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Madison jazz scene status report...

Who's making noise in and around Madison? What's new in the business of making music around town? Review shows and CDs here. Please keep all hype in Hype Exchange.

Re: Madison jazz scene status report...

Postby RockOfTheArts » Tue Apr 26, 2011 7:30 pm

We see a lot of house shows in the Madison area that feature indie rock and/or indie folk bands. Intimate concerts that can be a unique experience for fans. I don't see why it wouldn't work for Jazz. Leverage twitter and facebook for marketing and tie in with a local craft brewer or winery and you might have something. Check out how this is happening in Chicago:

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=1 ... artingjazz
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Re: Madison jazz scene status report...

Postby acereraser » Tue Apr 26, 2011 8:20 pm

Kenneth Burns wrote:What was the last instrumental to have success on the pop chart? "Axel F"?


Image

Yeah, had to do it. But, no, the only thing I could find after a little poking around was that the Pulp Fiction soundtrack, featuring Dick Dale's "Miserlou", sparked a resurgence of interest in surf rock. Of course, most of that interest was commercial.
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Re: Madison jazz scene status report...

Postby dstol62 » Tue Apr 26, 2011 10:08 pm

Thing is, with school funding cut at every turn, what's the first thing to go? The arts. Unless their parents listen to it, most kids in this part of the country won't hear jazz until they catch a snippet of Take 5 in a car ad or something.

Today's young audience is the product of this kind of orientation.
What is holding many performing artists back is the current societal perception that only performers who either have some kind of recording label or corporate validation are worthy of attention.
As has been pointed out in other threads, artists who would be considered mediocre 40 years ago are given a revision with the aid of autotune and other technological recording breakthroughs. Last of all, it must not be understated that in order for a performer to play jazz in a way that will attract an audience at all, a sacrifice of at least 25 years is generally the norm. In this day and age, it is rare for a young person who is not a prodigy to make such a commitment.
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Re: Madison jazz scene status report...

Postby Logjam » Wed Apr 27, 2011 7:28 am

Somewhat on topic, a few weeks ago WORT played something from the Tim Whalen Nonet "Live at Magnus" (or maybe just "Magnus") and it was pretty damn awesome. I literally didn't know that kind of stuff was being produced right here in Madison. This topic reminded me that I meant to pick up that disc.

In other news, over 51 million people have viewed Willow Smith's "Whip My Hair" on youtube.
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Re: Madison jazz scene status report...

Postby supaunknown » Wed Apr 27, 2011 11:30 am

Are jam bands jazz?
The spirit of jazz is probably in there somewhere, but it don't mean a thing (if it ain't got that swing).
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Re: Madison jazz scene status report...

Postby Nate535 » Wed Apr 27, 2011 11:56 am

dstol62 wrote:In response to Dipper's patronizing generalizations about why jazz is unpopular, I think it's fair to say that this is due in part to our current need for instant gratification. Not so long ago, it was possible for a jazz group to hold an audience's attention for an entire set. These days, people are checking their cells by the middle of the second tune. If it's still considered rude to do this while out on a personal engagement, rest assured the same rules apply at a seated music performance. As to the assertion that jazz only belongs as background music for a brunch or doing laundry, that is an affirmation of Dipper's ignorance.


There's that strong sense of self entitlement we all know and love about Jazz musicians! Is the burden on the audience to be entertained or on you to be entertaining? Jazz has gotten progressively less popular (and by extension less profitable) since it stopped being dance music and started being about a presentation of the players musical introspection.
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Re: Madison jazz scene status report...

Postby ilikebeans » Wed Apr 27, 2011 3:04 pm

supaunknown wrote:Are jam bands jazz?
The spirit of jazz is probably in there somewhere, but it don't mean a thing (if it ain't got that swing).

I would say no in most cases, although it depends on how broad a definition of "jazz" you use. Swing? Fusion? Free jazz?

Very generally speaking, I see the "typical" jam band improvising on one to three chords at most, and usually in fairly defined major-minor (mostly major) tonalities, so I wouldn't call it jazz. Others might. Artists like MMW, John Scofield, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, and (long ago, and rather obscure) the Aquarium Rescue Unit blur the line a bit more.

