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Jazz for the Masses


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To the editors:

I simply cannot let Mark Ruffin's 11/12/93 letter pass without comment. During the course of defending WNUA's "jazz" programming, the producer/announcer declares himself the premier jazz DJ and dares to compare himself to Neil Tesser and Dick Buckley of WBEZ.

Ruffin states that he is more in touch with what the masses are buying and listening to. Probably true, but has it occurred to him that what the masses are buying and listening to is not jazz but rather a thin imitation? Based on what is selling, Ruffin suggests that he and WNUA are squarely in the mainstream and that Tesser, Buckley and WBEZ are the fringe element. Such a suggestion is ludicrous on its face. I believe Neil Tesser to be the most eclectic and intelligent jazz DJ the city of Chicago has known.

The low point of Ruffin's letter is his reference to the young kid who falls in love with David Sanborn. Having heard Sanborn on WNUA, the mythical youngster then discovers Sanborn's fondness for Hank Crawford and Charlie Parker. Mark, why not simply program Hank Crawford and Charlie Parker in the first place? Skip the middleman and go directly to the source. Play Clifford Brown and Lee Morgan and save everyone a lot of time.

Is it my logic or Ruffin's that is flawed?

William H. Benjamin


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