Saturday, July 28, 2007

Welcome to Polyrhythms

This is my internet soapbox to pontificate about all things jazz, and a little bit beyond. Who am I? If you found your way here, I’m going to make the leap assumption that I’m just like you, a lifetime fan of the music. I also happen to be a jazz photojournalist, covering the scene in the San Francisco Bay Area. I am a staff writer for CityFlight, a Bay Area eZine, and provide reviews of CDs, DVDs, and concerts here in the area.

In those capacities, there are necessary and understandable filters in place. There are also space constraints, so a lot of what I’d like to put out there, I can’t. Here, I get to rant or rave about whatever I think might be interesting. A sounding board, so to speak, and a forum that I hope will bring things to light you are likely to otherwise miss.

Whether you know it or not, whether you choose to accept it or not, we in this country are losing this music we call jazz. I personally am not willing to say that jazz is dying. There are many places in the world that are starving for more jazz, and not the watered-down “smooth” jazz that is neither smooth nor jazz. If you don’t believe it, then you’re ignoring all the signs. Fifteen years ago you could find a 24-hour all-jazz station in every major city in America. Today, if you don’t count satellite, there is only one, and it’s on life support. Take a look at the lineups for jazz festivals that are over ten years old. You are likely to find more non-jazz artists than jazz artists. Here on the west coast, there remain only three jazz clubs that play host to the music’s top tier talent on a regular basis. Shockingly, not one of them is located in Los Angeles. Do you have a large local record store (sorry, CD store just doesn’t sound right) with a well stocked jazz section? If so, have you noticed it’s shrinking, fast?

Polyrhythms is my own personal effort to help keep this music alive. It means a lot to me. A whole lot. Jazz is playing in my house 24/7 and will be until I leave this world. If I sound emotional, it’s because this music is emotional. To quote Jon Hendricks “This is intelligent music. There are no dummies listening to this.”

Please come back from time to time. I promise to keep it interesting.

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