A musical education

Buddy Siegal (aka Buddy Blue) should be a blogger — he’s scary smart, knows politics as well as any blogger you care to name, is as cantankerous as the come, and can write as well as Ken Layne (Buddy will probably complain that he writes better than Layne).

Buddy just has this odd notion that one should get paid for his writing.

Fortunately, the OC Weekly and the Union-Tribune do pay Buddy for his music journalism, and it’s among the best around.

I just finished reading Buddy’s piece on John Pizzarelli. Good stuff. And this passage is dead on target:

And while Pizzarelli is quick to acknowledge his influences and favored artists, he’s just as quick to point fingers at those whom he feels have represented jazz in a bad light. Perhaps because Papa Bucky has a good chunk of history under his belt—the list of his studio contributions is longer than an Orrin Hatch filibuster—Pizzarelli is keen to recycle jazz’s most noble customs, to be something of a goodwill ambassador for the music. What galls him more than anything are the pop singers who tread into jazz territory with a lot of hype and not much of a clue.

“I’ve been wanting to say this for a long time but haven’t yet, so you get the first crack at it. It’s like this new Rod Stewart album, for example,” he says, referring to Stewart’s It Had to Be You—The Great American Songbook. “The problem is that this is what’s being represented as the music I’ve been playing for 22 years—that my father has been playing for 50 years. Legitimate musicians go out and make great records of these songs, and then a guy like that comes along and does it in a real half-assed way, and since he’s who he is, he gets all this publicity, like, ‘Wow, this guy’s a genius.’ Meanwhile, the record’s horrible, and people think that’s what we do. It kills it for everybody else.”

After you read the whole column, visit BuddyBlue.com and buy some of the dude’s music. You’ll think, “My God, why isn’t this guy selling more records than N’SYNC.” While you’re on his site, subscribe to his newsletter (just send him an e-mail), and be sure to ask to get on his “Blue Journalism” list, where he reprints his best stuff. His regular list includes music trivia quizzes, which are damn hard quite often, but real educational.

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