern Arizona
    I'd take that a step farther: It's what happens when a style (specific) becomes a genre (general). Bluegrass was a specific style, but as the performers expanded the rep, "bluegrass" became a genre that I would now characterize as "music usually drawing from the folk tradition and played on strings, without drums." Jazz was similarly a specific style, then as it was accepted as pop music the rep expanded, the style diversified beyond recognition, and 'jazz' became a concept within the genre. So the purists and the pragmatists are both correct.
    JMacBass65, Jhengsman and longfinger like this.
  7. statsc

    statsc Supporting Member

    Apr 23, 2010
    Burlington, VT
    Wynton Marsalis wrote the following in 1988:

    "To many people, any kind of popular music now can be lumped with jazz. As a result, audiences too often come to jazz with generalized misconceptions about what it is and what it is supposed to be. Too often, what is represented as jazz isn't jazz at all. Despite attempts by writers and record companies and promoters and educators and even musicians to blur the lines for commercial purposes, rock isn't jazz and new age isn't jazz, and neither are pop or third stream. There may be much that is good in all of them, but they aren't jazz.

    I recently completed a tour of jazz festivals in Europe in which only two out of 10 bands were jazz bands. The promoters of these festivals readily admit most of the music isn't jazz, but refuse to rename these events ''music festivals,'' seeking the esthetic elevation that jazz offers. This is esthetic name-dropping, attempting to piggyback on the achievements of others, and duping the public. It's like a great French chef lending his name, not his skills, to a fast-food restaurant because he knows it's a popular place to eat. His concern is for quantity, not quality. Those who are duped say ''This greasy hamburger sure is good; I know it's good, because Pierre says it's good, and people named Pierre know what the deal is.'' Pierre then becomes known as a man of the people, when he actually is exploiting the people
  8. Seanto


    Dec 29, 2005
    Yes, the music at a modern jazz fest or jazz themed series is now only a little jazz, and alot of blues/soul/rnb. I don't mind completely since i like those genres too, but i would love to see my local jazz fest have wall to wall, true jazz artists and not have me sifting through so many female RnB/neo soul vocalists to get to it.
    Scott Lynch likes this.
  9. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    And it's not like their website doesn't read NOJazzFest...
    eJake, lurk and Oddly like this.
  10. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Triple negative, by the way. Just wanted to point that out.
  11. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    JAZZ FESTIVAL - (noun) large, generally outdoor, event where people pay a lot of money, little of which goes to the musicians, to not listen to music that's not jazz anyway.
  12. damonsmith


    May 10, 2006
    Quincy, MA
    They make the move to get more audience, then the issue is then they have to cater to the audience that attracts. I'd prefer seeing a true contemporary pop band along with serious uncompromising jazz groups (this could be from Lee Konitz to Roscoe Mitchell - I don't care) as a compromise over compromised jazz groups doing cocktail versions of contemporary pop tunes.
    The reality is once pop music gets its foot in the door it is game over. The promoters are left catering to what the Todd Rundgren fans can handle and the main worry becomes getting them back next year and whatever "jazz" means to anyone gets pushed into the background.
  13. Steven Ayres

    Steven Ayres Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2007
    Northern Arizona
    But it's really about where you're standing, isn't it? The Dixie players said swing wasn't jazz, the swingers said bebop wasn't jazz, the boppers said the crooners weren't doing jazz, the crooners said fusion wasn't jazz, the fusion players said smooth wasn't jazz, the last thing always thinks it's it and says the next thing isn't it. None of them is right, none if them is wrong, really, because music, like people, doesn't much care about definitions. I know what flavors of jazz I like and find effective and authentic, and try to let it go at that. I'm a professional fussbudget about words, and I agree on the sentiment of the OP, but once you're talking marketing you're no longer talking art.
  14. shwashwa


    Aug 30, 2003
    Current New Orleans jazz festival lineup
    The Lineup

    Twelve stages will be loaded with some of the best in the music industry over the seven days. From music legends to emerging artists, here are some of the 2018 headliners...

