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  1. #51

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    When I was just a lil' Gumbo visiting my gramma on the farm, she'd always yell at me to wipe that jazz off'n the bottom of my shoes after runnin' around the barnyard. So I knew very young that jazz was something nasty.

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  3. #52

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    Quote Originally Posted by goldenwave77
    either you or he, is falling short.
    I'm Short.
    He's Small.

  4. #53

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    Quote Originally Posted by goldenwave77
    Response to post # 46:

    You're losing the argument, so now you've resorted to calling our earlier propositions "straw men". There were several points put forth, and I don't see a convincing response to any of them, to wit:

    1. jazz music does NOT imply/produce a greater sense of community participation---in fact, it produces the reverse....i.e. skilled performers who I think are FAR, FAR above the audience. Re-read my earlier post and the comparison between Dizzy and Beethoven.

    2. The idea that white mainstream audiences in particular, and jazz audiences in general don't understand what improvisation is ....is just laughable.... what they don't like is improvisation POORLY done...lines that don't go anywhere---musicians showing off everything they know instead of playing something compelling.

    RE: this dude Christopher Smalls--if the earlier post by JonR is an accurate paraphrase---then no, I'm not going to waste my time reading this tome....just like I don't need to waste my time reading Holocaust denial texts, or the Black Muslim writings of Herbert Muhammed.

    Re: Nicholas Sarkozy--I think he makes some valid points. In many ways from a comparative political perspective, the continent of Africa is kind of like Europe was, after the fall of the Roman Empire, and before the advent of European nation-states (400-1100 A.D.)...a bunch of disparate tribal conglomerations....I sincerely doubt that imperialism did much, over all, to change the fact that what...700 different ethnic tribes speak different dialects (and sometimes languages), and self identify, first and foremost as members of various tribes rather than as members of a nationality.

    Nation states are no panacea, but the alternative is war-lordism and semi-feudal anarchy. See Rwanda. Engraft onto this "modern" political thought---i.e. left-wing politics and the notion that all economic activity should be primarily state-centered, and what you have is a ready made prescription for kleptocracy and endless corruption: My daughter is spending a year in an African country which I will not name, but in the first free elections in a generation, the going price to buy votes is 1$/head. And just to be clear, I don't think this is all genetically based but based on concrete historical and geographical factors pretty well summarized by Jared Diamond in Guns, Germs, and Steel.
    It's interesting to me that some people - presumably conservatives - understand the current political paradigm to be essentially left wing, while those on the left perceive it to be conservative.

    EDIT - snarky comment redacted as it undermines what I think is an interesting observation
    Last edited by christianm77; 02-22-2016 at 07:21 PM.

  5. #54
    dortmundjazzguitar Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Banksia
    No, actually, as someone who has lived in Zimbabwe and Tanzania and travelled in Mozambique, Kenya, Malawi, Zambia and Botswana, I am quite aware of the fact that Africa is not one homogeneous society. Nor did anything I posted support your contention that I "seem to be labouring under" that misconception.
    i met the most fantastic jazz guitarist in zimbabwe, jonas chiluba. ever heard of him?

  6. #55

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    Sorry to respond to this so late...
    Quote Originally Posted by goldenwave77
    Quote Originally Posted by JonR
    All music - in live performance - is social in some way. It represents the social and cultural values of the society that produces it, and the audience participates in some way, even if only by paying attention and clapping.

    True, but this doesn't say anything...unless music is played to the cast of "The Walking Dead", this statement is true, but meaningless.
    The point I meant to make was that music is an artform tied to the society that makes it. That ought to be equally obvious, I suppose, except that some seem to imagine (perhaps idealistically) that music is more of a universal language than it actually is. Some elements certainly are, but genres belong to historical periods as well as different geographical nations or cultures.
    Quote Originally Posted by goldenwave77
    Quote Originally Posted by JonR
    You're right about jazz involving more participation - at least as compared with classical - but it does share that quality to some degree with live rock, blues and folk. Those are all accessible by almost anyone, and clearly made by people who are "like us" - identifying with the performers in some way is integral to all those musics, in a way it's not with classical.

    I think Dizzy Gillespie is more unlike me, than Beethoven or Mozart was.
    I disagree. Personally, I feel I have way more in common with Dizzy Gillespie than with Beethoven or Mozart. I feel much more in tune with the culture of mid-20thC America than I do with 18th/19thC Europe. It's not an intellectual choice, it's a pure gut feeling. Beethoven and Mozart (et al) mean practically zero to me. I don't dislike it, it just sounds like a foreign language. I do get something from more recent "post-classical" composers, such as Satie, Ravel or Debussy, but still not as much as I get from US popular culture (inc jazz and blues).
    Quote Originally Posted by goldenwave77
    Quote Originally Posted by JonR
    Classical composers are polishing forms, and constructing large-scale pieces out of smaller ones, but I happen to think that real-time composing (i.e. jazz improvisation) is at least as difficult, if not more so, than composition undertaken at leisure, with the opportunity to try out, correct, and polish one's earlier efforts (classical composition).
    I agree, but difficulty is hardly the point .
    Quote Originally Posted by goldenwave77
    Quote Originally Posted by JonR
    I mean Beethoven's Fifth is "da da da dum, da da da dum" repeated and re-worked, with some other themes fitted in...go to the next movement, etc. I like some classical, but a lot of it is ponderous and pretty dull. I think Liberace was right when he said "I play classical, but I cut out all the boring parts."

    Quote Originally Posted by goldenwave77
    Quote Originally Posted by JonR
    In an earlier age, there was less "pre-made" music that could be consumed, for a price. When the player piano was invented, that was a huge invention, and classical pianists of the day made a decent living selling player piano rolls...before then, you made your own music, more or less. So....probably more people made music, because that was how it became available. BUT there is still a huge gap between accomplished performers and casual players....why did Louis A., and others become noted....precisely because there was a HUGE gap between the guy with a day job and a horn, and Louis A. who could rip off 40 choruses of a tune, and be interesting and inventive...it's no accident he was the first great jazz star. And he just started the trend...others followed.
    Again, I agree, but that's a debate about virtuosity of performance, not about the style of the music itself. (An interesting point, mind.... )
    Quote Originally Posted by goldenwave77
    Quote Originally Posted by JonR
    The author Christopher Small (in Music of the Common Tongue) described how the music of the "African diaspora" - i.e. the music created by slaves and their descendants - introduced (or re-introduced) to western society a whole different way of experiencing music: a living, democratic, truly participatory one. Everyone involved, with no elitist cult of the "genius" composer with a hotline to God. No Beethovens or Mozarts in Africa. In Africa, everyone partakes in music to some degree - if not actually playing an instrument, then singing, clapping and dancing.

    This might be true, but they are not playing jazz. Be honest, with the exception of Dudu Pakwana and some others, and there are some others, "jazz" is not really an indigenous African art form.
    Absolutely! Blues neither. Both are purely American forms, created from a cultural marriage.
    E.g., there is no "swing" in Africa... But there is swing, of a kind, in some European folk musics.
    The "African diaspora" contributed an attitude to playing music, more than specific musical elements themselves (aside from the melodic habits that found their way into blues, maybe).
    Quote Originally Posted by goldenwave77
    During the days of Black Power in the 60's, a lot of black American jazz musicians put on a Dai-shiki, went over to Africa, and found....that the music they were playing was alien and strange to the people there....
    Sure. Jazz by that time had progressed well beyond its origins. (I'm guessing what kind of jazz they took over there...)
    But Ali Farke Toure has said he recognised a cousin in John Lee Hooker. Blues (at least the primitive kind) has a closer connection with African habits (Malian at least).

  7. #56

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    Quote Originally Posted by goldenwave77
    But always for the purposes of creating an event, an social experience that joined people together.
    (The way I like to see it is that the slaves ended up liberating their masters, from the stultifying effects of elitist European culture.)


    This is tendentious claptrap....bebop, in particular, is about as far from inviting audience participation as can be....that was a considerable part of its appeal
    Yes. In a sense, bebop abandoned jazz's African heritage, by making it elitist. (Although Dizzy retained an allegiance to rhythm above all.)
    They did it with the best of intentions, as big band jazz was becoming too commercial, too restricting. The beboppers created a private, alternative club, an expression of virtuoso artistry and avant garde invention more in line with traditional European concepts of "Art".
    They left the mass audience behind much as the post-romantic art composers did at the beginning of the 20thC.
    Jazz split into safe mass appeal music produced by commercial companies on the one hand, and small-group expressionism on the other.
    The music I'm talking about in my quote above is the popular forms of African-American music: hot jazz, swing, blues, R&B, reggae, salsa, rumba, samba, calypso, etc etc. All of them based around dance, of course. (Dancing is kind of the elephant in the room here. Wait a second.... get that dancing elephant outa here!! )
    You weren't supposed to dance to bebop (unless you were Dizzy of course, or maybe Monk) - you were supposed to sit there, stroke your chin and say "yeah man".
    Quote Originally Posted by goldenwave77
    ....inventing a music that was so difficult that it couldn't be ripped off and appropriated by audience or dance bands or dance audiences. Jazz was popular briefly, during the Swing Era, when it sought audience participation, but to many musicians, playing 2 hrs./night and waiting for your 8 bars of solo work, just wasn't satisfying...a small jazz combo is ALL about putting the solo performer front and center as the focal point.
    Yes. It's about "stop dancing and listen to ME".
    Quote Originally Posted by goldenwave77
    Music audiences who dislike/are bored by jazz, don't dislike jazz....if they were, they wouldn't bother to be there at all....what they dislike is uninspired improvisation....namely real-time composition that is not skillfully done...it is very difficult...but when it happens, it is magic.
    Yes, but you don't get the "magic" unless you understand the language. You have to be part of the club. Not a musician yourself, necessarily, but a fully paid up aficionado.
    Quote Originally Posted by goldenwave77
    Listening to something is a REALLY fleeting sensory perception...how many of us come to like tones that we were not crazy about at first hearing?!.....so, UNLESS you give an audience something to latch onto....call it a "hook" if you want, then they'll probably not like, or remember what was played....that is why long, "indulgent" solos don't connect...musicians who have spent years honing their craft have to learn to not try to show everything they know in every chorus....and that is what musical taste is about.
    Right.
    The more complicated the music, the more education in that genre we need in order to make sense of every moment. (No doubt I'd appreciate Beethoven more if I'd been properly educated in the forms and principles he was applying. Although I suspect he'd still sound somewhat... irrelevant. Speaking to someone else, not to me.)

