To the editors:
If WNUA is serious about the "acoustic jazz" as Mr. Ruffin says they are ("What Is Jazz?," November 12), they wouldn't ghettoize it in a few off-hours radio programs. They would play it at the peak of their radio audience. Mr. Ruffin calls the "classic" jazz listeners that don't like WNUA "close minded." I am sure most jazz listeners have tuned into WNUA, hoping for a radio station that plays jazz, and disliked it because what they found instead was superficial elevator music. As an experiment, I tuned into WNUA on Saturday, November 13, at approx 10:15 PM and found your WNUA DJ approaching the music as if it were some kind of pill, to "smooth your weekend down." Was this a fluke? Tune in the next day, and your station identification soundbite says, "A smooth unique way to relax." Mr. Ruffin, this is contradictory to everything I have learned jazz to be from its creators (see the ABCD's and 3M's below), and I resent any implication that I am closed minded in saying so. Perhaps it is seeing WNUA for what it is. If it looks like elevator music, sounds like elevator music, quacks like elevator music . . . Mr. Ruffin makes some views on who is historically significant, but he should put up or shut up. For instance, notice his praise of Pat Metheny. Yet how often does WNUA plays tunes from Song X or Question and Answer? The average WNUA listener is scared of Song X, and that's a fact. There is less of a chance that Kenny G's people would have anything to do with John Coltrane than there would be of Steve Coleman's audience listening to Duke Ellington. Notice how many times Von Freeman records with Coleman. So who are the close minded ones? If WNUA wants to be taken seriously by Chicago's jazz community, it had better learn the ABCD's and the three M's of jazz: That is Armstrong, Bird, Coltrane, and Duke. Miles, Monk, and Mingus. It ain't just a good idea. It's the law.