Sunday, January 21, 2007

Fish in a Barrell

The cup of hyperbole overfloweth this week on the jazzwideweb:

via (Mwanji) Jack Reilly's alter-ego sends an open letter to Downbeat objecting vociferously to this month's piece on Meldauh and his influence, because they don't like Bill Evans ENOUGH! I've only skimmed the piece, and like Giovanni I blanched on first glance. (And may well wretch at second glance, we'll see). But Jack, get over yourself. Neither Metheny nor Evans are any more or less great because Pat hasn't checked Bill out all that much.

That said, I think Evans has a very unusual place in the jazz pantheon, one I hope to talk about soon enough. (Every few months on the web there seems to be a Bill Evans dustup, so I may just have to wait a bit and let it come to me.) If anyone has links send 'em along and I'll post.

Some of my favorite blogging to come from the recent IAJE conference came from JBSpins, a politically conservative jazz writer and critic. Yup, there are some. I don't agree with him on either politics or music very often, but I thought his take on the Jazz and Politics panel, while a little too snarky, was a very useful critique.

But JB, c'mon (from an older post):

"It might be counter-intuitive to most jazz fans, but Republican administrations have been better for jazz. Under the Clinton administration, jazz was decidedly not a priority at the NEA. Now jazz is one of the agency’s showcase programs. As recently pointed out, every jazz musician awarded the Medal of Freedom received it from a Republican president. The decision in the James Newton-Beastie Boys case, the most troubling ruling for jazz artists, was handed down by a Clinton appointee."

He's said or intimated sever other times that jazz musicians would be better served if they voted Republican? Huh? JB, while I do appreciate the recognition and funding this administration is giving jazz (really, under this administration it is a slightly bigger piece of an ever- shrinking pie), grant funding is pretty low on the list of issues I, and I think most musicians of my ilk vote on. When it comes to what matters to my life- economic and tax justice, smarter and affordable health care, human services funding, sensible foreign policy, not sending my neighbors to die in ill-conceived wars of choice- explain to me why the hell I should vote Republican? I don't think I'll ever see it.

"Can Jazz Educate More Than Classical?", New Music Box asks. Not from articles like that- I don't follow at all. This is a big conversation that needs to be had- I'm not even sure that the strength of the IAJE is good for the music right now (will follow up, I promise). But this is not an especially good start.

Okay, I'm going to go hope the Patriots improve my mood, and blog accordingly later...

1 comment:

DJA said...

Unsurprising, totally characteristic Republican bullshit from JB -- try to milk a factoid of dubious relevance ("every jazz musician awarded the Medal of Freedom received it from a Republican president") and hope the audience can't see the forest for the trees. JB isn't a total idiot, so I'm sure he's aware that most Republicans want the NEA abolished, and that the devastating NEA cuts of the 1990's were a result of the Gingrich-led GOP Congress's campaign to starve it to death. You'll recall that was kind of a big deal at the time. But for some reason J.B. neglected to mention that context.

And, of course, there's all the other stuff you mention. To focus just on economic issues for the moment (since even the majority of Republicans at this point agree the Iraq war is a complete fuckup) even if JB's laughably absurd proposition were true -- that the GOP is better on arts funding than the Democrats -- that still doesn't even come close to establishing that you as an individual jazz musician will be economically better off under a Republican administration. Quite the opposite, given how the GOP favors economic policies that have led to historic levels of inequality. The Democrats remain the only viable alternative for people who actually have to work for a living.