Jazz isn’t dead or dying. It’s just waiting to be heard. The photograph shows an eleven-foot line of CDs on the floor of my music room. There are 352 of them. They are some of the review copies that have arrived in the past couple of months. Boxes and shelves in my office hold at least three times that many more. A stack of DVDs on the credenza behind where I am writing reaches to within a few inches of the ceiling. None of these recordings is yet in the permanent collection. They are languishing, hoping to be reviewed.
I estimate that there are 1,050 CDs and thirty-five DVDs on hold. Let’s assume that each is an hour long, a low average. If I were to spend eight hours a day, including weekends, listening and watching, it would be–appropriately–April 1st, 2009, before I finished. But I would not finish because long before then I would have been taken to the loony bin. In the meantime, at the current rate, a couple of thousand more recordings will have arrived. Did I mention the storage problem?
All a reviewer can do is hope that experience, knowledge, instinct and luck will guide him toward what to pull from that long line. If the next Armstrong, Young, Parker, Evans, Coleman or Coltrane is there and I miss him (or her), I’ll be sorry, but listening is a linear proposition, and there’s only so much time.
Below is the next installment in my attempt to keep up with the endless flow of recordings.