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Thread: Better question:Why is Jazz audience disappearing?

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    Default Re: Better question:Why is Jazz audience disappearing?

    Quote Originally Posted by hakukani View Post
    Is there a mosh pit?
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    Default Re: Better question:Why is Jazz audience disappearing?

    Quote Originally Posted by saxphil View Post
    The cash register often rings more frequently during breaks.
    Owners usually stipulate breaks & their length.
    I share your exasperation about the group's performing habits.
    People wait for the break to leave.

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    Default Re: Better question:Why is Jazz audience disappearing?

    Quote Originally Posted by martysax View Post
    I'm experimenting with normal consumption under medically altered conditions, so please excuse any perceived insanity or normalcy as it is purely coincidental.

    I feel that you always need to play the room. If you don't have the desired effect on the crowd and you've already played 3 tunes that normally grab the audience, change the set immediately! If you have the balls to get out front, man the helm and navigate to the correct fishing spot.

    Audience involvement has always been big with me. They have to respond. If everyone seems dead, take it to them in the crowd with your wireless on and wake them up! I get the guys involved by playing to their women, next thing you know: you've created a mood!

    People want to be entertained. Jazz was originally part of vaudeville and survived as solely a performance art until we started recording it. We need to get people dancing to jazz again. Let's get our rhythm sections listening to more Latin bands, they alway got it. I've played enough weddings and club gigs where you need to keep people happy with the music. The best feeling is cultivating a following.

    Don't get me wrong, there will always be a place for jams and cutting contests and exploration into music not yet heard. Like playing horse or skins, those are entertaining to the players more than the audience. They used to happen AFTER the gig, during wind-down time. Don't subject the public to Monk if they want Sinatra.
    Good post! I see you got your normal consumption working.........it's working for me.......Hooray beer!

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    Default Re: Better question:Why is Jazz audience disappearing?

    Quote Originally Posted by wersax View Post
    Good post! I see you got your normal consumption working.........it's working for me.......Hooray beer!
    Yup, just got home from blowing at a bluze jam. Had 2 Jamesons and 3 smokes and I played an hour. Half of the set was with Rick Russel. I hadn't played with him in ~ 20 years. He still grooves.

    Everyone was dancing while I was up there. I was good to get out.
    Just two questions: Where's the Bar located relative to the stage, and does the band get a discount?

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    Default Re: Better question:Why is Jazz audience disappearing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Woody Reed View Post
    I don't know about that. I was taught how to drink every night at U Miami.

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    Default Re: Better question:Why is Jazz audience disappearing?

    (groan) This is such an oft discussed topic I wasn't going to get involved but - I think some are confusing entertainment with art.

    IMO you should always try to involve the audience and communicate with them, but scooting yourself around the dance floor on your back is one thing and playing deep music which requires concentration to fully comprehend it's qualities are two different things.

    I don't think arguments that jazz should try to recapture its golden days (by seemingly many folk's definitions, that means ending with the beginning of bebop) by getting folks back on the dance floor and by being primarily an entertainment form, is the answer. That doesn't mean I would exclude such presentations for those who want to do so, I just don't think it's necessary. There have just been too many changes in music, the public and the media to think one can simplify what is the result of considerable changes in society and its tastes (or arguably, lack thereof).

    But that kind of bull**** that SMT observed just doesn't cut it, either. No matter how traditional or esoteric a band might play, having little disregard for an audience is first, just rude and second stupid.

    - talk to the audience once in a while. Smile.
    - have a set list. And that just doesn't mean a checklist, it means a well-thought out sequence of styles, moods and intensities so that each set is a bit like a well balanced composition.
    - start and end reasonably on time.
    - if you are not uncomfortable doing so, mix with the audience during breaks.
    - if possible, use lighting effects to dramatise your music. Many people hear with their eyes.
    - have your music arranged. Intros, outros, backgrounds, stop times, etc. Make it interesting.

    Some suggested role models:
    - what I saw/heard from the SF Jazz Collective last year as far as arranged music.
    - E.S.T. Their use of lighting, mood and structure.
    - integrating music a general audience would know but in your own style, like the Bad Plus or Patricia Barber.
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    Default Re: Better question:Why is Jazz audience disappearing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Woody Reed View Post
    I don't know about that. I was taught how to drink every night at U Miami.
    I'm sure. A nice cup of cocoa can be quite delicious..
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    Default Re: Better question:Why is Jazz audience disappearing?

