[Dixielandjazz] Re: Marsalis was Another NY TIMES Jazz Review

Arnold Day arnieday at optonline.net
Mon Nov 1 07:44:10 PST 2004

  Thanks for the thoughtful response, Steve. I have no doubt that he has helped further the cause of jazz. My main complaint is that too much power (read "money") has been put in the hands of one man and every single person carries his or her own views and predjudices. There is not a single other jazz musician on the Board Of Directors of JALC.
    ----- Original Message ----- 
    From: Steve barbone 
    To: Arnold Day ; DJML 
    Sent: Sunday, October 31, 2004 3:39 AM
    Subject: Re: Marsalis was Another NY TIMES Jazz Review

    Hi Arn: 

    I'm with you, he does lean towards sociopolitical context with many presentations and no doubt believes that "Jazz" is tied to America's life experience. The Ken Burns program and book make that pretty clear. (The book [and Marsalis] also pays jazz homage to ODJB, NORK, B.G., Jack Teagarden, and a host of white musicians.) I also agree with Edward Rothstein's article.

    The only point I would make is that the opening programs at Lincoln Center are aimed at expanding the audience for jazz. They included Blacks, Whites and Latinos. And as a jazz band leader in the Philadelphia area of the USA, I can unequivocally state that what Marsalis has done for "jazz" since I formed my band in 1990 has helped me immensely in creating well paying gigs with, what was before Marsalis, a generally jazz oblivious audience.  

    So I am prepared to be pragmatic and accept the fact that nobody else has either the presence or access to the money to do what he is doing. (I think most of that money is private subscription) Could somebody else do it better? I don't know. What I do know is that nobody has and it appears that nobody else is trying. 

    IMO as a jazz musician, White or Black is not important. Who gets what credit is also not important. The music is what's important. 

    Jazz has been the music of social protest, ever since "That's Why They Call Me Shine" was written circa 1910. Somebody should reinforce that and we need the different perspectives of those who were/are involved. We discussed that song on the DJML a year or so ago, and it was amazing how many people did not know where, why and how it came about. 

    My bottom line (IMO) is that Marsalis has done more for the "visibility of jazz" in the past 15 years then anyone else, and maybe more than everyone else combined. That's good for the genre, so I cut him a little slack in the hope that he will lead us out of the non swinging wilderness wherein most "jazz" currently resides.  

    Steve Barbone

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