Monday, June 15, 2020

Still singing the pandemic blues? Aren't we all?

Three months into the pandemic quarantines caused by COVID-19, we have seen our lives changed in so many ways, at least temporarily. And none of us know with any certainty what the "new normal" will be.
What's the future for the intimacy of jazz clubs, or large-scale concerts in performance halls, or outdoor jazz festivals that draw thousands of warm bodies soaking up the sun, the vibes, the music? 

Even event planners and producers lack answers or a quick fix, though they're doing a lot of brainstorming and contingency planning.

The current state of affairs has enhanced the technology skill set of many musicians - and fans. Four months ago, a lot of us rarely heard the word "livestreaming." Now it's top-of-mind, as musicians and their fans try to keep some semblance of artful normality in their lives, despite the enormous economic pain many are facing.

While most of 2020's jazz festivals won't occur, a few hope to press ahead. Some clubs and festivals are livestreaming to reach their musical faithful. There will be no 2020 editions of major festivals at Newport, New Orleans, Monterey or Montreal, among others. The 2021 edition of The Jazz Cruise won't happen, but organizers say its scheduled musicians have all committed to a January 2022 sailing.

So we'll see what happens when we emerge from this very long year. Things won't get back to close-to-normal until a COVID-19 vaccine is developed and mass inoculations take place. That's my feeling anyhow.

Let's be thankful for the musicians who have battled COVID-19 and survived it. Those I know about include brothers Dan (drums) and Darius Brubeck (piano), pianist Nachito Herrera, alto saxophonist Bobby Porcelli and trombonist Ron Wilkins. Doubtless there are - or will be - more.

Let's also remember the fallen. As of today, my count of jazz-related COVID-19 deaths is up to 38. And I'm quite sure there have been more.

My chronological listing of those passings is posted in two chapters. You can find them here: Chapter 1, Chapter 2.

Thank your lucky stars that you're still healthy. Let's hope that continues.

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