[Dixielandjazz] Re: Art & Jazz & Audience

Steven Holzer slholzer at iquest.net
Sat Nov 29 16:47:56 PST 2003

I think I should end this exchange before you die of twisted tongue 
syndrome, Steve.

I suspect that we are much alike, but for my complete lack of any 
musical ability. I agree that it is how the audience feels that makes 
for significance and if that makes Kenny G super-significant, I can live 
with it. Nothing in that requires me to share their enthusiasm. I still 
suspect that Woody Allen will not go down as significant in the music 
world, but will live on as a heavy weight in the comedy/moviemaking 
business where he belongs. Certainly more people are taking home Kenny G 
CD's to listen to later than are taking home Woody's. But I agree with 
the comment that was made that at least we should give Woody credit for 
generating some jobs. We gave that much credit to Ted Lewis and we 
generally agreed that he stank as a musician. I also agree that as long 
as a person is doing no harm, I will not begrudge him whatever success 
he can derive in this world.

Critics! I was one once, briefly. I eventually decided that it was a 
pointless endeavor and switched to being a jazz "reporter" instead. The 
jazz audience is, in fact, highly fragmented, whereas most publications 
are looking for something less divided. They would probably be better 
off to pay someone to tell jazz fans what they can expect and not 
whether they should like it or not. If you are acute enough to know a 
particular critic's tastes and how they stack up against your own, you 
can still make good use of one, but you'll probably have to work harder 
than you should and you'll probably end up ignoring him instead. I am 
convinced that self-appointed "critics" are driven by ego.
I am always skeptical about anything driven by ego. And I like Wyeth. 
There was a lot of great art generated for the sake of illustrating 
books. And it paid, too!

If you hadn't thrown in that crack about Nuncio Scaglione, I could have 
stopped here and not further endangered your tongue and/or cheeks. Of 
course, it implies that in the end Kenny G will not be remembered at 
all. So who's the critic now, eh? Never mind, I don't really care.

Steve Holzer

Stephen Barbone wrote:

>Yes, very tongue in cheek, but not a shred of self pity. I applaud and admire all, whose "artistic draw" can also be measured by monetary success. And I admire those who are self confident enough to measure their personal "success" by their personal parameters, rather
>than by someone's else's.
>I agree with what you say. Just adding a thought that we as players and audience should be cautious in trying to figure out exactly what is significant and what is not. Audience? The audience loves Kenny G and Woody Allen as reed men, and Andrew Wyeth, for example, as an artist.
>Yet the self appointed keepers of "We know what real art is" routinely disparage all three as charlatans. They claim knowingly that Woody and G are poor examples of "jazz"players and Wyeth, is a mere illustrator, a poor example of an "artist".
>. . .
>Who knows why the audience goes to see Woody, or likes to listen to G. The fact that they do is significant in the here and now. Will they be remembered? Probably yes, by at least the same number of folks who today remember, Nuncio Scaglione, a significant member of the Sicilian School of clarinet in New Orleans 100 years ago.  And a valued contributor
>to the type of clarinet playing typified by Omer Simeon in mid 20th century and Orange Kellin and Evan Christopher today.
>Steve Barbone
>Steven Holzer wrote:
>>A little bit of wistful self-pity and, I hope, a lot of tongue in cheek,
>>Steve. The ability to command a healthy cover charge is hardly the best
>>gauge of significance in art. It may only speak to the price that people
>>will pay to satisfy idle curiosity. Audience impact should not be
>>measured by what comes in the door so much as by what goes out the door
>>with them. I have never heard Woody Allen play, so I can't say much
>>about whether he deserves his audience or not.   I dare say that you
>>could stack up your own musical accomplishments against his in any
>>number of ways and come out on top. Nor would you be the only list
>>member who could.
>>Steve Holzer
>>Stephen Barbone wrote:
>>>Put another way, Woody Allen has the largest audience of any OKOM clarinet player
>>>today. Especially live and on TV. At VERY high prices to hear him. At least a $50
>>>cover at the Carlyle Hotel in NYC, if not a $75 cover charge.
>>>Thus, Woody's clarinet art rules and the rest of us OKOM clarinetists are pretty much
>>>insignificant, by audience comparison. ;-)
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>Dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com

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