    The point about "fleeting sensory perception" is a great one, and is actually critical to all music. Music is nothing but sound, and only exists in the present moment. It forces us to pay attention to the present moment, and compare this sound with sounds of the immediate past, and tempt us to forecast the next sound. It holds our attention like nothing else. (Theatre and cinema are also "arts of time", but they employ the familiar language of words and images.)
    IMO that's why jazz is - in principle - the greatest kind of music (in western culture) because it's predicated wholly on improvisation, on live performance, making music that has never existed before and never will again - so pay attention now! Recording it and listening to it later is kind of beside the point. (Recorded music - designed to be listened to again and again - often in private - is a different kind of art form.)
    In fact, when comparing it to classical music, it's easy to miss the point that - in its day - classical music (like all music) was the same: a live artform of the present moment. Obviously each performance of a score (unlike a jazz performance) was more or less the same, but still an essentially live experience. No chance to pause and repeat a difficult bit!

    I'm not saying "it don't mean a thing if you can't dance to it" . The point here (Small's point) was that African-American music managed to connect to audiences - of all colours and nations - in a way that the indigenous cultures of those nations had somehow forgotten how to do.
    I wouldn't even exclude bebop from this, because the point was about making music live, of the moment. Not just the immediate present in which all music exists, but music relative to contemporary society, expressing its moods. In comparison, classical music was either backward looking, or inward looking. As for popular music (outside of jazz) - vaudeville? parlour music? - that was cheap and ephemeral, nostalgic and sentimental, while any surviving traditional folk forms were for any surviving peasants.
    African-American music was gutsy. Naturally it was (and still is!) accused of vulgarity and worse - but that was the point. No one else was making music like that, and someone had to. "The end of civilisation as we know it!" - thank goodness!

  8. #57

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    Quote Originally Posted by Banksia
    I'm not misreading anything. I'm saying that this alleged "hegemony" never existed in peasant societies in Europe and those European peasants brought their folk traditions with them to America. The same tiny elite who supported Mozart and Beethoven in Europe were copied by the tiny American elite in their Orchestra Halls and Opera Houses in the major cities but you can bet the Irish Diaspora migrants weren't playing Schubert at their Saturday night dances.

    Before the 1930s the USA had a predominantly rural population. As such, they didn't have the concentrated populations to sustain European orchestras, ballets and operas, which is how I interpret "European classical tradition."
    I don't disagree with any of this, so I'm (still) not sure what you're disagreeing with me about. As I said, I think I must have expressed myself badly.

    I suspect there was a difference between the USA and Britain, in terms of how the European tradition was respected.
    Christopher Small is actually from New Zealand, but was educated and worked in the UK. So his perspective on US culture is as an outsider. Over here, we do tend to see America (at least African-American culture) as liberating us from the dead hand of classical Europe, to whose apron strings we naturally feel more attached. We also tend to see the USA as one big single culture, rather than a mix of different states with their own heritages.
    To white British youth in the 1960s, Route 66 was a kind of magical "stairway to heaven" - it sounded great even when we got the place names wrong. At the same time, visiting US bluesmen were gods and heroes - we wanted them artificially "unspoilt" (unfortunately), but there was no racist prejudice towards them; they were exotic visitors to be marvelled at, not second class citizens we were used to ignoring.
    So African-American culture meant something more profound and serious over here than it may have done to non-African-Americans over there. Hence the Beatles, Stones, Clapton, Led Zep, Elton John, et al.

  9. #58

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    Quote Originally Posted by JonR
    I don't disagree with any of this, so I'm (still) not sure what you're disagreeing with me about. As I said, I think I must have expressed myself badly.

    Well, you have certainly made a lot of very reasonable points in these latest responses.

    I am a lover of history, and no objective, accurate observer of U.S. history can paper over difficulties in race relations. On the other hand, there was, during the 1920's in the U.S. a kind of hokey, inaccurate worship of "Negritude" that was combination of ignorance, and maybe a bit of the Noble Savage idea from European thought...e.g. black women dressed up in scanty banana-clad outfits in the whites only nightclub in Harlem, the Cotton Club. For another example, see the novel "Nigger Heaven". Apart from condescending and racist portraits, Negritude is guilty of "essentialism"---the idea that there is some inborn, almost genetic difference in different races that ends up taking cultural forms, or expression. This is really dangerous thinking...it can easily be inverted and used to justify bad behavior by whatever group happens to be dominant.


    We also tend to see the USA as one big single culture, rather than a mix of different states with their own heritages. To white British youth in the 1960s, Route 66 was a kind of magical "stairway to heaven" - it sounded great even when we got the place names wrong.

    In my lifetime, I've seen a LOT of regional differences being erased and softened. This has its good and bad points but the U.S. even today, is still not a monoculture. There are still significant regional differences. "Rt. 66" is a funny song...it celebrates a bunch of minor league cities on a pre-interstate road...of course songs like this always become popular when the underlying reality they are celebrating is almost extinct: As one of my art history professors used to tell us---when something becomes a museum exhibit, its probably on its way to becoming dead, in a grass-roots cultural sense. (There is probably a rap music museum somewhere, or will soon be...actually come to think of it, that would be a good thing, IMO.) Funny that Nat King Cole sang this---he was one of the first great crossover artists, and the 1st black to have a major national television show in the U.S., back when there were basically 3 television stations. (Even then, it was not broadcast in some parts of the U.S. south.) Ten yrs. later, MoTown records became pretty much the first black run record company to have huge success.

