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Strength In Numbers

AAJ Staff By

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Editor's Note - 16-Nov-2003: We lost critical content from July 2003 in a recent server crash. Please forgive the broken links below.

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The wise cockroach always knows best: there's strength in numbers.

Fortunately we're not household pests, and it's not a big leap to the fact that diversity is a good thing. Being different is basically good, since it gives everyone their own personal charm. At least jazz lovers agree about that particular point, or you wouldn't be here to see what new animals we have in the zoo.

But consider the fact that jazz occupies a niche corresponding to something like 4% of the music market. For such a tiny place, it has a zillion different species—maybe because nobody can really earn a living doing it, or because very few can shoot through the roof. The bottom line is that jazz musicians comprise a far-flung family, and they care about what they do.

So do we, and damn proud of it. This time around we'll look at some of the people who make this magazine work. There are just too many pages from too many people who labor in anonymity behind keyboards late at night—76 writers published material at All About Jazz during the past month, for example. If you consider the individual perspectives of that many jazz fans, it's a rather frightening concept. To some, anyway. Not to us.

July saw over 175 CD reviews at All About Jazz, not our all-time best but pretty close... A few records received two evaluations, but the rest are all singular. Michael Bailey handed over 25 of them, and nobody can accuse him of closed-mindedness: these new recordings span the range from traditional jazz to funk to vocals to soul jazz and the great beyond (including Iceland and South Africa ).

In and among that collective heap of reviews are represented 122 record labels , the little (usually unprofitable) human-powered factories where this music is assembled and put on the market. We actually have a special squad devoted to Combing the Catalogs, represented this month by Dave Rickert and Derek Taylor , two very literate guys who value both past and future.

Other writers take off in a different direction, whether that be a location (11), an event (14), an interview or profile (35), a book or a film (6), or a point of view . Javier Antonio Quiñones Ortiz hit play on two DVDs (featuring John Coltrane and Thelonious Monk ) and leaves his frank impressions of the experiences. Raul d'Gama Rose turns his thoughts toward the people who are carrying on the oral tradition of jazz. (Put on your thinking cap, because Raul is a thinker.)

Two correspondents headed off to Canada to compile daily reports on the Vancouver and Montreal International Jazz Festivals. Andrey Henkin somehow managed to see an obscene number of shows in Montreal —at least he got a good deal on his press pass, right? Greg Robb settled in Vancouver for ten days, but he must have been wired or something because he found way too many factoids along the way.

Factoids matter some times, and that's why our publisher, Michael Ricci, has just put together a new set of searchable directories devoted to radio stations , publicists , booking & management , and print publications . Mike has this funny idea that AAJ can be some kind of resource which helps keep the jazz community humming. Ha.

Stuffy people click somewhere else now. The famed Wynton Marsalis might stand at the helm of a mighty jazz orchestra and a vast musical movement , but our resident humorist Jeff Fitzgerald stands behind his back and taunts him most vigorously. It all comes down to how many bowls of gumbo you eat before your head goes round, according to Jeff.

Twist on back to the home page . This month's special: you win the grand prize if you can correctly identify all 76 writers who contributed to All About Jazz. We're still basking in our second grand prize from the Jazz Journalists Association for Best Website Covering Jazz. But dammit, there's still so much to do!


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