And although the panel was composed of highly-visible jazz figures such as jazz conductor Gunther Schuller, critic and author Francis Davis, pianist Trudy Pitts, only 20 people trekked to Bodek Lounge last night for the event. The Penn Jazz Festival started planning for this week's events last February, when the student executive committee decided on the general topic of the evening's discussion panel. Composer Schuller who led most of the discussions said that too often, artists stray from creating innovative music and instead write music for the general public. "Commercialism in jazz, or for that matter, in any music endeavor, is the story of temptations," Schuller added. "Commercialism is a great temptation to succumb to certain materialistic pressures." Schuller praised jazz saxophonist Branford Marsalis for resisting the urge to "commercialize." Marsalis will perform tonight at Irvine Auditorium at 8 p.m. "I revere and admire and cherish him because he fights the whole establishment," he added. Drexel University Music Professor George Starks said that jazz music has deviated from its black origins and that machines now take the place of artists. He emphasized a need to re-develop the jazz industry and find its roots. "There ain't no humanity in a drum machine," Starks said. Sherry Riesner, a vice-chair of the Festival, was disappointed with the small turnout, but was "pleased with the results and glad that dialogue was sparked." The jazz festival continues today with a speech by Marsalis at 4 p.m. in Bodek Lounge. That will be followed by the concert this evening at Irvine Auditorium. Tickets are $16 for students.Comments powered by Disqus
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