    British culture is funny: A big part of the Beatles success was that they were cultural outsiders in their own country...Scowsers, I think was the term....Lennon never really made peace with the British cultural establishment....McCartney played courtier for a while--tooling around with "Lady Jane" Asher, and in the end Sir Paul made peace with the BBC/upper class types with the "cut glass accents", though he didn't really need them, the Beatles having succeeded in creating their own power base.

    At the same time, visiting US bluesmen were gods and heroes - we wanted them artificially "unspoilt" (unfortunately), but there was no racist prejudice towards them; they were exotic visitors to be marvelled at, not second class citizens we were used to ignoring.
    So African-American culture meant something more profound and serious over here than it may have done to non-African-Americans over there. Hence the Beatles, Stones, Clapton, Led Zep, Elton John, et al
    .
    I think this is true. But black Americans also kind of turned their backs on the black blues artist who had their popular success for a while...Muddy Waters became a minor-league act. A bunch of these old timers were hunted down, and brought back to play at folk festivals and the like...was it Firesign Theatre or Monty Python or maybe Cheech and Chong who satirized "Blind Melon Chitlin'"? One positive effect of the white artists who basically ripped off these black artists was that these older guys had a second career....Albert King with Stevie Ray Vaughn, Muddy Waters with Johnny Winter are just two that I can think of. I had older brothers--they would bring home a record, say John Mayall or Mike Bloomfield...you'd read the record liner notes and see mention of the guys who inspired them...you'd listen a few times to the newer record, and then you'd go find the good stuff...the original stuff.

    I still think that real-time creative composition, i.e. jazz improvisation, requires more talent and ability than a lot of classical stuff...sure you need chops and technique to play difficult classical stuff, but the music is THERE...you don't see many true jazz prodigies but there are classical music piano and violin prodigies who are turned out like sardines in a can...every year you can count on more of them, if one of them ends up burning out, or falling short.

    On 2nd thought, I WILL concede that jazz music played in a small group, requires a group back and forth, and interplay, that I don't think exists in classical stuff...even string quartet stuff....maybe back when Chopin and Liszt would trade chops/improvise codas for the benefit of a salon audience, this might have been present in classical stuff as well. (I suppose baroque stuff also requires a degree of interplay as well: I will defer to people more knowledgeable than I when it comes to this.)


    PS: Somehow the "quotation box" enclosed itself around a portion of my response...it's all one response, and bolded parts are the parts I'm responding to.

  10. #59

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    I think it's pretty easy to break down the music and explain what's going on. There isn't that many years of music to come up with characteristic common practice for different periods. You can pick your style of jazz. It's definable.

    The performance aspect can also be explained... It's not a written tradition. I think most of the problems with jazz come from non jazz players performing jazz. That's also part of the audience problem. Audience participation isn't just dancing.

    Sorry, problem isn't the right word... we as the performers of jazz have the responsibility to help keep the music alive... not showcase ourselves. there 's a balance there.

    I was one of those west coast rockers from the sixties who improvised and played jazz... there were others who performed worked out improv...different approach. I think I remember checkin out Jimi and Canonball same week while playin gig down the street. The social aspect of playing jazz is interesting...

  11. #60

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    Quote Originally Posted by Reg

    I was one of those west coast rockers from the sixties who improvised and played jazz... there were others who performed worked out improv...different approach. I think I remember checkin out Jimi and Canonball same week while playin gig down the street. The social aspect of playing jazz is interesting...
    I'd be interested in hearing more about this

  12. #61

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    The gigs, the improv or the social thing

  13. #62

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    Quote Originally Posted by Reg
    Audience participation isn't just dancing.
    Yes!

    And as a side point if you play for people who purely dance, you realise that the interaction can be minimal. It's merely a beat that they dance to. The solo's etc can be completely irrelevant.

    Good jazz & swing dancers are those who interact with the music - but this is more the relationship between improvising performers, not musician/audience. It's also hard to interact with more than one dancer/couple. Fantastic fun when it happens though!

  14. #63

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    All of it I guess, but primarily the social thing. How it's changed, how it's stayed the same. Also the different interactions between the rock people and jazz people, those different worlds.

  15. #64

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    So... when I played in rockish bands back in the 6o's tunes were basically like jazz lead sheets... there were groove sections that were open for solos. You never really new where it might go. All this obviously also depended on players also.

    Think grateful dead but jazz players... just the way it was. You could be playing at the filmore, usually at least 6 bands, anyway in the late 60's there was generally at least one jazz act and local jazz bands sometimes opened the hall up while the audience came in.

    The rock thing was a different type of gig, audiences were there as a social group by themselves and interacted within them selves... during that time we were all part of a new social movement... breaking away from the older somewhat military relationship between the government and citizens.... I don't want to get into politics, but the jazz audience was there for the music... to see and be part of great new performances of the music. And as the rock show thing began to develop... the audience changed again. Not that many went with the jazz thing. It even went further in the direction of a social event... the music became more of a secondary dominant...

    Now for jazz to have an audience you need to entertain, the social event isn't about being part of the music... it's about being where or what the show is. More in the pop direction.