    I agree with the OP criticism of musicians who are disorganized, and who disregard the audience. On the broader issue of art vs entertainment, I think musicians should consider the listeners enough to at least introduce the tunes. If the audience is not likely full of hard-core jazz fans, give them a few hints.

    People who are not jazz experts may still like to be able to talk about their recent evening out. If the band leader doesn't tell them that the next tune is original, or a standard, or from some jazz era, how will they know?
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    Default Re: Better question:Why is Jazz audience disappearing?

    It's not a sell out to your art to play what the audience expects.....the only (positive) alternative is to 'wow' them with something they didn't. It's great to be "cutting edge" and alternative, but if no one is appreciating it - why not just stay home and save the transportation fee. Live shows are for the benifit of the paying customer. Give the people what they want or forever lose your customer. If you do it often enough, they will follow you and even tolerate some of your more avante guarde material. If you don't find an audience, you won't be doing this for a living. Why play out if it's not to share your music? It's so much easier to be a "garage" band (which is a ton of fun sometimes) or spend your time in the studio so you can share with a much broader audience on the web or in music stores (assuming you can get your work in the stores - Which is a topic for another thread)

    The key is to remember why you're playing out. For me it's to gain future customers, sell cd's and t-shirts, and to support my habbits (food, gear - that kinda stuff) and finally, because I really dig sharing the music.

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    Default Re: Better question:Why is Jazz audience disappearing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fader View Post
    The key is to remember why you're playing out. For me it's to gain future customers, sell cd's and t-shirts, and to support my habbits...
    Well there you go. Says it all.

    And if that was all the criteria, we would never have sophisticated, serious, substantial art music. It would all be honking and rock & roll. One dimensional.
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    Default Re: Better question:Why is Jazz audience disappearing?

    SMT - Thanks!

    Gary -
    having little disregard for an audience is first, just rude and second stupid
    Great post! I couldn't agree more.

    For all of the concern expressed here about not wanting to "sell out", to me what it really comes down to is having respect for the people in the seats who are paying you. They don't have to be there and to paraphrase Dog Pants, don't owe us a living.

    We could create a whole new debate as to why people today "listen with their eyes". My Mother, who was a teacher, would say TV shows like Sesame Street has had a lot to do with it (bright colored puppets with non-stop motion, shown to children beginning at a young age). Whatever the cause, I think that increasingly, our culture encourages people to react to things on an emotional level as opposed evaluating them on an intellectual one. If this is true, what makes us think people will tend to choose their entertainment activities any differently.
    "You must not abandon the ship in a storm because you cannot control the winds... What you cannot turn to good, you must at least make as little bad as you can."

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    Default Re: Better question:Why is Jazz audience disappearing?

    Quote Originally Posted by gary View Post
    Well there you go. Says it all.

    And if that was all the criteria, we would never have sophisticated, serious, substantial art music. It would all be honking and rock & roll. One dimensional.
    C'mon Gary - you've heard my stuff - It's all far from "honking". If not, take a chance and click below. It's not my best, but I'm proud to play it and to have written it. And whatever your thoughts - its far from one dimensional...

    And again - If you want more time to play, you're going to have to please an audience at some point. Why leave the house if your music is for you alone?

  13. #113

    Smile Re: Better question:Why is Jazz audience disappearing?

    I don't have time right now to read the rest of this thread, but I just wanted to say that your post is one of the most intelligent, reasonable, and truthful things I've ever read. Thank you.



    Quote Originally Posted by sonnymobleytrane View Post
    There are numerous reasons why the audience for jazz isn't what it once was. Sometimes we need to look at ourselves.

    Tonite I found myself in NYC with some time to kill. I walked by a bar and saw a young (early 20s) tenor player playing through the window.

