The Blog

  • Rich Kassirer

Issue 21: Can Jazz Rise Again?

Updated: Aug 6, 2018

When I finally settled on the cover topic for this issue, I first gave it a little test-drive – in the car one day with my wife and teen daughter.

Me: I’ve decided on the topic for my next magazine. Wife: Oh, really? What’s that? Me: “Is Jazz Dead?” Wife: What? No way. Daughter: Dad, that’s stupid, it’s not dead. Me: Well, I don’t think anyone really cares much about jazz anymore. Wife: That’s stupid. People still listen to jazz. Daughter: The kids at school listen to jazz. Me: Really? When? Daughter: Well, we play it in band. Me (to both of them): OK, name one jazz musician still alive who is playing relevant music today?

And then there was silence.

To their credit, I did reconsider and change my headline on the cover. But for the most part, the idea is still the same.

Yes, jazz does still exist and there are still some exciting players out there. But it is not, nor will it ever be, what it was. Is there anything wrong with that? No. But it wouldn’t hurt the ever-graying genre of music to get a shot in the arm.

Is there someone out there who could infuse the music with some new life, maybe capture young people’s ears again?

No one expects the golden age of jazz to return amid a music industry not only in turmoil, but one that only helps itself by promoting the most mainstream acts.

If jazz is going to return it needs some innovation, but is an innovator out there?

And speaking of injecting new life into a genre, we give you Crooked Still, one of a large handful of neo-bluegrass acts that has added spark to a country music as old as the hills where it was created. Crooked Still’s new album, “Still Crooked” is trying to build on the momentum created from their critically acclaimed last album, “Shaken by a Low Sound,” while undergoing personnel changes in the band.

To download the new issue, click HERE. To read the CD reviews for Crooked Still, as well as those for new solo albums by Eef Barzelay and Drew Emmitt, click HERE.


1. “I Make the Dough, You Get the Glory,’’ “Asking For Flowers,” Kathleen Edwards. Just your typical fun country music song with hockey references. 2. “Trouble,” “Sailin’ Shoes,” Little Feat. An upcoming tribute album had us scurrying back to hear the original. 3. “Rumors,” “The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter,” Josh Ritter. Getting us psyched for big Pops show. 4. “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere,” “I’m Not There” soundtrack, Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova. Done with the perfect amount of sneer. 5. “Mountain Jumper,” “Shaken by a Low Sound,” Crooked Still. The band at their craziest.

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