The question of the health, state, and if Jazz is dead is so tired that the only thing I know is the question itself is dated.  The question of Jazz being dead seems silly to me. Is classical dead? Is the blues dead? Is impressionism dead? If you are asking if Jazz is the most popular form of music the answer, unfortunately, is no. However, in any major city, and the majority of universities, you will not only find Jazz musicians, but a audience that yearns for this music. Jazz will never be “dead” it is the great american music and, when played at a high level, demonstrates the highest capabilities of human skill and imagination. However, as Jazz musicians, we must be aware that we are not in the majority. Jazz was born as a result of musicians revolting and experimenting with swing, improvisation, and ragging. So, since it’s inception, being a Jazz musician has always been a fight against the norm. We are the resistance. Always evolving, adapting, experimenting, and changing the music. Is Jazz dead? Can you even describe what Jazz is?

As I’ve said earlier being a Jazz musician is a revolt, long gone are the glory days of the roaring twenties. Gigs are hard to come by and competition is as high as ever. Still, despite these struggles, I feel Jazz music is actually better off by not being the most popular music today. We don’t have people getting into Jazz for the wrong reasons. We have people playing Jazz because they love the music, they have a voice, and they want to express it in this medium. If you get into Jazz to play professional you know the risks going in, it will be a struggle, nothing is guaranteed to you, not even a opportunity.  Despite all these obstacles it’s invigorating to see so many people here at UIC and all over Chicago spending countless hours perfecting their craft, mastering standards, while inventing new ones. Of course I want Jazz to be as lucrative as possible. I love this music and wish it were more in the fore front, but by having the music come first it gives us musicians with pure intentions and that leads to more creative albums which in turn will keep jazz growing, and evolving.

I’m excited about where Jazz is heading, we have moved past fusion and we are heading into the unknown. With all the obstacles in front of the music Jazz continues to grow and has gained respect from universities, conservatories, and is now regarded as a high form of art by the general population.  The fact that the average teen doesn’t listen to Jazz or try to play it seriously doesn’t sadden me. The lack of a high lucrative career has just helped weed out the people who weren’t going to cut it anyway (Universities and clubs weed out the rest, but that’s another blog for another day). This post I’m sure will leave some people with mixed emotions. I’ve said that I want to make Jazz welcoming and not exclusive, I want it to grow. Yet here I’m saying it helps the music for it to be less popular. Well, everything is a give and take and if given the option I would prefer more people are able to make a good living playing Jazz. However, that doesn’t mean that my prior statement is not true.  The music does benefit from the main goal of the musician being to play good music not what makes the most cash. Hopefully, one day, we can have our cake and eat it to. We can live in a society where a high level of musicianship is applauded and profitable. Hey, a man can dream…


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