February is the month of Valentine's Day. It is also Black History Month, something very relevant to an art form that was built upon the struggles of the African-American populace. It is also a time for us at AllAboutJazz-New York to reflect, as we slowly emerge from our post-IAJE conference haze.
What people most enjoy about the conference is an opportunity to reconnect with a broad range of people across the jazz spectrum who work on different projects and thus become casualties of everyone's overwhelming business. But now that those four days are over, the community such as it is splinters anew.
One might think that jazz' reduced visibility and marketshare (something which can be conveniently overlooked when residing in the ivory towers of the Hilton and Sheraton Hotels) would lead to greater interaction and support amongst the various factions and components of the scene. But often what can be seen, at least from our perspective on the 'industry' side is lots of looking out for one's self. New York often feels like a big town with an overwhelmingly impersonal vibe but for anyone who has spent anytime here, it really is a small town with lots of overlapping groups. And like a small town, it needs people to be involved and concerned in order to thrive, something that everybody needs to consider.
What jazz needs are more people like our three featured artists this month. Lou Donaldson (On the Cover) was responsible for bringing aboard much of the talent that made Blue Note Records what it was in the '50s and '60s. Reggie Workman (Interview) is the driving force behind the new Sculptured Sounds Music Festival, an opportunity for under-sung musicians to play in front of New York audiences. And Mark Helias(Artist Feature) benefited from older musicians' openness when he was starting out and is now doing the same for others as both a player and educator.
We're all in this together and have to think about the larger picture for more than four days annually, because jazz needs more than just one get-together a year to address its many issues.
Laurence Donohue-Greene & Andrey Henkin
This story appears courtesy of All About Jazz Publicity.
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