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November 22, 2009

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Bill Forbes

Some very interesting ideas on jazz and computing there, Marc. The elderly musicians seem typical of their age group in their non-use of computers. A recent survey here in the UK found that of those who never use the internet, 40% are aged over 65 and a further 40% are unemployed. Of course, there are exceptions. I am aged 70 and the internet has given a new lease of life to my interest in jazz. Around 1960 in the "jazz boom" I could rely on finding people who dug my kind of music wherever I went, but with the supplanting of jazz by rock among younger fans and the abandonment of jazz by my aging contemporaries, my continuing enthusiasm for jazz became a solitary pursuit. That is, until this decade when once again I can talk jazz with fellow fans, but via the internet. The number of contacts remains much the same, but while they would formerly all live in the same city, they are now spread throughout the world.

Doug Zielke

As usual, Marc, good food for thought.
But having read countless biographies of jazz musicians, it seems to me that a great many of them would have strenuously avoided computers, regardless of availability.

Currently, I'm studying the life and recordings of Warne Marsh. I just can't imagine a personality like Warne having a website or a blog, let alone "Tweeting" to his friends, Lennie and Lee.

Ed Leimbacher

Tieing up two waxy bits: "I'll build a stairway to Paradise, with a new step ev'ry day..."--some of the bluesy lyrics of that song sound as though Johnny Mercer might have written them; he certainly gave us plenty of "steps of gladness." But Gershwin (George) gets the credit, with Ira's name omitted (it seems). The days of words and rhyming have left and run down, anyway, and only kid stuff remains; there's no one now to fill our mouths with magic and our feet with dancesteps...

By the way, the Fred Katz LP, when it appeared in '58, held another pun that some would have noticed--Katz 'n' his Jammers (or "in his jammers"; either reading) would have invoked the comic-strip Katzenjammer Kids.

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  • Marc Myers writes frequently on music and the arts for the Wall Street Journal. He is author of "Why Jazz Happened" (University of California Press). In 2012, JazzWax was named the Jazz Journalists Association's "Blog of the Year."

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