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JT’s Editor Introduces the Jan.-Feb. 2012 Issue

All together now: charting the changes in year-end polls

Ambrose Akinmusire
Charles Lloyd, Skopje Jazz Festival, Oct. 2011
Lee Konitz

Before the Internet dismantled the music industry, critics and dedicated listeners loudly scorned the gatekeepers: the tin-eared A&R reps at major labels; the conservative buyers for chain record stores; the reactionary programmers who did their best to make jazz radio a solvent proposition. Now, a lot of what I read and hear is the cognoscenti pining for the old world. Some of this yearning is pure nostalgia, but some of it is serious commentary on how the web’s dissemination of information has affected the way people relate to one another.

“When I grew up, there was a monoculture,” the critic Robert Christgau told the website PopMatters.com in 2006. “Everybody listened to the same music on the radio. I miss monoculture. I think it’s good for people to have a shared experience.” Christgau was, not incidentally, the architect and keeper of the Village Voice‘s Pazz & Jop critics’ poll, the most authoritative and ambitious list of its kind, for over three decades.

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