In the May 2008 issue of Minnesota Monthly, editor Andrew Putz noted that jazz is "too damn hard. Hard to understand. Hard to appreciate. Hard to love."
In the August 2009 issue, which is cooling on some of our coffee tables as I write this, senior writer Tim Gihring includes the Kelly Rossum Quartet Farewell Weekend (August 28-29 at the Dakota) in his list of "your best bets for August."
Then he goes on to write that "the mohawked Rossum is an irreverent, take-no-prisoners presence in the sometimes stuffy modern-jazz scene."
Is there something in the water at the 600 U.S. Trust Building? I have the highest respect for Gihring--he's a writer worth reading and he cares deeply about the arts in Minnesota.
But "sometimes stuffy modern-jazz scene"?
Does that include Fat Kid Wednesdays, the Ellen Lease/Pat Moriarty Quintet, Monk in Motian, Atlantis, Snowblind, Framework, Frankhouse, Happy Apple, Buckley, the NOWnet, the Merlins, BroncoVision, the utterly unpredictable events scheduled at the Rogue Buddha, Homewood, Art of This Gallery, Maude, and...and... I can't list everyone so let's move on.
One might think that MnMo doesn't like jazz. For sure Minnesota Public Radio, with which the magazine has had a long relationship, doesn't like it. This is the station that cancelled its one and only jazz program in January of this year, tossing host Maryann Sullivan out of the tree (she landed safely at KBEM).
In May, Putz was actually recommending that people go see jazz—at Orchestra Hall. And Gihring was giving the thumbs-up to Rossum. But why the caveats?
And how often do MnMo staff check out our local jazz scene?