Friday, May 21, 2004

More on Elvin and the current state of music industry

Besides Greg's thoughtful comment on Elvin Jones, my good friend Gavin from the Netherlands wrote me the following heartfelt e-mail:

i found out that elvin jones died the other day. i am very upset. i always wanted to play with elvin and meet him. my favorite albums all have elvin on them. i really broke down this morning listening to the larry young album "unity". now everybody in that group is gone from us. i can't help but cry while i sit here and listen to it. i am not a religious guy, but i think that elvin has definitely gone to a better place. it hurts so much that god has to take people like this from us. it has to happen sometime, but i felt while he was still alive that there was still a living link to the highest level of music ever. i don't know quite how i will be able to learn this art form that means so much to me, now that my greatest hero is gone. i know that bill has gone through this with losing larry young and so many other musicians who taught him not only how to play music. elvin's music has touched so many aspects of my life, far beyond merely my musicianship. his contribution to our world is eternal and really changed my life in so many ways.

Made a surprise appearance at Zoo Bar last night for 15 minutes. Played three good songs with Clarence, Gene and Jack. Fulfilled my thirst of not having played with this group since the Moses benefit. While Europa is slowly losing its momentum, I've gotten some new gigging opportunities like playing at a few festivals and new clubs this summer. On June 10, I'll be appearing with Clarence as an acoustic duo at Ellington on Eighth, thanks to Liz Briones who is always generous trading gigs with me.

There's also a good piece on BBC in which the biggest Chinese pop star Jacky Cheung laments the Hong Kong music industry. Cheung's critique of Cantopop is similar to that of American music these days. Untalented pop stars like Britney Spears and Hilary Duff dominate record sales leaving true jazz and blues talents suffocated. Within the jazz and blues genres, pretty faces are on the forefront while respected blues masters are playing at local clubs like Cafe Europa. Audience in Europe appreciate good music far more than Americans. Parisienne jazz clubs are packed every night. I went to the JVC Jazz Festival in Paris to watch Maceo Parker and Ron Carter and there was not one empty space on the lawn.

American listeners need to be re-educated, or else this music will only go down to toilet from now on.

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