Steely people on YouTube

We can’t ignore it. It seems as if more people find their way to YouTube. It seems as if more people perform Steely Dan songs. Or sample it. Or wreck it. So, we here at Mizar6, formerly known as Mizar5, will return to our initial Mizar5 mission. Here’s our first fingerpicking guest!

Curators of Jazz

smoothjazz(an article)
Smooth jazz expires in three more markets – “The Truth” dawns on Fresno – Smooth Jazz 105.5 fades to black.

Jeff Wilks sees revenue potential in talk that didn’t come his way with jazz. T-R-I told you last Wednesday that the “Truth” stunting on Wilks Broadcasting-owned KJZN was the real thing, and that the three-year-old jazz station would go talk on Friday. It all came to pass, and the lineup is something out of TRN exec Phil Boyce’s dream – he’s got players in almost every position.

Here’s the rundown – Mancow, 6-9am. Laura Ingraham, 9am-noon. Jerry Doyle, noon-3, Michael Savage, joining for 3-6pm (more about that in a second). Rusty Humphries, 6-9pm. Curtis Sliwa, 9pm-midnight – he’s the only non-TRN personality, from the station Boyce used to program, WABC. Then TRN’s Phil Hendrie, midnight-3am. And the new Washington Times show once it debuts in June, 3-6am.

The only situation that was a little hairy was Michael Savage, who’s been getting a delayed clearance from Peak’s KMJ-FM, 7-10pm. Now his syndicator TRN can clear him live on The Truth, when he’s contractually available in mid-June. One consultant predicted last year that smooth jazz would be the first format casualty of the Arbitron PPM, because of its reliance on Time Spent Listening. But in the past three days it’s lost three outposts in several non-PPM markets, starting with Fresno and then New Mexico and Ohio –

(dr. wu comments)

With apologies, i won’t be attending this “smooth jazz” funeral but allow me a moment to reflect and rant. i’ve always disliked the “smooth jazz” term. it’s not because of the artists or the music itself. moving into this arena has allowed many fine musicians to be heard by the masses and thus launch their careers by touring and selling cd’s. i have many in my collection.

i realise it is standard operating procedure for product marketers, but what bugs me is the insidious marketing tactic of using a legitimate term such as jazz to simply lure consumers. “smooth jazz” ain’t the real thing, baby. some, if not much of the material that makes up the “smooth jazz” sound would not get even get close to the doors of jazz haunts like the blue note or the vanguard. that doesn’t mean the artists don’t have the chops to enter those hallowed grounds. I respect them. they are legit and would cut it in those rooms. to make matters worse, “smooth jazz” radio stations often throw in some R&B (there’s that label thing again) tracks into the mix that make no sense even to their “smooth jazz” commitment. marvin gaye is “smooth jazz”?

jazz is a valuable treasure that requires musical curators. the players that have made the commitment to be curators of jazz do it for the love and conservation of the genre, and it is their funerals i would sadly attend.

First Impressions

panelIt’s the day after the Music for Gaza event we had been planning for 2 months. The energy whilst preparing, both on as well as offline, was one of positive enthusiasm, also evoked by the feedback found in Facebook on international level.
First impressions.

We had a few setbacks in the last hours before Sunday… the dancers had to cancel due to injuries and the DJ had to rush to a hospital out in the west because his girlfriend was involved in a serious accident. Imagine how he tried to find someone else who could replace him and for him to feel bad for not being able to make Music for Gaza.. all this on his way to the hospital… A fine example of someone who faced grief in his personal life and was still worried about the commitment he made to our event and as such, the Palestinian children in Gaza. Commendable!

We had everything ready and arranged. There were exquisite Arabic cookies, Gaza-related cultural documentaries in the cafe via the beamer, a panel discussion with interesting guests, a huge collection of CD’s and LP’s and 8 bands for the benefit concert.

But there weren’t many people, despite newspaper articles, press releases, a radio-interview and links on various websites.

It was a shame for the bands, who all gave it their very best when performing, even if there weren’t that many in the audience. It’s their professional attitude that deserves respect for sure! For the discussion panel likewise, Max Arian (Jewish), Aissa Meziani (muslem), Merlijn Twaalfhoven and Mohammed Benzakour (muslem). They engaged in a lively and interesting conversation about Gaza, music, politics, hope and reality, even for just a dozen of spectators in the audience. Experience was exchanged, new valuable contacts were made and as one of the bands pointed out later that day, “it’s the quality of the audience, not the quantity that counts.”

The CD-exchange fair continued in its own rhythm all day and became a playground for those who could browse comfortably without anyone breathing down their neck looking for something special and wanting the same disc. A bandmember of The Mondays, the jazz group that opened the benefit concert, found a dozen or so CD’s of jazz musicians who were his teachers at various conservatoria in the Netherlands. He was very thrilled to have found these albums!

A guy who runs a second hand CD shop happened to stroll by, saw the sign out front and asked what it was all about. CD fair? He had a field day and left with about 150 CD’s, feeling very very lucky. He’ll stay in touch for future references and might become a partner or someone we can work with.

Music for Gaza also turned into a musicians playing for musicians gig, and people had fun anyhow.

There was food, snacks and for the production manager of the facility a smoothly-run event.

If we think in perspectives of different levels, we can still be happy with what we achieved with this 4th Music for Gaza event. We didn’t score a huge audience or thousands of euros, but those who attended donated about 500 euros for the Palestinian children and music projects.

Gaza is not as high-profiled in the media anymore as it was in January, so people in general have turned to their latest flavour or disaster of the month. It may sound harsh, but it’s the simple truth. One of the visitors didn’t hesitate to pay the entrance fee, but when I asked him to sign a petition to break down the wall, or to leave his emailaddress for newsletters, he said it was too much trouble reading all that serious stuff and that he was fine with it the way it was.
To pay an entrance fee for a good cause, without wanting to learn more was enough.

Mohammed Benzakour, a Dutch-Moroccan (Berber) publicist-columnist-writer, pointed out why he distanced himself from engaging in national mediawide discussions about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. (He’s been the only one who spoke up openly in January asking what the Netherlands were going to do about Israel’s conduct and policy).

Because the current political climate in the Netherlands is not one that is interested in learning about the humanitarian aspects and suffering of the Palestinian people. They insist on supporting Israel, no matter what. Politicians are not prepared to make a stand or form an honest opinion, so why bother to offer one as a publicist if those who can change it in formalities, don’t?

So yes, it’s up to grassroots organizations and personal endeavours to help Palestine recover from its wounds and provide individual enlightenment of the mind, soul and spirit where possible. Music and culture can bring relief to individuals and groups, even though it may not free the Palestinians as a people. But it can strengthen their energy to persevere with endurance and tenacity as they have proven to be able to do already.

So, we will persevere with them. The journey of Music for Gaza continues. There will be a 5th event, so stay tuned :-)