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  1. #51

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    Ha! There is a little devil sitting on my left shoulder going 'you know maybe the reason why jazz isn't more popular is that most of it is self indulgent rubbish.'

    He's a naughty little fellow. But sometimes I think he may have a point. Just because music is played by incredibly skilled and educated musicians doesn't in fact mean it's any good. It can be hard for musicians to write music that addresses non-musicians because pretty much everyone you end up hanging out with as a musician, is another musician.

    Classical music gets around the problem by delegating the problem of which notes to play and when to someone else, usually someone safely dead.

    The trouble with the contemporary jazz thing is that you are asked to be a composer as well as an improvisor and a performer. The thing is not everyone who is great at soloing on Stella by Starlight writes compositions that are any good. There are quite a few contemporary players I would rather hear play standards than their own stuff.

    There are some great composers too, but it's like everyone has to write and that's not really fair.

    I love EST for example, who jazz guys can be a bit snotty about, but the fact is they wrote tunes that people liked, and played grooves that built up and had an incredible feeling to them - and they were GREAT players. And they were successful beyond jazz as a result.
    Last edited by christianm77; 02-02-2016 at 03:59 PM.

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  3. #52

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    . It can be hard for musicians to write music that addresses non-musicians because pretty much everyone you end up hanging out with as a musician, is another musician.
    My kids know I love jazz music. Sometimes I take them out with me to hear live music. I always tell them, "Listen to the band play the tune the first time through...and then QUIETLY....hum it to yourself, as they take their successive solos". If the band at least plays the head once through, this is feasible. The casual listener gets the idea that solos are NOT just random---but somehow "fit" on top of the original melody. What happens when the band never even plays the head once?! ....They are leaving the casual listener adrift....and ignored....you might as well listen to someone jam over a backing track.


    The trouble with the contemporary jazz thing is that you are asked to be a composer as well as an improviser and a performer. The thing is not everyone who is great at soloing on Stella by Starlight writes compositions that are any good. There are quite a few contemporary players I would rather hear play standards than their own stuff.
    Gary Burton talks about this in one of his seminars on youtube...I think it is the one at Loyola Univ. (New Orleans). Basically, royalties are a lot better for self-generated work. He said a lot of great players are not compelling songwriters, and that he felt many of them basically had two songs...a slow one, and a fast one. He thinks Chick Corea is near the top of contemporary writers, and is both prolific, and really, really good.

  4. #53

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    That so many insist that one should learn jazz by copying certain "greats" seems like a recipe for stagnation.

    Then again, fashions go in cycles. Maybe jazz will make a comeback.

  5. #54

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    I dunno about that. Artforms are hard to teach without going to the source.

    We copied Rembrandt in my painting classes too, even though I wanted to paint more like Rothko. Still taught me invaluable things.

  6. #55

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonzo
    That so many insist that one should learn jazz by copying certain "greats" seems like a recipe for stagnation.

    Then again, fashions go in cycles. Maybe jazz will make a comeback.
    It may seem to you like a recipe for stagnation - but you would be very wrong.
    Emulation of masters is the means of continuing any art tradition.
    (We ain't talking about the plagiaristic theft of simply "copying" licks, here)
    Emulation leads to internalisation of method and reason and language.
    Internalisation generates the tools for innovation.

    Emulation - Internalisation - Innovation

    Jazz never went away.

  7. #56

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    Quote Originally Posted by goldenwave77
    Gary Burton talks about this in one of his seminars on youtube...I think it is the one at Loyola Univ. (New Orleans). Basically, royalties are a lot better for self-generated work. He said a lot of great players are not compelling songwriters, and that he felt many of them basically had two songs...a slow one, and a fast one. He thinks Chick Corea is near the top of contemporary writers, and is both prolific, and really, really good.
    Of course. Jazz is completely unrecognised under copyright law.

    You can earn extra money by performing your own material on gigs in the UK - as long as you can be bothered to fill out the forms. I take advantage of this myself.

    Yeah Chick writes good stuff, I agree with Burton.

  8. #57

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    I love EST for example, who jazz guys can be a bit snotty about
    Wow!

