#jazzlives weekend update: 12-day count of tweeting fans

Buzz about who played live jazz where marked with the hashtage #jazzlives flew throughout cyberspace this weekend  — catch it all here. The impromptu campaign produced anecdotal evidence that a young and vigorous audience for America’s modern
vernacular creative music does indeed exist, spreading enthusiastic word via the social network Twitter of sets at Chicago, Tanglewood, Los Angeles (x2), Detroit and Stevens Point (Wisconsin) jazz festivals and gigs in New York, Tokyo, etc,. far and wide.

number of tweets labeled with the #jazzlives hashtag since Thursday, Sept. 3 is
812, which hasn’t touched the number that who attended Woodstock 40 years ago but isn’t bad as far as getting folks to independently raise their hands (or rather, use their thumbs) to shout ‘Yes, I love live jazz’ in 140 characters or less.
It’s actually pretty encouraging, representing a hard-core eager
to identify themselves with the idea, and a sign that it might grow legs.

on the #jazzlives idea also developed — the Detroit International Jazz Festival
started its own campaign, raising
about 20 tweets. Some people linked to photos in their tweets, and I suspect video cam clips will turn up depicting the range of people turning out to hear the music. Some people urged the campaign to migrate to Facebook or other ways of expanding it. Technical difficulties preclude using FB in easy conjunction with Twitter, but all possibilities ought to be explored and implemented — it’s a free idea, folks so feel free to take it and run with it.

It’s true that a lot of the tweets were posted by only a handful of Twitterers (Twitters? Tweeters? Twits?). A few — especially early on, were from publicists and radio show hosts who didn’t abide by the rules: No advance promo, no cds, only live and live-on-radio mentions, please. Yet the distribution from across the world is impressive, the number of tweets from attendees at the Chicago and Tanglewood jazz fests, where onstage MCS and musicians themselves urged audiences to do it, is instructive, and the enthusias, as in the sampling below, is clear, occasionally poetic, infectious:

day at Chicago Jazz Festival yesterday! Muhal making history! #jazzlives

Post fest hang is at the Hungry Brain somewhere on the north side of Chicago.
Lucky 7s play to a packed house. Few over 35.

Billy Childs Chamber Ensemble is tearing it up at ACJF [Angel City Jazz Festival]

Jon Faddis, Wallace Roney and Sean Jones now playing at Tanglewood – Faddis just introduced himself as Chuck Mangione. #jazzlives 

Pretty sure I’m now a huge Dee Alexander fan #jazzlives

yeah that was pretty cool. I had not seen that before #jazzlives

At Chicago’s Jazz Fest with #S_B, which is pretty much the best way to usher in my 24th year of life. #jazzlives

#jazzlives in Chicago!!! @ the 31st Annual Chicago Jazz Festival in Grant Park!
There IS a new wave of young Jazz followers!!!

a blast. .  . . . .At jazz
fest baby! . . . Great
event, and FREE! . . . Even
being alone, it doesn’t get better than this. . . . wOOt!!
From Chicago jazz fest!!

. . . Perfect
Labor Day relating at the Riverfront Jazz Festival in Stevens Point, WI. . . What a
joyous weekend it’s been exploring jazz with my neighbors. . . McCoy
Tyner, Junko Onishi, Quasimode among others at the Tokyo Jazz Fest . . . Thorny
Brocky brough some exciting sounds to San Francisco’s Red Poppy Art House
tonight . . Jose
James jams, sings, scats, swoops, slams @Detroit Jazz Fest . . . heard
the Jeff Lofton Trio at Annie’s, the Ephraim Owens & Friends at Elephant
Room + Andre Heyward & Russell Gunn #jazzlives in Austin. . .

and the Buttons at Cafe Maude — brilliant young button accordionist plays
old/timey jazz, with Sousaphone #jazzlives

fantastic jazz soak the soul with amazing music . . .
this is magic . . .

