Friday, June 19, 2009

A Sign of the (Jazz) Times?

I found a couple of cool jazz blogs last night while doing a little Net-surfing, and the hot topic on all of them was the same: The apparent demise of JazzTimes Magazine. Here's the full text of the notice posted on their website:
To our readers and members of the jazz community:

JazzTimes has temporarily suspended publication of the magazine and has furloughed the bulk of its staff while it finalizes a sale of its assets. The brand and operation will undergo reorganization and restructuring in order to remain competitive in the current media climate. Print publishing is expected to resume as soon as a sale is closed. New information and statements will be posted at as they become available.

Thank you for your patience during this challenging period.

JazzTimes Management
Call me a cynic, but does anyone believe the "temporary" part of this? I'm not holding my breath.

I was a subscriber a few years ago, when I got a great deal (and a free Sonny Rollins t-shirt) at IAJE*. For the most part, I enjoyed the magazine, which sometimes covered more "adventurous" artists than its rival, Down Beat. I guess my only qualms about JT were these two things: The CD reviews just went on forever and ever--pages upon pages upon pages. After a while, it was just a little too much of a good thing. As someone with limited newspaper and magazine reading time, I found myself unable to finish in the month that it was issued, and they kept stacking higher and higher in my living room. Also, to fit all that information into a normal-sized magazine, the font was often very small, which is not too kind to anyone with less-than-youthful eyes.

Still, I hope that the magazine does come back; it's always nice to give the big dog some competition, and you can never have too much quality jazz writing out there. I just hope that a buyer is found soon, lest those furloughed employees find other work which would render them unable to return.

*There's some irony here: IAJE itself, of course, went under a little over a year ago; also Jazz Times used to have an industry-based convention that merged with the IAJE one a number of years ago, and the resulting slant away from jazz education was said to be a factor in IAJE's demise. And on a personal note, I let my IAJE membership and my Jazz Times subscription lapse not all that long before either organization shut down--lucky me.

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