AFRO-AMERICAN MUSIC INSTITUTE CELEBRATES 36 YEARS
Pain Relief Beyond Belief
The other day Nelson Harrison and I were talking about the state of Jazz music generally. We agreed on many things including the fact that jazz listening and buying is on a decline and has been for many years. Here are some of the reasons that I believe this is so; the neighborhoods that housed the great jazz joints no longer exist like they used to prior to the riots in the 60's, the record labels that focused on jazz no longer exist (Prestige, Riverside, Pacific jazz, Fantasy, etc.), the radio play is slim or none in many markets, the great originators have passed on, people didn't teach the younger folks why so and so was famous, the importance of the artists and the music was never explained in a way that young folks could learn, musicians now learn to play at schools instead of clubs, juke boxes are a thing of the past, liner notes and that tell the story of the artist or the session are gone. I could go on for a while longer but what's the point.
The question I want an answer to is "what can we who love and play and sell this music do about it". I'm not interested in a walk down memory lane since no amount of reminiscing can bring back 1959. Those of you who have the resources, time, passion and willingness can surely solve the dilemma.
My thoughts.....Music schools graduate musicians who have no audience. Education and listening exposure is the solution for developing that new audience. Unfortunately, arts programs are at best dormant and jazz appreciation is virtually non-existent.
Education is the key and the first step by school districts and universities is acknowledgment!
My question is "what can we Pittsburghers do to expose the 50's to 60's jazz to those who will surely appreciate it?