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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Sometimes I get the feeling that the only people who like jazz, and know a lot about it, are jazz players,whether amateur or professional. And they are incredibly dedicated to the music! Okay, I do run into a non-playing jazz fan once in a blue moon, but they seem to be very rare. Most people I know who don't play jazz really can't stand listening to it--they feel bad about that fact, but it's just the way it is. (I know because they never want me to play jazz radio or CDs in the car.) Jazz is almost like a religion or a way of life, rather than an enjoyable, entertaining form of music--in the sense that when you're in it, you're a different kind of person. It wasn't always like that.
 

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I subscribe to "downbeat" and there are a lot of adverts in there for mouthpieces and music stands etc..... The UK equivalent Jazzwise is the same.

I think that answers the question, after all, the advertisers do their research well.

There are a lot of people that going and see local jazz bands in pubs and clubs, and they are listening and enjoying the music, and are not necessarily musicians. But in terms of heavy CD buying of jazz instrumentalists, a high percentage of people are either players, or aspire to be.

It is a niche market, like "modern art" is liked mainly by artists.

I think it is fair to say that we look back to the past with rose tinted spectacles. In its creative heyday, say the 50's, jazz was battling against Rock and Roll. Watching the crowd at the "jazz on a summers day" film, there were a lot of older people there..... I think jazz has always been a thoughtful artform....and is probably the better for it.

Having said all that, vocalists/pianists like Diana Krall are very popular, and are certainly jazz musicians. They have found a market, and I would say are appealing to everyone.

My wife hates "jazz", but will gladly listen to Krall, Madeleine Peyroux, Norah Jones etc. etc...
 

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Saxplayer67 said:
Of course non musicians can like jazz - non musicians can like any music. I know many people - friends and acquaintances - who like jazz, who have never played an instrument nor can read music.
+1,37
 

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Saxplayer67 said:
Of course non musicians can like jazz - non musicians can like any music. I know many people - friends and acquaintances - who like jazz, who have never played an instrument nor can read music.
Even more, I know musicians that play something completely different than jazz, but still enjoy some good jazz concerts and listen to it fairly much.

Hey, I'm one of them :D
 

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Jolle said:
Even more, I know musicians that play something completely different than jazz, but still enjoy some good jazz concerts and listen to it fairly much.

Hey, I'm one of them :D
+2,11 (I'm an other one :D )
 

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silvin said:
What's this "37", "11" business, silv? You're talking numbers and i still don't understand what you're on about ;) !! Maybe it's "young person talk", i'm not sure..

On topic: I think there's something in what crazy is saying, although i'm sure he'd agree that the term "jazz" needs further definition for this discussion to be very meaningful. But in general terms, and in line with what the original poster is saying, yes, there is a frustrating phenomenon where you'll find people slating what they think of as "jazz" when musicians will enjoy that same music. If the band starts jamming in a blues shuffle OTOH, and if there's a prety girl singing a song, everyone has a great time. But ultimately people like what they like and they're entitled to that. If you want an audience sometimes you have to reach out. And that means different things in different circumstances. IMHO.
 

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RootyTootoot said:
What's this "37", "11" business, silv? You're talking numbers and i still don't understand what you're on about ;) !! Maybe it's "young person talk", i'm not sure...
Rooty, on a forum, when you agree someone, you quote him and add "+1" to say you are ok. As I am a very funny guy, I don't put a "1" but some other esoterical numbers !:hello2:
 

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You don't have to be a cook to enjoy eating...

My wife and I went recently to a jazz gig (she's really not musical at all) and she loved it!
 

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I agree that in terms of the music there is something in what the original poster says. However, there is also the phenomenon of the marketing "caché" of the word "jazz". It is definitely viewed in marketing circles as a positive connotation if your product can be described as "jazzy", which seems strange given the perception that jazz music is something for the more serious or purist amongst us (and therefore appealing only to a narrow minority). I guess for marketeers it harks back to 20's associations of carefree abandon................Anyway, linked into this idea I have noticed that there are people who will claim to like jazz music, but in reality when confronted with it they actually don't! I guess the truth is that they love the notion/aura/image of it (perhaps as perpetuated by the marketeers), but not the reality.
 

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Things might be different in your neck of the woods, but down here, Jazz is like marriage. Everyone likes the "idea" of it. Very few actually like the reality of it.

Everyone says they like jazz. It's cool to say you like jazz. It makes you sound all modern, and cool, and hip, a sexy and sohisticated.
The average punter is quite happy to like jazz without ever having to listen to it.
The average punter doesn't pretend to understand jazz. He leaves that to pretentious onanists and musicians.
Women love jazz! Women are by nature, romantics, they love the romantic myth of the jazz musician. I think what they really like is the nice suits and the hats, ties, shoes, thing. In fact, women love this romantic cliche so much that they'll even live with a jazz musician and be oblivious to the stark reality of it all for years.

But even women don't actually like to "listen" to jazz. I've been to a jazz gig or few over the years. Here'swhat usually happens:

The girls decide that they need a change from the typical Saturday night down at the pub, watching thier husbands play pool and bet on the horses.
Not another night of pushing coins through the poker machines and pretending to be interested in the footbal on the big TV.

So the girls decide to do something sophisticated, sexy and different. The next thing you know, your missus is telling you that you're not going to the pub, you're going to some fancy Jazz Club and "No, you can't wear your thongs and stubbies."

