Last Friday, the US National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) celebrated its 2009 Jazz Masters: George Benson, Toots Thielemans, Lee Konitz, Jimmy Cobb, Snooky Young and Rudy Van Gelder. The latter is actually a recording engineer so that left me with five musicians to face off:
Benson totally outranked the other four but this was because he is also or even more so a mainstay of pop/rock music. Thielemans was second, closely followed by Konitz. Cobb and Young barely registered among the Googling crowd. I tried to enhance the discriminating power by leaving out Benson:
This graph basically confirmed the first one. The trend lines didn't cross. So I went back to my first analysis and looked at the regional interest information, first for Benson:
Surprisingly, he scored the highest by far in Georgia (the country, not the US state!), followed by Indonesia and South Africa. I am at a loss how to explain this. Maybe a Benson fan can enlighten me? The US wasn't even in the top 10! Next, Thielemans:
Jean-Baptiste Frédéric Isidor "Toots" Thielemans is my personal favorite—I'm Belgian after all ;-) —and naturally got the highest Google-popularity in Belgium, his native country where he even received the title of baron in 2001, a rare honor for an artist. I include a great picture of him playing his harmonica. He expanded its range and versatility as nobody else before him. In that he reminds me of another jazz late great of Belgian extraction, Django Reinhardt, who also played an instrument not normally associated with jazz at that time, viz. the guitar. Thielemans' second country was The Netherlands, then came Hungary. Again, the US didn't get in the top 10. Let's see what I found for Konitz:
Konitz was the second American to be more Google-popular abroad than in the US, this time Italy took the honors. The US did come in eighth. Then I checked on Cobb:
There was very little data for this musician but for what it's worth this was the top 3: the US, South Africa, Vietnam. Finally, how about Young?
He had the same paucity of data as well as the same top 3.
John McWhorter responds
29 minutes ago