This NewMusicBox article by Joel Harrison addresses the discussion of whether or not Chamber Music America should fund jazz. I like his take on it.
Does jazz fit into CMA’s mandate? Does the jazz world need CMA? Must we define chamber music? Would that tell CMA what to fund and not to fund? Do we then have to define jazz?
Allow me to grab my megaphone and shout this as loudly as I can. WE SHOULD NOT EVEN BE HAVING THIS DISCUSSION. The partisans of style over substance are fighting a lonely, pointless battle when they attempt to value one kind of music over another.
Another favorite line…
Rigid stylistic fault lines are the refuge of scoundrels. Defining chamber music, jazz, or any other style of music is a dreary, pointless undertaking. It’s the job of undertakers, not life-givers.
Tomorrow night I am playing a concert with the New Orleans New Music Ensemble (no-nme). The groups is essentially a chamber orchestra. The focus is really on the compositions, all of which were written this year or last, but one piece is totally guided improvisation. Does that make it a jazz show? Does it matter?
As I have said before, music, like the human race, is better off when it isn’t segregated.