Is jazz doomed?
Since 1982, the median age of jazz listeners has increased from 29 to 46 while diminishing in size by nearly a third, according to a recent National Endowment for the Arts survey. While some argue that those numbers aren’t trustworthy, what’s clear is that most music listeners consider jazz a relic, a link to the past, and not a vibrant, forward-thinking genre. It’s no surprise that jazz music is virtually ignored by the mainstream.
In our Music in Review issue, Michael J. West looks at recent attempts by jazz musicians—-like Darcy James Argue (above), Robert Glasper, Ben Allison and others—-to broaden their exposure. He writes:
It’s once again death by circular logic: Jazz can’t get wider circulation until it shakes its stodgy reputation, but how can it shake its stodgy reputation until it gets wider circulation?
A frequent answer: Make a jazz album that purports to appeal to fans of other kinds of music. But as the following examples from this year show, lofting serious artistic intentions toward the mainstream is not easy.
Read the full feature here.