Just received this issue the other day and it is a really nice effort - except for one detail: there are no Jazz releases reviewed! Not one? You couldn't muster a single review? This bugs me, not just because I believe that you have some fantastic Jazz writers on staff, including Thomas Conrad and Dan Ouellete (neither of whom has ever led me astray in any purchase I've ever made, I should add), but because I subscibe to your magazine to be regularly informed about new releases in the three genres you usually review.
In the March issue, you selected a new LA TRAVIATA as your "Recording Of The Month," which is fine, as I'm sure that it is deserving of this coveted honor (FWIW, Robert Levine has never steered me wrong either in any of his reviews and I'm sure he's spot on here too), yet I can't help but notice the photo in the center of the page of the comely Anna Netrebko and how she bekons out to me from the page. Turning this page, I come to two classical reviews: the first of the justly praised East Village Opera Company's self-titled effort and the second of Anne-Sophie Mutter's latest Mozart cycle. Well wouldn't you know it, but there's a smiling Ms Mutter right in front of me! Hmmmm. . . Okay. Both classical reviews are well written and the Mutter/Mozart is highly rated by one of your best music writers, David Patrick Stearns (who I also read daily in the Philadelphia Inquirer) and again, I'm certain is worthy of the 5-star performance rating.
After looking at a "diverse" (I'm being charitable) group of five rock/pop offerings on the next few pages, I came upon the missing jazz review section - complete with invisible header; what I mean, is that it doesn't exist in this issue! What gives here? Surely you could have found something to review this month which would have fit into the jazz category. Just as surely you could have cut one of the rock/pop offerings.
Am I being too cynical regarding the photo-op's of classical music's latest female pin-up stars? At the end of Robert Duetsch's excellent review of TEVO Co.'s latest cd, he mentions that Renee Fleming is a fan of this group; how you resisted the temptation to publish a picture of Ms Fleming I'm not sure, but I gather it must have been a rather difficult decision. Please notice that I find all of the classical reviews to be well-written and informative and the pictures *do* add a nice touch to the written reviews. It does seem to me however, that you are ignoring one genre of music (not writing about it is further marginalizing an already marginalized genre) and instead, promoting another, based on a perceived notion of "greater interest level" inherent in the photogenic beauty of it's female stars.
Mr. Baird, I read your nice Grammy piece (BTW, I watched it on TV) on the STEREOPHILE homepage and am struck by your commentary on the saleability of most music in connection with visual elements, like sex, bling, etc.. I can only ask you to apply the same philosophy which you ask the music industry record execs to uphold, to your own decision making process as the magazines's Music Editor.
I certainly don't mind seeing photos of Anne-Sophie Mutter and Anna Netrebko in the magazine. Indeed, these photos enhance the already excellent written reviews, which I believe to be a strong suite of STEREOPHILE and something that you, as Music Editor, should take pride in.
I am asking you to please include jazz reviews in each issue. . .or at least one!