Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Everyone Deserves a Chance

Here's my answer to a question that's asked of me practically every time I'm invited to appear on a music panel:

"What advice could you offer to concert promoters/organizers who want to bring about a major change and some fresh new music to the audience?"

For starters, promoters should be willing to take a risk, ignore trends and sometimes trust their instincts, and book new or emerging artists that have little or no track record who have created a buzz on the jazz underground. Everyone on the scene usually knows who they are already, and a short polling of insider's opinions would easily reveal who these new talents are. They can regularly be found working for peanuts in every dive bar or playing for free at jam sessions in every major city. They're not difficult to find at all and by presenting them regularly, it would stimulate interest in the music substantially. They're young, eager, and ready to give their best. I always keep my ear to the street (on an international level) and I know scores of amazing young players who already perform in an incredibly advanced and mature capacity.

I strongly recommend doing this, instead of offering the same, tired line ups of uninspired musicians who never raise the artistic bar for themselves nor produce anything provocative. Most of them have settled into complacency much too early in their artistic journey and have set the pace at which they will operate for the remainder of their careers. And yet, their ilk dominates the bookings at every major jazz festival and important venue. It's actually an issue of laziness on behalf of the promoters and reveals how uninformed they are of who is actually relevant on the scene. Many of the common names most often placed on performance rosters are not necessarily held in too high esteem by the hard core players. History has shown that many of the most provocative players are regularly and unjustly ignored time and time again, while the "stars" enjoy the attention of a public who, I am certain, would respond favorably and enjoy more diversity in the festival/concert programming.

I know that my answer is an opinionated one, but I am certain that I am not exclusive in my perspectives on this subject.