Reader’s Response To: Keeping the Local Toronto Jazz Scene Alive


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Dear Purple Cabbage,

I read your article on “Keeping the Local Toronto Jazz Scene Alive”, and I liked how you summed up some of the issues regarding representation on the Toronto jazz scene. [scroll down to read the full original article]

Aside from what you already mentioned in the article, ideas for increasing representation are vast, and it seems to me that one direction that many are suggesting (including your interviewee, Mr. Bellamy) has to do with the development of a centralized authority to coordinate Jazz efforts in the city – perhaps along the lines of New York’s Jazz at Lincoln Center.

This idea, however, strikes me as something that makes Jazz a casualty in need of salvation. To quote Miles Davis, ”I never thought Jazz was meant to be a museum piece like other dead things once considered artistic”. Jazz is an art form embracing of change and based around innovation, perhaps unlike what Classical music has become – a set canon within which artists have a very limited palette of experimentation and innovation. With such malleable characteristics, it is surprising that in some ways, Jazz can’t keep up with the times.

Jazz shouldn’t need a donor financial base to flourish, but should be able to EARN its keep alongside other new and currently popular musics. Jazz is not dated enough, nor has the kind of mentality that should make it a charity case.

Having said this, I am also not suggesting an ultra-Conservative, every man for himself regime here. A Jazz organization to contribute to Toronto jazz culture is a great idea (in fact the more the better!), but let’s not aim to rely on some institution to save jazz in this city.

I don’t think Toronto NEEDS a centralized jazz authority. Perhaps it could make use of a couple. What Toronto NEEDS is a stronger and more devoted community aimed at developing and spreading the music to new listeners. And this should not be the responsibility of a centralized institution, but it should be a responsibility shared among all the musicians who are part of the current scene.

Jazz at its best happens in the clubs. We need to focus on getting these clubs packed with listeners and develop a larger, devoted audience that will spur the opening of more clubs.

Thanks for hopefully reading, and looking forward to future articles,

Anonymous Toronto Jazz Musician

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About The Purple Cabbage

A Toronto Jazz and creative music blog featuring interviews, new releases, culture, shows, and all things Toronto Jazz.
This entry was posted in 2. The Future of Jazz and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Reader’s Response To: Keeping the Local Toronto Jazz Scene Alive

  1. Dear Anonymous,
    I’m sorry you felt that I was suggesting a centralized jazz authority in Toronto….yikes, that would be terrible. Please know that none of my comments were meant to imply such a thing. I would never want that. I wholeheartedly agree with you that what is needed is a widespread effort to spread jazz out to new listeners. That is why I hope that many people start asking for it in more places and more venues. Thanks for spreading the word…
    Kind regards,
    Steve Bellamy

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