Blue Note do deal: They partner with Deutsche Grammophon in America and Canada to put the Nordic noir of Danish singer songwriter Agnes Obel out there.
The Obel style is certainly of appeal to even the most casual Kate Bush fan.
Don Was, Blue Note president, says: “Agnes is a profoundly imaginative and soulful artist. All of us at Blue Note Records are honoured and thrilled about the opportunity to present her music to US audiences. I’m really looking forward to hearing her new music and am certain that whatever she creates next will emanate from an inspired, honest and unique place.”
The easiest way for UK papers to improve their online jazz coverage is to set up a complementary, dedicated blog complete with a podcast, optional vlog, and at least twice weekly uploading of new content. If they did at a stroke they would vastly multiply the space they allot to jazz and actually use their writers better. It would cost peanuts and yet show serious endeavour on the part of the papers and a commitment to marginalised readers shut out of the regular music coverage.
Coverage at present is lamentable. Even John Fordham, the UK's leading jazz writer gets a tiny amount of space. Jazz also gets scant attention in the Guardian's online music blog. Of the rest, well the FT is actually best of all at the moment in terms of space and the estimable Mike Hobart (probably the UK's most consistently on-song writer at the moment if the criteria revolves around quality, quantity and style) is a regular treat. The Telegraph is terrible, they get their classical writer to write about jazz which he does witheringly and scarcely credibly usually. The Observer? A postage stamp devoted to rave reviews and mainly a tiny niche of mostly mainstream jazz only. The Times and Sunday Times? I like Clive Davis' writing a lot even if I do not always agree with his views but he is underused and their other writers lack his flair. The red tops don't bother at all but that doesn't detain most of us much. If they did it would be the celebrity angle only and what the celebs happened to have eaten for breakfast.
We have to face up to the fact that newspapers will not up their print coverage because they see no reason to and the reckoning that there is not a huge readership for it or a horde of advertisers bashing down the door to take out ads.
To get round this by branding specialist blogs with respected media badges for the long term not just a temporary sticking plaster would go some way to renew their historic vows to cover not just jazz but other music as well in similar fashion and benefit in partnership jazz greatly by the higher profile nature of the brands.
The balance needs redressing. It is laughable to think that people in their forties, fifties, sixties and seventies want to read in great quantity about the latest pop sensation and five minute wonders whose core audience are teenagers, the music here today often gone tomorrow without a trace. Equally ridiculously jazz fans cannot commandeer the whole of the arts pages. However, jazz deserves more of a bite of the cherry. Papers need more readers and maybe the time will come, it may already even be here, when jazz fans look elsewhere for stories on their favourite music unless there is action and preferably some movement towards a redress. SG