  16. #65

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    Quote Originally Posted by goldenwave77
    I think this is true. But black Americans also kind of turned their backs on the black blues artist who had their popular success for a while...
    That's right. African-American popular culture is always moving forward. Blues lost its relevance in 1960s as gospel and soul became more fashionable, giving way in turn to funk and (eventually) hip-hop and rap.
    Of course, just as blacks dropped the blues, whites picked it up. As you say, that kept the careers of the (still surviving) bigger artists going. Muddy, B B, Albert, etc, found themselves playing to white audiences instead.
    I see post-1960 blues as essentially a revivalist form, always looking backwards - rather like bebop and other kinds of vintage jazz (or pop/rock) styles. The fact that it's "dead" means it can be "preserved" within well-understood parameters, and faithfully reconstructed. It no longer evolves, but can still have "life".

    "Jazz" - in the present - was never about genres, it was always about an attitude to playing whatever was around. As some have said, "jazz" is what you call it when you look back. It's a record company category, a commercial pigeon-hole. In the present, it's just "music", or "improvised music".
    "Blues" was much the same, it just tended to be in the hands of less educated musicians, working within a rural or folk tradition. They'd play folk tunes and vaudeville if they felt like it, or if their audiences wanted it. In the cities, it became amplified, and began dealing with the new conditions of blacks in cities. That was until the next generation rejected its folksy "uncle tom" connotations, and developed their own music.
    That old-fashioned, gritty crudeness the 60s black kids saw as hopelessly unsophisticated was - of course - exactly the quality that appealed to 60s white kids: because it smacked of unspoilt "authenticity". That's a common attitude in white culture, of course: always feeling that their (our) own culture lacks something deep and honest, and we need to look elsewhere for something more "real" - because we also see our own folk culture as embarrassingly unsophisticated!
    It always appeared to me as if the American black funk fans attitude to blues was an exact parallel to 1960s British white rock fans attitude to traditional folk and morris dancing! "You expect us to continue that tradition? Get outa here, grandad!"

    Something similar (but more complex) happened - and continues to happen - in jazz, with the black artists always seeking to take the music forward (seeing it as "theirs" culturally), while white artists often like to venerate the dead guys, and preserve the older traditions. Obviously I'm generalizing wildly here! - there's much more racial overlap between the two camps in jazz than in blues. There's avant garde white jazz musicians, and revivalist black ones.

    Naturally, a full understanding of the past is essential if music is to move forward meaningfully. You can't really play "modern" jazz properly (IMHO) if you haven't been schooled in the tradition. The question is only whether you choose to stay with trad styles, recycling them, or build on them with new stuff.
    Last edited by JonR; 02-27-2016 at 03:03 PM.

  17. #66

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    Quote Originally Posted by Reg
    the music became more of a secondary dominant...
    Hey it's music right, you gotta have secondary dominants!

    Seriously, this is really interesting to hear. So was it just that jazz gigs were more about going to listen and even if the music was new and revolutionary, the atmosphere was less political than the rock thing? Or was the jazz audience less involved with the upheaval of the time in general? And it sounds like you're saying rock started with some of that political message but that got lost, is that right?

    Also, what exactly do you mean you have to entertain for jazz to have an audience?

  18. #67

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    I'd say every kind of music has its own social relationship with its audience. It's all about "entertaining", but it may be at different levels or in different ways.

    Reg is quite right that rock was very political (small "p") in the 1960s. Even to be a rock fan felt like a revolutionary stance, putting yourself outside the status quo. To choose to wear your hair long, or refuse to wear a suit and tie, was a political statement. You could certainly lose your job, even get beaten up for it. To actually be a rock musician was like deciding to be an anarchist. You were rejecting everything your parents' generation stood for (everything), you were refusing to work for "The Man". That was powerful because it was a generational thing - not only were you hopelessly irrelevant if you were over 25, but (unlike the jazz fan) you needed no insider knowledge or musical intelligence, so it was a big cultural force.
    Jazz had been an equivalent force back in the 1920s - threatening so-called "civilisation" - but the beboppers took it underground and avant garde, limiting its mass appeal at the same time as the music itself could have been said to be even more revolutionary.
    The most forward-looking of jazz musicians (with Miles at their head) always did push the music into confrontational regions - but society in general could always regard it as an irrelevant self-contained elite, partly baffling, partly amusing, with no wider effect on society in general. There was some connection with "black power" and similar political movements in the 1960s, as the music became a source of aesthetic cultural pride. But by and large it was for intellectuals.

    Jazz audiences were always much smaller than rock audiences. To a jazz audience the music is the thing, and its meaning is always related to other jazz music. The improvisation is the point, which means knowledge of previous jazz music, its sounds and principles, is essential. For the more superficial fan, it's about admiring cleverness or virtuosity, spotting references, but for the real fan it's about immersion in the culture (as well as the former things, probably). In that sense, it's as social as it is purely musical. Or rather, the music expresses social connections as well as aural, formal ones. A true jazz fan has certain kinds of beliefs about what an ideal society is, and what ideal human relationships are - it's going to be democratic (small "d"), for a start. People should interact the same way musicians interact on stage: with each other as well as with the material and with the venue and the audience. Intelligently and respectfully, loose and open, with no hierarchy, but still with a sense of organisation. If you feel that way already, you'll probably like jazz; and vice versa.

