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Who is @JazzIsTheWorst?

Alex Marianyi
Contributing Writer
alex.marianyi[at]gmail.com / @alexmarianyi

@JazzIsTheWorst might be the killingest jazz-related thing on the internet since jazz robots. It’s so killing, in fact, it has garnered followers such as Christian McBride, Nate Smith, and NPR’s A Blog Supreme.

@JazzIsTheWorst covers subjects you’d only discuss with other jazz musicians behind closed doors, and there’s no shortage of retweetable material. For example: “Jazz musicians are so uncreative the only thing they're willing to change about Jazz is what we call it[.]” I always love a not-so-veiled shot at Nicholas Payton, the man who blocked me on Twitter when I said, “How can jazz be dead? You can't kill an idea!”

Another great tweet: “The problem with Jazz is 99% of it gives the other 1% a bad name[.]” I can’t decide if using an outdated pop culture reference to make fun of jazz is brilliance or ineptitude. @JazzIsTheWorst also bashes jazz for being exclusive. “Jazz musicians talk a lot about 'educating' the audience. No one needs to be 'educated' into enjoying an ice cream sunday.” But then makes jokes that only jazz musicians would understand! “Playing 'Inner Urge' in 7/4 is SOOO 2005 <>” Again, I’m not sure if that’s genius or short-sightedness.

Then I thought about who @JazzIsTheWorst might be in real life. After a bit of pondering, it became obvious to me that it’s 20-something Wynton Marsalis. Even though present day Wynton Marsalis has turned towards criticizing the hip-hop world, 20-something Wynton Marsalis had all sorts of unkind things to say about the jazz world. I also like the idea of 20-something Wynton Marsalis having the proverbial microphone of Twitter in front of him at all times. This way he wouldn’t have to wait for a late-night talk show interview or PBS special to tell the public exactly what was on his mind.

Just as I was thinking I had it figured out, I read this tweet: “Why masturbate in private when I can play a 10 minute sax solo in public!” @JazzIsTheWorst being a saxophone player shoots a hole in my Wynton Marsalis theory but provides another-- George Coleman. Because honestly, who else could be that mad at the jazz world? Not only does he probably have to repeatedly say, “Yes, I was a jazz saxophonist in the 60s. No, I’m not John Coltrane,” but he also got replaced in Miles Davis’ quintet by Wayne Shorter after not even a year in the group.

But how likely is it that a 78-year-old is navigating Twitter with such finesse? Not everyone can be Patrick Stewart. So, maybe it’s a reincarnation of @JazzFamoose.

If you remember @JazzFamoose from a few years back, you’ll see the many similarities The Famooooooose has with @JazzIstheWorst. They have both interacted with jazz musicians (@JazzIsTheWorst has recently with Walter Smith III and hilariously with Greg Osby), and they have both taken harsh shots at other Twitter users. The Famooooooose was a little goofier and strayed off topic more often; so, maybe @JazzIstheWorst is an alter-ego or a love child of some sort.

Whether it’s 20-something Wynton Marsalis, George Coleman, a moose, all three, or none of the above, it’ll be interesting to see how @JazzIsTheWorst evolves, or devolves, over time. A half-intelligent, half-comedic, and all-snarky review of the jazz world in 140-character rants could go a ways towards bettering jazz today. Or it could really turn off exactly the kind of people we would need to turn our community into a better place.

Alex Marianyi is a musician with an artistic identity crisis based in Chicago, IL. You can follow him on Twitter, and he won’t even file a restraining order.