    Sting • Rod Stewart • Aerosmith • Cage the Elephant • Jon Cleary • David Byrne • Anita Baker • Jack Johnson • Khalid • Common • Jimmy Buffet • Lionel Richie • Beck • Sheryl Crow • Jason Isbell • LL Cool J • Jack White • Bonnie Raitt • Sturgill Simpson • Trombone Shorty • The Revivalists

    ...and many, many more

    The jazz players said Aerosmith wasn't Jazz, Aerosmith said LL Cool J wasn't jazz...
    Pbassmanca, flojob, csc2048b and 4 others like this.
  15. Steven Ayres

    Steven Ayres Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2007
    Northern Arizona
    Do they still call it the Jazz and Heritage Festival? There's a lot of room to maneuver in "heritage."
    Pbassmanca and salcott like this.
  16. dhergert

    dhergert Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2018
    Blue Zone, California
    MattZilla likes this.
  17. Carl Hillman

    Carl Hillman

    Jan 1, 2010
    I've come to accept it. There's no fighting it, but it still hurts.

    Kind of like when a gorgeous woman comes up to the bandstand and says, "Can you play some Sade, Basia, or Enya? I just love jazz!".
  18. Scott Lynch

    Scott Lynch

    Nov 27, 2002
    Delaware, USA
    I believe it is a problem as well. On one hand, an appropriation problem of the word 'jazz' - furthermore a lack of coherence on what 'jazz' really means, as it is a word/genre that is always in a partial sense trying to escape, or at least outrun, attempts at definition. However, looking at @shwashwa 's post, most of the artists on there are ones I would not associate with jazz.

    On the other, it's a problem of too many listeners either not being educated enough to distinguish jazz ('jazz') from other genres, or not caring enough that non-jazz is being played at what's labeled a jazz festival.

    It may irritate me, but if my standpoint isn't shared by enough listeners it's not going to affect how the promoters book the event.

    Some places are at least starting to compensate or fight back. Here in Delaware for example, the Rehoboth Beach Jazz Festival gradually went from being a true straight-ahead themed festival to one now bringing in mostly smooth or occasionally even blues/R&B artists. About 6 years ago a separate festival, the True Blue Jazz Festival, was started to bring a straight-ahead festival back to Rehoboth.

    Hopefully, for those of us with specific tastes - dare I call myself a purist? - these listening opportunities will continue to exist.
    Last edited: May 1, 2018
    MattZilla likes this.
  19. SteSte


    Mar 28, 2017
    Rome, Italy
    I think we will understand the damage when will be too late, maybe our child will see the results.
    Thinking at reverse and looking at the past, how beautiful was the artist or the promoter or the festival that followed the line of purity avoiding to think at money because at the end we are talking about this: money, business, marketing and a bit of ignorance.
    If nobody protect something precious and fragile this should disappear or decrease his quality. In any side of anything you can see changes and changes are affected by human possibilities.
    During 70's and 80's jazz maestro's was struggling in ny or dying in complete poverty, somebody had the chance to come in Europe and to made some money with dates and recordings and thank to this now we can hear their immense beautyness and understand how important was to keep the door opened for him. A musicians is fragile and music is fragile too, we cant say 'ok, everything is changing we must accept changes in any way, or, what is jazz , it is just a word , we can describe music and so on', we need to protect coherent musicians in front of the assault of band that do spectacular show based on eyes instead of ears, who readed Guy Debord know what i mean.
    I'm appreciating people that with struggling and infinite sadness they create space for improvised music without compromise.
    Here in Italy classical music its completely disappeared, nobody hear Vivaldi, maybe the 0,something percent of people and im not joking. Also acoustic instruments made bay hand disappeared. And had gone and disappeared also the possibility to go to hear a jazz summer festivals without have rock pop or whatever kind of stuff based on show, Umbria Jazz started decades ago to invite rock and pop band leaving home incredible talented musicians.
    This is not good i think that who care music we need to think at the future giving importance to jazz music to evolve without be killed by big names or pop stupidities.
    Same for baroque music.
    Same for classic music.
    Same for folk traditional ancient or disappearing fragile music.
    Same for all non commercial music.
    Sorry for long writing.
  20. dhergert

    dhergert Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2018
    Blue Zone, California
    Honestly, the public doesn't keep up with which variant of jazz is actually part of the jazz genre. And to be fair, they don't keep up with any other genre either. Genre are things we like to keep up with, at least as it pertains to our performing or our personal musical tastes.

    I really think we're expecting too much of the general, not-musically-oriented public. If we're so motivated, we can try to educate them a little in our performances, but mostly, when the public comes to a festival or to a show, the public comes to listen and have fun. If they wanted to learn the genre specifics, they'd go to school about it or study it online.

    And festival promoters and organizers realize this. They provide a lot of generally close-to-genre warm and fuzzy shows for the general public, and if they can, they provide a few hard-core-genre specific shows for the geeks like you and I.
    MrLenny1, eJake and SteSte like this.

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