    With a rock audience - then as now, pretty much - it's even more about the social identification, less about finer details of musical understanding. Some rock music can be as sophisticated and complex as jazz, but not many fans will get it in that way; it will still be the groove, the overall vibe and intensity that gets most of them. The rock fans will cheer and whistle at one long high, loud note, because it's a scream that communicates intensity and passion. They'll react less to something clever. Cleverness is kind of beside the point. The "immersion" involved is more a purely aural one, simply because the music is loud, it envelops you. Volume is really the main thing the rock audience wants, to be embraced by the decibels. The rest is secondary. Hearing clearly how each note relates to the others (which is what jazz is about, and classical music come to that) doesn't much concern the rock audience, although they welcome familiarity of form.
    Of course, rock music now is a conservative culture, safely within well-defined parameters, no longer political or challenging in any way, no longer shocking (despite the feeble attempts of some). Its fans tend to be married with kids, sometimes with grandkids. If it has a powerful social flavour, it's a nostalgic one, for their youth, when they felt the music actually did express their passion and their desire to break from their own parents. And oddly, it seems rock music can still have that value (to some extent anyway) for each generation, even now its form is generic and predictable, its language fully mainstream. We all recognise the poses, the stances, not as signs of real rebellion, but as mock rebellion, as fashion statement or post-modern irony.
    Where popular music does occasionally seem to threaten, it's in the peripherals, such as (most often) drugs. Of course the 60s revolution came with drugs attached, but they weren't as central as hindsight sometimes likes to see it. The music then had a power to shock even without the drugs. In recent decades, it seems, new musical forms want to get attached to a new drug in order to seem more revolutionary. Dance music and techno is safe and unthreatening - unless you link it with ecstasy or acid! Then it seems "dangerous", which suits both its fans and its detractors.
    Last edited by JonR; 03-01-2016 at 07:56 AM.

  19. #68

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    Quote Originally Posted by JonR
    I'd say every kind of music has its own social relationship with its audience. It's all about "entertaining", but it may be at different levels or in different ways.

    Reg is quite right that rock was very political (small "p") in the 1960s. Even to be a rock fan felt like a revolutionary stance, putting yourself outside the status quo. To choose to wear your hair long, or refuse to wear a suit and tie, was a political statement. You could certainly lose your job, even get beaten up for it. To actually be a rock musician was like deciding to be an anarchist. You were rejecting everything your parents' generation stood for (everything), you were refusing to work for "The Man". That was powerful because it was a generational thing - not only were you hopelessly irrelevant if you were over 25, but (unlike the jazz fan) you needed no insider knowledge or musical intelligence, so it was a big cultural force.
    Jazz had been an equivalent force back in the 1920s - threatening so-called "civilisation" - but the beboppers took it underground and avant garde, limiting its mass appeal at the same time as the music itself could have been said to be even more revolutionary.
    The most forward-looking of jazz musicians (with Miles at their head) always did push the music into confrontational regions - but society in general could always regard it as an irrelevant self-contained elite, partly baffling, partly amusing, with no wider effect on society in general. There was some connection with "black power" and similar political movements in the 1960s, as the music became a source of aesthetic cultural pride. But by and large it was for intellectuals.

    Jazz audiences were always much smaller than rock audiences. To a jazz audience the music is the thing, and its meaning is always related to other jazz music. The improvisation is the point, which means knowledge of previous jazz music, its sounds and principles, is essential. For the more superficial fan, it's about admiring cleverness or virtuosity, spotting references, but for the real fan it's about immersion in the culture (as well as the former things, probably). In that sense, it's as social as it is purely musical. Or rather, the music expresses social connections as well as aural, formal ones. A true jazz fan has certain kinds of beliefs about what an ideal society is, and what ideal human relationships are - it's going to be democratic (small "d"), for a start. People should interact the same way musicians interact on stage: with each other as well as with the material and with the venue and the audience. Intelligently and respectfully, loose and open, with no hierarchy, but still with a sense of organisation. If you feel that way already, you'll probably like jazz; and vice versa.

    With a rock audience - then as now, pretty much - it's even more about the social identification, less about finer details of musical understanding. Some rock music can be as sophisticated and complex as jazz, but not many fans will get it in that way; it will still be the groove, the overall vibe and intensity that gets most of them. The rock fans will cheer and whistle at one long high, loud note, because it's a scream that communicates intensity and passion. They'll react less to something clever. Cleverness is kind of beside the point. The "immersion" involved is more a purely aural one, simply because the music is loud, it envelops you. Volume is really the main thing the rock audience wants, to be embraced by the decibels. The rest is secondary. Hearing clearly how each note relates to the others (which is what jazz is about, and classical music come to that) doesn't much concern the rock audience, although they welcome familiarity of form.
    Of course, rock music now is a conservative culture, safely within well-defined parameters, no longer political or challenging in any way, no longer shocking (despite the feeble attempts of some). Its fans tend to be married with kids, sometimes with grandkids. If it has a powerful social flavour, it's a nostalgic one, for their youth, when they felt the music actually did express their passion and their desire to break from their own parents. And oddly, it seems rock music can still have that value (to some extent anyway) for each generation, even now its form is generic and predictable, its language fully mainstream. We all recognise the poses, the stances, not as signs of real rebellion, but as mock rebellion, as fashion statement or post-modern irony.
    Where popular music does occasionally seem to threaten, it's in the peripherals, such as (most often) drugs. Of course the 60s revolution came with drugs attached, but they weren't as central as hindsight sometimes likes to see it. The music then had a power to shock even without the drugs. In recent decades, it seems, new musical forms want to get attached to a new drug in order to seem more revolutionary. Dance music and techno is safe and unthreatening - unless you link it with ecstasy or acid! Then it seems "dangerous", which suits both its fans and its detractors.
    Interesting post Jon....

