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Take Five With Ian Carey

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Glenn Gould, Bach: The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I (Columbia)

How would you describe the state of jazz today? I think the state of the music is incredible. There have got to be more phenomenal players doing more interesting things than at any point in the past, plus so many of the elder statesmen (and stateswomen) still carrying the flame. The state of the audiences, on the other hand, is terrible. It's not their fault—people are just exposed to a smaller and smaller range of musical variety every year, so most have no point of reference in which to make any sense of jazz. For those that are open-minded and open-eared, though, this is a great time to be a listener.

What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing? So much ink (real and virtual) has been spilled over this topic, so I hate to add to it—but I do get tired of hearing suggestions that jazz revitalize itself by becoming less like jazz (not something one often hears suggested about reggae or bluegrass or whatever). The fact is that gimmicks sell, so the temptation is always there for musicians to indulge in some eclecticism for its own sake—I think players should just follow their own paths, wherever they lead, create the sounds they want to hear, and not worry about the future of jazz, or respecting the tradition, or the pressure to be "edgy" or whatever. Hopefully the best music that comes out of it, whatever the style, will find a way to achieve some measure of audience support.

What is in the near future? Right now my quintet is gearing up for our CD Release Show, at Coda in San Francisco on March 10—after that I plan to get concentrate on writing some new tunes to replace the ones we've already recorded (and hustle up some gigs to play them on).

If I weren't a jazz musician, I would be a: ...guy who lives in a shack in the Arctic counting penguins and writing bad poetry.

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