I watched the Legends of Jazz episode that featured Jim Hall and Pat Metheny and found it disappointing. Jim and Pat and associates played fine–as expected, of course. But the overall “happy talk” tone was rather shallow and not very enlightening; for that, the producers and writers are responsible. Jim’s good-natured grouchiness was a relief.
And for a show that’s supposed to be educating a mostly novice audience about jazz, there were some obvious balls dropped. Like identifying the titles of songs, for example. Only Jim & Pat’s duet on “All the Things You Are” was identified. When Jim played “My Funny Valentine,” couldn’t they have at least printed the title on the screen? These days, you can’t expect an audience under age 60 to know even so-called standards, especially if they’re played rather abstractly.
And wouldn’t it have been nice for someone to introduce bassist Christian McBride and drummer Antonio Sanchez? The only identification they received was in the closing credits, which went zipping by in small print. Again, I fault the producers.
I know that we’re all supposed to be grateful nowadays for getting any jazz on television. But classic jazz TV half-hours like the 1959 Miles Davis & Gil Evans show (produced by Robert Herridge without a superfluous word) have me spoiled. Or the Ralph Gleason Jazz Casual shows. Music shows that don’t seem like game shows.