Tesserless 'BEZ | Letters | Chicago Reader

Tesserless 'BEZ 

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Dear Editor:

Contrary to reader Michael Riordan's rancorous sentiments [Letters, April 25], WBEZ needs Neil Tesser. Tesser used to advertise WBEZ's "full spectrum of jazz." Now that he's gone, one end of the spectrum is missing. Tesser is the one that played some of the more adventurous pieces of modern improvised music, stuff that you couldn't possibly mistake for elevator jazz.

Also, WBEZ's DJs now play several numbers, one after another, followed by minimal comment or information, again creating the effect of a seamless wallpaper of music, the first step toward becoming an "easy listening" jazz station. Mark Ruffin, "the younger host," is personable, pleasant, knowledgeable, and presumably young (is that an important factor in selecting music to play?) but has an unfortunate predilection toward Jazz Lite. I mean: a little bit of Pat Metheny goes a long way.

Luckily we've still got Larry Smith and Dick Buckley. Probably no one at WBEZ wants to mess with Buckley, since he's got his own loyal band of listeners.

Nevertheless, the direction is clear: the new, "young" audience wants background jazz (as directed by consumer surveys), the kind of music you can listen to while reading your easy-reading book without undue strain on the mind.

Olaf Mend

W. Patterson


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