As the clock winds down on the last day of 2014, it's time to review the past year's worth of stories here on StLJN.
This year, however, instead of listing what subjectively seemed like the most significant stories from each month during the year, I went directly to the page-view statistics to determine the 30 most-read stories on St. Louis Jazz Notes over the past 12 months.
A few things to note: Because the recurring "Jazz this week" and "So What: Local News, Notes & Links" news roundup posts typically deal with multiple subjects, they've been excluded from the list. However, Saturday Video Showcase posts were included, the thinking being that readership of those is an indication of which artists may be of greatest interest to StLJN readers.
As for the stories that did make the list, most got attention for what seem like fairly obvious reasons. For example, it's axiomatic in the media business that bad news tends to attract the most eyeballs, which would account for the interest in the year's most-read story, about the untimely death of Richard McDonnell, the popular founder of MAXJAZZ Records, as well as the presence on the list of obituaries for trumpeter Floyd Leflore, pianist and historian Trebor Tichenor, and keyboardist Tony Simmons.
However, readers were interested in good news, too, as word that drummer and former St. Louisan Kimberly Thompson had gotten a high-profile gig on a network TV show ranked as the year's second-most read story.
Further reflecting an optimistic attitude, stories about a couple of new venues for jazz and the return of a dormant concert series also made the Top 30 list. (Sadly, though, none of the nascent efforts seem to have made it to year-end, as the Engine Room switched to rock just a few weeks after opening; the Ozark Theatre canceled several shows in November and then went silent in December; and no further concerts were announced by the Nu-Art Series.)
As you'd expect, readers also were interested in learning more about touring bands and musicians coming to town, which accounts for the popularity of video showcase posts featuring Rudresh Mahanthappa, Joshua Abrams, and several other individual artists, as well as the frequent viewership of various parts of StLJN's seasonal video previews.
Perhaps the biggest surprise for me is that none of the three posts dealing with one of the year's major stories - the opening of an expanded performance space and headquarters for Jazz St. Louis - made the top ten. (A post recapping national coverage of the grand opening did make it to #15.) The logical conclusion would seem to be that since the opening was covered extensively by local media who don't usually pay attention to jazz, readers had less of a need for StLJN's coverage.
Of course, after a week of fawning stories about how the new facility would change the entire St. Louis music scene for the better, pretty much all of those reporters and media outlets went right back to completely ignoring jazz, as they usually do.
Not to worry, though - while the attention spans of other media may be limited to what they can fit into 90 seconds on TV, and their interest in the music limited to mere lip service, readers in 2015 will continue to find comprehensive, ongoing coverage of jazz in St. Louis right here on St. Louis Jazz Notes.
And now, here are StLJN's most-read stories of 2014: