Yes, I believe so as well. It is so important to expose the youth and present those opportunities. The various media outlets, for example, PBS plays a large role as well in choosing their programming. They have an obligation to do so. What are your hopes for the future of jazz, especially pertaining to the youth of today? In ten years, what position would you like to see jazz in?
Actually, I’m not worried about the musicians playing and building upon the tradition. That part I’m not worried about. I am actually worried about the people behind the scenes who are responsible for getting the word out about jazz, because I have seen – not to sound like an old man; but I have seen American pop culture kind of regress, and regress, and regress in the last fifteen-to-twenty years. The criteria for being considered a serious artist has seemed to just drop. I sincerely hope that at some point, somebody or some group, or whatever it is, will put the money back into jazz like they did at one point in the '80s.
When Marsalis got hot, that is how that whole renaissance started again because Columbia Records said, “Look at all these great young jazz musicians coming out on the scene. We need to make stars out of them.” They created some hype for the jazz world again. I hope that comes around again at some point, but not with the rules that they use for pop stars — you know, glamorize them and turn them into these little MTV icons, but rather make them stars based on their musical ability.
I agree. Especially in more recent years, there seems to be a trend toward promoting the right marketable image as deemed so by the record labels over the actual talent. Not to say that these artists are not talented or take their artistic credibility away from them, but their image is in the forefront overshadowing their talent.
Yeah. And, you know, you look at American pop culture. I mean particularly in music image. [It] has always played a big part in it, but at some point, the image became greater than the sum of one’s talent. I don’t know exactly when that happened, but I really hope it changes back.
I believe that jazz is coming full circle so to speak. I believe that there is hope it is not so underground anymore as evidenced in the ever-growing mainstream acceptance and interest in jazz. That is apparent when you look at the success garnered by artists like Chris Botti, Jamie Cullum, and Herbie Hancock with his Grammy-nominated album Possibilities. I even remember seeing a Wynton Marsalis iPod commercial.