So the hardworking staff trundled down to the Boston Public Library last night for the JazzBoston convocation of local music lovers stranded by WGBH radio’s eviscerating of jazz programs from its airwaves. And we fully expected a repeat of the Old South Church pity party a year-and-a-half ago after ‘GBH had exiled classical music to the anemic WCRB. That event was dominated by long-winded whining and self-referential gasbaggery that eventually became unbearable (which is a fancy way of saying we left early).
Last night, though, was nothing of the sort. This group – about 150 strong by the hardcounting staff’s estimation – was universally well-spoken, thoughtful, coherent, and – blessedly – succinct. The conversation was MC’d by the dapper and small-c-catholic José Massó of WBUR’s Con Salsa.
There were several threads that ran through the first hour of conversation (the hardleaving staff had to exit early, although this time reluctantly).
• One thread was the sheer love of jazz in the room. As one audience member said, talk radio focuses on the day-to-day and makes us all live inside our own heads. Music makes our life different, humanizing and connecting us.
• Another thread was practical: Where to get jazz now that it’s not in the mainstream media. (Internet for sure, but that tends to limit us to what we already know.) And how to inject local musicians into local news and talk shows.
• Yet another thread was tactical: How to pressure WGBH into changing its mind (weekly musical protests outside WGBH?). Or how to convince WBUR that it has an opportunity here to grab the jazz franchise.
• And a final thread was aspirational: How to educate children to explore jazz in a way that might have a lasting effect on them.
All in all, it was a terrific event that JazzBoston audio-recorded and presumably will post on its website at some point. Meanwhile, given this dedicated music community, there’s good reason to believe that jazz will flourish in one way or another in Boston for years to come.