Live jazz broadcasts — back to future formats

Hail for putting 14 Carefusion Newport Jazz Fest sets on the ‘net, and Wynton Marsalis for live-streaming from France’s Marciac Jazz Festival video of his Modern New Orleans concert. Back-to-the-future, as broadcasts allow music fans geographically anywhere (and now any time) to get in on the action.

Well before I came along, coast-to-coast radio broadcasts made Benny Goodman a star, and in the mid ’40s Symphony Sid Torin 


 broadcast live from the Royal Roost and Birdland clubs on NYC’s 52nd Street. Why did this practice end? 
Ok, I’m not predicting that NPR’s archiving of performances by J.D. Allen, Maria Schneider, Darcy James Argue, Matt Wilson, Amina Figuerova, etc. are going to revive jazz’s Swing Era popularity, but this kind of profile for live music (remember #jazzlives on Twitter!) is an unqualified good thing. Thanks due to WBGO and WGBH, too. And the esthetic scope is well beyond swing, anyway. For example, Ken Vandermark’s Powerhouse Sound. . .
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  1. Merrilee Trost says

    I used to listen to late night radio “live from the Meadowbrook” ballroom in New Jersey. I was safe and warm in my little bed in Kansas City, MO, but I felt I was on the dance floor with all the beautiful people. I learned to love the music. It was entrancing.

  2. says

    I have been bugging WBGO – of which i am a member – to pitch their tremendous web assets during their fund drives. I even called up during more than one drive more than once and got a drive producer who agreed that they should do this. They do not do it. They pitch like it is 1960 in downtown Newark.
    The internet is the future of “radio”for both Jazz and Classical Music. Everybody in PubRadio has good streams; everyone is on Shoutcast; especially WBGO has great video archives. Then there are Live365 and AccuRadio.

  3. says

    I’m still waiting for jazz podcasting to really take flight, since I think that’s the real future of jazz radio. Maybe it’s a question of licensing an copyright? Archiving live shows is a great start, though, and can only help build an audience.
    HM: Agreed, jazz podcasting could be a very positive medium. I think audiences have to want it to encourage more journalists to try it, but it’s a circle, of course — more journalists trying it, more audiences might find it (or the more it would be promoted to them). This is another platform the Jazz Journalists Association needs to look into (see for what the JJA is up to . . .)

  4. Alex Lemski says

    You can have all your I-U-Me-Your-Thou casts you want, but if the result isn’t more attendance and support for LIVE Jazz (and I’m not talking video/YouTube),be it in clubs, arts centers, schools or festivals, the media mediums have failed the music but profited the corporations. I hope our friend in Kansas City has since showed up for a live gig!
    HM: Alex, your point is somewhat obscure to me. Live jazz is indeed the thing I like to push, (cf the #jazzlives twitter campaign) but seems to me broadcasting live sets is a way to reach people who can’t get to where the sets are, and maybe catching some people who’ve never heard live jazz, as well. Video streaming live gigs is not anywhere as good as producing live music — but it gives viewers a glance at the real thing. Few “corporations” are profiting from the music, with the record companies almost completely gone, and media like NPR operating as public services. If live jazz is promoted successfully, more people will go hear live jazz, and it seems to me that live broadcasts promote live jazz.