I’m getting a bit fed up with reading all the superlative reviews from London Jazz Festival. (and most other places for that matter).
Is everyone too polite to write anything other than “brilliant” (this blog review of Branford Marsalis’ concert was a notable exception which at least made an effort at genuine criticism.)
Do critics and bloggers only go to gigs they know they are going to like? Or do they not bother to write about gigs they didn’t enjoy? Doesn’t anyone else go to see someone they haven’t seen before and come away wondering what all the fuss was about? Or someone they have seen before only to find they were much better last time?
Surely if everyone gets rave ***** reviews then the critical currency is totally devalued. In any case the gig will never be repeated – its not like theatre criticism where the critic can ruin the finances of a play – all the jazz critic can do is express an opinion about a performance on the night.
Theatre critics have no problem commenting on good performances in a bad play, or vice versa – surely jazz critics can recognise quality musicians who don’t gel on the night – or average musicians who have a storming gig – we can’t always see brilliant musicians playing at their peak every night – life’s not like that!
Interestingly critics seem more inclined to give lower ratings to CDs – where they actually can impact sales. (The cynic might think that’s because lots of people will hear the same thing and can form their own opinion)
Anyway – I for one would welcome a bit more light and shade in criticism – I’d like to know which of the artists that I didn’t see are genuinely worth a special effort to see next time, which ones were good, and which ones failed to live up to their reputations.
Is it just me?