Bruno Johnson, the guy who created and operates Okkadisk Records in Milwaukee, talked to me in the summer of 2002 about a proposition. He said that he was trying to add a bit of energy to the Okkadisk web site by posting essays written by jazz critics. He said that he didn’t want any typical, bland articles about jazz. He was hoping for essays that would be provocative and might shake things up a bit.
The offer was quite a challenge. What made it even more of a challenge is that my essay would be the second one posted. Already posted at that time was an essay by Kevin Whitehead. In other words, even before I typed my first word I was in a hole.
I told Bruno that the only subject I could think of is “why recording jazz is a bad idea.” He said, “Great!” Here’s a guy who’s so passionate about recording jazz that he runs a company that records jazz and sells those recordings. And he says, “Great!” I don’t think the word “classy” does him justice.
So Kevin’s essay and mine were posted above the fold at the Okkadisk web site. Then nothing. No more essays. Apparently Bruno could not find provocative enough material to post. I’m not sure. But when he refurbished the site a few months later, the essays were gone.
I was (and am) happy with the essay. So I am posting it here. Except for layout, the essay is reproduced as it first appeared in the fall of 2002. A postscript makes reference to relevant events that have taken place since the posting.
Click on Recording Jazz: A Questionable Practice? to read the essay.