Just been watching the superb programme made by art critic Robert Hughes, called The Mona Lisa Curse, about how the art market has led to a world where visual art is valued less by what it says and more by what it is worth. Hughes has profound things to say about it in his usual heavyweight fashion.
I realise that, as an art form, jazz has been blessed in remaining innocent and free of this kind of market distortion. The jazz world is not beset by collectors with lots of money and little taste or understanding who don’t hear the music but just the cash registers.
It means jazz artists can still be assessed and valued for their musical statements, their vision, not by the size of their recording deal advance (usually pitifully small or non-existent). Of course it would be good if they had more acclaim, understanding and living wage rewards, but at least it’s not Mamon who is calling the shots.