FIrst off, my apologies for not posting something in almost two weeks. For some reason, it had not seemed that long to me… I will now commit to publishing an entry on this blog every Wednesday before 5:00. It will be a hump day blog.
Since I made my last entry, I have finally had the pleasure of visiting Churchill Grounds, Atlanta’s self-proclaimed finest jazz club. It is particularly convenient for me to go there since it is just a few blocks away from our apartment. The club features the best musicians from around Atlanta and often hosts touring acts on the weekends. The building itself is beautiful… it is attached to the famous Fox Theater in a grand piece of architecture that looks part theater, part arabian castle. Churchill Grounds is split up into two rooms: one is a typical bar for socializing, the other is called the ‘Whisper Room’. The ‘Whisper Room’ is where the music takes place. The room is simple and beautiful, revolving around a small but prominent stage at the front of the space. You can check out more about them at www.churchillgrounds.com .
As I sat down, I was very excited for the show that was about to take place. Justin Chezarek’s Tree-O of Love was playing their weekly Wednesday night gig. The trio features a drummer, a bass player, and a saxaphone player. This, of course, is a traditionally unusual but currently trending kind of setup, lacking a chordal (guitar or piano) musician.
The show was fantastic. They were playing all Sonny Rollins’ charts in tribute to the legendary saxaphonist’s 82nd birthday. Their knowledge of the charts was very impressive… they were not, as is often the case, a group of instrumentalists simply ‘jamming out’ over the chords. They had an intimate knowledge of these tunes and it was very enjoyable to hear.
This all sounds wonderful, right? A stunning, renowned venue with a great band in the middle of an exciting city. However, there were only ten other people (at the most) that joined Katy and I in the ‘Whisper Room’. While I did enjoy the music quite a bit, the lack of attendance was bugging me throughout the evening.
This all kind of relates back to my previous entry about the lack of excitement behind jazz and classical music. Why is it that people all around Atlanta were already partying out in anticipation of the Falcons’ opening game (still four days away at the time) but unwilling to check out some of the best music in the region? We’re talking about a metro area full of 6 million people and the great Churchill Grounds couldn’t draw more than ten.
I would argue that it all goes back to the way things are presented to people. I think that most of what makes people want to go out and do something is due to the hype. All of America’s sports have got that down to a science. Watch an ad for baseball, football, or basketball, and you can’t help but get a bit excited by the possibilities. The drama, the action, the intensity! If you’ve been to a sporting event recently, you may have noticed that most of what goes on (particularly in football, where there is merely an average of 11 minutes of action during a game) is pretty stagnant. People don’t care, though, if they really think they’re in for a treat.
When we pulled off the concert at Hoyt Sherman Place two years ago, it was only because Nikki Syverson, Liz Palik, and myself decided to try and paint it as THE event of the summer. Looking at the promotional material, you would have thought I had ten grammys under my belt. This was not the case at all, as you all know.
I’m rambling again, but I just think it is worth noting that most promotional material (if there is any) for clubs, symphonies, etc. is not the type that gets you excited to attend unless you are inherently a devout follower of the music.
Your thoughts? Email me at max(at)maxwellmanmusic(dot)com or find my music page on facebook and ‘like’ it. Thanks as always!