Below is my response to the JazzTimes website discussion of Ron Wynn’s story in the January/February 2003 issue about the changing complexion of jazz concert goers over the last 10 years.
“Jazz has had a major imprint on my life because I grew up listening to jazz and a lot of other good music. I have been going to jazz concerts since I was in my early 20’s and often I was the youngest person there. Amongst my peers, I am probably the only one who is deeply into jazz. I have seen changes in the concert audiences as well. I think that part of it is that some of the music that is being called jazz, is not really jazz and secondly, there is not enough exposure of the classic jazz artists in the mainstream media. In the beginnings of the smooth jazz era, there was a diverse mixture of jazz styles so there was something for everyone. Now there is more focus on the contemporary jazz artists, top sellers, and other music that is not even jazz but being called “smooth jazz.” The really some good jazz radio stations in the larger cities have dried up or changed their formats. Fortunately, there are good jazz stations on internet radio. Cost can be a factor as well but there are many free jazz events that need our support as well. I finally attended the Monterey Jazz Festival last year for my first time. Yes, it was pricey but worth every penny because of the exposure I got to the jazz legends, jazz history, and the newcomers that will keep the traditions alive for years to come. I try to get out once or twice a month to see live jazz especially now that one of our local Bay Area jazz clubs has $10 tickets for the 10pm shows of selected performers. You cannot get a better deal than that for good music. We could easily ask why Shirley Horn does not get the same props and media exposure as Diana Krall? Also, have you noticed the same trend in audience at your local blues festval? What is really important is that all of us keep supporting the music so the good music can keep coming.”
What are your thoughts/views?