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  1. #1

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Why jazz is not popular? I think that has to do with jazz having difficulty defining itself. It's cool to check out and incorporate other styles, but don't forget your roots. Many artists water down the spirit of jazz so much that you are left wondering how to define what they are trying to do: is this rock, R & B, Indie, hip hop and so on? So this article is misleading.

  4. #3

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    Well jazz was popular, when it was called swing, it was the pop music of its day.

    It hasn't been popular since the beboppers arrived and lowered the danceable element while raising the "art" element.

    As I write this I can think of 2 major jazz guitarists who have achieved mainstream popularity since the heady days of bebop.

    Wes was one of course, and he was attacked by the "cognoscenti" for selling out (though I'm not sure how else the poor guy was supposed to feed his kids) and he has received a fair amount of criticism on this forum too for his later work (lol).

    The other is George Benson, whose later work is described as "pop" by the self-appointed gate-keepers of this forum on its introductory pages.

    Nothing really has happened in jazz per se since bebop - in the sense of a general trend (Miles's cool and fusion periods eluded most imitators completely).

    The jazz age was well and truly over before most of the users of this forum were born ;-)

  5. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by sunnysideup View Post
    It hasn't been popular since the beboppers arrived and lowered the danceable element while raising the "art" element.
    That's what I like about jazz the "art element". Charlie Parker ushered in a new era in jazz that help it to progress. The beboppers influenced just about everyone that came afterwards except the rock guys. What killed jazz was Elvis. As you know he got real popular with the kids.

  6. #5

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    Jazz isn't popular because:

    1. Like classical music, it requires active listening and the general public is musically inept.

    2. The "cognoscenti" only discuss jazz from 1942-1960 (bebop to cool) ignoring March, Ragtime, Dixie/Chicago, et al.


    Jazz will never move beyond where it is right now (aka: THE STAGNATION OF JAZZ SINCE THE 60s):

    1. A generation of players ignore the self-imposed prison of "You HAVE to learn Bird licks", "You HAVE to be able to solo over Stella By Starlight" and begin creating again rather than reliving the past.

    2. The jazz "cognicenti" realize they are the cause of the gradual stagnation of jazz
    Last edited by TheGrandWazoo; 01-30-2016 at 08:39 AM.

  7. #6

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    A lot of jazz that has come down the pike in the last several decades isn't readily accessible
    except to the "informed consumer" rather than the civilian public.

    It is very hard to write a good song.

    A lot of jazz that has come down the pike in the last several decades doesn't do
    tension and release very well, if at all, or tell much of a story as a result.
    Popular music depends on this.

    I am not going to address the rhythm issue, too incendiary.

  8. #7

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    The writer of that article also suggested that because a jazz musician does a more commercial type of album that resembles R & B, funk, rock, hip hop or whatever else way more than it does jazz, it should be categorized as jazz. Because the great Herbie Hancock (who I really dig btw) did it that means it's jazz. Is "rockit" fill in the blank--jazz too. That makes no sense. I like all kinds of music, but don't call something what it is not. Music is like life in that we categorized just about every thing so as to make sense of all the mess.

  9. #8

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    I like how he said in the article that Jazz is an interpretation of music. I see it the same way. I also see that theres a genre called jazz. I like the genre.
    But what I love the most about jazz is the interpretation of any song you hear. It doesn't have to be jazz and I don't have to use a major 7 chord or a clean jazzy tone. I would really like to be able to play jazz the genre too but what I'm really looking for is the ability to interpret music like a jazz musician. To have my bag of tricks on any tune I hear, I think thats what makes a musician special

  10. #9

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    Here are my 2 cents ($0.02).


    This question really depends on one's definition of jazz. If you mean acoustic instruments playing swing, Latin, or bebop than I would agree that this is no longer popular. If you broaden the term it could be said that some elements of jazz are still alive in popular music. I think that the "sound" of acoustic jazz has surfaced in some ways in modern pop music (Norah Jones, etc.) but music based on improvisation has not really been a "popular" style for most people, save for jam band folks and electric blues fans.

    Ever since fusion of the 1960s I think there has been a fair smattering of successful artists who incorporated jazz elements, harmony in particular. Steely Dan, Doobie Brothers, Stevie Wonder all come to mind.

  11. #10

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    Jazz police. Yeah. I think it has to do with sophistication, complexity, and evolution. It's all music. It's good if you like it.

  12. #11

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    the reason is that in our society, music is a commercial commodity.

