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Ben Watson on AB (Signal To Noise)

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  • Franz Fuchs
    Forwarded from alt.fan.frank-zappa - thanks to Pat Buzby. This is from a Cecil Taylor review by Ben Watson, published in Signal To Noise . In 1974,
    Message 1 of 8 , Jan 9, 2003
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      Forwarded from alt.fan.frank-zappa - thanks to Pat Buzby. This is from a
      Cecil Taylor review by Ben Watson, published in "Signal To Noise".

      <quote>
      In 1974, supported by the Arista label, and surrounded by
      brilliant musicians badly in need of inspired direction, Anthony
      Braxton looked as if he could become the combination of Charlie
      Parker, John Coltrane and Malcolm X which poor America so desperately
      requires. However, the bourgeoisie responded by setting up a
      simulacrum of the messiah (Branford's brother Wynton), clouding his
      fusionesque trumpet virtues with ideological, pro-middle-class
      blandishments. Along with a raft of other revolutionary musicians,
      Braxton washed up in academia. This meant two decades of
      "compositional concepts" and unconvincing, student-band performances:
      strategies which might impress the classically-educated, but will
      never sway the more purely musical judgment of the masses who've been
      touched by Coltrane and Hendrix, who crave that personal touch on the
      instrument, that electric transcription of spontaneous integrity. The
      promotional Marsalis and the academic Braxton are torn halves of a
      revolutionary culture: torn halves which don't add up. Cecil Taylor
      made the right decision: remaining outside the restraints of both
      corporate spectacle and academic institution and keeping the focus on
      the playing body.
      <quote>

      Regards
      Franz Fuchs
    • Justin Kau
      I d recommend that one read the entire review in the winter 03 issue. (though Signal to Noise has become a peculiar imitation of The Wire at least it doesn t
      Message 2 of 8 , Jan 9, 2003
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        I'd recommend that one read the entire review in the
        winter '03 issue. (though Signal to Noise has become a
        peculiar imitation of The Wire at least it doesn't
        cost 7 dollars or more). I don't agree with Ben
        Watson's comments - I don't at all actually, nevermind
        that the review as a whole does not proceed clearly
        from one paragraph to the next. What intrigues me is
        this belief he holds that Free Jazz (as he types it)
        could, or indeed does, have the potential to reach a
        considerably larger audience than it currently has. He
        compares it to "street-level Hip Hop and Drum'n'Bass".
        He also claims that the "masses" (of the US? Britain?)
        have "purely musical judgment" and "crave that
        personal touch on the instrument" that "Coltrane and
        Hendrix" have. Don't the comparisons of Free Jazz to
        both hip hop/drum 'n' bass and to other kinds of jazz
        and to rock contradict?

        Finally, I find his notion that "poor America" needs a
        "combination of Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, and
        Malcolm X" to be rather fanciful. Would white poor
        America want such a combination? Will Shania Twain
        suffice for him? If you'll allow me to follow Watson
        and make a sweeping, arrogant statement, I think poor
        America needs less federal military spending and a
        halt to the rapid yuppification currently going on.


        -jk

        --- Franz Fuchs <f.fuchs@...> wrote:
        > Forwarded from alt.fan.frank-zappa - thanks to Pat
        > Buzby. This is from a
        > Cecil Taylor review by Ben Watson, published in
        > "Signal To Noise".
        >
        > <quote>
        > In 1974, supported by the Arista label, and
        > surrounded by
        > brilliant musicians badly in need of inspired
        > direction, Anthony
        > Braxton looked as if he could become the combination
        > of Charlie
        > Parker, John Coltrane and Malcolm X which poor
        > America so desperately
        > requires. However, the bourgeoisie responded by
        > setting up a
        > simulacrum of the messiah (Branford's brother
        > Wynton), clouding his
        > fusionesque trumpet virtues with ideological,
        > pro-middle-class
        > blandishments. Along with a raft of other
        > revolutionary musicians,
        > Braxton washed up in academia. This meant two
        > decades of
        > "compositional concepts" and unconvincing,
        > student-band performances:
        > strategies which might impress the
        > classically-educated, but will
        > never sway the more purely musical judgment of the
        > masses who've been
        > touched by Coltrane and Hendrix, who crave that
        > personal touch on the
        > instrument, that electric transcription of
        > spontaneous integrity. The
        > promotional Marsalis and the academic Braxton are
        > torn halves of a
        > revolutionary culture: torn halves which don't add
        > up. Cecil Taylor
        > made the right decision: remaining outside the
        > restraints of both
        > corporate spectacle and academic institution and
        > keeping the focus on
        > the playing body.
        > <quote>
        >
        > Regards
        > Franz Fuchs
        >
        >
        > Unsubscr.:
        > Anthony_BRAXTON-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
        > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Anthony_BRAXTON
        >
        > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to
        > http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
        >
        >


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      • Blue Lake Public Radio
        Kau queried: Don t the comparisons of Free Jazz to both hip hop/drum n bass and to other kinds of jazz and to rock contradict? For what it s worth vis a vis
        Message 3 of 8 , Jan 9, 2003
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          Kau queried: Don't the comparisons of Free Jazz to
          both hip hop/drum 'n' bass and to other kinds of jazz
          and to rock contradict?


          For what it's worth vis a vis "other kinds of jazz," I would say that the
          jazz narrative is coherent and comprehensive when including post
          Coltrane/Sun Ra/Ayler/AACM developments. King Oliver and Lester Bowie are
          similar, and the intention to separate the ideas made possible by musicians
          of the 1960's apart from everything that went before befuddles rather than
          makes clear jazz's "unified theory." Swing plus blues is a logo line, yet
          "Ascension" and "For Alto" are masterworks as much as anything already
          canonized.

