Tuesday, August 17, 2010
JAZZ BLOGS MATTER
Jazz Critic Nate ChinenI read your column "Why JazzTimes Matters" in the September issue. I agree with certain parts of your opinion. JazzTimes is still an important monthly magazine. Other aspects of your opinion bothered me, particularly your statements about how some jazz bloggers commentaries lack depth. You boasted about JazzTimes' pristine reputation. The magazine has high standards, and respected jazz writers such as Nat Hentoff and Gary Giddins are contributors. However, you neglected to point out JazzTimes also has a few blemishes. Last year, in the business section of the New York Times, I read JazzTimes' editors knowing the magazine was bankrupt continued to assign cover stories, columns and album reviews to freelancers, who they never paid. That was unscrupulous, and for awhile I stopped buying the magazine. To the readers who rely on jazz journalists such as you for recommendations JazzTimes is still relevant. However, thanks to a multitude of jazz bloggers, jazz enthusiasts have more than a select group of jazz writers to give them insight on the state of the music and any future development. Most of the jazz bloggers I know are just as knowledgeable about the music as jazz critics who contribute to JazzTimes. Nate, you were hard on jazz bloggers, saying their perspectives and commentaries lack depth. Nate, you acknowledged there are some competent writers, for example, Doug Ramsey and David R. Alder, who are journeymen jazz authorities. Other lesser known jazz bloggers matter. Their perspectives and insights about the music should be trusted and respected. In my book, an individual that owns hundreds of jazz recordings, attends jazz concerts regularly, reads books by jazz writers such as Martin Williams, Whitney Balliett, Valerie Wilmer, Amiri Baraka, Ben Ratliff, Garry Giddins, and Nat Hentoff are qualified to comment on jazz. JazzTimes is still worthwhile, and so are jazz bloggers.