13 January 2010

Jazz Masters 2010 and the Perils of Cultural Reporting

I stumbled across this AP report of the new crop of "Jazz Masters" named thus by the National Endowment for the Arts. The 2010 honorees are: Muhal Richard Abrams, George Avaikian, Kenny Barron, Bill Homan, Bobby Hutcherson, Yusef Lateef, Annie Ross and Cedar Walton. You can find them listed on NEA web page here. I am especially happy to see Abrams on the list. (For my reasons go here.) Ironically, I suspect that if he had his way we would not find Jazz ghetto-ized at the NEA and elsewhere.

What I find irksome about the AP report is that it manages to do two things. The first is that the report hypes the eminently uninteresting and self-promoting Wynton Marsalis who was heading the accompanying orchestra at the awards concert last night. He was an accompanist not an honoree! The second thing is that on a list where only three of the members are white, the rest being African American, the reporter manages to spend the bulk of the article talking about two of the white folks. Am I missing something here?

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