Instrumental music is a single digit percentage of CD sales, downloads, and radio airplay, of which jazz is only a small part. “Smooth Jazz” seems to dominate the marketplace. As director and arranger for The 14 Jazz Orchestra, I find myself strongly considering the goals of the players as well as the entertainment of our audiences. At times, those considerations struggle for compatibility. The performers often want the music to challenge them, give them opportunities to grow, to test their skills, and provide a vehicle for self-expression. Although there can be occasions where very “sophisticated” Jazz musicians, and/or fans make up a large portion of those in attendance, I find that in general, audiences of live concerts respond more to the emotion and energy of the music than the intellectual aspects. Trying to be true to one’s artistic values, provide meaningful musical experiences for the players, and at the same time entertain an audience, does provide an ongoing challenge!
Dan Bonsanti - Director, 14 Jazz Orchestra