With the widespread elimination of arts-writing positions and numerous layoffs of talented writers from newspapers, it’s probably inevitable: More and more music journalists are running their own blogs.
The upside: Pure freedom to write about anything at all, at any time. No more waiting around for some editor, somewhere, to give approval to a review of any particular CD or concert.
Nobody to stand in the way of publicly asking questions, like:
1)Will Obama actually do anything to help the cause of jazz and jazz education, or is he all talk?
2)If Obama does care about jazz, then why aren’t jazz musicians front and center among Inauguration Day concerts?
3)Related to the above, when will Oprah start featuring jazz and blues musicians on her show?
4)How and why did the IAJE (International Association for Jazz Education) collapse? Or, more to the point, how, exactly, did that organization manage to keep its financial woes hidden for so long?
5)When will another national jazz organization come along to replace IAJE, and how long will it take for that organization to put together an annual jazz meeting as impressive and beneficial — in terms of great music, worthwhile clinics and the quality of networking — as those put on by the IAJE?
Nothing like setting one’s own agenda, and on the way helping to shine a light on deserving music and musicians.
The downside to running an independent music blog: Unless one is a celebrity or a quite well-established writer, it’s all but impossible to gain a large following.
Ken Franckling, a longtime jazz writer and photographer, celebrated the end of ’08 and the start of the new year by launching his own blog – Ken Franckling’s Jazz Notes.
For his most recent post, he noted what has to count for the most foolhardy newspaper layoff of 2008 — Brilliant jazz and civil rights scribe Nat Hentoff was let go from the Village Voice AFTER 50 YEARS at that publication. The Voice, founded by Norman Mailer, and once regarded as a bastion of blue-chip arts writing, was bought by New Times media in 2005.
As noted in the New York Times story on the layoffs, Hentoff’s column will continue to be carried by the United Media Syndicate, and he will continue to contribute pieces to the Wall Street Journal. Hentoff’s latest book, At the Jazz Band Ball: 60 Years on the Jazz Scene, is scheduled for publication this year.
Speaking of jazz blogs, here are several others, some of which are already included in my blogroll (all are penned by music journalists, unless otherwise indicated):
- John Swenson’s Music On My Mind
- Doug Ramsey’s Rifftides
- David R. Adler’s Lerterland
- Howard Mandel’s Jazz Beyond Jazz
- Larry Blumenfeld’s ListenGood
- (Boston saxophonist) Pat Donaher’s visionsong
- (Bad Plus pianist) Ethan Iverson’s Night After Night
- (Big Band leader) Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society
New York Times writer Nate Chinen wrote about jazz blogs, and other web outlets for jazz information and music, in a piece published in late 2006.
Do you have any suggestions for jazz blogs that ought to be included in this post? If so, send them my way.