JUNOs, censorship and more

Submitted by Josh Grossman on Thu Feb 13 4:57pm

I'm a bit late with these remarks (more on that in a moment), but I'd like to take a minute to congratulate all of this year's JUNO nominees, and especially those in the three jazz categories (with honourable mention to my Ottawa Jazz Festival counterpart Petr Cancura for his nomination in the Instrumental Album of the Year category). To me the three jazz lists look like an excellent representation of the outstanding music being made across the country. I'm particularly pleased to see a balance between seasoned veterans and more emerging artists, and I'm always glad to see a few names I don't recognize - I take it as a reminder to keep listening, to keep seeking out new music. The judges have a tough task ahead of them! See the full list here.

I mention above being a bit late with the JUNO congratulations. Truth be told, I had a fairly long blog post prepared last week...but it didn't make it past the censors.

Okay - before anyone gets too up in arms, the censors in question are people whose opinions I trust and respect, and I approached them for their feedback on the post. I don't want anyone to think there is a "blog police" of some sort running rampant here at festival headquarters. In a nutshell, I was interested in unpacking one of the controversies which emerged from this year's Grammy Awards. (See this and this if you want to know what I mean.) Ultimately, we all decided that while the topic was certainly of interest and deserves both attention and further discussion, perhaps this blog is not the right outlet for that discussion.

The challenge with a purely written forum is that almost all forms of nuance disappear. It is certainly possible to write a well-crafted opinion piece or exploratory piece (I know because I've read them…I don't claim to write them), but it is sometimes vital to see body language and facial expressions - to hear the tone of the speaker's voice - in order to truly understand the meaning behind the message. Plus, the written word is a bit one-sided. Readers can certainly respond, but there can be no immediate request for clarification; messages can easily get lost in translation.

I've often been tempted to engage people for having written what I've read as particularly snide - or off-putting - remarks on one online forum or another…but ultimately, without knowing the author of the remarks well, or without hearing the tone intended in the remarks, I could well be misinterpreting the message. My sense of humour, for example, can be a bit on the sarcastic side. And so, every once in a while, when I say something like, "Oh, I don't really like jazz," I'm trusting the people within earshot to understand that I'm just kidding. (Because newsflash: I do actually like jazz.)

I'm sure we can all think of an instance where we wrote something, pressed "publish" or "send", then realized, all too late, that it really should not have been published or sent. Just for fun, here's a great example. I'm not going to say where it comes from; I'll just say that if you know my family, you might recognize its author…

That one slipped by the censors.

There are many topics which require a great deal of conversation and exploration. They might not make it to the walls of this forum, but I'm always up for a glass of wine and a chat...