Figarova rocking (jazzing?) that piano. . . It’s going to be hard to leave mid-set. . . 

Parker, who is alive, at Chicago Jazz Fest going into the songs of Curtis
Mayfield (who is not . . but still). #jazzlives

saw Evgeny Lebedev’s World Trio at Tanglewood — Encore was a smart version of
Message In A Bottle #jazzlives

Terri [sic] Gibbs
was cutting it up at the West Coast Jazz Party last night . . .

Fred Anderson is weaving long melodies and flourishes through
Josh Abrams and Hamid Drake’s persistently flowing groove . . . austere lyricism . . .

Tia Fuller is a super saxophonist & deep composer. She was
great last nite w/ Sean Jones @ Dirty Dog. #jazzlives

It’s Labor, but not exactly hard labor . . .

Esperanza Spalding leading a scat singalong as her closer at
Chicago Jazz Fest reminds me to go #jazzlives

and so on.

The count continues . . .  as long as listeners care to post about who they like and where. Thought has been given to the notion that every year at Labor Day, when so many jazz fests occur, a self-executed census of jazz listeners take place, something like the annual Great Backyard Bird Count. In Chicago, at least, incredulous reactions to the recently released National Endowment for the Arts data on jazz audience demographics led to the NEA conducting focus groups at the fest and the Chicago Jazz Partnership (led by The Boeing Company) surveying the crowd about their “happy images” of the fest experience. What happens with information gleaned from those initiatives is not yet known, but it’s always good to have information. Whatever else comes from #jazzlives, I’ll let you know.

Subscribe by Email |
Subscribe by RSS |
Follow on Twitter
All JBJ posts |

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on RedditEmail this to someone


  1. says

    I’m sorry, but you’re clueless. Here you can find a list of terms tweeted more than jazzlives for a little perspective: http://dropyouraxe.blogspot.com/
    HM: Fascinating list — should I believe this campaign, foisted by a clueless blogger on a Twitter-world that’s interested in Adam’s farts, was an abject failure? I wish it had gone more viral, and learned that representatives from the stage (musicians included) urging typically non-Twittering jazz audiences to make the point did increase tweets. But the point is made that there are some fans out there who want to be heard about who they hear. And they represent many more.

  2. says

    Thanks for the response Howard.
    This campaign does make the point that there is a fan base that wants to be heard. For me, though, it also confirms that the base is exceedingly small, even smaller than I thought, and probably relatively old–which is the very simple point I think a lot of jazz fans were trying to make since the Teachout piece was published.
    I won’t say it’s a failure. If nothing else, it’s a first foray into a medium that’s an increasingly popular way of spreading info, so kudos to the tweeters.
    HM: Yes, a first foray into a new medium, an early attempt to get people activated, which resulted in a small core group doing so. Having kept an eye on the Twitterers, I don’t think it can be said that most of them were older than 40 (not sure about this, just from what I gathered and many I talked to or corresponded with directly). The experiment produced some data, unofficial, not statistically relevant, hard to quantify. It didn’t prove anything one way or t’other. Though the idea was nicely promoted by several influential websites, blogs and some newspapers and radio (Sirius Satellite Radio will announce the campaign over the next 12 days; the Ottawa Observer just got the widget up!) it didn’t go viral, suggesting to me that to start a movement takes a larger push than what we had. I’m glad we tried it.
    I still don’t credit Teachout’s conclusions that the future for jazz looks bleak. For one thing, the brand new Down Beat lists 170 colleges running jazz programs, a number far greater than we had 35 years ago, and which begs explanation. Secondly, the findings released by the NEA seem to have been partial — more information from the report is evidently forthcoming (I don’t assume it will contradict the data already out, but may re-contextualize it). The process by which the data was gathered seems to have covered a geographical spread over which “jazz events” were not evenly distributed, so if people didn’t have a chance to attend jazz events — no, then they couldn’t have attended any. But more on this issue will follow, when information becomes available. Let’s watch the surveys.