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Why JazzTimes Matters

Nate Chinen on the unique contributions of the print media to the jazz community

One day this June, jazz critic Peter Hum published an item on his blog, Jazzblog.ca, titled “Two reasons why YouTube is the new DownBeat.” Embedded in the post was a pair of video clips, each a few minutes long. Beneath one, Hum lobbed a rhetorical question: “Down the road, when Chris Potter’s Underground releases its next disc, perhaps DownBeat will have a preview story. But will it be any more revealing than this?”

Man, I sure hope so. Unless standards have declined more precipitously than I thought, such a story would shed light on Potter’s track record as a saxophonist and bandleader, and on the particulars of his band’s rapport. It would feature first-person testimony from Potter, his sidemen and maybe even an objective outsider or two. Depending on the writer, it might incorporate some acute critical perspective, thereby putting the band’s music in context and gauging its impact on the scene. In short, this hypothetical profile would reflect the deliberative values of proper journalism. So ideally, yes: It would be more revealing than a montage of rehearsal footage spliced together for promotional use.

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