Take Five With Edward Simon
How would you describe the state of jazz today?
A simple answer would be say jazz today is in a crisis. However, a complex question requires a complex answer. My impression is that there seems to be less bands that can maintain any sort of longevity. The old paradigm of bands lead by legendary masters -where younger players could become seasoned- is breaking down and instead it is being replaced by the educational institutions which try to replicate this in some form or another. There are more musicians on the scene than ever before and less venues, this has created a great unbalance. This combined with the recent changes in the recording industry are making it more difficult to make a living exclusively as a performing and recording jazz artist than say in the 80's and early 90's. Artistically speaking, I think the music is going through a healthy period of exploration. There are some great things being done by organizations such as SFJAZZ and Chamber Music America. Artistically speaking, I think the music is going through a healthy period of exploration. I'm not really sure where all this is taking us, but change is good.
What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing?
We need more support both from the public and private sectors. We need to create more ways to expose and educate audiences about the music. The more you know about something, the deeper your experience and enjoyment of it. There needs to be more jazz on radio and television, not just the internet.
What is in the near future?
Later this year I will be releasing a live record of my trio at the Jazz Standard featuring John Patitucci and Brian Blade. This fall I'll be touring in the US with the SFJAZZ Collective and in Europe with the Don Byron Quartet. By the end of the year I hope to perform with my trio in New York City.
If I weren't a jazz musician, I would be a:
A Buddhist monk.
John R. Fowler