DO AMERICANS HAVE THE RIGHT TO MONOPOLIZE JAZZ AND ENTERTAINMENT?
(Published: May 20, 2007)
DO AMERICANS HAVE THE RIGHT TO MONOPOLIZE JAZZ AND ENTERTAINMENT'
As a student, teacher and historian in Europe, and for over 20 years now, I have been following the development of Jazz, its ramifications and impact on world music, particularly the European scene. It appears that Jazz has dominated the global entertainment domain. Even, South America now has its Latin Jazz. And most recently, Cuba absorbed Afro-Cuban Jazz. All this is fine as long as Jazz remains the expression of the free spirited artist regardless of ethnicity, gender and as long as Jazz resists the geographical and socio-political domination. But unfortunately, this is not the case. The proof came in the form of the publication of a series of scholarly researched tomes on Jazz and entertainment, baptized under the title of WORLD WHO’S WHO IN JAZZ CABARET MUSIC AND ENTERTAINMENT.
Although, this large and solid published work shed light on the historical background of Jazz artists and origin of showbiz throughout the ages, it remains –regretfully- heavily pro-American. Jazz was originated in the United States. That is a fact. But today, Jazz has become a universal musical expression embraced by Jazz singers and musicians who belong to several nations, not only the United States of America. Australia has produced serious female Jazz singers. In 2005, the United Kingdom released more than 500 new Jazz albums. In 2006, Germany, Sweden and Poland distributed over 500,000 Jazz titles. So my question is: Do Americans have the right to monopolize Jazz and entertainment' The WORLD WHO’S WHO IN JAZZ, CABARET, MUSIC AND ENTERTAINMENT, published by the FEDERATION OF AMERICAN MUSICIANS, SINGERS AND PERFORMING ARTISTS ascertains this troubling reality.
WHY ONLY AMERICANS ARE WORTHY OF A BOOK COVER'
This troubling reality is shockingly apparent on the covers of all the volumes of the WORLD WHO’S WHO IN JAZZ, CABARET, MUSIC AND ENTERTAINMENT. I think they are five published volumes now. Each volume has on its cover (EXCLUSIVELY) singers, songwriters and musicians from the United States. I am wondering why the author and/or the publisher did not include European Jazz singers, songwriters and musicians on the cover of any volume' Do they really think that only Americans can sing and play Jazz' And if so, they should not call their books WORLD WHO’S WHO. American Who’s Who would be more appropriate. I am not criticizing the quality of the books. In fact, I bought 3 volumes so far, and I will continue to do so for academic reasons. I could use the Who’s Who in my classroom. The books are well researched and extremely useful. But I am chagrined by the American monopolizing attitude. It seems that everything American is labeled World, and this extends to the Baseball World Series, even though, only American teams compete in this event. Same things applies to the World Football Superbowl Championship in America. They call it world championship, yet only American football teams from the United States take part in this event.
WHY IS IT SO DIFFICULT TO BE INCLUDED IN THE WORLD WHOS WHO'
The WORLD WHO’S WHO IN JAZZ, CABARET, MUSIC AND ENTERTAINMENT is a global and serious publication on world entertainment and Jazz. However, why FAMSPA does not open the doors to non American artists' Why FAMSPA does not include European Jazz performers' I do admit the author did write extensively about international entertainers. But by comparing the number of written-up foreign entertainers with the number of gloriously written-up American counterparts in the books, the attention given to European artists is negligible. I am also concerned about rumours spread in the entertainment circles leading me to believe that only Ivy League Jazz singers and musicians are eligible for inclusion, leaving out hard working artists and serious entertainers because they lack name recognition and public visibility. Once again, my intention is not to criticize the formidable quality of the Who’s Who. On the contrary, I do convey my admiration for this upstanding accomplishment. But I am honestly concerned and troubled because an influential publication like this World Who’s Who could in a biased manner, influence the public opinion and reinforce the American Jazz monopoly attitude. Not to forget, the tendency of the author and the publishers to make it so difficult for a great number of hard working artists to be included in the World Who’s Who of Jazz, Cabaret, Music, etc., etc, etc.
I welcome you comments and solicit your support. Evelyne Gambier, Belgium, firstname.lastname@example.org
More Information: http://www.federationofamericanmusicianssingersandperformingartists.org
Submitted By: Evelyne Gambier