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I want to take this opportunity to thank you so much for your attempt at telling the entire history of jazz music in a mere 18 hours or so. Hey B. good job! I know it took you years and years of research with the perfect advice and guidance of one Mr. Louis Armstrong disguised as your mild mannered reporter Sir Wynton Marsalis to discover everything that could be found out about this important history of the classical music of these United States of America. I'm absolutely sure his unbiased view of the who's who of jazz music kept you on the straight and narrow path of the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth. But hey B. if I were in your shoes I too would have turned to the most important major institutions of jazz that have supported jazz for the past hundred years. I mean without Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall where would all of the past and present hard working jazz musicians be but hanging out at the local soup kitchen instead of sitting around all day with our smoking jackets eating caviar and drinking Dom Perignon. Thank you so much Mr. Carnegie and Mr. Lincoln (Wasn't he the guy from one of your other films?)
But seriously Mr. B. I truly want to thank you for bringing a little jazz music history to the masses. Cool photos and film clips!!! It's been a long time in coming and now all those new jazz fans can sleep well at night knowing Louis Armstrong is watching over them. Even my parents, God bless them, are now dreaming every night that in 20 years I too might make it into your updated revised super-duper edition which will bring everyone up-to-date as to the important innovators of the 1980's or so. They have some good ideas for titles for my section like "Modern Pianist Loves Louis Too" or "Some White Boys Can Swing, But They Still Can't Jump".
Mr. B. I'm sure I'm not the only one who wants to thank you for all your hard work. Mr. Tower, Mr. Virgin, Mr. Amazon and all the other megas want to thank you too for your help in breathing a little life into their jazz departments and their pocketbooks. And let's not forget all those small independent record labels that want to thank you for not taking up too much space in the CD bins and for limiting that advertising budgets to keep the media blitz at a minimum. And with all the up-to-date info you supplied on today's jazz players I just know that soon we all will be raking in the money from all those big gigs and recordings coming our way. I'm planning on signing up for my health insurance this afternoon and tomorrow I'm going to give my real estate agent a call to see if they can locate a little mansion up on the East Side for me to buy.
Look Mr. B. I know you've been given a lot a grief lately and that you probably think us jazz players out here are just a bunch of whiners, but next time you decide to make a film about jazz why don't you come out to the people playing this incredible music that believe in it and live it every day. Jazz has always been a living breathing music that has touched millions of people around the globe of every race color and creed. Many of these men and women were touched so deeply that they too wanted to try and play this amazing music and also added to it's varied history. Art is never created by or owned by just one group of people. It is part of human nature to create and from the very beginning jazz has been played and created by men and women from all walks of life and backgrounds. Jazz never has been and never will be a homogeneous music. It flourishes because it is immediate and varied and continues to grow. I for one will continue to love this music with great passion and play it with devotion and depth even though I'm sure to never make it into that super-duper updated version my parents dream of.
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.