The Gazette always covers the Jazz Festival pretty hard. This year, as they have for the past few, they send a bunch of people (some professional music critics, others who just like jazz) to various shows and have them blog their impressions on the Words and Music blog. It’s averaging between eight and 13 posts a day, which is a lot for any blog.
This week Jeff Heinrich, who just recently left the city department and moved into features (a.k.a. arts and life) wrote a not-so-nice review of Maria Schneider. The post has been “burning up the web” (and Twitter), leading to a staggering 56 103 comments so far, every single one of them insulting.
I’m left wondering: is it really that bad? Is Heinrich’s descriptions of “irritatingly stiff body-language” or “middle-aged women in the audience” really sexist and ill-informed? Or are these commenters (most of whom, to their credit, use what appear to be their full names) just a bunch of people who disagree with a bad review (and never saw the long feature piece previewing the show, because they’re Maria Schneider fans who were pointed to the post, not Gazette readers who came across it on their own)?
And do you need a degree in musicology to review a jazz show?
UPDATE: As more and more bloggers are linking to the post, and more hate-filled comments come in accusing Heinrich of not being nice (including one apparently from Maria Schneider herself), the author responds in a comment, in which he explains that he’s not a music critic and it wasn’t a review: