Take Five With Graham Clark
What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing? In England, we need to draw in younger listeners. Not just by making the music more accessible by using singers, but by getting the music into the clubs and bars. When they hear the music, they like it, especially if they aren't told it's jazz. Jazz can be a dirty word, but then again, it is supposed to be!
We need to make sure we play music that is not just about showing off our chops, mental or physical. We have to involve listeners with our music. Too often people say, "I don't understand modern jazz." Or, stranger, I have heard, "I don't normally like jazz (or violin), but I liked that."
We need to address the question, "What are we doing to turn people off?" And ask the question, "What should we do to turn them on?"
Soon, as well as college courses on playing jazz, there will be (as in English literature) courses on how to listen to it: Jazz Appreciation. You shouldn't need a degree to enjoy jazz.
What is in the near future? I want to get my improvising string quartet out and gigging more. It is an unusual band, but people like it. I am also trying to get more work fronting local rhythm sections playing standards.