    Never met anyone snotty about EST.
    EST are jazz guys anyway, for sure.
    Aren't they?

  9. #58

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    You can earn extra money by performing your own material on gigs in the UK
    Extra money?
    It's your right, mate - not an extra.
    Just keep filling in those PRS forms.
    In North America the procedures and formulae are much more problematic.

    (Can't believe that the automatic spell-check wishes me to correct my pluralisation of "formula" - but it does)
    (It's like being given fashion advice by a blind hermit)

  10. #59

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lazz
    Wow!

    Never met anyone snotty about EST.
    EST are jazz guys anyway, for sure.
    Aren't they?
    I'd say. I love their Monk album.

  11. #60

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    The big picture the way I see it;
    American music had a good run for about a hundred years- from about 1900-2000.
    And now, it's over.

  12. #61

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    You know something. When I first joined this forum, I always thought of Jazz as being new. Each time I hear someone play Autumn Leaves, they are putting their own spin on it and writing a new song that never existed before.

    So I thought to myself, how could it be old? The band just played it for the first time.

    Now if you ask was it good? That would be a different topic but was it old? - No. It was just created.

    Just my 2 cents...

  13. #62

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    Jazz, to the larger percentage of society, sounds like cacophony. It's filled with melodies and harmonies which sound ugly to those not into it. The rhythms are way above common folks and odd time too is a mystery. They just plain can't relate to all the desinence, the trading 4s and 8s, the fast cut-time numbers such as "Giant Steps", "Moment's Notice" and a multitude more. If in 3/4 it's a jazz waltz, such as " My Favorite Things " and "Bluesette". Commoners want a ballroom waltz or ones like "Moon River". IE. It's just too complicated a sound to the masses, too eery, too, well.....way out a sound. Allot of jazz borders on atonalism. They don't have ears for this the way we have; developing this ability along the way.. For these reasons it's, sadly, the least selling form of music in the world, so I'm told.
    Last edited by MarkInLA; 02-03-2016 at 06:58 PM.

  14. #63

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    To most people it just SOUNDS like a mess. They can't hear it at all. And to be fair it's a music that demands that you figure it out.
    Last edited by henryrobinett; 02-03-2016 at 11:09 AM.

  15. #64

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    In the big band I play in, it's mostly the swing era classic repertoire, Goodman, Miller, Ellington, Basie, etc. We also do some big band style arrangements of classic smaller combo stuff, Miles, Mingus, Zawinul, Herbie.....but the bottom line is, that most of the folks in the big band are not really fans of bebop or contemporary jazz.

    I also play/gig with some great country/alt country/bluegrass/americana/funk/blues/rock musicians, and while they respect jazz, they don't really listen or support it, except for a very few.

    The point is, if most good musicians don't really dig it, why would the general public give a hoot about it or the people that make it? It's just logical that it is viewed as pretty much worthless. Just like any other serious artform.

    Jazz...pursue or practice at your own risk....

  16. #65

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    Too many musicians of all genres are way too full of themselves and their chosen art form. Why is it that people who don't appreciate Mingus, Coltrane, or even Halverson are too common or overly simple? I get that some among us have spent many years studying music in great detail, but while I think certain music sucks because to my ears it doesn't work harmonically, that doesn't mean I am too simple to understand what is happening. I can appreciate the harmonic movements academically, but aurally I still think they suck. On the other hand, I can diagnose a torn labrum or meniscus without any imaging. It's all about differences and variety. If we all liked the same things life would be unbearable. The more variety there is, the more likely people are to come up with new ideas. Eventually that will lead to something incredibly good.

  17. #66

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    It's not popular because I'm not doing it.
    It's not like i would be doing jazz any favors if I gigged jazz. Jazz wouldn't be doing me any favors either.

    who's the musician here;


  18. #67

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    One thing I learned from the greatest dance band of the 80's- Cameo, is to find humor in life. You only live once so try to enjoy the ride no matter what you are trying to achieve.
    Jazz, no jazz, it's all good.

