I’ve always understood music to be a very pure thing. In my mind, the only reason one would play music and create albums was to make art. It wasn’t until I’d been immersed in the music business for years that it really hit me; many people have their eyes on the cash prize. A slow path of artistic growth wasn’t on everyone’s mind, like it was for me. This can work, in varying degrees, but its effect is felt everywhere. I still believe in music and recording as art, but I also know it’s enmeshed with commerce as well. Making records costs money. Getting music in front of listeners costs money. Sometimes there’s a lot of money to be made. Other times there’s very little financial reward.
In this issue we talk with James Farber, who has helmed some of the best jazz recordings over the last quarter century. Jazz currently makes up less than 1.4% of U.S. music consumption, yet we all know it is an important genre, and possibly one of the best cultural exports this country has ever given the world.
We also speak with Jim Gaines, who tracked all those hit songs for Huey Lewis and The News back in the ‘80s. It was busy commerce for Huey and the guys back then, and now their music is embedded in our cultural milieu. I still find myself tapping my foot to it, and Jim did an amazing job recording those songs – they continue to sound fresh on the radio.
Let’s keep recording interesting music. We have to.