|WHAT MAKE A JAZZ LEGEND
by Andrew Katz, City Paper (April 7, 2000)
In the past, jazz stars made their names by playing in famous groups as studio sidemen and then on the stage. Jazz greats like Johnny Hodges and Ben Webster emerged from U Street clubs to the spotlight of fame only years after playing in the shadow of Duke Ellington . Aspiring DC jazz artists still find their way through obscure studio and club gigs, but local jazz pianist Louis Scherr envisions a different route. Last September, Scherr launched DCjazz.com, a Web site devoted to promoting local jazz artists and linking the Washington metropolitan jazz community
At a gig last July, Scherr talked about the "blues of playing jazz in the area" with bassist Tom Baldwin. The two players devised a "wish list" for area musicians. High up on that list was the idea of a more unified network of local jazz. And so they developed DCjazz.com.
DCjazz.com offers local musicians an Internet "stage" where Webheads can sample riffs by artists and evaluate performers in categories such as arrangement and improvisational technique. And until May 31, the site is holding its DCjazz Recording Competition, offering up to four new contestants each week.
DCjazz also features the "CyberUnion", an on-line music union where musicians can network and promote their music. Currently, 35 artists link their Web sites to Scherr's.
It's a far cry from the club side wheeling and dealing back when U Street was known as the "Black Broadway". WPFW-FM Program Director Lou Hankins see the potential for the sites like DCjazz.com to reach a new kind of local listener: "The jazz anthologist isn't going to catch jazz over the Internet. But the Internet may make jazz accessible to an unidentified jazz listener. Sitting on the computer, young people may discover jazz for the first time."