  19. #68

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    Quote Originally Posted by snoskier63
    Too many musicians of all genres are way too full of themselves and their chosen art form. Why is it that people who don't appreciate Mingus, Coltrane, or even Halverson are too common or overly simple? I get that some among us have spent many years studying music in great detail, but while I think certain music sucks because to my ears it doesn't work harmonically, that doesn't mean I am too simple to understand what is happening. I can appreciate the harmonic movements academically, but aurally I still think they suck. On the other hand, I can diagnose a torn labrum or meniscus without any imaging. It's all about differences and variety. If we all liked the same things life would be unbearable. The more variety there is, the more likely people are to come up with new ideas. Eventually that will lead to something incredibly good.
    Yeah, the jazz police is real! A friend of mine calls them Jazzholes, even better!

    On one hand they lament that it's not popular, on the other they call those who are not involved 'commoners', 'squares', 'laymen' etc. Just look how they reacted to Whiplash movie, which I thought was brilliant. Mostly, though, it's not pros who saying this stuff, but some fans with complexes. If you are a gigging pro, you know you want to get as many people to appreciate your music as possible, whether you admit it or not. The fans can talk shit safely, though.

  20. #69

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    I see as much or more snobbery from the jazz haters than I do the jazz lovers. I think it may be a reaction against the snobbery of the jazz fans/lovers. So many times its people doing things that are beyond their ability or knowledge or awareness. People tend to put things down they don't understand. Protective and defensive mechanism. Maybe they don't want to appear it feel stupid. So you attack what you don't know.

    I've seen it with guitar players a lot. Instead of being amazed at somebody's ability these guys will instantly attack. "We want to all be mediocre! That guys threatening our comfort zone!"

  21. #70

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    Quote Originally Posted by henryrobinett
    I see as much or more snobbery from the jazz haters than I do the jazz lovers. I think it may be a reaction against the snobbery of the jazz fans/lovers. So many times its people doing things that are beyond their ability or knowledge or awareness. People tend to put things down they don't understand. Protective and defensive mechanism. Maybe they don't want to appear it feel stupid. So you attack what you don't know.

    I've seen it with guitar players a lot. Instead of being amazed at somebody's ability these guys will instantly attack. "We want to all be mediocre! That guys threatening our comfort zone!"
    Yeah, sure, it goes both ways, but since this is about Why Jazz Isn't Popular on Jazz forum, it's more honest to look into our own probable faults first. There are some IMO.

    I think guitar players who are jealous of other guitar players is a whole different issue, a very widespread phenomenon indeed

  22. #71

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    Social perception has a lot to do with it, just saying...


  23. #72

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hep To The Jive
    Yeah, sure, it goes both ways, but since this is about Why Jazz Isn't Popular on Jazz forum, it's more honest to look into our own probable faults first. There are some IMO.

    I think guitar players who are jealous of other guitar players is a whole different issue, a very widespread phenomenon indeed
    Look at our faults first OF COURSE, but in order to answer the question you have to look at the totality. I've bent over backwards to listen to and be openly appreciative of all forms of music, especially after long ago being busted as a jazz bigot. You know, snob. But I rarely see it come back the other way. 9 times out of 10 when some guitar player finds out I'm a jazz guitarist they start arguing with me about it. Taking off where they left off with some jazz snob in college or at some bar. But I'm not THAT GUY!! Sheesh.

  24. #73

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    Are we all snobs in our own way?
    I miss the old days doing dance music when a customer had to cough up $300 just to talk to me. I was easily worth $500.

  25. #74

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    Quote Originally Posted by MaxTwang
    Social perception has a lot to do with it, just saying...

    haha, I wish!

    I think that moment for jazz is gone, it's too respected now in society. Maybe that's a problem? Respected doesn't mean loved, doesn't mean popular. Rock'n'roll has replaced jazz as devil music long since... That's the image for the masses. Wanna do drugs and get laid a lot? Join a rock band! And who doesn't? Maybe now even rock has lost that vibe. I teach rock band classes for 10 year old kids, for God's sake!

  26. #75

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    Is rock still tops in devil music? I thought it was Hip Hop now.
    I think I could make a case for smooth jazz.

