As I sat listening last night to a rotating group of Eastman School of Music jazz studies students jam at Havana Moe's on East Avenue, swinging their way into better chops through some standards (although most chops were in pretty good shape already), I noticed that, of the folks packed into the bar, there were more under 30 than older. The enjoyment I experienced last night going out to hear some jazz (I also hit the Strathallan for Nancy Kelly's first set with Dino Losito, Bob Sneider and Mike Melito, where more than a few "youngsters" had come to listen) reminded me that I still needed to jump on the #jazzlives bandwagon, despite it being well underway. Let me explain.
At the end of August, in anticipation of all of the jazz festivals that would kick into high gear around Labor Day (Chicago, Detroit, Tanglewood, etc.), jazz writer and blogger Howard Mandel (Jazz Beyond Jazz) started a social networking experiment using Twitter to show that contrary to popular belief and the Wall Street Journal's arts writer Terry Teachout, jazz is not destined for the grave, nor are its listeners all in their late 40s or older (OK, this listener is). The brouhaha caused in the jazz world by Teachout's article is collected on NPR's A Blog Supreme here. While I think the initial idea was to end the campaign after the end of the Labor Day holiday, it appears to have grown feet of its own and goes on.
Suggesting that listeners use what in Twitterspeak is called a "hashtag," #jazzlives," Mandel and a chorus of other bloggers, jazz activists, musicians, festivals, journalists, and of course listeners have been keeping up a steady stream of tweets on Twitter that show folks who love live jazz enough to "raise their hands by tweeting about WHO they heard and WHERE they heard it." Although not a scientific poll (and some say Twitter is actually used by us older folks more than the young), the idea is to show the rich and varied audiences out there for live jazz music and give us some hope that Teachout and others who are walking down the street bellowing "... ring out yer dead!" are wrong. Based on the stream of tweets I've seen, there may have been thousands since the campaign started before Labor Day. I think it's a great thing to keep up as it provides yet another source of what's going on in the wider world of jazz.
So if you're at a jazz gig here in Rochester or elsewhere and are on Twitter, give a shout out about who you're hearing and where you're seeing them by adding "#jazzlives" to your tweet. Please no promotion. You can check out the #jazzlives stream directly on Twitter here. Unfortunately, the widget that is available through Mandel's site and AllAboutJazz.com is a size my side panels can't support (yet...), so I've also added the #jazzlives hashtag stream as a panel on my Twitter widget that can be reached by clicking on the little blue bird with a sax in the right panel and selecting that tab.