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And All That Jazz

Not altogether unrelated to my last post about CDs are Terry Teachout's smart observations about the declining jazz audience in his own most recent blog post, a follow-up to his Wall Street Journal article on the subject. (And, as he points out, the parallels with classical music are apparent -- down to the rampant tendency to see factual reports of decline as an attack on the art form itself.)

By Anne Midgette  |  August 19, 2009; 6:07 AM ET
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Terry Teachout stirred up a mess of weblog responses. The most articulate was Howard Mandel, in "Jazz Beyond jazz",

Posted by: mitrich | August 19, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Everyone seems to have forgotten about jazz's secret weapon: Bill Cosby. That guy can sell anything. Classical music has Alec Baldwin, but who else?

Posted by: Lindemann777 | August 19, 2009 4:58 PM | Report abuse

It's interesting that you bring this up. I'm a classical music enthusiast, and recently I decided I wanted to start exploring jazz. I thought it was easy trying to find famous jazz artists of the past. But then when it came to looking for local jazz performances to actually attend, I was put at an immediate loss. For someone who wasn't initiated it seemed that I would have no way to know whether a performance would be enjoyable or not except by blindly attending concerts and hoping for the best. It seems like it's very difficult to get in the loop if you're out of the loop. Which I guess is what it must feel like for a lot of people not initiated into classical music.

Posted by: robertcostic | August 20, 2009 11:44 PM | Report abuse

Your overall point is well taken. I used to review jazz-classical crossover discs for Jazz Times (back when there was a Jazz Times). I would say Stefon Harris and Blackout would likely be a group that a classical fan interested in jazz would enjoy. They are playing at the Kennedy Center in October.

Also, no one should miss Uri Caine at the Library of Congress - I think he's coming in April. That dude, nominally a jazz pianist, really understands classical music and deconstructs it in the most intriguing and thought-provoking ways. He normally does at least one classical "cover" per show.

Posted by: Lindemann777 | August 21, 2009 8:37 AM | Report abuse

Andrew, although sponsored by the Library of Congress, the Uri Caine concert on May 22, 2010 will take place at the District's Atlas Arts Center as part of the "onLOCation at the Atlas" series. He will be with drummer Ben Perowsky and bassist Drew Gess. (LOC foundation subsidized tickets go on sale in April through Ticketmaster.)

Before the concert, Uri Caine will speak with the Library's Larry Appelbaum, part of the Library's ongoing, two-year old "Mind of the Musician" series.

"The Library goes "onLOCation" to the Atlas Performing Arts Center (1333 H. St. N.E., Wshington, D.C.) for jazz and world music concerts, showcasing three visionary composer-performers: drummer Dafnis Prieto, violinist and oud player Simon Shaheen—who premieres his Library of Congress McKim Fund commission for violin and keyboard—and pianist Uri Caine. Classically trained, with commissions from prestigious ensembles and institutions, the three are recognized for a command of technique and expression across musical cultures, and for their strong influence on musicians and composers of their generation."

Posted by: snaketime | August 21, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Another potential source of jazz information: NPR started a jazz blog this year. It's here:

Posted by: MidgetteA | August 21, 2009 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, snaketime. Shows what typing from a vague memory of information will get you. And now I can write the concert into my calendar!

Drew Gress is pretty awesome, too, and actually I'd recommend his album "7 Black Butterflies" to classical folks interested in jazz. Another good one is Jamie Baum's "Moving Forward, Standing Still," which I wrote about here:

Stravinsky, Bartok, and Ives in jazz form.

Posted by: Lindemann777 | August 21, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

You are welcome, Andrew. And thank you for correcting the spelling of Drew Gress's name.

Clarification: The Library of Congress has now indicated that tickets to the three jazz and world music concerts in next Spring’s “OnLOCation at the Atlas Performing Arts Center” mini-series will be handled by the Atlas Performing Arts Center box-office, and not by Ticketmaster.

Posted by: snaketime1 | August 26, 2009 9:10 AM | Report abuse

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