JT 50

This month: September 1997

erhaps no single issue of got more attention from the jazz community than the September 1997 edition, which featured a 14-page section called “Who’s Overrated? Who’s Underrated?” Back then the magazine got letters and, boy, we got letters for this one. Most took exception contributors who were asked to pick five artists that they felt were underrated and five that they thought were overrated by the jazz press. The results and the subsequent reaction were fascinating, for three main reasons: 1) Readers really got a sense of the writers’ true loves and hates. 2) There was no consensus whatsoever. 3) No one paid much attention to the underrated choices. It was all about the temerity of a publication that supposedly supported jazz allowing geeky non-musician know-it-all snobs to trash the work of creative and perhaps struggling artists. Overlooked was that many of the writers musicians, albeit not professional ones. Further, professional musicians are often much harsher critics of their peers, but prefer to make that known only in private company, with some notable exceptions.

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