There is a lively debate right now in the French jazz community which yesterday made it into the pages of Le Monde with a half page feature.
Pianist Laurent Coq had written in complaint to the programmer at the Duc des Lombards, expressing the feeling that the heritage of the club, its importance as a focal point for the French jazz community – and that community’s sense of ownership of it – had been lost in the makeover and change of direction. He wrote a long letter to the new programmerSebastien Vidal including the following:
“Whatever else, [the club] is a failure. And your programming doesn’t help. Wasn’t it reported to me that Brian Blade started weeping quietly on the stage after having asked the people in the front row – in vain – to eat more discreetly.”
“Quoiqu’il en soit, c’est raté. Et votre programmation ni fait rien. Ne m’a-t-on pas rapporté que Brian Blade s’est mis à pleurer discrètement sur scène après avoir demandé aux gens du premier rang de manger plus discrètement, en vain ?”
The debate went public, even viral when Coq set up a blog “Revolution De Jazzmin”
HE has written the following [extracted] in English:
“Maybe we have our share of responsibility in this. Could it be that we got a little too busy selling our narrative on Facebook lately, and have forgotten that this music should remain about freedom, community and depth ? Can you imagine Thelonious Monk tweeting “London, 8:00, Jetlag” ?
I say it’s time to wake-up, and voice our unity, regardless of age, style, social background, and say THIS MUSIC BELONGS TO US. Facebook can be a very powerful tool though, if only we join our forces and voices…
That is precisely what this blog is all about. It’s about us, the jazz musicians of all kind out there, and those who really love them (journalists, bookers, producers and most importantly JAZZ LOVERS).”
Even after refusing and/or deleting abusive comments (sympathies brother) his correspondence has received 430 comments.
The overwhelming sense is that this music deserves and needs to be supported with pride. I liked pianist Laurence Allison’s comment:
“Le cynisme que nous vivons est aussi une forme de violence.”
“The cynicism we experience is also a kind of violence.”
Here – I believe – is the club as it was: