Monday, March 18, 2013
Could my steadfast belief that Kansas City's jazz scene is undergoing an artistic renaissance be little more than wishful thinking and provincial boosterism?
The disconcerting results of the 7th Annual Jazz Critics Poll, the most comprehensive and authoritative year-end jazz album listing, continue to stick in my craw. Dozens of prominent jazz critics cast votes for 421 albums. Of the projects with Kansas City connections, only Unity Band by Pat Metheny was represented. It placed #27. Otherwise, albums released by Kansas City's jazz artists were ignored.
Even the sole participant from the Kansas City area opted not to include any locally-released titles among his ten picks. (I wasn't included. My selections are here.)
I'm not suggesting that the titles that received votes aren't worthwhile. Yet is it really possible that 421 jazz albums are "better" than, say, the latest efforts by Deborah Brown or Matt Otto? A great deal of the underrepresentation can be attributed to the fact that most albums by Kansas City's jazz artists are self-released. That liability, combined with the usual group-think and bandwagoning among music critics, might help to explain the omissions.
Three new albums by Kansas City artists- Tangos For 18th Street by Mark Lowrey, The Freedom of Expression by Eddie Moore and the Outer Circle and Yalniz by Alaturka are simply too good to be ignored.
If none of these seemingly powerful releases develop grassroots followings and a critical buzz during the next nine months I may be forced to reassess my esteem for the music being created in Kansas City.
(Original image by Plastic Sax.)