Jason Marsalis says it straight

January 11, 2008

Back from a holiday hiatus….happy New Year!

Wynton might be the king of popular jazz in New York, but his brother, drummer Jason Marsalis, isn’t about to falsely praise the city’s music scene.

In an interview with the Toronto Star (Marsalis opens the Fair Trade Organic Coffee Jazz Concert Series tonight), he emphasized that his home town of New Orleans is doing a superior job at cultivating this musical form.

“I’m going to be honest, and this is probably controversial, but someone needs to say it: Really, New York being the big time as far as jazz music is concerned is actually over, because the major labels aren’t signing jazz and a lot of the jazz legends that were in New York, unfortunately, have died off now,” he told The Star.

“It’s a great city and there’s a lot of music, but it’s not what it used to be. Ironically enough though, New Orleans is a better learning town. The community is a little smaller and it’s easier to get around and there’s other music that you can learn, like a lot of the traditional jazz music, R&B, Brazilian and Afro-Cuban music. Those kinds of things go on here. New Orleans has always been a great learning town,” he continued.

As many local musicians have told me, too many fish in a shallow pond makes it hard to stand out in this city–let alone find an audience.

I’d be interested in hearing Wynton’s response. 

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