Grammys Not In The News

Nancy Wilson won a Grammy last night, not that anyone would know from the media coverage. Had you been in the audience yesterday, during the pre-telecast awards when 96 Grammys were bestowed, you would know that only two of those winners garnered standing ovations: Tony Bennett and Nancy Wilson. No Standing O for Peter Frampton or Bon Jovi or Ludacris, just for Nancy and Tony.I have to believe that means something. The mainstream media has decided that jazz is irrelevant and/or of no interest to it’s readers/viewers. This decision is based, of course, not on any journalistic standards but solely on commercial concerns and advertisers allocations. Tony Bennett, having allied himself with pop, rock, and country performers, has broken through the barrier, and Michael Brecker’s win was mentioned in some reports because his death from a dreadful disease was recent news. Please don’t misunderstand my rant, Michael was most deserving, but I suspect that had he been alive and well his Grammy win would not have been mentioned outside the inner jazz circles. And that is a shame to be sure.

In their quest for young audiences, the gatekeepers have determined that older artists are not of interest, but they are wrong. If I had a dime for every fan letter and email that Nancy receives from fans under the age of 30, I would soon retire. It reminds me too of another recent experience with The Los Angeles Times. My father was making a rare Los Angeles appearance, he hadn’t performed here for a few years, he had recently been named an NEA Jazz Master, composed and performed an orchestral work with the Baltimore Symphony, in short there was lots of unusual and interersting news. The writer we pitched wanted to do an article but the newspaper editor said ‘no,’ the combination of his age and his music, jazz, added up to “no interest.” I wish that editor had been at the concert to the see the room full of high school and college kids.

Its a sad world where the majority doesn’t stand up to the media…and the government. If we don’t voice our demands then maybe we deserve what we get.

2 thoughts on “Grammys Not In The News”

  1. The same media that whines about the lack of values in society worship that most low of cults – the cult of celebrity. You should expect nothing better. On the other hand, realize how many young (and not so young) love Jazz and other quality music in spite of the mainstream media and realize how the influence of the mainstream media is falling quickly- and there is room for optimism.

  2. Jazz really is less relevant than we jazz folk might like to admit. In many ways it has become a regional phenomenon, a passion for educated easterners, that doesn’t speak to the rest of the country.

    I suspect this is because the small but loyal national audience jazz used to have has been allowed to age out and atrophy, leaving only a ghetto of hardcore fans, who are here because of a. racial identity or b. artistic obsession.

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