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--- Mar 24 1999 Go to category
Subject: Listener Apathy, the future of listening
Category: General Questions
From: Brad  Williams (memphis, TN, USA)

Pat, I read the response to someone's earlier question about how unfortunate it is that artists like you get lumped in with "smooth" jazz 'artists,' and how kids today just listen to whatever Mtv pumps into their brains. Well, I have to say (with a touch of pride) that there are exceptions out there. I am 18 and I know at least 10 or so people my age or younger that are really into not only your music, but also that of Bill Frisell, Sco, Michael and Randy Brecker, and even (especially?) older cats like Coltrane, Ornette, Ahmad Jamal, etc. So I don't think you are doing as bad as you might think with this segment of your audience... all of us really dig what's going on and apprecciate how your music doesn't get watered down to make money. My question is this: Do you think it could ever be any other way? Will people's minds ever open up significantly to listen to what their ears tell them rather than the popular media? I am a college student now, and I have chosen music as my carreer (I obviously don't care about money much) and while I have a lot of ideas that i hope will be valuable to the music community at large, I don't count on even the best jazz musicians (or any non-popular musicians for that matter) getting any kind of recognition among the general public. What do you think? Can music ever be good enough to transcend these unspoken barriers?

Pat’s Answer:

actually, i am optimistic.

i believe that due to the change in technology that is imminent - we will see a kind of cultural stratification that is hard for any of us to even imagine now. in a way, we here in this forum are a really good example of what is going to happen. here we are, our record sales must represent something like .0001 percent or less of all records sold. yet, according to what the webmasters say in their reports to us, this site is hit about 100,000 times a week. we will likely enter into a world where people will have access to many many things musically and culturally that they simply are just not exposed to now. i have always believed in the basic power of the best music to attract people to it. i actually think with more people having the chance to discover things for themselves, there will be more good listeners out there.