The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, March 5. 1985 - Page 7
KOOL ditches Jazz Fest
Verdi masterpiece performed
By arwulf arwulf
H ELLO THERE. I'm an
American. I drive down high-
ways at night and stare up at
billboards illumined in the sky. I
open magazines and get the full-
color full-page ads full in my face.
Here, half way through the 1980's,
there's stunning examples of bad
taste right out in front where you can
scarcely avoid it. Did you see the way
they used Jazz in advertising? Kool
cigarettes, ('KOOL JAZZ'; get it?),
sponsoring Jazz festivals in the mid-
80's, showed us the white guy
blowing a horn or clutching a guitar,
his hair carefully spun, face contor-
ted in a grimace of pseudo-
inspiration. The caption: THERE'S
ONLY ONE WAY TO PLAY IT.
What? Think about this for a
minute. What makes jazz so vivid
and exciting is the fact that THERE
ARE SO VERY MANY DIF-
FERENT WAYS TO PLAY IT.
But we are not dealing with logic. Or
with music. Or, indeed, with the real
world. This is advertising. And it is
in the name of advertising that the
Kool cigarette company has an-
nounced their decision to cease fun-
ding jazz festivals across the coun-
try after this year. Their reason? A
shift in 'marketing strategy'. The
white guy with the horn is being
replaced by the white guy with the
cowboy hat. This is what deter-
mines the future of the careers of
American Jazz musicians in the
Another factor in this mess is
George Wein, concert promoter.
Wein dates back to the dixie.
revivalist cheese of the 1940's. Very
opinionated fellow, is George. He
ran the Newport Festivals in the 50's
and 60's, became notorious in the
early 70's for refusing to hire in-
novative young New Yorkers at his
Newport in New York festivals.
George likes to hire the same people
over and over again. Talent proven
decades ago. Very safe. George
would always hire Dexter Gordon.
George likes Dexter. So do I.
However there are countless other
musicians who suffer from
anonymity despite years of ex-
Promotion is a cyclic thing. If
George Wein never features the in-
novators in Creative Black Music,
then they never get the exposure
that an appearance at a major
festival would provide. Any records
they might make go out of print, and
for some strange reason, nobody's
ever heard of them. George Wein
was entrusted with most of the
hiring for the KOOL festivals.
Luckily, he didn't preside at Mon-
treux/Detroit. If he had, we might
not have heard Griot Galaxy at Hart
Plaza. Last September, right before
Montreux/Detroit, Kim Heron
quoted Wein as saying "You have a
whole bunch of jazz musicians all
over the world, who say they are
musicians, musicians who are ar-
tists, and their job is not to com-
municate but to play whatever they
want to play and the world is sup-
posed to come to them. Well, the
world isn't coming to them!"
George Wein has possibly more
power than anyone in the industry to
give innovative Jazz musicians wide
exposure. Having turned his nose up
at any forms of communication that
fall outside his narrow limitations as
a listener, he gloatingly tells us that
'the world isn't coming to them.'
But the rest of the world loves them,
George. Japan, the #1 jazz market,
and Europe, the #2 jazz market,
have shown empathy and terrific
marketing abilities with this strange
new music. People like George Wein
have been strangling Jazz since it
began some 80 years ago. Here in
America, the #3 jazz market, we can
only hope for another sponsor for the
two dozen jazz festivals which KOOL
cigarettes is abandoning in '86.
By Mike Gallatin
Innocence violated, love betrayed, an
old man's bitter curse. . . these are the
powerful images of Verdi's Rigoletto.
The New York City Opera National
Company founded in 1981 by Beverly
Sills under Columbia Artists
Management will be performing this
undisputed masterpiece tonight at the
Power Center beginning at 8:00 p.m.
The opera itself is a fascinating ex-
ploration of complex characters and
complex emotions. More than one hun-
dred years after its first performance
in 1851, Rigoletto's power to move and
captivate an audience remains un-
diminished and it is now universally
acclaimed as Verdi's first masterpiece.
The mise en scene is the decadent
courts of sixteenth century Italy. The
libretto is written by Piave based on
Victor Hugo's Le Roi Samuse.
Originally entitled, La Maladizione
(The Curse), the opera was changed to
Rigoletto. Censorship was averted by
changing names and locale. Paris
became Mantua and Triboulet became
Rigoletto. Originally, conservatives
were shocked and offended by what
they perceived as the composer's lack
of taste in depicting characters from
the lower and middle classes as sym-
Verdi's celebrated aria, "La donna e
mobile" (woman is fickle), captures
both the charismatic appeal and
deplorable decadence of the rakish
Duke. Gilda shines forth as the very
image of unselfish devotion while
Sparafucile's sister, Maddalena em-
bodies earthly sensuality. The deftly-
drawn musical portraits find their
culmination in the ensemble quartet in
which four distinct emotions are ex-
pressed simultaneously in this
mesmerizing tale of love and revenge.
The New York City Opera National
Company provides a national showcase
for some of America's foremost young
talent. The Company tours cities
featuring seasoned performers as well
as the best of the up and coming new
talent. Special production projects in-
cluded La Boheme, La Traviata and
Carmen. Tonight's performance of
Verdi's Rigoletto will likely be an un-
forgettable evening of that rare com-
bination of music and drama known as
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Doily Photo by KATE O'LEARY
Jazz pianist Mkoto Ozone spoke with WCBN disc jockey Marc Taras last
Friday afternoon. In his show at the Blind Pig that night, he let his fingers do
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