    I notice when I play swing gigs that when the clarinet plays a big old top note, the crowd goes wild... So back in the 1920s/30s I guess swing hit the spot the same way as rock does today...

    That said the thing that gets me about jazz is the rhythm, the swing. This is as true for modern stuff as it is for early stuff. I'm not actually that interested in how 'hearing clearly how each note relates to the others', except within the framework of rhythm. Probably my ears aren't good enough (yet) to do that in real time, TBH, but I love jazz anyway.

    For me jazz is ALL about the drums, and all the other instruments on top are an added bonus. If a musician plays groove as well as a good drummer, I tend to like them. If not, I tend to get bored. I'm not very clever.

    I don't see it as fundamentally different from any African American inspired music in that much. The rhythms tend to be more complicated and non repeating that rock/funk etc. The nearest thing to a jazz solo in contemporary culture is some of the more rhythmically interesting rappers.

    But yeah, modern jazz is quite resistant to commodification. I know elsewhere I have said that that is it's problem for jazz, but it is also perhaps the thing that is great about it... Anyway, things aren't neat.

    Modern rock music is also fundamentally different from the early rock music of the late '60s. That music drew a lot from modal jazz. Listen to the drummers, for instance. Now it's all been tidied up. Punk may have killed progressive rock for artistic, non-commercial reasons, but it wasn't long before the moguls realised that a 3 minute pop song was more marketable in combination with the music video than the 12 minute album track....

    Crystal Palace is full of 30 an 40 somethings who still think late 90's dance music is cool :-) Most people get stuck in their youth I guess. I suppose we all do. But I was always a grandpa when it came to music haha. I like modern music now more than I did when I was 20 haha....
    Last edited by christianm77; 03-01-2016 at 08:29 AM.

  20. #69

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    [QUOTE=JonR;625181]I'd say every kind of music has its own social relationship with its audience. It's all about "entertaining", but it may be at different levels or in different ways.

    Very interesting post with a lot of good points.

    Reg is quite right that rock was very political (small "p") in the 1960s. Even to be a rock fan felt like a revolutionary stance, putting yourself outside the status quo. To choose to wear your hair long, or refuse to wear a suit and tie, was a political statement. You could certainly lose your job, even get beaten up for it. To actually be a rock musician was like deciding to be an anarchist. You were rejecting everything your parents' generation stood for (everything), you were refusing to work for "The Man". That was powerful because it was a generational thing - not only were you hopelessly irrelevant if you were over 25, but (unlike the jazz fan) you needed no insider knowledge or musical intelligence, so it was a big cultural force
    .

    This is accurate and well-stated. The problem is---generational revolt, or what I call the "Iron Law of Teenagers"--"if my parents like it, it must be bad"--- is a negation, and can become incoherent or poorly founded. None of this is new--Turgenev wrote Fathers and Sons in 1862, and we know that the youth of Athens was ill-mannered and undisciplined.

    More or less, the Counterculture was united by anti-Vietnam war sentiment...by 1974 the U.S. was out of Vietnam, and the Counterculture had faded away. Jane Fonda was what the KGB used to refer to as "a useful idiot." I'm sure that young Futurists and proto-Fascists of the 19-teens and 1920's thought their parents attachment to Parliamentary democracy, hopelessly fuddy-duddy. The Baby Boomers ushered into a self-based point of reference--the "Me Generation" which has now mutated into what I think is truly toxic marketing and consumerism, all made more disturbing by digital technology and information gathering and monitoring.


    Jazz audiences were always much smaller than rock audiences. To a jazz audience the music is the thing, and its meaning is always related to other jazz music. The improvisation is the point, which means knowledge of previous jazz music, its sounds and principles, is essential. For the more superficial fan, it's about admiring cleverness or virtuosity, spotting references, but for the real fan it's about immersion in the culture (as well as the former things, probably).

    I think this is right. I don't think there are many jazz fans who have not listened a lot...or who don't have extensive record collections.

    With a rock audience - then as now, pretty much - it's even more about the social identification, less about finer details of musical understanding. Some rock music can be as sophisticated and complex as jazz, but not many fans will get it in that way; it will still be the groove, the overall vibe and intensity that gets most of them. The rock fans will cheer and whistle at one long high, loud note, because it's a scream that communicates intensity and passion. They'll react less to something clever. Cleverness is kind of beside the point. The "immersion" involved is more a purely aural one, simply because the music is loud, it envelops you.

    Some of this was true with Big Band as well. Artie Shaw satirized the audience's simplicity with 'Opus One" and the beboppers reacted against by their virtuosic posture.

    Of course, rock music now is a conservative culture, safely within well-defined parameters, no longer political or challenging in any way, no longer shocking (despite the feeble attempts of some).

    I think this had happened by 1974. I can remember looking at Guitar Player Magazine back then in the candy store. They had page-long ads with rock bands listed, and you checked a box to buy your black T-shirt with the band name on it. Marshall amps and Les Paul-type guitars cranked loud....not a lot of originality in most of these bands....the corporate marketing infrastructure was already in place. Progressive rock had some interesting moments: Most prog rock fans might have been jazz nerds 15 years earlier. I remember being on the campus of Indiana Univ. in 1975 for 8 weeks. Woody Shaw was playing locally. A friend of mine and I climbed up onto a nightclub roof to listen to him thru the ventilation skylight. (We were too young to be let in.) Another kid we asked to go with us, said "Woody Who?!" We should have known better--he had two KISS black t-shirts. Talk about square.
    Last edited by goldenwave77; 03-01-2016 at 10:46 AM.

