Listener response?

I just sent in a typically miscellaneous show in which I managed to call Claudio Monteverdi Giueseppe Monteverdi instead, and mistranslated a French album title. Oh well.

But I do wonder, assuming anyone out there is listening at all, what sort of listener response there might be to the largely jazz/classical music mix I’ve been putting together. That mix reflects my own tastes as a listener—as does the lesser admixture of world music, which would be larger if I were more knowledgeable—but it also reflects the contents of most of the conversations I’ve had with jazz musicians in the last few years. Most often, when I ask someone what they’re listening to—I won’t name names, but you’d know them if I did—I’m more likely to hear about classical music than jazz. Any jazz or just taintradio listeners having the same experience, or at least the same predilections?

In the course of my clarinet show, Updoc #5, I mentioned getting seriously into classical music in response to reading Robert Stone’s novel A Hall of Mirrors back when it came out and I was 21 years old: I thought that if anyone as hip as Stone was into Mozart to the degree he was, there must be something to it, so I set out from the nearer shores of Bartok and Stravinsky to try to understand the whole tradition, even if where I lived had more to do with Trane and other jazz giants of that time.

My yen for classical music was redoubled when, working as a jazz critic in the late seventies, I had a pressing need to listen to music of which I was not professionally required to come up with an opinion, and even occasionally a judgment—although I wrote mostly as an enthusiast, and seldom even reviewed albums I disliked, and only then when the musicians were financially secure enough not to be adversely affected, if that might be possible. These days I listen to at least as much classical music as jazz, and for reasons of pure pleasure, though as it happens, listening to the jazz programming on taintradio, which has been pretty terrific, has got me swinging back the other way.

So anyway: I’d be grateful for listener response to what I’ve been putting on the e-air, and shucks, I’ll be sad if no one writes.
Best regards::::::::::Rafi Zabor

3 Responses to “Listener response?”

  1. Just my 2 cents on this, from what I’ve been reading classical has been going through quite a resurgence in popularity in the last few years and one of the most popular stations – nationally and internationally – on the air and on the web, is WCPE out of Wake Forest NC, a classical station. The reasons are fairly obvious, the music is timeless, it transcends all fads and trends and it is the pinnacle of man and instrument at their creative zenith, it just doesn’t get any better than that. I appreciate hearing your spin on the classical front as do many others, and don’t worry – we’ll be hearing from them very soon, great topic!

  2. Well, there are all kinds of pinnacles. My favorite segué was the first one on my first show, straight from 15 minutes of Sonny Rollins, Ron Carter and Roy McCurdy burning their way through 52nd Street Theme into Furtwangler’s wartime recording of Beethoven’s Coriolan Overture with the Berlin Philharmonic. Seemed perfectly suitable to me, genius being genius wherever it shows up.

    I’d also be interested to hear from listeners how much or little setup of classical pieces they might want or need. I’ve varied it, taken some things for granted and others not. I don’t want to run a music-appreciation class but don’t want to leave listeners in the dark either, if the music is completely unfamiliar.

    It depends on the music and how much time I’ve got. Recently I did what was basically a Ravel/Debussy-in-relation-to-Miles/Gil/Bill show, and said little because I wanted to get a lot of music in. It worked, I think, because the relationship is so self-evident that the music can say it all; though on the other hand I could have gotten into the revival and importation of modal harmony, particular chord voicings, anecdotal material, etc.

    I’ll take pointers from listeners if they have any.

  3. One thing your “mix” did was possibly influence MY last show which features a considerable about of classical keyboard performances, particularly several pieces based on the minuet form that Ravel wrote for the piano and some Scarlatti and Bach Keyboard Sonatas (but on piano and not harpsichord which you will NEVER, along with Diana Krall and Jane Monheit, hear on “Cruisin’ With Abdul.”