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"If you ain't got it in you, you can't blow it out."
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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

JAZZ TODAY: Jazz is Not For Amateurs!

A few weeks ago, I received by mail the debut CD from a young jazz singer. A very young jazz singer. Normally I wouldn't bother listening to something recorded by a 13 year-old, but the title of the disc, Scattin' Doll, was so awful . . . I had to dip my toe in the water.

Now, I don't normally set out to be a cranky jerk in my role as music critic. I'm here to promote the best of the music, not strut about as if I'm superior. I'm certainly not. But someone needs to cry foul when a talented girl who is barely a teenager is being promoted as if she was already the real thing. This CD had been produced by the girl's dad, with his pals playing in her rhythm section. She was, a bit like the young Nikki Yanofsky, a carbon copy of Ella Fitzgerald, but without the impeccable time and intonation. Very good for a 13 year-old? Yes. Good enough to have a CD being promoted and sent to critics? Noooooooo way.

Here is my JAZZ TODAY column about all this, an open letter to the father of young Claire Dickson: Sorry, Parents of All Those Little Prodigies Out There, Jazz is Not for Amateurs.

Sorry to be such an asshole but, unlike singing "Baby, Baby", jazz requires more than enthusiasm and some moxy. Claire, I hope to give you a good review in another eight or nine years.

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