If I was watching a YouTube channel that had a mission to “make Jazz cool again”, what would that channel look like?
For starters it would have videos of the musicians who are making the music which is deemed “cool” today, doing their thing, practicing their Art live on stage in front of an enthusiastic audience. It would show interviews with people on the cutting edge of where jazz is at today, hearing why they are doing what they do, where they see the future of jazz and what makes jazz so exciting to them. It would give me info on new music I should be listening to, complimented by insta photos from gigs and snippets of inside information. It would ultimately be a channel which acted as a conduit to introduce me to all the things I wanted to know about Jazz today.
Making jazz cool is not about the people on the outside looking in, it’s about finding ways to understand the stories of the people already on the inside.
My YouTube channel has this mission and I would absolutely love it to deliver all of these things and more to a grateful and ever expanding audience. The issue I have is, my channel looks nothing like this today and hence this begs the question –
…are these all things that I am prepared/have time to create for my channel?
Short answer is No!
I want to create. I want to make music. I want to promote jazz as something cool and relevant and I want to grow a community around these ideals. I want to play my trumpet and make my own improvised music. I call it jazz for the purposes of the channel but I really don’t know what you call it. I don’t really care, to me it is all just music which I call jazz, primarily because it is improvised (improvisation is a sub-set of Jazz). But I want to do these things with minimal overhead on my time. I have a day job as well as being a husband and father of 2, so an abundance of free time is not something I have the luxury of.
I need to find a minimalist way to grow my channel and practice my Art, while still maintaining the mission I have set out for myself.
Content wise, I can comfortably record 1 free improv jam a week and put it out on YouTube. It’s not likely to blow up and get millions of subs, but then that isn’t the reason why I play my trumpet anyway. So that isn’t the reason why I would publish a video of me playing my trumpet. I play my trumpet and make my own improvised music for the sake of doing so. And because I enjoy doing it. The same should be true of my YouTube channel therefore.
By following this path I will still be promoting jazz, still doing my part to make jazz cool again and hence living up to the mission of my channel. This seems like enough to me. This is my new direction. For now, at least.
You can read part 2 of this blog here