          Wouldn't you say? As for hip drum bass rap comparison only their hairdresser
          knows for sure, but don't get Roscoe Mitchell started, even though his Hop
          Hip Bip A Rip with Reggie Workman and Jaribu Shahid Note Factory funked with
          the best dumplings during a 1995 Grand Rapids concert, and his last two Note
          Factory Recordings end with an abstraction of funk time that bumps, bumpin
          on expansions.

          Rifferly,

          Lazaro Vega
          Blue Lake Public Radio

          -----Original Message-----
          From: Justin Kau [mailto:kad5_2000@...]
          Sent: Thursday, January 09, 2003 5:08 PM
          To: Anthony_BRAXTON@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: Re: [Braxton] Ben Watson on AB (Signal To Noise)



          I'd recommend that one read the entire review in the
          winter '03 issue. (though Signal to Noise has become a
          peculiar imitation of The Wire at least it doesn't
          cost 7 dollars or more). I don't agree with Ben
          Watson's comments - I don't at all actually, nevermind
          that the review as a whole does not proceed clearly
          from one paragraph to the next. What intrigues me is
          this belief he holds that Free Jazz (as he types it)
          could, or indeed does, have the potential to reach a
          considerably larger audience than it currently has. He
          compares it to "street-level Hip Hop and Drum'n'Bass".
          He also claims that the "masses" (of the US? Britain?)
          have "purely musical judgment" and "crave that
          personal touch on the instrument" that "Coltrane and
          Hendrix" have.

          Finally, I find his notion that "poor America" needs a
          "combination of Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, and
          Malcolm X" to be rather fanciful. Would white poor
          America want such a combination? Will Shania Twain
          suffice for him? If you'll allow me to follow Watson
          and make a sweeping, arrogant statement, I think poor
          America needs less federal military spending and a
          halt to the rapid yuppification currently going on.


          -jk

          --- Franz Fuchs <f.fuchs@...> wrote:
          > Forwarded from alt.fan.frank-zappa - thanks to Pat
          > Buzby. This is from a
          > Cecil Taylor review by Ben Watson, published in
          > "Signal To Noise".
          >
          > <quote>
          > In 1974, supported by the Arista label, and
          > surrounded by
          > brilliant musicians badly in need of inspired
          > direction, Anthony
          > Braxton looked as if he could become the combination
          > of Charlie
          > Parker, John Coltrane and Malcolm X which poor
          > America so desperately
          > requires. However, the bourgeoisie responded by
          > setting up a
          > simulacrum of the messiah (Branford's brother
          > Wynton), clouding his
          > fusionesque trumpet virtues with ideological,
          > pro-middle-class
          > blandishments. Along with a raft of other
          > revolutionary musicians,
          > Braxton washed up in academia. This meant two
          > decades of
          > "compositional concepts" and unconvincing,
          > student-band performances:
          > strategies which might impress the
          > classically-educated, but will
          > never sway the more purely musical judgment of the
          > masses who've been
          > touched by Coltrane and Hendrix, who crave that
          > personal touch on the
          > instrument, that electric transcription of
          > spontaneous integrity. The
          > promotional Marsalis and the academic Braxton are
          > torn halves of a
          > revolutionary culture: torn halves which don't add
          > up. Cecil Taylor
          > made the right decision: remaining outside the
          > restraints of both
          > corporate spectacle and academic institution and
          > keeping the focus on
          > the playing body.
          > <quote>
          >
          > Regards
          > Franz Fuchs
          >
          >
          > Unsubscr.:
          > Anthony_BRAXTON-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
          > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Anthony_BRAXTON
          >
          > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to
          > http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
          >
          >


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        • Vincent Kargatis
          ... just ... by it. ... (Crispell, ... Forgive me for this tangent, and also for the nature of this query, but is this the John McDonough who is commonly
          Message 4 of 8 , Jan 10, 2003
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            > Date: Thu, 09 Jan 2003 12:09:03 -0800
            > From: <bebopj@...>
            > [...]
            > pursued his vision of creative music well into his teaching years. I
            just
            > picked up his album on CIMP with Alex Horwitz, and am very impressed
            by it.
            > And don't forget, his recordings with arguably his greatest quartet
            (Crispell,
            > Dresser, Hemingway) were made after he started teaching at Mills.

            > John McDonough

            Forgive me for this tangent, and also for the nature of this query, but
            is this the "John McDonough" who is commonly known in many circles as
            one of the most conservative jazz critics writing today? I mean no
            offense, it's just that if so, your commentary surprises me, is all, in
            light of many publications under that name. :)
            --
            Vincent Kargatis
            np: Stevie Wonder - SONGS IN THE KEY OF LIFE
          • John McDonough
            ... I ve gotten this question before. No, I am not that John McDonough, and am not related to him at all. I definitely do not share his views on music,
            Message 5 of 8 , Jan 11, 2003
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              >Forgive me for this tangent, and also for the nature of this query, but
              >is this the "John McDonough" who is commonly known in many circles as
              >one of the most conservative jazz critics writing today? I mean no
              >offense, it's just that if so, your commentary surprises me, is all, in
              >light of many publications under that name. :)
              >--
              >Vincent Kargatis
              >np: Stevie Wonder - SONGS IN THE KEY OF LIFE
              >

              I've gotten this question before. No, I am not that John McDonough, and am
              not related to him at all. I definitely do not share his views on music,
              although I will admit to liking traditional jazz.
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