Monday, September 10, 2007

Right now, am watching a half hour program from the Rochester International Jazz Festival, featuring a vocalist named Karrin Allyson. (This is on PBS-Channel 13.) She's quite good, but i'm thinking of the fact that she's not a widely known name. And (in fact) i can't think of that many names in jazz at the moment. And so this begs the question: if there is no audience for something, should it continue? If jazz (which at one time defined popular music) has now become a coterie artform, does that invalidate it?

But that begs the question about any artform. This reminds me of the brouhaha which erupted on Carrie Rickey's blog ( when, after the AFI program of the AFI's 100 Greatest American Films, she mentioned the Top Ten, and asked her readers what their favorite gangster movie was, what their favorite musical was, etc. And she was pelted with responses, mostly from what i can only call boys, who screamed that how dare the AFI put a musical among the Top Ten! And the hysteria about musicals was so intense... if it weren't so pathetic it would be funny.

On his blog, Joe Baltake (who is straight) often wrotes about his favorite films, and he loves musicals (, and Joe and i began to try to provide some perspective about musicals: what they were, why they were popular, etc.

The boys who were so hysterical seemed to have no cognizance of any history. They seem to have no idea that there was "popular music" in other forms than rock-and-roll. And that what the musical (initially in its theatrical incarnation, and then in its movie incarnation once sound was introduced) represented was a vehicle for the popular music of the day. Songs were introduced in the musicals, and these songs became popular hits.

I really do feel that i should write more about musicals.... perhaps in a day or so.


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