One of my goals since I began assigning editorial in early 2006 was to get more musician voices into the magazine. I had a strong feeling that the “Us vs. Them” quality of much of jazz writing and criticism was becoming tiresome for all involved parties. Writers too often take the role of either champion or critic, leaving readers to wonder what really is going on with the music. In turn, musicians often feel that writers don’t really understand the music, yet are given the outlet for its evaluation. I also wanted to evoke all of those great pieces by famous musicians in jazz magazines of yesteryear.
We haven’t entirely succeeded with my mandate, but we’ve made some strides. Our Farewells section in the previous issue consisted of personal tributes from musicians (as well as industry professionals) on their peers or heroes who died in 2006. In this instance, having Sonny Rollins talk about Jackie McLean, or Joe Lovano discuss Dewey Redman, would seem to be an improvement over the salutary prose of a pundit.