Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Stop The Presses! Corporate America Plays The Blues....
What sticks in my craw this fine morning is the headline for Downbeat Magazine, the online edition. Now, on the record, Downbeat Magazine is a fine publication, and historically important in jazz journalism. But let's face it, the world of publishing is tough these days (what with all the free content on the internet.....ahem!) and print publications are just trying to stay afloat. I guess I've long ago accepted (to a degree) that many of these magazines are essentially propaganda; whoever pays for the most advertising gets the features, and after that, whoever can afford the most aggressive publicists gets attention. Downbeat is not the worst offender: for example, a japanese promoter who produced some recordings was approached by Swing Journal (the biggest jazz magazine in Japan) and asked how much money he would pay to receive a 5 star review of the CD!
Anyway, The Downbeat online edition headline reads: JAZZERS DIG INTO DISNEY REPERTOIRE ON NEW CD SERIES.
Why does that bother me? Well, because it's the HEADLINE for one. Maybe not on the print edition, but this is basically equivalent of opening the New York Times and seeing as the HEADLINE this:
EXXON IS A REALLY TOP NOTCH COMPANY! HOORAY!
I feel myself going into rant mode. Easy, now......
It would be different if somebody like Wayne Shorter decided on his own that he wanted to record some songs that happened to be associated with Disney movies. Maybe he would call it "Someday My Prince Will Come" or "Beauty and The Beast"(Oh wait, he has his own tune with that title. Never mind....). But this is so clearly a corporate takeover of Downbeat. It's so over -the -top commercial that it just makes me wonder if there is any integrity left anywhere.
This Jazz Disney CD, entitled, "Everybody Wants To Be A Cat, Volume 1." is being released on Walt Disney Records in December. Just in time for Christmas! Oh Goody! It features all the usual suspects, the people who are already sort of jazz household names or the people who are being pushed into being household names. Not surprising. I hope the date paid well. (That's probably the main reason for my rant... is that I wish somebody would call me for a recording date like that. Wait until Fox News stars a jazz label, I would happily play " Blues for Sean Hannity" for the proper sum.)
Am I wrong to think that jazz music and jazz journalism should steer clear of this kind of thing? I'm not against jazz musicians or magazines making a buck. But this is so blatantly, crassly commerical to me. In a time when rock and roll music is used for commercials to get kids to Join The Army and rap music is used to sell McDonald's, do we have to sell our souls to Disney to keep jazz alive?
In the United States last night, the electorate basically voted against the Obama administration, after only two years of trying to reverse 8 years of Bush and Company. The Bush administration basically made Corporate America the de facto government of the United States. It would seem that people want MORE of this by how they voted last night. I don't have time to explain why Corporate Control of everything is bad. I thought that it was obvious. So to hear that the chance for Obama to actually change things has possibly come to a screeching halt, and then to see that Disney has effectively bought out the front page of Downbeat, well, that was a little troubling for me this morning.
Next month: RUSH LIMBAUGH RELEASES A CD OF COLE PORTER TUNES. Stay tuned.....