The WSJ has an article up called “Can Jazz Be Saved?“. Basically, the article says that in 2002 10.8% of adults went to listen to jazz, and in 2008 that number fell to 7.8%. In the college market it fell from 19.4% in 1982 to 14.9% in 2008.
I somehow think that there are more factors than the author suggests. I think there is a big fissure between people who want “traditional jazz” and those who don’t really care what type of jazz it is. I know I have encountered the former attitude in several bands I play in, where arrangements by Gordon Goodwin are sort of mocked and some crappy B-side arrangement of some song no one knows (and after we play it we know why) is favored more.
I know my own listening habits have been to go back to the great music of the 70s and early 80s. LPs I’ve been getting in Berkeley that. The new last “album” I bought was Gordon Goodwin’s latest. Not like the Vandermark 5, or yet another reissue and remaster of Coltrane or Miles Davis.