2010 Playboy Jazz Festival: A Swingin' Party At The Hollywood Bowl
And yet the Playboy Festival, like so many summertime musical congregations, has so inflated the jazz "tent" in order to appeal to the broadest audience that it begs the question: Why bother to label it a jazz festival at all? It certainly can't be to take maximum advantage of jazz' commercial popularity. After all, according to statistics cited in a recent Jazz Times article, in 2008, jazz accounted for 1.1% of all music sales, a serious decline from the 3.4% of 2001. Further, the average age of concert attendees increased to 46 from 29 in 1983 (Booth, P., 6/8/10). These trends bode ill for the future of a music often, almost ironically, called America's greatest contribution to world culture. Perhaps the idea of jazz, its hipness, its historical significance, its gravitas, is reflexively desirable to many people who lack the attentional skill and cultural sophistication to organically "connect" with the music. As depressing as these thoughts may be, the joyous communal experience at the Playboy Jazz Festival, and many of the other "jazz" festivals produced around the planet, is reason enough to join the other 18,000 jazz lovers, pack a picnic lunch and head over to the Bowl again next year.