Peter Bacon of The Jazz Breakfast potentially provokes a very interesting debate with his post, ‘Are jazz critics too kind’? He notes that it is rare to read outright criticism of jazz musicians in any industry publication, known blog or website. He also admits that he prefers to refer to himself as a jazz ‘reviewer’ as oppose to a ‘critic’.
Most jazz commentators write because they love the genre and feel honour bound to promote it. That is certainly the reason I write about jazz and I feel privileged to have an outlet to do so.
The majority of gigs I have been to this year have been awesome. So much so that I would struggle to pick out my top five. But one does come across gigs that are at best, mediocre and at worst, a bit rubbish. To my mind, rather than lambast poor or mediocre performances, I would prefer simply not to write about them and it seems that Peter Bacon agrees with that sentiment. I personally don’t feel I have any right to dismiss musicians or their music off hand. I would rather spend my time promoting the music I love.
Sebastian’s thoughts on the matter mainly emphasise the contemporary interaction of the 21st century reader:
“…in 2010 we receive comments. Yes, they can be simple, from the hip, inane, whatever. But they do bring diversity of perspective. The single-voiced review without the comments can even seem incomplete now. George Bernard Shaw’s time has gone.
Check out a recent review I did of Richard Godwin. It was the first time I had heard him: I was kind, constructive.
The first commenter took out the slagging sledging heavy hammer, and applied it both to the performance and to my review. But what gradually emerged, as the comments accumulated, was a fair perspective.
And what’s wrong with that?”
Take a read of Peter’s article and see where your opinion lies.