    In the old days, the musicians had control. I mean there were maybe 12 guys in a city the size of Philly that could really blow bop so if you wanted to sell bop records you would have to deal with those guys

    now once you start pushing rock and roll, there's no end to the flood of idiots ready to be pop stars

    so the money screwed up the art of music

    for what its worth, in the 90s people were saying hip hop was the new bebop.

  13. #12

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    In the world in which we live multiplicity is the norm. I, personally, don't care if jazz isn't popular although I would like it if the kids at work would open up their minds a bit to listen to it every once in a while.

    Jazz is a broad term that contains many subdivided styles. Similar to the way that modern art painting is a term for many different styles, or movements. Is there any one particular style of modern art painting that is more popular then the rest right now? Not really. There may be brief periods of a movement's revival, but, for the most part, anything goes now. Is there any particular style of clothing fashion that is more popular than others right now? Sure designers have their models walk down runways dressed in interesting and original ensembles, but I don't see widespread uniformity among the masses dressed the same way. Most people have picked clothing styles from the past that they like and either stick to one or alternate between several. But even if they are sticking with only one, their particular style choice isn't exactly popular because someone else that is only sticking with one has decided on a different style.

  14. #13

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    I agree with the author that "jazz" isn't a genre. His sponge analogy for jazz as a meta-genre isn't bad.

    His answer to the question in the title seems to be "because of the jazz police" or "because jazz aficionados define the genre (or meta-genre) too narrowly and rigidly." There's some truth in that, but he could have taken the topic much farther.

    It seems to me that historically, the popularity of the meta-genre "jazz" increased when musicians reinterpreted the popular music of the time and tried to make it attractive/interesting to the people that music was originally popular with. In other words, it started as an extension of popular music of the day. Those who want jazz to be popular in the future would need to think along those lines.

    A good example of this for the popular music of my youth is Joni Mitchell, starting with the straight folk genre and constantly reinterpreting and extending it through the "sponge" of jazz. Is any current pop artist doing this? I hope so.

    This is just a thought exercise. I'm not telling anyone what to do or making value judgements.
    Last edited by KirkP; 01-30-2016 at 01:14 PM.

  15. #14

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    'Jazz Isn't a Genre'
    No, it's not and neither is Hip Hop. They go beyond genre. Jazz was almost global culture. Hip Hop is global culture because of digital tech.
    Why isn't jazz popular? I can think of a few reasons. People might see it as the music of the establishment. It's in schools. It's in clubs too. Jazz musicians don't seem to be too interested in dance gigs anymore.
    Instrumental music is just a tough sell.

  16. #15

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    We have to check ourselves when it comes to policing genres. I think 'secular' R&B is probably gone forever. R&B was my thing.
    Time to move on to something else.

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nate Miller View Post
    the reason is that in our society, music is a commercial commodity.

    In the old days, the musicians had control. I mean there were maybe 12 guys in a city the size of Philly that could really blow bop so if you wanted to sell bop records you would have to deal with those guys

    now once you start pushing rock and roll, there's no end to the flood of idiots ready to be pop stars

    so the money screwed up the art of music

    for what its worth, in the 90s people were saying hip hop was the new bebop.
    I think American music lost it's vibrancy at some point. Around 2000. I'm not saying this because that was my age group. I'm 58. People 10-15 years younger than me were doing interesting music.

  18. #17

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    1)Most Jazz as performed today does not have Vocals and Vocal Music has been the more/most popular form of Pop Music in USA and Canada ( probably more Countries) since the 40's.

    a) Most of the Jazz Repertoire are "Standards" which were Vocal Tunes but now are mostly ( #1 above) instrumental .
    Instrumental seems less Intrusive more abstract in a good way...but probably does not "grab" attention to most people as much as Vocal Music.

    2) Dance and Rhythms - Big Band and some early forms of Jazz were one of the Primary or at least well known Dance Music Styles and Forms of their 'Eras'.

    Jazz is many Generations removed from being the Dance Music of most Countries etc. with exceptions of some Latin Jazz and some Blues and some Dixieland etc. in certain locales and pockets of Society.
    Latin Jazz is played on some Radio Stations in Miami...

    But the Jazz most refer to is far far removed from Danceable to R&B , House, Reggateton, Hip Hop, Pop, Country...
    Jazz is not the "Party Music" it once was...neither is Psychadelic Rock.

    3) Some - a lot of Jazz is largely " Musician's Music " by great Musicians and highly skilled Journeymen Pros for other Musicians and very discerning Audiences and does that well and few are trying to reach out and to do so can weaken the Fabric of Jazz to some to many...

    That's my take...mostly opinion...not facts or Science.

    Why isn't 50's Rock more popular ?
    80's Rock had a lot of excellent Guitarists ...Why isn't 80's Rock more Popular ?