    I went in paid a small music charge (5 dollars) and ordered a glass of wine (9 dollars) The band started playing Girl from ... Tenor player was very good sounded like Eric Alexander (a lot like Eric Alexander) finished solo...guitar solo...bass solo.... some trading 4s with drums... head out. Nice.
    Next the band talks among themselves decide what tune to play.....7 minutes go by ......band starts playing What is this Thing Called Love. Sax solo....guitar solo...bass solo....you guessed it trading 4s head done.

    Break (Some people leave)

    45 minutes (2 more glasses of vino) band starts again. Up tempo blues (I have never heard this head before, maybe an original) Sax solo, guitar, bass Trade some 4s out.

    6 minutes still talking about what tune to play...I leave.

    I have No problem paying a music charge....No problem paying the money for drinks. Heck I know the music Love the music. But I just felt like these guys didn't give a SH*T about the people that are there listening to them. Say what you want but this happens everywhere and in manyways its what live Jazz has become. Musical Masturbation. These guys had zero intrest in those actually sitting there.

    AND I LOVE JAZZ!!!

    imagine being someone that is luke warm to it.

    I think if you play a gig you have a responsibility to those in the audience.
    Just a thought.

  14. #114
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    Default Re: Better question:Why is Jazz audience disappearing?

    Reading through this thread, I've come to the conclusion that both points of view (what gary is saying vs Fader & Martysax & a few others) are correct, even if they seem diametrically opposed. There is a place for purely entertaining music that makes you want to dance, and a place for "serious" heavy jazz that digs deep. And everything in-between. The problem is, you need an audience for what you are doing. If you have an audience for the heavier jazz, then fine. I actually like playing honking blues (I don't see it as one-dimensional) and I've found there's an audience for it. I'd also like to play more 'serious' jazz but no one will pay me to do it, and so I haven't had enough experience to play it well, which might be why no one will pay me to do it, lol. Sometimes on a jam session, though....

    Regarding the visual aspect, that is nothing new. Have you seen some old footage of the Duke Ellington Band or Cab Calloway? Those guys could put on a show. It was highly visual, and very danceable. And not one dimensional at all. Of course that was another era. Still, you need to give the audience a show they will enjoy. That's the bottom line. Oh, speaking of hard-core jazz, how about Sun Ra? There's an example of combining the visual, entertainment, and cutting-edge jazz. Maybe not everyone's cup of tea, but it was a real show!

  15. #115

    Lightbulb Re: Better question:Why is Jazz audience disappearing?

    Quote Originally Posted by JL View Post
    Reading through this thread, I've come to the conclusion that both points of view (what gary is saying vs Fader & Martysax & a few others) are correct, even if they seem diametrically opposed. There is a place for purely entertaining music that makes you want to dance, and a place for "serious" heavy jazz that digs deep. And everything in-between. The problem is, you need an audience for what you are doing. If you have an audience for the heavier jazz, then fine. I actually like playing honking blues (I don't see it as one-dimensional) and I've found there's an audience for it. I'd also like to play more 'serious' jazz but no one will pay me to do it, and so I haven't had enough experience to play it well, which might be why no one will pay me to do it, lol. Sometimes on a jam session, though....

    Regarding the visual aspect, that is nothing new. Have you seen some old footage of the Duke Ellington Band or Cab Calloway? Those guys could put on a show. It was highly visual, and very danceable. And not one dimensional at all. Of course that was another era. Still, you need to give the audience a show they will enjoy. That's the bottom line. Oh, speaking of hard-core jazz, how about Sun Ra? There's an example of combining the visual, entertainment, and cutting-edge jazz. Maybe not everyone's cup of tea, but it was a real show!


    Yes!!!

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    Default Re: Better question:Why is Jazz audience disappearing?

    Quote Originally Posted by RootyTootoot View Post
    I'm sure. A nice cup of cocoa can be quite delicious..
    What's wrong with the drink that made the Empire?

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    Default Re: Better question:Why is Jazz audience disappearing?

    There's something that bothers me about threads like this and that's using as a basis for the argument against modern jazz, i.e."concert" jazz, that there is not an audience for it. And since there is not an audience for it therefore blah, blah, blah. There ~is~ an audience for that kind of jazz and if some on this forum can't sit still and listen to this kind of music, they shouldn't assume that no one else can either, or that the fault lies squarely on the musicians.