Logjam wrote:Somewhat on topic, a few weeks ago WORT played something from the Tim Whalen Nonet "Live at Magnus" (or maybe just "Magnus") and it was pretty damn awesome. I literally didn't know that kind of stuff was being produced right here in Madison. This topic reminded me that I meant to pick up that disc.

Yep, they are/were fantastic. Tim is a band director in the military at the moment, so they're on hiatus. Hopefully they'll make a return appearance in the future, but obviously it won't be at Magnus.

Nate535 wrote:Is the burden on the audience to be entertained or on you to be entertaining?

Yes, and yes, depending on how financially successful you're aiming for. I think we could agree that if you want to take your bleeding-edge avant-garde musings public, you could play at Mother Fool's or Project Lodge and get a few people there, but you're not going to make a living at it.

But this thread is about jazz being commercially viable. Thing is, more people were entertained by it back in its heyday because it was new, groundbreaking, and heard everywhere. People's ears got used to it. It was the pop music of the time.

Nate535 wrote:Jazz has gotten progressively less popular (and by extension less profitable) since it stopped being dance music and started being about a presentation of the players musical introspection.

Hm. The bebop players of the late 60's certainly weren't very danceable but supported themselves (and their habits) through their music.

Also, look at what a quick fad the swing/jump revival was back in the late 90's, inspired by the movie Swingers. That's as danceable as it gets, but it didn't last. Could it be because the dances are difficult by today's dance club standards?

(Side note: Saw Big Bad Voodoo Daddy at the Majestic a few months back, and they still kill live. Go see 'em when you can.)
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Re: Madison jazz scene status report...

Postby dstol62 » Wed Apr 27, 2011 4:12 pm

One could also assert that the late 50's to early 60s were the brief perfect storm when jazz became integrated into mainstream culture, even used regularly in television commercials. It blended perfectly with the "place" American culture was at that time. Today, with all of the competing musical genres easily available, jazz must be relegated to the niche that it is. It is still one of this country's original musical art forms, and when provided the right kind of performance setting, is generally well received by most educated audiences, especially those who take the initiative to find out more about what they are listening to.
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Re: Madison jazz scene status report...

Postby Nate535 » Wed Apr 27, 2011 5:21 pm

dstol62 wrote:One could also assert that the late 50's to early 60s were the brief perfect storm when jazz became integrated into mainstream culture, even used regularly in television commercials. It blended perfectly with the "place" American culture was at that time. Today, with all of the competing musical genres easily available, jazz must be relegated to the niche that it is. It is still one of this country's original musical art forms, and when provided the right kind of performance setting, is generally well received by most educated audiences, especially those who take the initiative to find out more about what they are listening to.


So what you're saying is that American culture has evolved? I agree that it is generally well received by an educated audience but that audience is too small to support a Jazz club in Madison.

My question is when are the 12 tone composition guys going to come on here and start whining that people aren't "educated" enough to listen to their brilliant works while sitting soundless and motionless, devoting all of their brain power to analyze every phrase?
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Re: Madison jazz scene status report...

Postby dstol62 » Wed Apr 27, 2011 6:25 pm

Nate535-

Not sure where your hostility about improvised music is coming from, but it sounds like you could use a hammer to get rid of that chip on your shoulder. There is no argument you can construct that precludes the potential success of a club presenting jazz if the criterion I ascribed are followed. Since an appropriate venue in Madison that includes all of the above-ascribed criterion has not existed here in recent memory, though has been successful here prior to that, you will have to concede your argument until the idea can be executed.
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Re: Madison jazz scene status report...

Postby Nate535 » Wed Apr 27, 2011 8:15 pm

dstol62 wrote:Nate535-

Not sure where your hostility about improvised music is coming from, but it sounds like you could use a hammer to get rid of that chip on your shoulder. There is no argument you can construct that precludes the potential success of a club presenting jazz if the criterion I ascribed are followed. Since an appropriate venue in Madison that includes all of the above-ascribed criterion has not existed here in recent memory, though has been successful here prior to that, you will have to concede your argument until the idea can be executed.


Actually I love improvised music when it's done well. That doesn't mean I have to believe that a Jazz club in Madison would be a profitable idea. The fact of the matter is that in a business sense, your theory is false until proven true...not the other way around. If this is so obviously a winning idea, you should have no problem convincing someone to "execute" your plan. I think the trends will show that the music venue business in Madison is pretty tough, let alone something as specific as a Jazz venue.
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