Sunday, March 28, 2010

Jazz St. Louis CD Listening Club
to meet Tuesday, April 13

The Jazz St. Louis CD Listening Club will hold its next meeting at 7:00 p.m., Tuesday, April 13 at Borders, 1519 S. Brentwood Blvd in Brentwood.

The featured CD for the month will be Stanley Turrentine's Sugar (pictured), with JSL executive director Gene Dobbs Bradford serving as moderator and Carol Daniel of KMOX radio and KMOV's Great Day St. Louis as special guest.

(An editorial aside: Though she is a capable and well-liked broadcaster, Ms. Daniel seems like a strange choice for this gig, given that she has scant professional connections to jazz. Her official biographies at the websites of KMOX and KMOV make no mention of any interest or involvement in jazz; the only reference to music in either bio is to note Ms. Daniel's philanthropic support for the Cameron Youth Orchestra, a classical music group. When I inquired as to what Ms. Daniel's qualifications to lead a discussion about jazz might be, I was told that she's attended shows at the Bistro and has interviewed several musicians on her television program.

This seems like a rather thin set of credentials for the task. Consider this: During her time in St. Louis, I'd bet that Ms. Daniel has attended some Cardinal games and interviewed a few ballplayers, but you don't see her being asked to appear on sports programs discussing the team's prospects for 2010. That's because there are plenty of other people who are much better qualified to discuss that particular topic - broadcasters and writers who cover the game on a regular basis, former players, coaches, and so on.

Similarly, one would think there are at least one or two music professors, professional musicians, critics, scholars or music journalists in the St. Louis area who would have something interesting or relevant to say about Stanley Turrentine and Sugar. So why bring in someone without a significant connection to jazz?

Using a local semi-celebrity as a guest as a way to entice casual fans into taking more of an interest in jazz is a defensible idea, but it seems at odds with the CD Listening Club's alleged purpose of helping listeners "explore and understand great jazz recordings while building their personal jazz libraries."

It should be noted that JSL did have Glenn Zimmerman, who does the weather for KTVI, as the featured guest at an earlier CD Listening Club meeting, but Zimmerman at least plays a musical instrument and is known around town as an avid music hobbyist who attends all sorts of concerts. Perhaps Ms. Daniel will surprise the audience with relevant insights on, say, Turrentine's use of motivic development, or the impact of Creed Taylor's production style on the music's commercial prospects, but yr. humble editor remains skeptical. )

The CD Listening Club is free and open to the public. However, because space is limited, interested parties are asked to reserve a spot by calling Devin Rodino at 314-289-4144.

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