Much provocative debate about jazz over at Counago and Spaves, which of course has been taken up by Norm as defender of the faith.
To add my own little nod to the controversy, I always proclaimed I hated jazz until, well, I realised that a lot of what I liked was jazz. One of the trickiest problems is that jazz is such a broad category, and like any broad category/genre it includes the good, the bad, the ugly and the indefensible. And like anything with its aficionados there will be snobs: people who make the sentiments of this character seem low-key and appealing. Being pretentious never does a subject any good; it tends to foster irrational hatred.
For the record, I like:
Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Nina Simone
Miles Davis, Bix Beiderbecke, John Coltrane, Charlie Mingus
Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway, Louis Jordan
And this is just a selection.
So, whether you like all or any of these, jazz is just too broad and encompasses too many types of music (from blues and gospel to soul, from folk and bluegrass to funk) to be dismissed on the basis of poor journalism, poncy scholarship, or over-hyped rubbish. There's always a lot of the latter about and it wouldn't do for us all to be alike. A friend of mine declared a complete aversion to jazz only for us to find her happily bopping away to the swinging guitar work of Django Reinhardt! She was almost mortified when we cautiously explained that this too was jazz!