New York Times, nice piece from Nate Chinen

Here's a nice piece from Nate Chinen dispersing some of the grey the clouds over jazz in the columns of the New York Times. Thank you to the eagle eyes of Tessa Souter for spotting it!

There IS a new audience of 18-24 year olds in the US. As there is right here in London.

4 comments:

  1. This is a very interesting debate. Yes clearly there is a young audience for jazz; there is in Birmingham as there is in London. Birmingham Jazz has had some success with its Jazz Club programme run on the last Wednesday of the month at The Rainbow Pub, a music venue that hosts big DJ nights at the weekend. With bands like Get The Blessing, Lizzy Parks, the Sub Ensemble etc. we draw a crowd of people aged mostly between 25 and 40;not massive numbers, but an enthusiastic and knowledgeable audience. At our more formal concert events at the CBSO Centre, we do attract more of an arts going audience of an older age profile. Here I think that Terry Teachout does have a point: jazz concerts take their place in the general arts scene and is competing with the theatre, cinema etc. What strikes me is that, although the audience at these concerts does have an older profile with many in the 40 to 60 age range, the numbers of people in the younger age range are considerably higher than those attending classical music concerts, theatre and ballet.

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  2. There is often an intimidation for young people, and it's a function of access(ibility). With more young people than ever able to take advantage of jazz being 'absorbed' by the music education scene, at both secondary and tertiary levels, and also of location and cost. It can be very expensive to go to concerts in major arts venues. So there is a stratum of venues such as Tony describes (and also including The Vortex, where I am one of the directors). Also, there is the access provided on the internet, which makes up for the loss of opportunities to hear bigger names in more intimate environments for lowish prices (as Ronnie Scott's was for many years). We need to remain optimistic. I remember hearing recently an interview done with Oscar Peterson over 20 years ago. Same question, and answered by him with the same degree of optimism. So it's not a new problem!

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  3. Didn't pick up on this earlier. There's definitely a young audience in London for Jazz. At the London Jazz Meetup, I'd say over 70 per cent of the 500+ members are between 20 and 40, a lot of them joined up because they enjoy jazz and want to see more of it live, but either didn't know anyone else who like jazz, or felt a bit intimidated by the London scene and didn't know where all the hidden gems are. While jazz venues (aside from a few) are always financial gambles, there's definitely a market for brave promoters who can offer something modern and contemporary that appeals to a younger audience, but doesn't at the same time cut out older fans. The worst thing I think for London jazz would be to segment audiences and market for narrower and narrower groups. The returns would diminish, I think, as it would make jazz a marketing fad rather than a musical genre that caters for all groups.

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  4. The audience at the gigs I have been to in London recently has been pretty young - particularly those from the Tomorrow's Warriors stable.

    I think jazz is looking pretty healthy nowadays.

    It might depend on the venues one goes to - the audience at Ronnie's for the Clark Tracey sextet was pretty middle aged, but then with most seats at £20 or more, what should one expect?

    The Abram Wilson gig at the Spice of Life had a very young crowd, whilst various gigs at the Vortex seem pretty young, too - and affordable.

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