It’s a small quirk of the JazzTimes publishing model that the glossy print mag reaches subscribers and newsstands weeks before any of its content hits the web. This might suggest a strange perversion of the natural order, but it does have the effect of delivering a premium benefit for paying customers. As a writer, it can be disconcerting mainly because 99% of the feedback I get comes online, and the print readership for JT doesn’t take to the Twitter. Sometimes I can feel, erroneously, like a story falls into some kind of void until it finally gets posted online. And then there are the other times, when my editor forwards a note like this, from several weeks ago:
I saw your magazine at Barnes & Noble and, as a jazz lover, decided to pick it up. A lot of good things in there, even if I'm not really all that into guitarists. I like the idea of a jazz magazine covering the scene, the history, everything.
So why will I never pick up your magazine again? Nate Chien's offensive, "look-at-me-I'M-the-asshole" column on "Jazzbros." What a dick. It's "us against them," with Nate apparently believing he and those like him are the true jazz fans and others who come from a different path are pretenders. Fuck him. I'd rather spend the rest of my life with any number of "Jazzbros" than to hear one word he has to say about the form.
You should be ashamed you printed it.
I’ve redacted the name of the guy who sent this note, though I suspect he wouldn’t have minded being ID’d. (Dude, on the off chance that you landed on this blog, hit me up for reals.) Anyway, can I mention that I thought it was kind of awesome? It was the one genuine piece of LOL reader feedback I received last month.
I suppose I should also argue that this letter springs from a basic misreading of the column, which was my attempt at barbed humor in the jazz-o-sphere. If you’d like to see a more earnest but equally nonplussed response to the column, scroll down to the comments on that JazzTimes link. A reader named Carl Limbacher (the bassist, I presume?) makes some valid points about the ugly potential for policing audience behavior, and thereby alienating a key segment of the fan base.
So lemme just say this: yes, it was absolutely my intention to “insult” with this piece. Maybe even to “offend.” But I’m scratching in those scare-quotes with a Sharpie. Excuse the bro-minology, but I’m really just bustin’ some balls here. I kid because I care. But I also kid because, c’mon. Sometimes we can all stand to laugh at our damn selves. (When Nate Smith, drummer with Chris Potter’s Underground, tweeted the column this morning, I think we can assume he wasn’t actually disparaging his fan base.)
Then again, some folks seem to think that I am categorically anti-“WOOOO!” in the jazz club. Which is sooooo not the case. Nor did I expect to do any real killing of “killin’.” What I was taking aim at was the performative exclamation, the posturing, self-congratulatory yawp. Can I tell the difference? Eh, maybe? (Probably not.) So “woooo” on, noble jazzbros. I can’t promise I won’t be silently judging you, but then I’m a professional critic. What in Brad’s name did you expect?