House of Representatives Affirms Miles Davis’ “Kind Of Blue” as National Treasure. Does This Ring Hollow To Anyone Else?

by Jason on December 16, 2009 · 11 comments

in Thoughts

Kind of Blue

Kind of Blue

Yesterday, by a vote of 409-0, the U.S. House of Representatives passed HR 894, a bill “Honoring the 50th anniversary of the recording of the album “Kind of Blue” and reaffirming jazz as a national treasure.”

The bill goes on to affirm that the House:

(1) honors the 50th anniversary of `Kind of Blue’ and recognizes the unique contribution the album has made to American jazz;
(2) directs the Clerk of the House of Representatives to transmit enrolled copies of this resolution to Columbia Records;
(3) encourages the United States Government to take all appropriate steps to preserve and advance the art form of jazz music;
(4) recommits itself to ensuring that musical artists such as Miles Davis and his Sextet receive fair protection under the copyright laws of the United States for their contributions to culture in the United States; and
(5) reaffirms the status of jazz as a national treasure.

Great, right?

On the surface, I’m all for this. but it seems that that’s all this is – surface. This comes at a time when Congress is slashing and burning funding for the arts and John McCain is publicly ridiculing jazz on the floor of Senate (go to the 119th minute).

To his credit, Barack Obama has given jazz some love recently. He and Michelle have hosted jazz nights at the White House featuring Wynton Marsalis, Paquito D’Rivera and Esperanza Spaulding. And at a recent dinner honoring Dave Brubeck at the Kennedy Center he said “You can’t understand America without understanding jazz.” See the whole speech here.

But if the government really wants to help the arts, how about giving money to local arts organizations? How about spreading the money more evenly over more organizations? How about sponsoring tours here in the US, instead of only sending our “Jazz Ambassadors” overseas? How about a national jazz festival on the mall in Washington DC? Those are just a few ideas off the top of my head. I’m sure we can all come up with many more ways the government could help out, if they truly want to.

Does this bill strike anyone else as hollow platitudes or am I just being cranky this morning?

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“Jazz Lovers, Rejoice.” « Twenty Dollars
December 18, 2009 at 3:58 am

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