I have great sympathy for Lynell George's jazz in L.A. cover story, "Off the Radar but Still Flying" (June 9). I have walked that walk, talked that talk, rather naively, for the better part of my life. I too have stood behind the counter at the Jazz Bakery with Ruth Price and sweated out an opening-night headliner selling less than a dozen tickets in a house that seats 200. I've been backstage at any number of clubs and venues and watched the owners struggle to meet the bills. Is jazz dead in L.A.? Yes, I think so, and has been for a long time. For decades now, we've all been ghostly pallbearers carrying the empty coffin of jazz through the streets of Southern California.
What we call jazz today is but an echo of a time and place long since gone. America was the context for jazz; America has changed.
Lee M. Cohen
With great respect, Lynell George's recent story on L.A.'s jazz scene was a sad disappointment to me. With the exception of Catalina's and the Jazz Bakery, most of the venues that George listed hardly contribute to the community of jazz players who have a reputation for seeking new territory.
The Baked Potato, La Ve Lee, Cafe Cordial, Spaghettini and Corky's Jazz Club have all brought jazz music to a place that is respected worldwide. So many musicians who play on the CDs of the top jazz recordings find their music right here in these clubs. When you romanticize jazz, don't forget where fresh jazz lives.