Ever since I made a post about receiving an angry email about playing Steely Dan’s Aja on my jazz radio program (see Where is the Fine Line in Jazz?), I have heard more and more references to the “Jazz Police” being notified to enforce the “jazz laws”.
There have been several occasions where I woke up in the middle of the night, terrified that the Jazz Police had conducted a sting operation against me, with a team in full riot gear assembled outside my apartment door ready to kick it in and arrest me for my crimes against jazz humanity.
In addition to playing Aja, I have also been “reported” for several other crimes. I suggested that Roy Hargrove’s Earfood was unfairly left out of the Grammy selections from last year. I suggested albums on a “top 10” list that several people had never heard of. And most offensive, I suggested that Michael Brecker would play in my imaginary dream big band sax section instead of Wayne Shorter, while Doc Severinsen would conducted the band.
These are just a few of the crimes that were reported to the Jazz Police, causing me to wonder exactly when they would come to collect me and take me to the Jazz Police Station. That of course would be followed by a Jazz Trial in Jazz Court, ultimately resulting in a life sentence to Jazz Prison. Of course I might be able to get out early on good behavior if I can convince the Jazz Parole Board that I am truly sorry and that Kind of Blue is the way and the truth.
And then, I came across this entry on allmusic.com:
“An innovative big band for the ’90s from Seattle, The Jazz Police are fronted by James Rasmussen. This 21-piece ensemble features the charts of the leader, Dan Berry, Doug Rasmussen and Paul Roth, the vocals of Greta Matassa and the electric guitar of Doug Zangar. Formed in 1987 and releasing their first record in 1990, the band offers contemporary big-band music influenced by Stan Kenton and Gil Evans.”
They’re a band! What a relief! The jazz police aren’t some form of law enforcement at all. They are simply a talented big band that has produced some of the best modern big band music to come out of the Northwest.
Can you imagine all of the phone calls they have received over the years from concerned jazz citizens calling in to report jazz crimes? Imagine how frustrating it must be for the band to constantly be mistaken as those out there who constantly dictate what qualifies as good and bad jazz.
Since the Jazz Police big band is the only actual organized group under that name that I could find doing any good in the world, perhaps those impersonating jazz police officers should think before enforcing what they feel is jazz law. And perhaps those who are ready to go to the phone to report a jazz crime to the Jazz Police should think twice before calling and plugging up the band phone line…unless of course you intend to encourage them to record another wonderful album.
To learn more about the real Jazz Police, click here.