  27. #76

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    Smooth jazz and pop are evil now.

  28. #77

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hep To The Jive
    haha, I wish!

    I think that moment for jazz is gone, it's too respected now in society. Maybe that's a problem? Respected doesn't mean loved, doesn't mean popular. Rock'n'roll has replaced jazz as devil music long since... That's the image for the masses. Wanna do drugs and get laid a lot? Join a rock band! And who doesn't? Maybe now even rock has lost that vibe. I teach rock band classes for 10 year old kids, for God's sake!

    And there's the answer to this thread's question: It's not popular because it is no longer viewed as rebellious, edgy and passionate.

  29. #78

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    Simple question. If jazz is so unpopular, and we know that is true in terms of sales and the public response, why is Michael Buble so popular? While he may not be one's favorite jazz singer, he is doing pretty well or so it would seem.

  30. #79

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    Quote Originally Posted by MaxTwang
    And there's the answer to this thread's question: It's not popular because it is no longer viewed as rebellious, edgy and passionate.
    I had a student who loves punk. Ok he's an inmate. He's all about rebellion. Skin Head, but a very smart guy. I tried to get him to see that in its day jazz was total rebellion and to think of it in those terms. From ragtime to bebop. It still is in a certain sense. Make no mistake. But it's achieved a certain artistic and intellectual cache.

  31. #80

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    Quote Originally Posted by henryrobinett
    Well that's just it. I don't want to be a d*** or be related to any of those they are arguing with. And I DO teach, most often not private students. I DO care that people hate jazz. It's my livelihood. And I think they are applying a very short ruler to judge what jazz is to their minds.
    I see. Well, the thing is, at least with me, I'm passionate about music, but it's not limited to jazz. I'm just as passionate about rock'n'roll, rock, funk, or blues, for that matter. And if I have to play it or teach, I enjoy it just the same.. So if somebody doesn't show love for jazz, I can relate to them on another level hopefully, and it doesn't bother me as much. I never felt like it's my mission to convert somebody to jazz, that's the point.
    Last edited by Hep To The Jive; 02-03-2016 at 04:13 PM.

  32. #81

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    It doesn't ruin my relationship with them. And I don't feel it's my MISSION to convert followers. But I do feel like an ambassador, and I do what I can because few others will.

    And as I said I love and play ALL types of music. But everything I do is infused somehow with the sound of jazz because it's me. People can enjoy my playing and my music and nor consider they're listening to jazz.

  33. #82

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    Genre against genre. Musician against audience.
    Strange times we live in.

  34. #83

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    I had a funny thought.

    I guess it all comes down to the thinking that Jazz is inherently good music so everyone should like it. If they don't, its because they have not developed the ability to appreciate good music.

    Now, Norweigan Extreme Black Metal is bad. So, if you don't like it, that's OK because you are not expected to like bad music - just good music like Jazz.

    (I am being sarcastic but also realistic about how some of our Jazz brethren approach this topic.)

  35. #84

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    Well no, I don't think everyone should like it. I'm talking about hate. I'm talking about down right hostility. I don't get that. It's more than what might meet the eye. There's more there than just not liking the style of music.

  36. #85
    I would say most people that don't play an instrument aren't going to appreciate jazz nearly as much as other musicians . Even when I listen to some outside jazz I think, who really listens to this except other musicians trying to play that style.

  37. #86
    Quote Originally Posted by targuit
    Simple question. If jazz is so unpopular, and we know that is true in terms of sales and the public response, why is Michael Buble so popular? While he may not be one's favorite jazz singer, he is doing pretty well or so it would seem.
    Because he 's a singer, most people like songs with lyrics as opposed to instrumental music

  38. #87

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    Quote Originally Posted by henryrobinett
    Well no, I don't think everyone should like it. I'm talking about hate. I'm talking about down right hostility. I don't get that. It's more than what might meet the eye. There's more there than just not liking the style of music.
    Now, that's something I can't speak of, it's must be your personal experience, Henry. I never encountered hate toward jazz from anyone personally. People could say they don't like it, or don't understand it, but down right hostility? Never.

