Jazz Renaissance

I first started listening to jazz in my early college years in the mid-late 70's and have been an avid fan since, taking it to an addictive level from the mid 80's on. I've had the pleasure of seeing the popularity of this art form slowly (re)gain momentum thru the 80's, seemingly take off in the early 90's, and reach an apparent zenith as of late. I've seen the record bins increase in size and variety. Being a frequent traveler to hear live jazz, for the better part of 20 years,I've seen the number and variety of live performances increase significantly from Manhattan to Portland (Or), the crowds swell at the shows and "walkin" opportunities, which used to be an always viable option, become virtually non-existent. And not the least, the variegated and copious jazz commentaries on the web, such as A'gon( sdcampbells erudite threads come to mind). These are all good things. But even more interesting, I see the crowds becoming increasingly younger( contrary to my live classical music experience) and younger. Refreshing, to say the least. I've been wondering as of late, what to attribute this to. The increased availability of software, Wynton's popularity and promotion beginning in the 80's, the proliferation of young talent,? etc. 15-20 years ago this seemed like a closet passion, now I see the record bins being ransacked by, and shows from Marcus Printup to Jimmy Heath populated by more and more who are younger and younger. I'm puzzled in a good way.
Mes(mark I think?)- I am a younger guy(20 years old) and am very into jazz, and have been for the last 4 or 5 years, started with smooth jazz and evolved to appreciate all forms. I think the main reason is what else am I going to listen to? most current music-for lake of a better word-sucks. For most people my age whom have any inteligence see this wool that has been pulled over our eyes and jazz is the light at the end of the tunnel, I have several friends my age who are not audiophiles and have been listening to more and more jazz, its contagious-once exposed there is NO cure, except more. I think the late 90's was the pinnacle of bad music and poor taste, influenced heavily by the 80's, don't get me wrong good things happened in the music business during both decades but less then any decade prior to recorded music(technology being the one saving grace of the 80's and 90's) Not only are less talented musicians being praised for there work, they are making exponentially more money producing what ever it is you call what they produce, then there predecessor's made. I think most people have had enough of that stuff, and are ready to enjoy the good stuff. I could be wrong but that is how me and most of my buddies see it.
Damn Tireguy, my confidence level in you rose to a new high after reading your post.
Agree Albertporter, looks like there's hope for the younger generation after all!
To the younger jazz listeners: I still have a couple of CD copies I made of "What is Jazz", a program by Leonard Bernstein that was recorded around 1956-57 for the Omnibus TV series. If anyone is interested in a copy of the recording (dubbed onto CD from an old mono LP), send me your mailing address and $2 to cover postage, etc., and I'll send you a copy. The recording quality is decent, and the program is very informative and entertaining.
Thank you for the kind words guys! Hope that helps explain the phenomenon that a lot of you have been seeing as of late.
Whoa, Tim, you're listening to Coltrane instead of Milli Vanilli?!?! Most excellent :) It's great to see the younger generation getting into jazz and supporting it. The last few shows I've been to have been populated with hords of "youngsters" which is refreshing and gives one hope that support for jazz will be carried on for some time to come.
Now I am not old enough to remember this but there was a period in time(maybe even before many of you) that jazz was the "Milli Vanhilli" music that older folks loathed. Simply because a lot of younger people are following jazz now, I don't think its going to make a HUGE come back-which is a shame. But the sad truth is a lot of people enjoy listening to Ms. Britney(in fact I have one of her CD's) and I feel that the shallow, dull, lifeless, emotionless music will rule, and in fact by the time I am the age of most of you guys I will be the odd "old school" audiophile, who still listens to that boring jazz, 'after all the timbre that N'Sync can reproduce has never been matched in history'. I think it is going to be tough for me to get old and to listen to that type of non-sense coming out of alleged audiophiles, but nothing is going to change that. I feel that most classical is too boring to tolerate, and I am sure a lot of you think I am the anti-christ with a comment like that, but it is an unappreciated genre to most folks my age. Come on there must be some other younger members out here to voice there opinions, Buckingham, Marakanetz?? where are you guys??
