Monday, August 07, 2006

The unfairer festival

(Via Darcy) Jazz @ Lincoln Center presents the Second Annual Diet Coke Women in Jazz Festival.

Put aside the annoying product placement for a second, and assume that festival this is a good idea. Look at the bills. C'mon, people, this is why so many musicians and more forward looking fans get so pissed at Wynton et al so often, even as their rhetoric cools. The booking shows a general failure of imagination. There's an overabundance of mainstream singers (is it a requirement of jazz singers to do a set at least once a week with "very special friends"?), and with the exception of the "Europe night" (I plead ignorance on these artists), the artists they present do okay on their own. Why not pair Elaine Elias with Ingrid Jentsen's group (to name one), or Marian McPartland with the IAJE's Sisters in Jazz group? Why not expiriment with presentation, invite someone like Nancy Ostrovsky or dancers? If you're going to take a chance beyond your usual booking policy, why not, you know, take a chance?

And I know this is a LOT to ask of Lincoln Center, how about representing some of the stylistic diversity in the music today? We're far past the point where just having a latin group (and Spirits of Havana is a damn good one) shows the breadth of the music. Off the top of my head, where are Susie Iberra, Mary Halverson, Patricia Barber, etc? Anyone, anyone?

I should hold off, I know- the late night sets are TBA, and surprisingly affordable for J@LC. But as other "art music" organizations, up to and including many symphony orchestras, find new and interesting ways to present and promote music, the few jazz organizations that do exist, especially J@LC, seem to be stuck in a time warp.

(Oh, the sponsorship. Darcy clubs it, and justly. But maybe I'm just cynical at this point, but if Coke wants to throw money at the arts, they can call it the jolt cola edible undergarments festival for all I care. The music still gets played.)

1 comment:

Mwanji Ezana said...

Of the two European singers, I know Anne Ducros (she's French) and find her insufferably showy. I don't like her English accent, either.