Jim Brown writes about a couple of points with which he takes issue in a recent Rifftides piece, Harmony And History.
First, I take great pleasure in sitting in a Starbucks or other
small restaurant and hearing QUALITY music in the background (or
even the foreground). It appears that Starbucks did a lot to make
this practice widespread, and I applaud it. In fact, many of the
restaurants that my wife and I patronize for the food have adopted
quality jazz as their background.
A few years ago, I walked into a Panera Bread restaurant to hear a
track from Clifford, Sonny, and Max’s Joy Spring session, and
wondering if they had ever guessed that day what masterpieces they
were creating, and that the music might not only outlive them, but
also become music for the masses.
And on the topic of late night satellite radio, I have no quibble
at all with the high quality show that Bob Parlocha does on a
hundred or more stations every night. When this show was in the
planning stages, an engineer friend who works for WFMT, the
syndicator of the show, asked me for suggestions of who might host
it. One of those I mentioned was jazz trumpeter Art Hoyle, a
Chicagoan who both loves the music (when I’m out listening to
someone good, Art is nearly always there too) and whose great voice
has long made him a favorite for voiceover work. He didn’t get that
gig, but he is “voicing” one of the satellite jazz channels (XM or
Sirius). He could have a lot to say about all of the music, but I
doubt that he does (I don’t have a receiver for those sources).
Like many jazz fans of my generation, I was lucky enough to grow up
with GREAT jazz radio, and consider it critical to the good health
of the art form. Great jazz radio should be both entertainment and
education, and the great jazz jocks could do both very well. And I
agree that the currently widespread practice of not talking about
the music, failing to identify soloist, sidemen, and arrangers,
etc. is doing jazz a great disservice. The great jazz jocks I grew
up with were my early teachers — guys like Dick Martin, Sid McCoy,
Hugh McPherson, Daddyo Daylie, Harry Abraham, Bill Artis, and Dick
Buckley were some of them. Buckley is still on the air in Chicago.
The rest are gone. But I’ll put Parlocha in their class. I only
wish he was on the air in Chicago.
Jim Brown is a distinguished audio expert who, among his other accomplishments, recorded Carmen McRae at Ratso’s, that fine two-CD set released a few years after she died.