“We’re doing everything we can toÂ eliminateÂ jazzÂ from American culture,” a promoter for Live Nation Artists, the world’s dominant pop music production and marketing firm “joked” to Florida councilmen considering a proposed upcoming music festival. Jazz responds with a can’t-be-bothered shrug.Â
Archives for June 2008
“Music that we’re playing now is just the blues of all of
America, all over again, it’s just a different kind of blues. This is the
blues, the real blues, it’s the new blues, and people must listen to this music
because they’ll be hearing it all the time. Because if it’s not me it’ll be
someone else that’s playing it. The majority of the younger musicians I’ve
heard in New York, they’ve begun to play this way because this is the only way
left for musicians to play. All the other ways have been explored, in the time
B.B. KingÂ played coy at the 25th annual Chicago Blues Festival last weekend. “I won’t say what party I’m for,” the great vocalist and guitarist began, in obvious reference to local resident Barack Obama’s ascension to Democratic presidential nominee, “but everybody has something to be happy about now. Including the women — who found out ‘Yes, we can!‘” Few other of the hundreds of performers were even that explicit onstage, but the fest reportedly drew 750,000 listeners over four days, and the music projected a general air of triumph against daunting odds.
The music of Chicago — gritty urban blues — is famously about hard times, heartache and struggle. But practitioners of the genre may boast a refreshed if wary air of accomplishment this week, upon favorite son Barack Obama’s ascension to Democratic presidential candidate. At least, that’s my thesis, which I’ll test by listening close to some of the 90 performances at the City-sponsored, free downtown 25th annual Chicago Blues Festival June 5 – 9 — and probably a slew of after-fest blues in neighborhood taps scattered around the toddlin’ town.