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Sean Jones, a gifted trumpeter who’s on his way up in the jazz world (I wrote about him when he played the Ellington Festival), has released a new disc called Kaleidoscope. As its name suggests, the music is pretty diverse, and even features several different lineups of musicians. But the title was apparently an afterthought: Jones wasn’t trying to make a cohesive statement with this album. Rather, to hear him tell it, he was trying to build a set of stand-alone tracks for the iTunes era.
What I can’t decide is, does this make Jones a visionary or a cynic? Or both? Is this some razor-sharp commentary (intentional or no) on the state of the music industry, or has Jones got his eye on the future, when albums aren’t unified works of art but prepackaged collections of 99-cents-a-pop hits? It’s often said lately that the focus in the business has returned to singles, but does this mean that the “album” is becoming just a convenient place to compile one’s singles, without worrying about whether the tracks actually have any connection to each other?