The Jazz.com Blog
December 27, 2007 · 0 comments
One of the challenges in covering the jazz world – by blog or review, or with a comprehensive web site – is balancing the space devoted to new music and historical material. I did a quick survey of the most recent jazz magazine to arrive in my mailbox, and found that eight of the nine stories featured on its cover dealt with the a current artist or release. This is fairly typical, I suspect, of the jazz media today. But is it the right balance?
Of course, jazz periodicals have always devoted the vast majority of their pages to what is currently happening on the scene. But this made much more sense back in 1970, when Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, Count Basie and so many other legendary figures were still recording and performing. Back then, a fan could gain a complete understanding of the history of the music simply by visiting the leading jazz clubs on a regular basis. The whole spectrum of the music was available to be experienced first hand. But today, all of the pioneers of the jazz art form are gone, and even most of the masters of post-war jazz are departing from our midst – only a few days ago, we lost Oscar Peterson. In this environment, an approach to covering jazz that focuses solely or primarily on what is happening this week or this month misses much of what is most valuable in the jazz heritage.
In planning jazz.com, our goal has been for a more even balance between covering the best of today and celebrating the legacy of the past. If a typical jazz magazine still puts the mix at 80% (current) and 20% (historical), jazz.com is aiming for something approaching a 50-50 balance. I believe that most media outlets covering jazz will gradually move in a similar direction, realizing that their audience often gets as much enjoyment from Miles as from, say, Chris Botti, or that a good guide to hard bop masterpieces or Kansas City jazz is as valuable as reviews of the best new CDs released this week.
Two daily features at jazz.com attempt to balance these conflicting demands. Five days a week, we pick a “Song of the Day” – highlighting an outstanding new or recent release that deserves to be more widely heard. (A list of our picks for “Song of the Day” since our site opened its doors on December 10 can be found here.) But right next to the “Song of the Day” on our homepage, we celebrate a great historical performance, under the title “A Classic Revisited.” (A list of our choices for “A Classic Revisited” can be found here.) Check these out daily on our home page, immediately below our recent articles, and send us an email with any comments or suggestions for songs you would like to see featured in these slots.
The “Song of the Day” for today is Abbey Lincoln’s “Throw It Away” from her recent Abbey Sings Abbey release on Verve. Today's selection for “A Classic Revisited” is Stan Getz’s “I’m Late, I’m Late” from the tenorist's great 1961 Focus session, also on the Verve label.
This blog entry posted by Ted Gioia
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