Buddy Seigal Is Dead

Responses to Jazz Is Dead

Illustration by Bob AulJAZZ-Z-Z-Z-Z

Finally, someone with the balls to speak the truth about the sad state of modern jazz (Buddy Seigal's "Creepy, Squirming Larvae," April 27) I knew jazz was dying an ignoble death when I watched Josh Redman play an untitled composition at San Diego's Street Scene and ask audience members to suggest a title. After the show, a yuppie dingbat approached and handed him a slip of paper with the suggestion "Champagne Cherries." The Starbucks crowd that claims to love jazz views it as little more than a sophisto soundtrack for its active, Southern California lifestyle. Sit any of these people down in front of some real jazz by Coltrane, Miles or Bird, and they'd probably run screaming for Kenny G. The best thing that could happen is for the trend to die—like trends always do—and then maybe there will be room for some real art again.

Joshua Sibelman
via e-mail


Seigal's article had some remarks that I agree with, but his overall tone was indicative of why there is a minimum amount of jazz of any genre in Orange County (except for Steamers in north OC). People like me have to go to Los Angeles (Jazz Bakery) or San Diego (Dizzy's) to find good jazz music. Of course, most of Orange County is populated by people who are more comfortable with rock and country (like Mr. Seigal) because it is simple, juvenile, undemanding music that they were forced to like when they were younger. I think the Weekly needs a new writer specializing in jazz of all genres to provide a guiding light, like Don Heckman at the Los Angeles Times. For a free newspaper like the OC Weekly, I guess this won't be possible.

Edward Agnew
Dana Point


Buddy Seigal says jazz CDs "sit there on a shelf, collecting dust." I am a jazz educator in a Third World country, Dominican Republic. If these jazz CDs just sit there, I would greatly appreciate your help and ask our friend Mr. Seigal to somehow find in his heart to ship them to me. Here, a good jazz recording is hard to find and cost is twice as much as in the States. My mailing address is: Jose J. Pena, 7801 NW 37th St., Code No. epsi-6075, Miami, FL 33166. My phone is 809-854-6737. I would even paid for shipping.

Yours truly and greatfull jazz friend,

Jose J. Pena
Dominican Republic


Jazz is stagnant? It may be the one music genre that has the ability to evolve and endure due to the structure of the music and the wide range of musicians it involves. While other music genres tend to fizzle and be replaced, jazz has the ability to grow and evolve like no other music. Country is evolving? Into what? Where's disco? Radio stations play more classic rock than any other genre. Joey Ramone was doing in the 1970s what the grunge scene is doing today. That's evolution?

You have the right to enjoy whatever genre of music you choose, but it's amazing that you choose to trash whatever it is you are not enjoying that day. With music critics like you, no wonder the industry is so lost in its direction. You don't have to love all the music that is out there, but it would be nice if you were a little better informed.

Peter Denholtz
via e-mail


Seigal's article barely touches the surface of what jazz is today. I've just recently been exposing myself to a whole new world of music, and I would say, based on his classifications, it would fit into his four-sentence Acid Jazz category. Call it whatever you want—Nu-Jazz, Brokenbeat Jazz, Downtempo—Seigal wrote it off as second-rate, which it just is not. I agree that most of what the mainstream dipshit contingent buys at Tower Records is just plain lame. However, dig a little deeper and you will find that jazz music is being reinvented with a class, style and quality that have the power to trigger your imagination. One album comes to mind to prove my point: Cinematic Orchestra's Motion. Just listen to the modern influences. I will leave Seigal to his ever-evolving rock, country and blues.

Justin Garbett
Costa Mesa


I'm a jazz-radio programmer in Phoenix, and I loved Seigal's article on the death of jazz. Very funny and truthful in so many ways. I love jazz for its improvisational quality and the instruments used to make the music, but I got a real kick out of the humor and jazz definitions in the article. Good job.

Blaise Lantana


Mr. Seigal claims that "jazz . . . hasn't had a revolutionary figure in decades." But how can it produce one in a musical climate that assumes nothing can ever be as good as it was? Does someone need to come out with that combination of irreverence and talent before we can get on with the business of developing jazz as an art form? If it were to happen, are we sure we could see it for what it is? Are we open to the possibility of it ever happening again?

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