Thursday, August 25, 2011

Writing about jazz (I'm a dying breed, not likely to be missed, it seems)

There was a panel discussion during the recent Oslo Jazzfestival concerning the stat of jazz journalism, in Norway in particular ('though, there were representatives from abroad on the panel too). I was prevented from participating, but from what I've heard, most, if not all, were seemingly of the view that jazz journalism was in dire straits, some even going as far as saying it was redundant.

The latter view seems to stem from a misconception of what writing about music entails. So I stumbled accross this tidbit from Patrick Jarenwattananon on NPR's A Blog Supreme in a piece concerning the question of whether jazz scribes need to know how to play too, but it which fits perfectly into this discussion as well:

‎"[I]t seems as if what is most needed from jazz journalism today is not strictly criticism of sounds themselves, but also explication: gathering context, making connections, lending new perspectives or otherwise giving a "way into" this stuff for the common non-musician. We need to remove the intimidation factor. We need to redefine jazz's connections to the world around it. And we need to render all this artfully."

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