    Seems like a lot of Dance Styles were associated with Jazz...but those have mostly "had their Time".

    The Core of Jazz seems to still be musically evolving...with most looking back and some trying to look ahead...
    but no more Dancing Swinging Jazz Dance Clubs...Big Bands etc.

    EDIT- there is no reason why Jazz cannot encompass modern Rhythms or the other way around etc..

    In 10 or 20 years the "Rap " part of Hip Hop may be a total Dinosaur and those Rhythms and possibly more sophisticated Sub Types may be assimilated into World Beat and other Modern Styles..including new forms of "Jazz " IF the definition and Time Frame can be "zoomed out " enough in your mind....
    Last edited by Robertkoa; 01-31-2016 at 03:04 PM.

  19. #18
    Here's a great talk from ted gioia, I agree with him, music needs to be marketed towards people that have money, not teenagers

  20. #19

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    The reason that jazz isn't popular is that tastes changed. It's really pretty simple. You can elucidate the specifics if you want- jazz becoming instrumentally oriented instead of vocal oriented, increased complexity and diminished dancability, etc., but the truth was the rise of rock 'n' roll capturing the ears of the young and the jazz audience diminishing from attrition. That audience got married, had kids, cut down on drinking, got day jobs and stopped coming out to clubs and listening. And don't underestimate the high violent crime rate in the 60s, 70s and 80s as contributing to keeping people in at night.

    I think that live music of all types is down because there is much more convenient entertainment right at home. In the late 50s the lines at Birdland went around the block for people to hear Johnny Smith- he played there 20 weeks a year some years and packed the place. People went out for music in those days more than they do now. New Yorkers are probably still more likely to go out than folks around here.

  21. #20
    you know, I think it's odd that we always talk about why jazz isn't more popular but never ask the question does it need to be? to me, some of the best music and best players have come after the golden age of jazz.

    because there are more players than gigs, it lifts bar even higher. now instead of having one or 2 great players in your area you have 20, making you work harder to market yourself or play better or whatever.

  22. #21

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    Is it me or those threads pop up like every three month or so?

    I tell you one thing, judging by what I see, jazz is alive and well in NYC. Hot jazz variety, 20', 30', (40's?) is especially popular among young and not so young folks, no kidding. I guess it's got to be super old to be hip again?

  23. #22

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    This is not exactly a response, but an observation--in the late 70's-early 80's I felt I really had a handle on the jazz scene, saw many, many of the top players--Miles, Chick, John McLaughlin, Al Dimeola, even Count Basie. I also followed some of the newer trends--funk-jazz (Defunkt), punk-jazz (James Blood Ulmer), etc. I caught Wynton when he was just getting started, Pat Metheny too.

    In short, I felt like I had heard of almost everyone who was anyone.

    Nowadays, I don't know 95% of the players. Seriously, when the local NPR station plays new jazz releases, I'm lucky if I've heard of a single player or group in the list.

    Well, I've moved on, and so has jazz music. My musical tastes have expanded exponentially into so many areas--roots rock, alt country, electronica. Jazz has also moved in all different directions.

    So, I don't know, maybe this is emblematic of something? Since the old guys died off, there's no "center" in jazz today. There's some great music and great musicians, as always, just not the same core.

    There's something cohesive about a genre, whether it's early rock or rhythm n blues or whatever, a commonality, a predictability. If you can't figure it out, you're probably not going to follow it.

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hep To The Jive View Post
    Is it me or those threads pop up like every three month or so?

    I tell you one thing, judging by what I see, jazz is alive and well in NYC. Hot jazz variety, 20', 30', (40's?) is especially popular among young and not so young folks, no kidding. I guess it's got to be super old to be hip again?
    I agree. There's the retro thing. Still, places like NYC and LA are the exception. In NYC jazz will always be there. In LA it seems retro R&B is popular.
    Too bad people can't play play it. Lol. It's simple on the surface. I see people posting vids doing parts of R&B songs all the time. OK, great, now put a band together stupid. What are you waiting for.
    People in LA pay gobs of money to see someone hop around with an afro wig. That's their idea of 'disco'.

  25. #24

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    Jazz isn't popular because....people don't like it. Same reason turnip flavored candy ain't popular. Musically, we live in a culture where in 2016, Justin Bieber has 3, three, 1+1+1, did I mention 3.... songs in the Billboard top 10 at this very moment....and we wonder why jazz isn't popular? Thank goodness for the Weeknd...


  26. #25

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    Because you can't sing along with Donna Lee, it has no danceable beat and is played by old people or young people behaving old.