Sunday, April 27, 2008

Jazz in the Media

Congratulations to Herbie Hancock on his recent Grammy... seriously. It's an achievement and I applaud his incorporation of Joni Mitchell's music... really. CBS Sunday morning just did a segment on Herbie, again congrats. Next week, they'll do yet another feature on Quincy Jones. Nothing against these guys, but they're basically the walking dead of this music (Herbie less than Quincy). Quincy has been less about Jazz than about production for years.

CBS Sunday Morning tapes in New York. New York is the home to Billy Harper, William Parker, Rob Brown, Dick Griffin -- all survivors. Or even young guns like Potter, Turner and McHenry. While not my bag, they certainly bring a fresher voice to the table than Hancock or Jones these days.

How 'bout Chicago? Ari Brown, Kahil El Z'abar, Hamid Drake, Fred Anderson, Ernest Dawkins... heck, how 'bout Von Freeman or even Eric Alexander? Point is, this music has an audience and it would be a larger one of they'd get some exposure (can you resist El Z'abar's One World Family!?!??).

So while I'll congratulate Herbie and Quincy, particularly Herbie's comment that his Grammy, "is good for Jazz," I have to give both failing marks for failing to seize the opportunity to point the world to other aspects of this great music. As Z'abar says in the lyrics to One World Family, "This generation's too busy thinking about themselves...." I don't expect Herbie to shoulder this burden on his own -- that's not his job. But many years ago, a famous, respected musician let Herbie earn his shot. It's time to pay back, Herbie.