    Is the audience large? No. Is that the "fault" of jazz? No. It's a sign of a transformed society and music industry that has little place in it for music of any genre that requires concentrated and sophisticated listening.

    And since this argument about people dancing to jazz in the thirties and forties also repeats itself, I'll say it again - this is not the nineteen thirties or forties. It's a changed world. What people listen to and dance to is completely different.
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    Default Re: Better question:Why is Jazz audience disappearing?

    Quote Originally Posted by gary View Post
    There's something that bothers me about threads like this and that's using as a basis for the argument against modern jazz, i.e."concert" jazz, that there is not an audience for it. And since there is not an audience for it therefore blah, blah, blah. There ~is~ an audience for that kind of jazz and if some on this forum can't sit still and listen to this kind of music, they shouldn't assume that no one else can either, or that the fault lies squarely on the musicians.

    Is the audience large? No. Is that the "fault" of jazz? No. It's a sign of a transformed society and music industry that has little place in it for music of any genre that requires concentrated and sophisticated listening.

    And since this argument about people dancing to jazz in the thirties and forties also repeats itself, I'll say it again - this is not the nineteen thirties or forties. It's a changed world. What people listen to and dance to is completely different.

    I agree with most of this....If I wanted to see guys on stage dancing around making a-holes of themselves I don't think going to a jazz club would be my choice.
    My problems had little to do with the music. The length of time between songs, the repetitive nature of everyone solos in this order every tune, and the very long break all put together showed a lack of understanding that they actually were playing for an audience.

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    Default Re: Better question:Why is Jazz audience disappearing?

    Quote Originally Posted by sonnymobleytrane View Post
    My problems had little to do with the music. The length of time between songs, the repetitive nature of everyone solos in this order every tune, and the very long break all put together showed a lack of understanding that they actually were playing for an audience.
    Yes, I understood that and I completely agree with you. Like I posted above, look professional and like you care about the audience. That shouldn't really be much of a burden.
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    Default Re: Better question:Why is Jazz audience disappearing?

    Quote Originally Posted by gary View Post
    There's something that bothers me about threads like this and that's using as a basis for the argument against modern jazz, i.e."concert" jazz, that there is not an audience for it. And since there is not an audience for it therefore blah, blah, blah. There ~is~ an audience for that kind of jazz and if some on this forum can't sit still and listen to this kind of music, they shouldn't assume that no one else can either, or that the fault lies squarely on the musicians.

    Is the audience large? No. Is that the "fault" of jazz? No. It's a sign of a transformed society and music industry that has little place in it for music of any genre that requires concentrated and sophisticated listening.

    And since this argument about people dancing to jazz in the thirties and forties also repeats itself, I'll say it again - this is not the nineteen thirties or forties. It's a changed world. What people listen to and dance to is completely different.
    I hear what you're saying here, gary, and I'm not trying to say we should go back to the '30s or '40s (that's way before my time in any case). I've got no argument against modern jazz or jazz for listening or however you want to term it. In fact, all through the '70s and into the early '80s I attended hundreds of club dates where jazz was being listened to by a relatively small audience (the club was full, but maybe only held 100 people or so). It was very informal, the audience was totally into the music and the musicians were obviously having a good time on the bandstand as well as playing exciting and challenging music.

    Somewhere along the way, in the '80s I would say, the atmosphere changed. The club atmosphere was replaced with a somewhat stifling "concert hall" atmosphere, even in the few clubs that have remained. Seating is all by reservation, the shows are short, you're tossed out after the first show, it has become very expensive, and only the biggest name acts are booked. And even the musicians seem to have been affected by all this. A lot of the fun has been replaced by taking it all a bit too seriously. Maybe this was inevitable, but to me it's a shame really. I do wish we could at least return to the days (nights) when jazz was somewhat disreputable and fun. It still wasn't popular or anything like that, but there was an audience. I think the modern way of presenting the music has turned off some of what little audience there was.

    This could all be my own skewed perception, but it's how I see it. And I have no idea what can be done about it. Maybe it's different in Europe. Maybe it has something to do with the appalling repressive political/social climate that grew here in the U.S. in the '80s, and got much worse in the past few years. Maybe...

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