To the editors:
Musicians have always wondered why the Reader has ignored the criticism of both live jazz and recorded jazz. Each week numerous theatre, performance, dance and graphic artists are reviewed within the back of the music listings, but live jazz and blues and even rock suffers. Perhaps music of this nature is considered like new Italian restaurants, a fad, a condition. Besides the Reader is free, and if something is free you cannot be critical of it. You must read it. Point blank.
The real reason that there has been no music criticism is that film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum is actually the son of Leonard Feather. Witness his reference to the recorded works of Miles Davis and John Coltrane in his typical Reader bashing of Mo’ Better Blues. This guy knows his jazz even better than the jazz critic “King Neil Tesser.” In other words, film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum should be sent out to review all of the ignored jazz bands in Chicago, and leave the films to some new graduate of Columbia College or Northwestern.
Now the review. Jon calls Mo’ Better Blues “disjointed.” I think that he missed the point. I, Bradley, found the movie fun, and entertaining, a bit lighter than the other Lee films, but since Hollywood only allows us one black film director, The Blues was a great piece of work. Usually if there are black characters in a film they die by reel three. In fact I liked the black films by Fred Williamson in the 70’s, because he never died (everyone else did die to the music of Curtis Mayfield).
Spike also gave us jazz musicians a dream. The jazz club in the film had great dressing rooms and sound system. The musicians wore designer clothes. In fact one of Denzel Washington’s shirts cost as much as most bands are paid to play on Saturday night at the Bop Shop! So Spike gave us a dream of a quiet orange glow club. And we did not have to see anyone die! And we saw a black wedding, and we saw a happy ending!
So Jon, please be our local obscure jazz critic. Review our CDs, cassettes and living performance pieces. We need you. Spike has enough critics.
And Reader-readers beware of the sound system at the Broadway Cineplex, the bass speakers sound cracked and the air conditioning was not working last week.