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Hello... I Must Be Going

By Published: May 9, 2005
But the result was just that. The folks who are responsible or complicit simply don't give a damn as long as they continue to get their share or their jobs, and can cover their uselessness with rhetoric and phony statistics. As for the Big Lie, it's identical to the "justification for the tax cuts. "Let's give these big chunks of money to a small handful in order to stimulate the economy. Trickle down theories that simply do not work, have not worked, and will never work. Because most of those who get money, power, control, esteem, whatever, only share what they must in order to create a cosmetic appearance, and keep the rest. The few who actually are sincerely committed and do the right thing end up being used by the others who don't, as proof of the concept's success.

Before I get to an examination of why the Wallace and Duke Initiatives, the Burns film and Lincoln Center have utterly failed to accomplish what they claim were their goals, and to substantiate the empirical evidence of those failures that I've listed, I'd like to finish this first part of the piece with the two Big Lies that are at the heart of the matter.

  1. That Jazz was in trouble during the late '70s and early '80s, before Lincoln Center and the Fine Arts Foundation world stepped forward to rescue it.

  2. That all of the "idealistic efforts put forward by Wallace, Duke, Burns, Lincoln Center, the IAJE, the JAI and all of the spinners, yappers, pimps and phonies who huckster them are about helping musicians and bettering the overall Jazz environment.

The Truth is that:

  1. In the late '70s and early '80s, Jazz was on the cusp of a significant increase in audience development for all forms of the music, especially the more progressive genres; and the artists were on the brink of true self-empowerment. This was before the fine arts world stepped into the picture in any significant way, other than through related and very moderate government funding at the local, state and Federal levels.

  2. The true interests of these funding initiatives and mechanisms have been corporate gains and real estate. The primary resources of Jazz greatness - the musicians themselves - have been left behind. The Truth is that the bigwigs of the Fine Arts World - the funders, the presenters, and the various personnel involved with them - either do not understand Jazz, like it, or respect it; sometimes all three. And the various Jazz advocates, pundits, experts, moguls, and George Wein wannabes (Weinees?) have sold out the music for their little pots of gold, fiefdoms, consulting gigs and/or strutting privileges.

In the next installment, I will back up the claims about where Jazz was headed in the late '70s and early '80s with specific evidence and I will also delve into the specifics of the various initiatives and wasteful expenditures of the past 15 years.

Let me leave you with one item to consider in this regard. Imagine what could have been accomplished with the 150+ million dollars that was contributed to Lincoln Center Jazz in order to build three new concert facilities in a city full of concert facilities. Imagine what could have been done for the artists in terms of product distribution and marketing, health and pension plans, Internet utilization, worthwhile education programs, meaningful public exposure, etc.

The bottom line is that contributing that kind of money to Lincoln Center is like contributing a hundred thousand dollars to the memorial service of a man who died because he couldn't afford a ten thousand dollar operation.

For those of you who are bristling with umbrage at the image you're seeing in the mirror I'm placing on the table, here, another Sufi proverb:

"The useful man performing useful work is not angered if he is called useless; but the useless, who convince themselves that they are performing significant work become enraged when the word is applied to them.

For the rest of you, until the next time,
Peace & A Love Supreme...

Continue: Prelude to a Kiss-Off

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