Last summer, jazz promoters Brice Rosenbloom and Adam Schatz became incensed after reading an article in the Wall Street Journal with the rather provocative headline, “Can Jazz Be Saved?”
The story cited an NEA study claiming jazz fans were both dwindling and graying before concluding that the genre had become an inaccessible high-art form alienating to both younger and mainstream audiences.
Rather than fire off an angry letter to the editor, Rosenbloom (who runs NYC’s Winter Jazz Festival and Boom Boom NYC) and Schatz (founder of the Search and Restore website) did something a bit more meaningful: they created a music festival.
The Undead Jazz Festival premiered last weekend and featured 35 musically wide-ranging jazz acts, playing over two nights at three Greenwich Village clubs. Both evenings were filled with exhilarating music and young, enthusiastic audiences -- dispelling any notion of jazz music's ossification.
Lucky then that our No Cover series is streaming full 40-minute sets of each of the artists mentioned below. Just click on their names to learn more and listen to their sets LIVE from Le Poisson Rouge.
1) Graham Haynes/Hardedge, straight-up electronic music that wouldn’t have sounded out of place at an Aphex Twin show.
2) Bernie Worrell & SociaLybrium, a hard-rock-funk amalgam courtesy of former Rollins Band and Parliament-Funkadelic members.
3) Matthew Shipp, breath-taking solo virtuosity.
4) John Hollenbeck’s Large Ensemble, jazz orchestral grandeur.
5) Michael League, the young talents on the rise.
While the debate over jazz music’s survival will likely continue, we suggest simply listening to the music for yourself and drawing your own conclusion.