A voice writing about today for tomorrow...
I wanted to comment on this train of thought you've presented here. First off, I think your blog raises great questions, concerns and answers. I'm a HUGE fan of DJA and his blog as well, as a matter of fact he's included in my book as one of the greats alive today. I have an immense amount of respect for him.
onwards: As a former musician and now a jazz writer, I agree completely with the ideal that if music is presented with the intensity as that one blog reader's comments mention, it will be noticed and stomped on by the listeners feet as they begin to feel it in their souls. But there is one particular passage here that hits home with what I'm living for and why I write about jazz,
"...the way to build an audience that looks to jazz as a serious contributor to the larger culture isn’t to convince them that it’s “cool”—suave, relaxing, above-it-all—but to show them that it’s engaged in a mad quest to understand, in the words David Foster Wallace, “what it is to be a fucking human being.” Anyone who has seriously listened to Monk, Mingus, and Coltrane knows that obsession and passion drive their music, not coolness."
This is exactly what I go for when I write. It isn't about the here and now, it's about the sustainability of the future.
Looking to market an art or any kind of media for that matter as something that is "cool" and only going by that invisible factor/measurement/commercial viability for the "youth's" sake is asking for it to be short lived and forgotten.
The historical longevity of something that has been deemed "cool" by a generation often doesn't stick with the further generations as something they can relate to as this aspect of life, the cool factor is a fluid, ever changing concept.
But, as pointed out here, if you can show that the "it" factor of an art or music or anything for that matter is something that binds us all together, as in the humanity of an art or the spirit and soul of what makes us unique in the bigger scheme of things, is to find that universal appealing truth and one that all generations seek to find out for themselves within their personal struggles and everyday confinement of the capitalist society we all live in. But to find this is to validate their causes, their worth and their sustainable visions as creative beings.
Therefore presenting jazz, at least now, in the world we're confined in today, as cool, is not the way to go.
Instead, as musicians, fans and carriers of the torch, we need to give the newcomers to the music and those who have lost touch with why they came to it in the first place, something they can feed off of...an almost barren and open religion that speaks to them in ways that one that follows archaic rules and words can't give...If we allow that gift of the untainted value of an unspoken breath of air that is more about touching the soul of the person who played it than the "commercial" coolness factor, I believe you'll find that sustaining this genre of music won't be so difficult.
It's just a matter now of reaching those that are untouchable, the ones who have closed minds, broken ears and further more, a deep and darkened denial that clouds their perspective of what is new to them, not necessarily new to the world. As Wynton told me in an interview, "sometimes following the people is not the way to have them follow you." Jazz is not the new "black" as the fashion world would say...Jazz is what it always has been: an art that reaches well beyond the soul and into that space rarely seen but often heard crying out for an audience who will listen.
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