Oct. 10--THERE WAS A TIME -- not that long ago, really, in terms of world history -- when discovering music could be a much more personal experience.
A song, say "I Want to Hold Your Hand" by the Beatles, would burst out of the car radio, prompting grins of wonder and joy.
Humming it was the only way to "hear" the tune again until another disc jockey played it. Whenever.
Now, an instantly appealing song can be listened to endlessly in cyberspace. Within nano-seconds.
Which is a good thing: Musicians, particularly the independent kind, get easier access to an audience.
What's not so good: The loss of curiosity, hope and expectation required to patiently wait to "catch" the song again, and make a personal "discovery."
Still, during repeated conversations with musicians, the Internet's advancements have proven beneficial -- enabling them to expose their music to a wider audience at lower cost without allowing record-industry executives to keep siphoning off most of the profits.
Through Internet sites such as Kickstarter, musicians now can raise production costs from people who are loyal to their music and vision.
Of course, there's always sobering reality.
"In the digital age ... a CD is just a business card," said Madeline Holly-Sales, the singer in Beleza, a Virginia-based world music duo that performed Sept. 27 in Lodi. "Now, there's less motivation."
She and husband Humberto Sales raised $8,000 to record and release their latest CD, meaning they keep all the profits. Yet, "I'd absolutely say 'no,' " about repeating it. "I don't necessarily wanna ask for help again."
Andy Nagle discovered an odd way in which the Internet made an impact while he was developing "In My Life: A Musical Theatre Tribute to the Beatles" -- a stage show that included "I Want to Hold Your Hand" (1964) and played Sept. 28 in Stockton.
When he created the show in 2007, Beatles songs weren't yet available on iTunes. So, the 220 musicians who initially auditioned imitated existing tribute groups.
"Before, a lot of them could hit the notes," Nagle said. "They were a little off on the harmonies and melodies."
They learned to sound more convincing by downloading the real thing.
Audrey Andrist, a former Stockton resident who plays piano in Strata, a Maryland-based chamber-music trio, has experienced the same sense of musical populism.
"Most definitely," said Andrist, whose group performed here Oct. 6. "They don't necessarily have to go and buy the recording to see if they like it. You can look it up on YouTube. It's a great resource. Even your iPod. Put it on shuffle and you can randomly listen to lots of different styles."
Patrick Lamb, a very independent jazz saxophone player from Portland, Ore., no longer hangs posters on poles.
The Internet "allows me to reach fans directly," said Lamb, who performed in Stockton on Sept. 22. "It's great. I remember postering on poles with a staple gun to get people to gigs. Since they put Facebook together and the tweets, it's been wonderful.
"The Internet is very good for indie artists. Also, for CD sales. I only make money selling CDs at concerts. I probably give away as many as I sell."
Computerized clicks and microchips have "made it a smaller world" for David Friesen, a Portland, Ore., jazz musician who developed a mini-acoustic bass.
"(The Internet) plays my music to people all over the world," said Friesen, who performed Oct. 2 at San Joaquin Delta College. "They hear my music in Israel, Cuba, China and Japan. I get 10 new fans every day. It's very good in an overall sense."
In the very cross-hatched world of hard rock and heavy metal, it's crucial.
Though Lodi's A Skylit Drive was "off the road" for eight months, the five-man band didn't disappear.
Singer Michael Jagmin said the group's YouTube "channel" stayed active, they provided "deluxe" material on iTunes' "hot topic" and uploaded expanded versions of their new album ("Rise").
Still, no technology can compare to being suddenly transported into a new world on a crackly car radio.
Politics, jazz don't mix
Politics and music can be a very unpleasant combination.
The political partisanship that's shut down the U.S. federal government forced the Brubeck Institute Jazz Quintet to alter its musical logistics Tuesday in Washington, D.C.
The University of the Pacific students -- performing with Igor Butman and the U.S.-Russia Rising Stars Jazz band -- had to play at the National Building Museum because the Library of Congress is closed.
The 2013-14 Quintet includes bassist Sarah Kuo (Pasadena); drummer Ja lon D'Mere Archie (Houston, Texas); trumpeter Max Boiko (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.); guitarist Sean Britt (Hingham, Mass.); and vibraphone player Joel M. Ross (Chicago). Butman is a Russian jazz saxophone player who's also a band leader, club owner and TV host.
"This is the sort of jazz diplomacy Dave Brubeck believed in so much," said Simon Rowe, the Brubeck Institute's executive director. "Playing with the Russian musicians (is) something they'll never forget."
Contact columnist Tony Sauro at (209) 546-8267 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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