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Sorry Jazz Section

May 24, 1987

A big "thank you" to Tower Records President Russ Solomon for pointing out that "Stores that carry jazz do well with it, but the truth is that most stores don't carry it" ("New Jazz Wave: Tsunami or All Foam?," by Zan Stewart, May 17).

I used to regularly walk past another record chain's Marina del Rey outlet, and whenever I'd stop in (to frustrate myself?) I would always be appalled at the so-called jazz section's abundance of fusion, new wave and other pop adolescent gimmicks, bunched with a shamefully spare and corny selection of real bebop/mainstream-rooted stuff. It was rather like browsing through the poetry section of a book store and finding mostly Rod McKuen.

When I would complain to the "manager" (who was, it must be admitted, nearly a grownup) about the dearth of jazz in his store, he would answer, "Oh, like, yeah; ya see, that stuff doesn't sell so we don't order it anymore."

When I would try to gently point out the advanced management concept that a crappy selection seldom does sell well, and that perhaps if he stocked better jazz records it would translate to better sales, he would assure me that he knew "all about the music business."

Solomon's point is well-taken, if seemingly obvious: a good product will sell, and the sorry jazz selection found in most record stores is almost enough to make me opinionated.

TOM BURNS

Acton

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