Checking this blog’s stats this afternoon, I note with pleasure that the preceding post, featuring live video of Jon-Erik Kellso, Chuck Wilson, Ehud Asherie, Kelly Friesen, and Andy Swann, has broken records. More people have seen this post than any I’ve ever created. I don’t take credit for this. Credit belongs to the musicians and to Sweet Rhythm for providing a place for them to create magic on Sunday afternoons.
But I also hope that the people who, like me, are glued to their computers, actually get out and hear jazz live. That’s one part of the punning title of this blog. Enjoy this video. Come up and see me sometime. I send you a cyber-embrace and real gratutude. But live jazz has qualities that equal and surpass the finest recordings. And we need to support it tangibly so that it continues, even flourishes.
Club owners are unmistakably pragmatic. They will hire those musicians who bring people into the club (people who also spend a dollar or two, if at all possible). When the musicians outnumber the audience, club owners just turn up the sound on the large-screen televisions mounted over the bar.
So please visit the sites where jazz is being kept alive. In a random list, they include Sweet Rhythm, Smalls, The Ear Inn, Sofia’s, Birdland, Arthur’s Tavern, Roth’s, Fat Cat, Banjo Jim’s, Cafe Steinhof, the Garage, the Telephone Bar, Moto, Harefield Road, the National Underground, Iridium, the Blue Note . . . and so on.
Nick’s, the home of hot jazz and sizzling steaks, became Your Father’s Mustache, and is now a Gourmet Garage. As much as I admire the fresh produce and farmhouse cheddars on sale there, I would trade it all for one more thriving jazz club. We can’t bring back the lost Edens: the Onyx Club, the Half Note, or any of the clubs once called Eddie Condon’s. But we can keep alive what we have now. There! I’ve said it. See you soon, in the flesh.