[Dixielandjazz] Re: Diluting "Jazz" Festivals?

Mike Durham mikedurham_jazz at hotmail.com
Sun Nov 2 23:57:32 PST 2003

Hey Nancy, I love the blues too! It's the one kind of music I would consider 
'diluting' my festival with. But today's blues bands all seem to play at 
crazy amplified volume levels, and I find they tend to alienate the jazz 
fans (who are, after all, my main audience). So I won't risk upsetting my 
regulars for the possibility of attracting a few converts via the blues. And 
I don't see many jazz bands being invited to play at blues festivals! The 
same goes for adding more 'modern' forms of jazz to broaden the audience - 
we tried this and it didn't seem to work. So, this year we'll try offering 
free admission to our Sunday afternoon sessions to anyone under 25, plus a 
teaser ad campaign to local colleges/universities telling them this is an 
opportunity to hear "the music the media are conspiring to keep hidden from 


>From: Nancy Giffin <nancyink at ulink.net>
>To: Mike Durham <mikedurham_jazz at hotmail.com>, 
><barbonestreet at earthlink.net>,   <TCASHWIGG at aol.com>, DJML 
><dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com>
>Subject: Diluting "Jazz" Festivals?
>Date: Sun, 02 Nov 2003 15:00:58 -0800
>FROM: "Mike Durham" <mikedurham_jazz at hotmail.com>
>[Excerpts from his Nov. 2 post]:
> > ... Most of the for-profit, professionally-run "jazz" festivals I have
> > knowledge of include a steadily decreasing proportion of any jazz at 
> > let alone OKOM...
> > ... The more this happens, with other music being sold under the banner 
>jazz, the more the whole idea of real jazz is liable to get diluted and
>submerged in a sea of populism...
> > ... I agree it would be good to attract a younger audience, but if I 
> > find ways of doing this without diluting the jazz content of the 
> > frankly, I'd rather quit - I'm in this primarily to play the music I 
>love and
> > to hear it being played by others. Yours in full old curmudgeon mode,
> > Mike D.
>While I appreciate this sentiment from volunteers like Mike and others,
>there is some merit in "diluting" (to use Mike's expression) jazz festivals
>for the sake of expanding the audience.
>For example, I have young friends who love the blues. I can't get them to
>join me at a monthly jazz society meeting here in Sacramento, but when I
>told them that their favorite blues band was playing at the Jazz Jubilee,
>they agreed to meet me there. By the time I met up with them, they had
>already seen several trad jazz bands and discovered some of it to their
>liking. They were raving about one clarinet player named Otis. When they
>described him, I realized they were talking about Otis Mourning, formerly 
>Wooden Nickel and now with Catsnjammer.
>Now would I be able to get them to join me at a jazz society meeting?
>Maybe if I tell them that Otis Mourning is playing. :)
>I agree with Steve, Tom, and Norrie that quality is more important than
>quantity. If my blues and rock n' roll friends are going to be introduced 
>trad jazz, I want them to have the most favorable first impression 
>"Meet Me Where They Play the Blues" "A Hundred Years from Today"

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