Jan 28 2017
The AllAboutJazz forum is no more. Mike Ricci, the guy who owns and runs the AllAboutJazz site, announced on the site’s main page that the forum has been shut down.
AllAboutJazz’s music forum had been in existence for close to two decades, and for about ten years smack dab in the middle of that lifespan, it had a remarkably active community.
The growth of AAJ’s forum community benefited from the shutdown of the Blue Note Bulletin Board and the migration of those forum members looking for a new home. From approximately 2003-2013, the AAJ forum had an impressive community of regulars and a steady stream of new signups and non-participating lurkers. The topics included typical discussions of classic jazz albums and live shows, but also a healthy sized community of musicians who came to the forum to talk shop… music theory, routines, touring, etc.
There were, at times, some well-known musicians who participated on the forum. Pat Martino had a dedicated thread, and would jump on board and answer questions from time to time.
In my biased opinion, one of the forum’s best discussion threads was titled New Releases Only, begun by forum member (and occasional Bird is the Worm comment section participant) Robmid. The intent was to get people to begin focusing on the modern jazz scene and, perhaps, shake the solitary obsession with jazz of the previous century. I jumped on board that train right quick, and the wonderful music that was shared between thread participants was the spark that led me to where I am now. I’d also like to mention Bill Harmless aka Alypius, who passed away a few years ago. He was an essential participant on the New Releases Only thread (and the AAJ forum as a whole). And in the strange context of connections made with people through social media, people we often never meet in person, I considered him a friend, and was always happy to shoot the breeze with him on the forum and via email.
Here’s a song I’ll always associate with the New Releases Only discussion thread…
Over the years, the AAJ forum had its share of interruptions from hackers, and as the forum’s popularity increased, so did the attention from that segment. And like many forum communities, it was populated by its share of trolls, malcontents and jamokes. There were the obligatory bursts of drama and flame-throwing. The increased toxicity of the forum environment spurred an exodus of regular forum members, which wasn’t helped by the unavoidable temporary shutdowns from security attacks. And with a growing social media preference for Twitter and Facebook over the forum environment, the AAJ community withered down to almost nothing as it neared its end. I suspect -and this is merely conjecture on my part- that the current state of forum disuse was the excuse they needed to finally shut it down. The forum, undoubtedly, used up funds and time that the site owners would have rather spent on the AllAboutJazz main site. But that’s just what I think.
But taking both the good and bad, I’ll always have fond memories of the AAJ forum. I met some really nice people who had a great taste in music. I discovered all kinds of wonderful music on the AAJ forum, old and new. And as it can be difficult sometimes to find others who share your particular interest, it was a nice way for people to connect and shoot the breeze about the music they love and adore.
And here’s a shout-out to all the forum moderators who helped keep that joint running. Nobody joins a music forum and thinks, hey, I hope they ask me to fulfill some administrative functions and deal with forum yahoos. It’s a thankless job, and the moderators deserve plenty of kind words and respect for stepping up and doing it. Ian Dunnigan, in particular. I believe Ian may have been a moderator on that forum for almost the entirety of its existence. Thanks, Ian.
And thanks, AllAboutJazz, for providing a home for those of us who wanted to talk about the music we love.