Monday, January 10, 2011

The Return of the Magic Jazz Fairy

“It’s a new me!” the Magic Jazz Fairy cried out, fist pumped high, as the doors to detox swung open.

The mystical being knew it had not been doing its job, and jazz in Kansas City had suffered. Because it’s not the fault of some of the club owners who book jazz if they don’t promote then nobody shows up. And, of course, if a jazz musician doesn’t tweet to followers that there’s a show, or doesn’t post the news in advance to their Facebook wall or their web site, it’s not the musician’s fault, either. After all, they’re musicians, not ad agencies.

So if neither the venue nor the performer holds any responsibility to let jazz fans know that there’s jazz, it must be the responsibility of a mystical being. And that mystical being, as described in an earlier post (here), is the Magic Jazz Fairy. It’s the Magic Fairy who knows when all jazz is happening, and it’s the Magic Jazz Fairy who should be going around to every jazz fan and whispering in our ear while we sleep where and when we can hear jazz so we know, so we just know. And Kansas City has been burdened with a lame Magic Jazz Fairy who has not been doing its job, and jazz attendance has suffered and now we know why. Now we know the real reason so many jazz shows have faced so many empty seats.

Our Magic Jazz Fairy had a drinking problem.

But even mystical beings feel a sense of right and wrong (I’m sure I’m not saying anything you didn’t already know), and our Magic Jazz Fairy manned up and got help.

So the doors to detox swung open wide and the Magic Jazz Fairy was ready. All it had to do was find out when and where jazz in Kansas City is happening and tell us. This isn’t rocket science. Just find the sources, take notes, then fly around at night and tell us. Heck, any sober winged mystical being could do that.

The Magic Jazz Fairy started with the obvious sources. Jardine’s, The Blue Room, The Majestic and The Phoenix all publish online calendars, and all follow up with some combination of emails, tweets and Facebook posts. So, the Magic Jazz Fairy reasoned, every Kansas City jazz fan should already know who’s there. We don’t need those dates whispered in our ears as we sleep. After all, whisper too much and guys (especially guys) will wake up confused.

But another downtown venue is now booking jazz and not drawing crowds. The Magic Jazz Fairy needed details. First, it found the venue’s web site. Curiously, the site made no mention of music, none at all. The mystical being next checked musicians’ web sites. Only one mentioned a performance there, no others. Quickly, it looked up the venue’s Facebook page. There was the word “jazz” on the page, all right, but no mention of when or who. Next the Magic Jazz Fairy checked the musicians’ Facebook pages. Encouragingly, some posted that they would be playing there. But, discouragingly, they posted the news just hours before a performance. The Magic Jazz Fairy lifted its head in anguish. How could that work? How could it fly to all Kansas City jazz fans while we sleep and whisper in our ears when and where jazz would be performed if the news could only be found on Facebook hours before the performance?

Frustrated, the Magic Jazz Fairy folded its wings up tight to its back and pulled on an overcoat. It wanted to be responsible. It wanted to do its job. It would go and check out the venue.

The Magic Jazz Fairy walked through the club’s door. A stage spanned the front, set that night for live jazz. But the mystical being walked in between sets and Beyonce music was blaring from the speakers. A jazz club that blared Beyonce between live jazz sets?

The mystical being picked up a drink menu. There, in the back, were tabs to insert a schedule. But the tabs held no schedule, only stains.

The Magic Jazz Fairy was increasingly distraught. How could it do its job? How could it spread the word of jazz in Kansas City if the venue never listed the music on its web site or Facebook page, if it didn’t list it anywhere in the club, if performers mentioned it only sporadically on their web sites, and on their Facebook page only hours before a show? What good was a sober Magic Jazz Fairy under these conditions?

The Magic Jazz Fairy sat at the bar and laid its head in its hands. Beyonce blared. The bartender walked up and gazed at the disturbed being.

“What can I get you, friend?” the bartender asked.

The Magic Jazz fairy looked up. You shoulda put a ring on it blared in its ears, over and over. What can you get me? it thought. You could get me a list of your live music. You could get me a printed schedule. You could get me an online schedule. You could point me to Facebook posts and to tweets. You could get the musicians to help, to post to their pages sooner. You could get some other kind of between set music if you want to sell live jazz. You could help me help you draw a crowd and grow this into a successful jazz club.

That’s what the mystical being, fresh out of detox, thought.

“Scotch on the rocks,” the Magic Jazz Fairy said.

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