Will TV wind up suffering radio's fate? If you've spoken with guys and gals under age 30 lately, you know that there's an entire generation out there that has little interest in television. Instead, they're starring in their own reality dramas—on their laptops and smart phones. They chat with friends, update photos and make social plans, all while maintaining upward of 10 or more text conversations at once. Many of the people I know in this demographic do make time for 60 Minutes and other compelling news shows. But otherwise, TV isn't part of their mix.
Why is this important? Because unless TV and the computer (Internet access) find a way to link up, TV is likely to wind up like the radio—a generational appliance that has little or no use except for the news, weather and nostalgia. Let's face it, the DVR has made TV ads fast-forwardable anyway.
Conversely, I can't watch film for long periods on my MacBook Pro. Not enough pixels, so my eyes tire quickly. I would love the ability to access Internet documentaries online and watch them on my TV set. Or watch the news on TV in a mini screen while writing.
The window of opportunity is closing fast for television. The technology graveyard is filled with devices that insisted they were going to be relevant forever—until they weren't. TV is already losing a generation of viewers. The sooner TV and computers figure out how to make the merger profitable, the longer they'll remain in business long after we're gone. Otherwise, the computer is going to win this one, and probably a lot sooner than we think.
Sheila Jordan. Writer Ellen Johnson has been working with singer Sheila Jordan on her memoir for the past few years. The book is just about ready, and Ellen has big plans for it. You can learn more about Sheila and the book's next steps at Kickstarter, where Ellen is trying to raise sufficient funds to publish it in print and electronically. Go here.
I will resume reviewing new CDs in this space next week. The last two weeks have been jammed writing Wall Street Journal articles and finishing my book. I will submit the final manuscript to my editor at the University of California Press on Tuesday (yay!). The book will be published this fall. I will tell all about it in the weeks ahead. If you love JazzWax, you're going to love the book. Promise. More soon.
Terry Teachout. Satchmo at the Waldorf, Terry's one-man play about Louis Armstrong and Joe Glaser, will run August 22 through September 2 at Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, Mass. John Douglas Thompson is the star. Terry is the Wall Street Journal's drama critic and author of the acclaimed Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong. He also is hard at work on a biography of Duke Ellington. Tickets are now on sale. For information, go here.
Frankly Jazz. Here's a segment of this classic TV show with host Frank Evans, featuring Bob Cooper, the Lighthouse All-Stars, singer Lou Rawls and Forrest Westbrook at the piano...
History of recording. In the wake of my interview series with Rudy Van Gelder last week, Tom Fine sent along a link to a fabulous site. PreservationSound.com details the history of engineering and recording. One of the recent posts is a fascinating look at Tom's parents—the great C. Robert Fine and Wilma Cozart Fine. W.C. Fine ran Mercury's classical division, including its Living Presence label and produced all the records from 1951 until she retired in 1964. She then produced the CD reissues in the 1990s. C.R. Fine ran Fine Sound, located at 711 5th Avenue (now the Coca-Cola building), which recorded many of Norman Granz's east coast recordings in the 1950s along with other Mercury, Grand Award and Kapp jazz recordings. He then built and ran Fine Recording, in the old Great Northern Hotel on 57th Street, from 1958-1971.
For more, go here. And here's a fabulous looking box featuring the complete Mercury Living Presence classical series that W.C. Fine remastered in the 1990s.[Pictured: C.R. and W.C. Fine, circa 1961, at Fine Recording's Bayside, Queens, studio]
Oddball album cover of the week. Say what? This one may be among the oddest of the oddest. The album was recorded by Louie Bellson in August 1954 for Norman Granz's Norgran label. It featured mostly Bellson originals. Clearly, Louie didn't get to sign off on the cover, which seems to feature faceless and translucent aliens frolicking in a field of clotheslines. Perhaps they're searching for what they were supposed to be wearing.