So you go to the Jazz Club only to find it's small and seedy and the beer costs twice as much as it does at the pub. The music sounds like a lot of noodling around and you can't dance to it. The women look great, because they all dress up in their sexy sophisticated outfits for occasions like this. Unfortunately, the women are ignoring you because all women at a jazz club have to pretend to be really into the music. You can see this for yourself. Women will always move their heads around like drunken turkeys and snap their fingers at a jazz gig. This is to show other women that they understand the music.
The blokes, meanwhile will decide to head outside for a cigarette, even the non smokers!
Whilst outside the Club, the blokes will hear the unmistakable sounds of an ACDC cover band, booming out from a pub just down the road.

An hour later, the girls will use the "we'd better go find the boys" excuse to cover for the fact that they aren't really having a very good time and that all the other women present are "bitchy," and "sooooo full of themselves."

So you all end up at the pub anyway, except now, you've spent all your money on those expensive Jazz Club drinks and you don't have enough left to put a bet on. Even worse, every bloke in the pub is eyeing off your missus in her sexy sophisticated outfit.
To really cap it off. Everyone else in the pub is dressed in stubbies and thongs with a black ACDC t-shirt and you're the only pretentious onanist wearing a jacket and tie.

And you wonder why only musicians like jazz??? :D ;)
 

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mcudahy said:
Sometimes I get the feeling that the only people who like jazz, and know a lot about it, are jazz players...
All I can say is what I experience but if you take a look at the massive audiences attending, say, the North Sea Jazz Festival, or Montreux or the Umbria Jazz Festival that woud be a lot of people who play jazz. I rather doubt it.

On a small scale, when I go to jam sessions here at least 75% of the listeners are non players.

But this question is really about the question or is it yet another one which is really saying that jazz is not popular and therefore we are supposed to draw some negative conclusion from it?
 

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gary said:
But this question is really about the question or is it yet another one which is really saying that jazz is not popular and therefore we are supposed to draw some negative conclusion from it?
:sign5: :sign5: :sign5:


Are we taking this question seriously??? Gee I wish you'd tell me when you're gonna do that. :shock:
 

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silvin said:
Rooty, on a forum, when you agree someone, you quote him and add "+1" to say you are ok. As I am a very funny guy, I don't put a "1" but some other esoterical numbers !:hello2:
Funny? But you're French, aren't you? hmm.. you're really doing my head in now, silv!! :twisted: ;)

thks for explanation :)
 

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I find that on jazz forums (or is that fora?), the majority are non-musicians. There are of course some musicians but they are generally outnumbered.
 

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The thing is, jazz is instrumental music by and large, and instrumental music is viewed as background by most non-musicians. So this means if you play jazz/instrumental gigs, you should get used to "the sound of one hand clapping". I do a lot of "background" gigs, and have built somewhat of a following, but, really, the ones that listen tend to have a musical background. I mean, I ask. It also helps if they drink..........
 

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Maybe the non-musician jazz fans, ultimately become (or try to) musicians. I've always loved jazz and saxophone. As a young girl in the early 60's I loved the instrumentals and remember seeing some of the greats on TV. I loved the swing bands my parents and grandparents would play. I always looked for the jazz radio stations. I was lucky, there always was one. However, it wasn't until I was 50, that I start to play. I thank my husband not only for the encouragement, but for the alto 3 years ago, and the tenor he just gave me :D :D . He is the real musician in the family, that's why he is not allowed to touch either sax, it would be too discouraging!
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
gary said:
But this question is really about the question or is it yet another one which is really saying that jazz is not popular and therefore we are supposed to draw some negative conclusion from it?
I wasn't trying to get anyone to draw a negative conclusion about jazz! In fact, I think the people I know who don't want to listen really don't know what they're missing. I feel like it's a fact that it's great music--varied, expressive, creative, pulsing, vital--and it has an amazing history that's fun to learn about. So it's a shame, I think, that there's a barrier that keeps people from hearing it.

Maybe the people who like something are more "right" about it than those who don't. ('Cause they look at it and see it.) Like, I'm not really into 17th Century English Poetry, e.g., George Herbert, Thomas Carew, etc. (nobody writes it, thank god), but the people who love it know more about it, they understand it better than I do. I would be smarter, more aware, more alive (?) than I am if I "got" it, too. Maybe.

A reaction I often hear about jazz is the one you hear about any kind of music someone doesn't like: "It all sounds the same to me," but I have to admit, that's exactly what I say about the kinds of music I don't like! It's true: if you don't care for a type of music, you actually hear (and focus on) what you think it all has in common, and you don't focus on the specifics that give it interest, variety, and expressive power.

I guess I'm really thinking about the people I know and live with. I mean, come on, you people (that's my wife, kids, siblings, friends), what's not to like about an album like Soul Station by Hank Mobley or Kind of Blue by Miles?) Actually, my mom loves jazz and doesn't play it (although she'd rather listen to Scott Hamilton than Archie Shepp).

Gary mentioned a few of the European and Canadian festivals, and I know the Monterey Jazz Festival draws more than a few non-musicians, too. I just don't know where they disappear to after the festival ends.

But the people I play jazz with really love it: they have incredible respect for it, study it, and enjoy it! And so, obviously, do many people on this forum (which is one reason SOTW is so cool to read). I play other kinds of music, too, and there's always that difference between players and non-players (I mean, obviously, you don't willingly play the music unless you like it, so the players group is a pre-selected group of those who like it), but in my experience, it's just stronger with jazz than with classical or folk/acoustic stringband music (by which I mean modern blends of old time, bluegrass, celtic, cajun, etc., that are played by many contemporary acoustic guitar, mandolin, and fiddle players).
 
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