Why Americans Don’t Like Jazz

Thia artcle has been around online for awhile, but I believe it is quite relevant and helps explain the current marginalization of musical art forms we are experiencing at the moment.


by Dyske Suematsu  •  September 17, 2003
The current market share of Jazz in America is mere 3 percent. That includes all the great ones like John Coltrane and the terrible ones like Kenny G (OK, this is just my own opinion). There are many organizations and individuals like Wynton Marsalis who are tirelessly trying to revive the genre, but it does not seem to be working. Why is this? Is there some sort of bad chemistry between the American culture and Jazz? As ironic as it may be, I happen to believe so.
One day, I was talking to my wife about the TV commercial for eBay where a chubby lady sings and dances to an appropriated version of “My Way” by Frank Sinatra. The lyrics were entirely re-written, and “my way” was transformed into “eBay”. I told her that they did a good job in adapting the original song. Then she said: “Ah, that’s why I like it so much!” She actually did not realize that it was adapted from Sinatra’s song.
My wife and I have always known how differently we listen to music. I tend to entirely ignore lyrics, while she tends to entirely ignore music. We are the two opposite ends of the spectrum in this sense, and it appears that my wife’s side is more common. Many of my friends think that I have a peculiar, or plain bad, taste for music. Whenever I say I like this song or that song, they look at me like I am crazy. Then they go on to explain why it is bad, and I realize that they are referring to the lyrics, not to the music. I then pay attention to the lyrics for the first time, and realize that they are right. The opposite happens often too where many of my friends love a particular song, and I can’t understand what’s good about it until I pay attention to the lyrics.
The eBay example is an extreme case where my wife could not recognize the original once the lyrics were swapped. To her, if you change the lyrics, it is an entirely different song. It is the other way around for me; in most cases, I would not notice any change in the lyrics. The eBay song was an exception; I only noticed it because it is a famous song used for a TV commercial.
Read the article here DYSKE Cultural Critique

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