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Uncool To Jazz

September 19, 1987

Don Heckman's concluding criticism of the Los Angeles Festival's (so-called) Evening of Classic Jazz was essentially right on target ("Classic Moments Missing in Evening of Classic Jazz," Sept. 7). However, he did not hit on the most serious failure of the program.

It is painfully clear the Los Angeles Festival organizers, much like the Olympics Arts Festival people in 1984, are unaware of and unconcerned about jazz as a musical art.

As was the Olympics jazz effort, the jazz concert was a demonstration of tokenism. For an organization that can afford to send people around the world in the search for something special in the performing arts, it is inexcusable that a distinguished program of jazz could not be made a part of this festival.

We have now reached a point where a Robert Fitzpatrick knows he must stand on the stage and mouth the platitudes of jazz as an American art as the prelude to a concert that would (should) embarrass him in any other program on the schedule.

I would rather not see jazz on the program at all if this kind of token effort is the best we can get. That may not be a good political move, but it would be a lot more honest. If an opera or ballet of comparable quality was presented I imagine the cries of outrage would be deafening.

CHARLES M. WEISENBERG

Beverly Hills

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