From: Ben Ratliff
Did someone before Andrey really demote New York as jazz capital of the world? Who: the head of the NEA? The editor of Forbes? David Longstreth?
I get really excited too when I go to other cities and see a more nurturing and affordable system for musicians. Haven’t given up on New York yet, though. As a farm, it’s hopeless. As a market, it’s still pretty damn good.
I took a musician friend from Dublin to the Stone the other night to see Peter Evans’ new group (above) and she was stunned by the level of musicianship, the tenacity of everything, the brain-power on display to about 40 very quiet people. She was having what you could call a profound reaction.
I myself had one at James P. Johnson subculture a few months ago at Smalls, the fundraiser for the headstone. Imagine, all these people in one small place, coming from completely different backgrounds and aesthetic universes, giving it up for a guy who died in 1955, and completely engaged in doing so. Nothing fake about it.
I don’t wish for more cool clubs in New York where 25-year-olds with money can feel at home. There’s no end to them here. Art-school bands are great, and supper-club bands are great, but there’s more to life. I wish for more places where three different generations can get together around music, and I wish for more music that can be gotten around by three different generations. Hold it: I’m not talking about an idea of “heritage” music, or conservatory music, or something mediated by NPR. For obvious reasons I think jazz, in the largest sense of the word, and in flavors that are yet to be discovered, is right for this void.