Archive for April, 2008


Monday, April 7th, 2008


This month, April, is Jazz Appreciation Month, I’m told. The Smithsonian Institute has a hand in this, I’m further told. So I started wondering about it. I thought, “Baseball is a huge industry in this country. Everybody’s making millions of dollars from it and the American people really love baseball. And the regular season starts in April. So why not make it “Baseball Appreciation Month?” I realized, of course, that nothing would ever make me care any more about baseball than I do now, which is not at all. And nothing, I mean nothing, will make the American people care more about jazz, what little they care about it in the first place.

So why a Jazz Appreciation Month? I’ve been trying to find a good answer to this question, but it doesn’t seem to be anywhere. One would think, in a child-like way, that the month of April was to be set aside strictly for the consideration and patronizing of all things jazz-music. “Come on, baby, it’s jazz month. We need to be good citizens and go to Churchill Grounds.” Jazz musicians would receive in the mail a button they can wear on their jackets, so all through the month of April we’d get discounts at the stores and little old ladies would help us cross the street. Restaurants could prepare special menus for jazz musicians. On the house, of course. Parents would point us out to their kids: “Look, honey. It’s a jazz musician.” For one month, we could be APPRECIATED.

Now I don’t have any opinions about the people who dreamed up Jazz Appreciation Month. I’m certain that they meant well. And the Smithsonian Institute does have a really great museum. But the people who “appreciate” jazz do it all year ’round, and the ones who don’t will never even know that it’s jazz month, not really. “Hey, it says here on the calendar that this is Jazz month.” “Aw, they’re a lousy team. How do they rate a whole a month to themselves?”

In jazz time, every month is “jazz month,” all year ’round. It’s a jazz universe. And we don’t need a special month, or any museums, to justify our love for jazz. So for the life of me I can’t see what exactly this month is for. But I hope the people who are behind it
are at least getting paid something for their efforts. Who knows, maybe they’ll go out to hear some jazz! And at least they made it a month when the weather’s getting nicer.