  39. #88

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    if i had the talent my miles davis cover band would be practicing right now. The miles movie could be very successful if the trailer is anything to go buy


  40. #89

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hep To The Jive
    Now, that's something I can't speak of, it's must be your personal experience, Henry. I never encountered hate toward jazz from anyone personally. People could say they don't like it, or don't understand it, but down right hostility? Never.
    Frequent audio engineering sites or general music sites, guitar players, rock musicians, songwriters. You'll run into a lot. Also the better you are, regardless of field, you have a target on your back. Maybe that's it too.

  41. #90

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    I've had people just go on, sometimes with an effort to be polite, other times not, online and in person, about how much they absolutely CANNOT STAND jazz. I mean attack mode. It might have been a bit of m, "You think you're all that? Well I think it's shit," type thing.

  42. #91

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    Quote Originally Posted by henryrobinett
    Well no, I don't think everyone should like it. I'm talking about hate. I'm talking about down right hostility. I don't get that. It's more than what might meet the eye. There's more there than just not liking the style of music.
    I would call Buble a pop singer, not a jazz singer.

  43. #92

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    Quote Originally Posted by MaxTwang
    Social perception has a lot to do with it, just saying...

    I would think if it were actually like that we might get better audiences.

    Mind you a young lady flashed her boobs at us at Love Supreme.

    I bet fucking Troika didn't get boobs.

    We must be on the right track...

  44. #93

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    I would call Buble a pop singer, not a jazz singer.
    Why not? He sings jazz standards, good voice, top notch musicians playing for him, still not jazz?

  45. #94

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    Buble is an OK saloon singer. That's what I call them. Better than average for sure.

  46. #95

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lazz
    A couple of years back, I wrote a paper about the endless musty "Jazz Is Dead" debate.
    I thought I'd share it here because other interested jazzers may find it germaine to this "popularity" discussion.

    There is also an accompanying illustrative play-list of tracks that I hope those interested can successfully download.
    https://www.dropbox.com/sh/rki2ar3tq...QUhBMkHla?dl=0

    Core point, I guess, is about relevance.
    In the U.S. jazz seems to have lost relevance, whereas in Europe the tradition continues as relevant.

    Also, this:
    10 of the best jazz clubs in Europe | Travel | The Guardian
    It does seem as if there is more appetite for instrumental music on the continent.... And the London is pretty vibrant (god I hate that word) because there are significant numbers of foreigners and second and third generation immigrant communities who offset the natural, brutish philistinism of the Anglo Saxon peoples, and who also are on nodding terms with this thing called 'time/feel.'

    In terms of 'tradition' in the UK. Well I don't mean to be nasty, but I don't think we ever had a good handle on a jazz tradition. We have a fine tradition of being very good at sight reading and completely unconnected from the waist down.

    France has a tradition, for example.

    Of course if anyone non British says that I'll smash their face in :-)

  47. #96

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    ^^^
    haha
    That's the spirit!
    Last edited by Stevebol; 02-03-2016 at 05:53 PM.

  48. #97

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    Tubby Hayes could play the saxophone. TBH I'm not too sure about any English jazzers since then, there's a reason why if any of our lot are any good they go and live in the states...
    Last edited by christianm77; 02-03-2016 at 05:55 PM.

  49. #98
    Quote Originally Posted by Hep To The Jive
    Why not? He sings jazz standards, good voice, top notch musicians playing for him, still not jazz?
    hey, lady gaga can sing standards, has good voice but she's not a jazz singer.

  50. #99
    Brits have Allan Holdsworth, that's all you need. (well he has defected to US and lived there since the 70s?)

  51. #100

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    Quote Originally Posted by nick1994
    hey, lady gaga can sing standards, has good voice but she's not a jazz singer.
    well, I don't like her voice, so she's out for me, haha. Actually maybe Buble is not jazz, I'm not gonna defend him, I don't care, I don't mind him, but that's about it.

    Honestly, if I listen to jazz, 99% of time it would be instrumental music, that's what I like about it. If I want singers, I put a blues, or a rocknroll record, thats where I get my kicks from. I like my jazz instrumental, thats da truth.