City Turning Deaf Ear to Experimental Jazz?

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New York is still gigantic and still the heart of the industrialized world. But it’s getting harder and harder to call it the cultural capitol and keep a straight face (unless you’re a [broker] or a [travel promoter](

The recent [closing of Tonic], probably the nerve center for experimental music, was the straw that broke [Patricia Nicholson Parker's]( back. The wife of jazz bassist [William Parker](, Nicholson Parker, wants the city to acknowledge the plight of experimental and new musicians and address it by subsidizing venues like Tonic or capping the amount landlords can charge them, by acknowledging that new music and experimental are a vital part of New York’s culture, and by donating a venue on the Lower East Side that experimental musicians can gather around. If this sounds familiar, that’s because she wants avant-garde music to get the same government support and respect she says it gets in other parts of the world, especially [in Europe](

But not everyone who cares about New York jazz and experimental music thinks this is the best approach. And least one of them thinks that real estate is not the biggest problem, but that rather, jazz is [dying here because] people attend shows alone, missing the chance to expose their friends to it.

Tonight, she and her group, [Arts for Art], and others in the brand new [Alliance for Creative Music Action]( will make their case and answer questions about the concerns of these musicians at a [town hall]( meeting on the Lower East Side. Though no elected officials will be present, New York City Councilperson Alan J. Gerson (D-Manhattan) [expressed concern]('2007-04-15'%7D&PhotoDateTo=%7Bd%20'2007-04-22'%7D&Context=Photos%20From%20This%20Week) about club closures, when Tonic closed in April 2007. Parker expects 200 people to attend.

Photo courtesy of [Laertes on Flickr]

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