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Why Is Jazz A Big Deal Everywhere… Except In The US?

Why Is Jazz A Big Deal Everywhere… Except In The US?
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Dateline: London, February 20, 2024. A bewildered friend in Los Angeles asks: Why is jazz so under-appreciated in the United States when it is revered everywhere else?

Lest we forget, jazz was born and spent its formative years in the US and is arguably the country's most valuable contribution to world culture. But the stats show its home-turf profile dimming.

Here in Britain, by contrast, jazz grows ever more popular; it is still niche but less so. The last decade has seen audience numbers grow, the demographic which makes up that audience broaden, jazz artists win awards that were previously the preserve of rock and pop acts, the number of venues presenting jazz multiply, and so on. Pretty much everything jazz is on the up in Britain (notably excepting TV coverage, which remains dismal).

Significantly, these upticks all have their roots in the alternative jazz scene which began in London and other major cities circa 2015 and has since mushroomed. The involvement of large numbers of Black musicians and the explicit championing of progressive politics are together making jazz relevant again to a young and cosmopolitan audience—and to those listeners who have already been round the block and have grown disenchanted with mainstream conservatism.

So, American friends and colleagues: Why is jazz so under-appreciated in the United States when it is revered everywhere else?

Please share your take on this through the Comments box below.

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