Please Reduce Offensive Omissions | Letters | Chicago Reader

Please Reduce Offensive Omissions 

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To the editors:

Could someone at the Reader explain to me why your sometime Jazz/New Music critic Neil Tesser can't get the facts straight? In the last 6 months, I have been left out of 3 concert previews that he wrote for your paper. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways:

1) In April of 1990 (April 6th Reader) I had a concert at Southend Musicworks. It was the opening weekend and Mr. Tesser wrote a column for your calendar pages about the weekend's activities at Southend. Nowhere in this article does my name appear, this despite the fact that I put one of the concerts together, wrote music for it, paid the musicians and had Bill Smith of Toronto as a guest artist and collaborator in that concert. The press material that I saw made it very clear that this was a joint venture between Bill and myself, featuring both of us as composers and performers equally. Mr. Tesser labelled the concert "a jam session led by sopranino saxophonist Bill Smith." I can't of course, say with total assurance that Mr. Tesser saw the press kit that Southend gave him, but it seems to me that part of his job is to review this material before writing the article.

2) On May 18, 1990, Mr. Tesser wrote a "critics choice" for my colleague Greg Bendian. In this case, I was performing prior to Greg as part of the program, beginning at 8:00 PM. In the article, Mr. Tesser makes no mention of this, and states that Bendian will play at 8:00 PM. I'm not asking Mr. Tesser to write "about" me, I'm just asking him to provide the correct information. Those who arrived at 8 had no idea who I was, or couldn't figure out why "Greg" wasn't playing percussion.

3) Just this past week (Oct. 5) Mr. Tesser again ran a "choice" for (pianist) Myra Melford. In this case Myra played the first half solo, then I joined her for duets in the entire second half, and again, Mr. Tesser makes no mention of this fact in his column.

Mr. Tesser's omissions are particularly aggravating in the first case; the article, had he bothered to mention my name, would have been valuable as documentation for the event, especially since I used a portion of my I.A.C. fellowship grant to fund it. In the later two cases it's less of an issue to be sure, in that the articles' ostensible aim was toward other musicians--this however, is not an excuse for the omissions, which are facts, to be rendered correctly--just like phone numbers and dates. It is difficult enough to get publicity in this town for the type of music that I play--and blown opportunities like this are very frustrating.

Gene Coleman

Composer & director of Ensemble Noamnesia

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