Despite setbacks, Jazz music survives and thrives in Boston


Sign in to view read count
Jazz has become fringe 
art. Sure, Chris Botti and Diana Krall still move tickets, but the talented students pouring out of Berklee College of Music and the New England Conservatory face a tough economic reality: Graduates often make more money behind the counter at Starbucks than blowing their horns.

But young players can take heart in an upswing in the scene. The South End's Beehive has done so well booking jazz in the past seven years, the owners opened a club with a similar vibe—Beat Hotel in Harvard Square, which celebrated its first anniversary last fall.

“You go to New York and walk into a place in the Village and people are killing it,” Beehive and Beat Hotel music director Bruce Ferrara said. “In Boston, often it’s something cliche or warmed over. What I’ve been trying to do is bring in music that’s real, honest and legit, and that means fun.”

It also means fewer Cole Porter standards and more progressive, more adventurous jam sessions—the kind of sessions at which those Berklee and Conservatory alums excel.

“Bruce is doing an incredible job putting together left-of-center shows with a limited budget,” Conservatory grad Noah Preminger said. “This music is always a hard sell and having those two venues helps, but unless you move to Europe, it’s always going to be a struggle to make a living doing this.”

Like so many, Preminger went to New York after graduation to establish himself. He did — Preminger found a label and became a rising star. But he moved back to Boston because, even with the limited amount of clubs here, he knew he could thrive. That, and he was “tired of driving around until four in the morning looking for a parking spot.”

The Beehive and Beat Hotel are doing well by doing something different, but not all jazz fans are into Ornette Coleman avant-garde and experimental, late-period John Coltrane. Some listeners want those Cole Porter standards.

Continue Reading...

Post a comment


View events near Boston
Jazz Near Boston
Events Guide | Venue Guide | Get App | More...

Shop Amazon

Jazz News


All About Jazz needs your support

All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded albums and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, limited reopenings and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary step that will help musicians and venues now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the sticky footer ad). Thank you!

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.