THE JAZZ HANG with Katy Bourne

It’s January again. It’s the time of year when we take down the Christmas decorations, go on diets and give some thought to our hopes and goals for the year ahead. As a jazz fan and working vocalist, I’m wishing hard and thinking big. What I want for 2008 is nothing short of a complete jazz renaissance in Seattle.

On any given night in any Seattle neighborhood, I want live jazz to be coming out of the windows of every club and restaurant. I want to be able to hear it as I walk down the sidewalk. I want to see droves of jazz fans coming out to hear live music and to support their favorite bands and musicians. If I am playing at one club, I want to be able to walk down the street to the next club or restaurant on my break and listen to other groups playing. I want Seattle jazz fans to be constantly overwhelmed by too many great choices.

I want the scene to be all encompassing and inclusive. I want there to be room and support for all kinds of jazz from original modern and hard bop to Dixieland jazz and vocal standards. For the musicians, I want things to be easier. I want plenty of work for everyone, with fair and livable wages. I want us to hold up and encourage each other in any way we can. I want us to remember that we’re all on the same page.

For the club and restaurant owners who treat musicians well and value live music, I want their businesses to boom. I want them to have long lines out their doors, deep with patrons willing to spend money in their establishments. For the less than enlightened club owner, I want them to gain heart and vision. I want them to see that live music adds not only to the ambiance of their business but that it also gives life and energy to the very fiber of our culture. I want them to understand that live music is more than an expenditure on a ledger sheet and to act accordingly.

I want for local jazz festivals to be even more successful in ’08. I want to see them draw bigger and bigger crowds and to enjoy broader and deeper fiscal support. I would like heavy hitting corporations and small businesses to throw their money behind local music festivals. I want the powers that be to understand how jazz builds community. I want to see the birth of more jazz festivals across the city. I want festivals that give both local favorites and visiting artists a chance to play. I want every single festival to be a wild jazz party.

I want for music education to be available to each and every child in Seattle. I want our outstanding school jazz programs to continue to get the support they need to do the important work that they do: Teaching kids about jazz and providing them with hands-on playing experience. I want for every child who is interested, to have the chance to learn to play the instrument of his or her choice. Call me crazy, but I want every student to be just as familiar with Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Billie Holiday as they are with Nintendo, Britney Spears and 50 Cent.

I want to hear jazz in elevators, at the dentist’s office and anytime I’m “on hold”. I want the knuckleheads at Nordstrom’s to get a clue. I want every piano at every Nordstrom’s throughout the region to have a jazz pianist sitting at it. I want to hear live jazz when I shop for shoes or lingerie.

Finally, I want for all the people who work so hard on behalf of the Seattle jazz scene to be successful in 2008. I want for their dreams to be realized and for their efforts to pay off. I want for all of us to dive in and help. There are so many ways to lend some muscle to the cause: volunteering at a jazz walk, sending emails to neighborhood restaurants that have live jazz to thank them for doing so, buying CD’s from local artists and most of all, going out to see the shows. I want jazz to be everywhere. I want us all to take that giant leap together and to make it happen.

This is what I want for 2008. Nothing less will do.

Editor note: What do you want for 2008? Let’s get a discussion going by posting your ideas and comments in the Comments section.

Jazz Hang, Seattle Jazz