I apologise as this is slightly off the original topic.
But when you question what else are you going to listen to in modern terms here is a list......
The Strokes,The White Stripes,Radiohead,Jeff Buckley,Ryan Adams,Coldplay,Travis there's lot's of decent new stuff about and related very closely to Jazz in my opinion is music in the Electronica genre.
Also in a Jazz/Electronica/Rock crossover try Standards by Tortoise from last year...
Ben_Campell-Of course it was a generalization, perhaps a gross over statement, but you can't turn the radio on or VH1, MTV etc and much if any of what you are talking about. As some of you know I am a large Techno fan-so of course I listen to some new-"pop" music, though I don't consider much of the mass market techno to be good. For that matter I admitted to having purchased a Britney CD(she looked sooo cute!) so of course I have been dupped by advertising and over saturation of MTV, radio...etc. An interesting twist is XM radio which offers a lot more then radio or television does or ever has. To say NO good music is being produced is incorrect but how about very little and those who do produce good(to me and most of you people any way) tunes go unappreciated, the only possible exception on your list would be radiohead-but I believe most that listen to Radiohead don't know why they do, "its just different, man" So what ever floats your boat or sinks it :), there is something out there for everyone, maybe some people like critically listening to Britney, but it isn't for me. Though I am simply one younger person trying to represent all of us, which is a bad idea seeing as I find I am not by any means of the word a "typical" kid of today. It would be interesting if some more younger members would voice there opinion as well so it wouldn't be just me :) I could be wrong with my statements but this is how I see things. What about Bob Dylan's release last year, if someone was to call that bad, I think they have issues-the list could go on but that was the first to come to mind. Hope that sort of answers your query-I realise there are a lot of things I am not able to explain, but I'll do my best to defend my tasteless generation
I think you are well ahead of the game,it took me into my thirties to even consider Jazz and then to realise I'd lost so much time to explore the goldmine that exists.
You raise interesting questions about youth culture but I'm not sure that it's ever been that different but I am too far away from being 20 to even kid myself that I could understand what it means to be that age,today with regards popular music.
However I'd like to make 3 main points(which tie in to each other) about your post.
1.Music sells most to people who view music only as a distraction or an entertainment,it has always been the case really,for those of us who view it different we have to realise it's a buisness that survives on that.
2.There's always been a lot of crap about,always,always through every generation and evolution of music it's been there,those who constantly go on about halcyon periods tend to forget some of the pap and drivel that passed as great at the time.
And every generation has to find it's own artists& heroes for the Backstreet Boys it used to be the Osmonds,Black Sabbath read Slipknot,Streisland read C.Dione,Prince read Puff Daddy whatever I think you get my point.
3.Most of the genres of popular music and probably any music have progressed and aged to an extent that it is very very difficult to be original.
For want of a better expression most of the best ideas have been used up and the giants and geniuises have made their mark.
It isn't easy to follow Beethoven,Bach,Gershwin,Porter,Holly,Sinatra,Eliington,Davis,Coltrane,Holliday,Elvis,Hendrix,Dylan,The Beatles etc etc.
These factors I believe have a large influence on why things are the way they are.
Ben-Some very good points, I hope you can understand why I am a little disappointed with my generation, they just don't seem serious about anything. Maybe in the years to come there will be some hope, after all the people "running" things today were once young and I am sure they seemed hopeless at one point and when a challenge presented itself they answered, time will be the only way to find out for sure. Though I am hopeful that more then a few people of my age will rise to the occasion and surprise the hell out of everyone-or I am hoping any way, other wise we are in for more trouble then anyone can begin to imagine, IMO-again keep in mind these are just my ideas the way I see it and I could be far from the median 15-28 year old person. I sure hope not :)