By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
I also understand where Marsalis is coming from on the age question. In jazz you have a lot of well-established older musicians. In an economy that only rewards artistic endeavors that make big money for the recording industry, very few younger musicians are getting a chance and quite a few are losing their recording contracts because of redlining practices, which require jazz artists to sell a certain number of CDs. If jazz is going to prosper artistically, room must be made for the younger generation. If not, the form could be largely lost when older musicians die. (Also, jazz may not be able to survive based on its popularity, so it's necessary to ensure that musicians get work.)
That said, I would like to add that I think nonvisual auditions, with criteria that speak to one's ability to articulate swing and the tradition of the music, would alleviate much of the criticism of Marsalis and Jazz at Lincoln Center. I also believe that jazz in general always has been a chauvinistic culture.
Frank T. Williams IV
Re Lara Pellegrinelli's article "Dig Boy Dig": Wynton Marsalis and Jazz at Lincoln Center executive producer Rob Gibson defend JLC's anti-woman hiring practices with the same excuses whites have always made for discriminating against minorities. It's astounding that these intelligent men fail to recognize the folly, lack of originality, and hollowness of their justifications. Yet how beautiful it would have been if, instead of digging in their heels, they had opened up their minds and embraced the opportunity to approach the problem from a perspective not previously considered. After all, that's what jazz musicians do.
Off The Beaten Path
Wista Jeanne Johnson ["Abuses of Power," November 14] reports that misogyny is a strong component of men's violence against women and must be targeted in prevention programs. I would like to point out that intimate-partner violence is not perpetrated solely by men against women. Since the rates of partner violence are approximately equal in heterosexual and homosexual couples (about 25 to 33 percent, as reported in the New York City Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project report mentioned in Johnson's article), it is important not to limit the causes of domestic violence to misogyny. Focusing on misogyny as the sole social cause ignores other factors that lead people to abuse their partners, such as low self-esteem and having a history of abuse in their families.
The emphasis on misogyny may also perpetuate the silence surrounding intimate-partner violence among gays and lesbians. Gay men and lesbians, as well as transgender people, face incredible hurdles getting support from many domestic-violence shelters and agencies, as well as from friends and families who do not believe domestic violence is a problem for them. A lot of work needs to be done to prevent intimate-partner violence and to support those in abusive situations. We can start by stopping the perpetuation of the myth that misogyny is the sole cause of domestic violence.
I read with pleasure Gary Giddins's piece on Sonny Rollins [Weather Bird, November 21]. Giddins mentions "A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square." He may be interested to know that Sonny always includes at least a nodding reference to this tune when he plays London. Just as there is always a bit of "La Vie en Rose" when he plays in Paris. A nice touch and his way of making people feel at home!
As the director of the Czech Center of New York, I enjoyed Elliott Stein's article on the series of Czech films at the Brooklyn Academy of Music ["Visionary Frescoes of Youth Gone Wild," November 21]. However, I was disappointed by the lack of mention of our organization as the main partner in this endeavor.
I found Donna Ladd's article about the pro-Bush rally in West Palm Beach a bit off ["Buchanan Country," November 28]. As someone who was there, I can tell you that the group was having a rather good time, not giving off the angry attitude that Ladd described. And as Ladd herself pointed out, there was only one Confederate flag flying. Yes, there was a small neo-Nazi group, but they were very isolated and did not engage with the rally. They stood on their side of the street far away from everybody. Don't taint us like we were supporting them!
Grim And Bear It
I say good for J.J. Johnson and the Keepandbeararms.com Web site ["Puke and Shoot," Donna Ladd, November 21]. That The Village Voice allows these people to reflect their ideology, albeit colored sans context and with a liberal taint, tells me there is still hope for a nation that may remain truly diverse. They are practicing their rights to speak freely, and to keep and bear arms, and no matter how people with differing opinions may not like it, they are bound to allow them to say such things, or else play the tyrant. Thank you for printing this article. I look forward to reading more about these folks in future issues.