Monday Musical Musing: Finding the Balance

I’ve made no secret of my desire to focus my latest musical efforts on jazz. Not only does it serve as Research & Development for a future book, but I’m basically making up for lost time, with a lot of help from music journalist Nate Chinen, who’s book is bringing me up to speed.

But a couple of funny things happened on my way to Jazz Nirvana.

For starters, I remembered that the primary purpose behind this blog is to help establish and build a literary platform. For that, I need readers. And the fact of the matter is this: a lot of people don’t like jazz.

Now, I don’t really understand people like this (chuckle), but I do remember what Branford Marsalis said 30-plus years ago as a new member of Sting’s band in the Bring on the Night documentary. He was sympathizing with his new bandleader, and the difficulty some fans would have listening to music that wasn’t The Police. “I’m a jazz musician,” Marsalis said. “I know what it’s like to be shat on. I know what it’s like to play music nobody wants to hear.”


If they don’t want to hear it, then they damn sure don’t want to read about it! So if I want to increase my readership, I can’t focus solely on jazz. Not at this point in time, anyway. It’s hard enough to write reviews about artists nobody (it seems) has ever heard of. Why make it even more challenging by making them all jazz musicians?

To drive the point a little further home, my friend Thomas Hatton, the Editor-in-Chief at Proglodytes, decided to “promote” me from Contributing Editor to Managing Editor. This means more inside access to music, but also more responsibility. And while I am the jazz arm for that site, the primary focus is still rock-based. Which means a great deal of my focus must go in that direction. I am grateful for the opportunity, and plan to make the most of it.

And let’s face it: musical possibilities come from everywhere, often without plan or intention. By focusing solely on jazz, I’d be shutting myself off from other musical revelations. And I don’t want that at all!

And so, I must strike a balance.

Like many others, my listening habits are often determined by mood. But there are times when I must listen to a particular artist or record, because I have to write a review on it. I’m still adjusting to this position, and it’s not always easy. Sometimes, I just don’t feel like listening to a particular kind of music. So that album sits on my coffee table, staring at me, waiting to be heard. Which puts me behind schedule. And that will never do!

The most logical thing to do seems to be to make sure I write at least one rock-based and one jazz-oriented review a week. As is, I’ve been building a stockpile of reviews I can release over the coming weeks for those times when my day job keeps me too busy to focus on music. That’s just the way it will be until I retire from that gig.

Why am I telling you this? To be honest, declarations like this are often more for my own benefit. They are that proverbial poke in the ribs I need every now and then.

And so, I have been poked.

I’m open to reviews from multiple walks of music life. If you’d like me to say “A Few Words” about your band’s newest record, feel free to drop me an email at .

And now, back to work.


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Check out my book, I Can’t Be the Only One Hearing This: A Lifetime of Music Through Eclectic Ears. It’s available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other fine book dealers.

Want to have your album reviewed? Contact me at 


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