the state of jazz - mar 21st, 2012

One of the perks of running an all ages jazz club is being privy to the growth and development of creative musicians – the journeymen, as well as the young up-and-coming lions. It takes years of hard work to achieve any type of success, and playing jazz music is no exception. The musicians of today have unprecedented tools and options at their disposal. Not only are there numerous reputable music schools all across the country, but there are lots of dedicated, encouraging, and inspiring teachers in the junior colleges and high schools, many who happen to be talented musicians themselves.
But even better, technology has made it possible to instantly listen to just about any jazz song performed by anyone who ever recorded it. And, in many cases, you can watch and study their performance on YouTube. Notated music for any song is readily downloadable . You can even watch step by step video lessons and tips on technique on YouTube. In addition, there are hundreds of books, biographies, interviews, reviews, opinions – all within an easy click.
There was a time, not so long ago, back when much of the music considered classic today was conceived, created, and recorded – when none of this was available. You only heard about cats who could really play – word spread by mouth, person to person, not by texting. Music was handwritten and passed around. Google, YouTube, and iTunes were faint figments of the imagination.
Nevertheless, I have to say that the state of jazz music has never been at a more vibrantly vital place. There are legions of seriously talented musicians out there, masses of young ones, learning and mastering the classics, making huge strides month by month, gobbling up musical experience, running down different paths, trying things out, working hard, weighing, watching, learning – handling their shit. They now have control over the process, as well as the ability to isolate and access specialized and fragmented audiences. The result is that there is more music than ever being created.
Will it have lasting impact? Will audiences be playing it 50, 60 or 70 years from now? Will it course through their bloodstreams, become a part of their lives? Will it continue to inspire?
Well, that remains to be seen. The old cats had none of the advantages, but the music they made was, beyond a doubt, something special indeed.