3941Re: When did Jazz die?
- Mar 17, 2007I am afraid I still do not understand the question (or did it contain the
I suppose everyone is free to fix their own limits to what they consider as
real jazz, and I guess there will be as many different replies as members on
this list. Some will even consider there is no real difference between
Lester Young and Archie Shepp, others will declare that jazz started dying
in the 30's (wasn't Morton's piece called "Dirty, Dirty, Dirty" a parody of
swing?) but I doubt this can lead us anywhere.
This is no place for me to explain why I consider John Coltrane's Alabama as
a masterpiece or why Thelonious Monk is the one I would take to the desert
island. I reject the idea of "downgrading" just as much as the concept of
"progress" applied to music, and if the original question concerned the
evolution of styles, I doubt that marketing purposes or the introduction of
long-playing recording by Blue Note played a greater part than what the
musicians wished to play and what the audience expected to hear.
Everyone is free to hate Gillespie or Bud Powell, but considering that their
music is no longer jazz is another thing, which cannot rely on shortcuts. I
remember some literature around Panassié's "battle" which introduced an
artificial play on the word "bop", so as to explain that Gene Vincent and
Charlie Parker played exactly the same "modern thing"! Here I cannot help
protesting that I never met a Rock fan who payed any attention to post-war
jazz, which they consider as too intellectual - and talking about "gods", I
wonder if we can still find anything as superlative as what my or your
parents said about Armstrong or Bix, at least in the jazz field (the only
"God" being, as everyone knows, Eric Clapton! ;-)))
If the complaint is about so little space being devoted to pre-war music in
record shops while Miles Davis or Keith Jarrett are oll over the place, I
can join, but have things ever been better? There have never been so many -
and so affordable - reissues than today, you can always state that they are
too confidential but I prefer seeing the place flooded with Blue Note
reissues than seeing Sinatra, the Four Tops, Presley or ZZ Top filed under
And as far as more and more jazz lovers turning to musicians of the past,
why complain? It is no-one's fault if there haven't been any Mortons or J.S.
Bachs for a while, it is just the way music changes - and you won't force
the African-American audience to support styles that were clearly related to
segregation, prohibition, depression and misery, and the most incredible
unequality - this is purely intellectual nostalgia which only wealthy
intellectual whites can afford, just like regretting the good old times of
hard work from sun to sun on the Mississippi Delta plantations which
produced such fascinating blues!
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