My Jazz World
I believe it was 2002 when blogs entered my vocabulary. A woman I knew around then with strong visual sensibilities and a wish to tell people about her life and musical enthusiasms set up a site. (I would give a link, but I just Googled her and see that she is now trying to become semi-anonymous.) Eventually it became apparent that this was a trend. I checked some of these sites for a while, but after a while it seemed like it was better to devote time to my life rather than keeping up with other lives.
Blogs re-entered my world this year, though. Like many of us, I am trying to wean myself off of the 15-minute news cycle. Beyond that, though, I have become a fan of jazz blogs.
In these days of instantaneous music distribution, I try (with, err, a pretty high success rate) to restrict my free downloads to music either long out of print or never availably commercially. A lot of jazz falls into the first category, so there is a lot out there to grab.
A few favorites have emerged. There is Inconstant Sol for avant-garde jazz, My Jazz World for more commercial jazz, and Orgy In Rhythm for the mainstream and in-between.
As with the personal blogs I mentioned earlier, there is too much out there to keep up with it all. However, I have found a few gems, some of which were records I didnt know existed. There was Cannonball Adderleys The Price You Got To Pay To Be Free, replete with the same wicked Rhodes from Joe Zawinul that he supplied on Bitches Brew and the first Weather Report album. And Ray Russells Rites And Rituals, with that weird combination of Masterpiece Theatre solemnity and unhinged shrillness characteristic of British jazz. And Charlie Rouses Two Is One, a rare sighting of Rouse after his long stay with Thelonious Monk, mired in dark jazz-funk with the Strata-East crowd. Im not sure it was Rouses idea, since he sounds rather detached throughout, but it clicks.
Overall, My Jazz World is less likely to have gems than the other two. However, it has a special place in my web browsing. For one thing, the sitemaster posts a new record just about every day, and for us collectors, quantity matters. For another, the sitemaster isnt shy about his taste for 70s and 80s r&b/pop-inflected jazz. As much as I enjoy Kind Of Blue or A Love Supreme, its nice to see these other, seldom-celebrated records, although in some cases the lack of celebration is justified.
These blogs are not only music sources, but a sort of museum. They are memorials to attempts, over several decades, to market an esoteric form of music. Some companies took the approach of making it seem funkier or more pop-oriented, some made it spacier or weirder, some did a straightforward job. Each was an attempt to make a go of selling a form of music that is a luxury for most listeners, the last music most labels would choose to sell and the first most would drop.
A few months back Paul Krugman said that we are all the Grateful Dead. Now, it seems more accurate to say that we are all jazz.