The Carolina Shout Incident and The Future of Jazz – A Reflection

Today is the one-year anniversary of my Carolina Shout post.


I learned a few things about the community in the weeks that followed that post.

First of all, when you’re communicating, no matter how clear you are, not everyone will get it.  Some people blatantly ignored my message; other people ignored Ethan’s message.  It was frustrating when readers assumed that I don’t care about early jazz.  I imagine that Ethan received similar feedback, but from the other extreme.  The lesson: trolls are inevitable.

In reality, neither Ethan nor I were delivering extreme messages.  But they touched a very sensitive nerve in the jazz community.  It’s a nerve we don’t like to talk about and it’s rarely addressed head-on.  When we do talk about it, there’s probably controversy.

What exactly is this nerve?  There’s definitely a ‘big picture’ issue underlying all of this.  It touches on issues of tradition, lineage, relevance and evolution all while the current generation mixes and mingles with future generations.  I’m not sure this kind of issue ever goes away.  But I hope we can at least learn to be more tolerant of other individuals in the community who are trying to achieve the same things.  We’re all passionate about this music.  Understandably then, we’re sensitive when discussing its future.

What does the future hold for jazz?  What does it hold for Carolina Shout?  Maybe we wouldn’t be so sensitive if we knew that the future of jazz was in good hands.

Here’s the answer: The future is in our youth.

So how confident are you in jazz education?  How are you contributing?  How are you contributing to the Big Picture?  If education is the key to the future of jazz and solving these issues, I’m nothing but optimistic!

Forget about Teachout, jazz is alive and well!


(Chris’ posts appear every other day at If you enjoyed this post, please share using the buttons below! Sign up for free email updates or RSS updates.  Thanks for reading!)

Leave a Reply