tweet if it sounds like jazz...

... and beat down the doomsayers. 

Here's a missive from Howard Mandel, president of the Jazz Journalists Association, whose idea it is to use Twitter to counter the notion forwarded by Terry Teachout's recent Wall Street Journal piece, that jazz's audience is fading -- and to point out that RIGHT NOW, LOTS OF PEOPLE IN LOTS OF PLACES ARE LISTENING TO LIVE JAZZ.

Myself, I don't Tweet. Never have. Maybe won't ever. But I do know that, for those of you who do, this is a chance to lend real numbers -- not anecdotes-- to counter the statistics Teachout seized upon from a recent survey.

The instructions are simple, says Mandel. Read on. Be a part of a groundswell of response that won't help sway the health-care debate but might just counter the propaganda about jazz being on its deathbed.

Is the audience for jazz aging and diminishing, as Terry Teachout wrote in the Wall Street Journal recently? I don't believe it and don't think you buy it completely either, despite the NEA's 2008 survey data. I think that survey overlooked a significant segment of the vital audience for live jazz today, and propose a small social networking experiment, asking tech savvy listeners to tweet #jazzlives, who & where, in 140 characters.

Over the next couple weeks there are myriad big jazz events, starting in NYC the Charlie Parker Jazz Fest is Saturday and Sunday), continuing to the Labor Day weekend fests at Tanglewood, Chicago, Detroit, Aspen, Los Angeles, Vail, Philly, Chapel Hill, etc., then on through Monterey and the Beantown (Boston) fests (we'll keep the campaign going, as long as it works). The music needn't be heard at a fest, of course -- it can be at a stand-along concert, a gig, live-jazz-broadcast on radio or online, in the subway or street, at a party, whatever.

If you Tweet, use hashtag #jazzlives.  If you have a Twitter account, please help kick things off TODAY with a tweet that includes  #jazzlives, who you heard most recently and where (venue and/or locale). That way, you (or anyone) will be able to track these tweets with a Twitter search and on TweetDeck and similar services. We have created a special "widget" for blogs and websites that will show all #jazzlives tweets in real time-- which is sort of the fun of it for those who like these things, and will collate all the tweets so we can count them, hopefully to prove how many of us there are. If you want the widget, email tweetjazzlives@gmail.com.

MOST BRIEFLY, here's all anyone has to do to participate:

1) Write in a Tweet WHO you heard and WHERE (venue, locale, whatever fits)

2) MOST IMPORTANT: include hashmark #jazzlives.

EXAMPLE: I heard Vanguard Orch at Tanglewood, super! #jazzlives

EXAMPLE: I heard Hank Jones, solo at Detroit Int JF, mighty fine #jazzlives

Include links to your blog or website in your Tweet if you like, like this --

EXAMPLE: I heard Eubanks 5 be great at Blue Note NYC, full revu at www.HowardMandel.com #jazzlives

That's it. These initial tweets will seed the project by getting the #jazzlives out there and giving us some initial content for our widget.  We hope this will build to a noticeable surge. Could we get as many tweets and postings as there were people at Woodstock?

Please note: Tweets with #jazzlives are NOT intended to publicize upcoming events or for comments on recordings you're listening to, but rather for reports on LIVE jazz you've actually heard recently. If you heard it live over the radio, that counts!

The widget won't be branded by any group or individual, so it should complement and not compete with your own online social networking work and may help promote that work or local projects. But our initiative's main aim is just to see how we can use new features of social networking to give all styles of jazz -- defined however you want -- a higher profile by showing how many of us listeners to live jazz there are.

August 26, 2009 9:09 PM | | Comments (0)

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Evan Christopher Django à la Créole (Lejazzetal) 

Clarinetist Evan Christopher, a California native, moved to New Orleans in 1994. In his frequent duets with Tom McDermott, and as a standout member of trumpeter Irvin Mayfield's New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, his erudite and personalized approach to traditional jazz commands attention.

Dr. Michael White Blue Crescent (Basin Street) 

Long before the floods that devastated his city, clarinetist Michael White wrestled with the challenge of preserving New Orleans traditional jazz without embalming it. He sought to write tunes built on time-honored local forms that spoke to the here-and-now. But Dr. White struggled to compose anything at all during the past three years--until late 2007, when original music began pouring forth.

 
Dee Dee Bridgewater
Red Earth: A Malian Journey (DDB Records/Emarcy/Universal) Despite her place in the top rank of American jazz vocalists and her crossover success, Dee Dee Bridgewater has often felt displaced. "I'm always trying to fit in somewhere," she once told me. This new disc, which finds Ms. Bridgewater and her band in collaboration with a cast of Malian musicians and singers, is no further pose:
David Murray Black Saint Quartet featuring Cassandra Wilson Sacred Ground (Justin Time) 
Long among the strongest, most adventurous reedmen in jazz,
Joe Zawinul Brown Street (Heads Up) 
The list of great Viennese composers must include Zawinul--same for the honor roll of jazz innovators.
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