  21. #70

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    I enjoyed reading historical Downbeat articles from the 30s and realising they were indistinguishable from the type of journalism that you get in the modern day 'music' press.

    No wonder Artie Shaw got sick of the whole thing.

  22. #71
    I once had a conversation with a punk rock guitarist, who only knew 3 chords.

    I asked him what the thought jazz was, he told me, anything with 4 or more chords.

    I guess what is jazz depends on which pond you swim in.


  23. #72

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    Quote Originally Posted by PatrickJazzGuitar
    I once had a conversation with a punk rock guitarist, who only knew 3 chords.

    I asked him what the thought jazz was, he told me, anything with 4 or more chords.

    I guess what is jazz depends on which pond you swim in.

    Does that make Little Sunflower or So What not jazz?

  24. #73

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    Quote Originally Posted by PatrickJazzGuitar
    I once had a conversation with a punk rock guitarist, who only knew 3 chords.

    I asked him what the thought jazz was, he told me, anything with 4 or more chords.

    I guess what is jazz depends on which pond you swim in.

    Does that make Little Sunflower or So What not jazz? :-)

  25. #74

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Does that make Little Sunflower or So What not jazz? :-)
    Boom!

  26. #75

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    To me Jazz is both a genre and an approach (jazz theory). I think had the jazz community viewed it more as an approach we can take toward other styles and open up more to that thinking, jazz would be a lot more mainstream today.

  27. #76

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    my claim was that it is not a form of music the main purpose of which is to be listened to

    it is a form of music the main point of which is to be joined in with

    its a practice (a thing to join in with) - not a commodity (a thing to buy and use)

    (if you want to say 'its whatever you think it is' - it might be better not to bother)

  28. #77

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    Quote Originally Posted by Groyniad
    my claim was that it is not a form of music the main purpose of which is to be listened to

    it is a form of music the main point of which is to be joined in with

    its a practice (a thing to join in with) - not a commodity (a thing to buy and use)

    (if you want to say 'its whatever you think it is' - it might be better not to bother)
    I dunno. I see jazz as more kind of contained than that. I'm reminded of what Mingus said about Minton's. Not just anyone could play there. The same I'm sure would have been true of the jam sessions of the 1930's and so on, so it's not just a bop thing.

    But there are some very interesting elements to your description. The fact that the jazz musician's art is completely unrecognised in copyright law, for example. It's not a commodity at all in that sense.

  29. #78

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    Some interesting stuff here. It's a little disturbing to see people who think that improvisation is somehow new, or that it is alien to classical music. Bach would improvise fugues. His "casual" approach to composition included writing a full cantata a week, every week for a couple of years. Mozart and Beethoven were both firstly, and primarily, famous as improvisers.

    Figured bass asks was a system in which the continuo player was supposed to improvise against the notated bass line and figures (think of a more sophisticated lead sheet). Mozart has extremely simple left hand lines, and figures, in his concertos. He wrote these for his own use, and would improvise the left hand accompaniments as he played his concertos. Moreover, any concerto soloist was expected to improvise on the cadenzas to the concerto.

    At this time, most music that was written and published was for the benefit of accomplished amateurs. All of that changed in the 19th century with the advent of the concert hall performance, and as a result of that move, improvisation started to fall out of the music, and there became a growing distinction between performers and composers.

    For some discussion of the great composers abilities as improvisers, look here

    https://ericbarnhill.wordpress.com/f...improvisation/

  30. #79

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    To me, jazz has four essential elements:

    1) Swing. It might be laid-back, it might rush the beat with some funk, it might be in three, four, six, or nine, but it's got swing, makes you want to move.

    2) Improvisation. Someone in the band is taking flight, hopefully more than one at a time, and sometimes all surrender to the moment. It's about taking risks, dancing as close to the cliff without going over, in real time -- no second takes, no do-overs. A sub-element of this is listening -- in jazz, you can hear the guys playing off each others' riffs, modifying and taking the song elsewhere based on a whim one might have. Or, a solo player like Pass will let loose with a run out of nowhere that really takes us somewhere ... namely into the next change.

    3) Extensions and alterations to the harmony that take the listener somewhere outside the purview of standard diatonic harmony, opening up possibilities for those improvising to set up tensions and releases which are not in the mainstream lexicon.

    4) Dynamics. Soft, loud, fast, slow, tender, brutal, it can all happen in the same song.

    Quote Originally Posted by JonR
    [...]The author Christopher Small (in Music of the Common Tongue) described how the music of the "African diaspora" - i.e. the music created by slaves and their descendants - introduced (or re-introduced) to western society a whole different way of experiencing music: a living, democratic, truly participatory one. Everyone involved, with no elitist cult of the "genius" composer with a hotline to God. No Beethovens or Mozarts in Africa. In Africa, everyone partakes in music to some degree - if not actually playing an instrument, then singing, clapping and dancing.
    The slaves found some echoes of African music in the folk musics imported from Europe, and naturally adapted what they heard around them. But always for the purposes of creating an event, an social experience that joined people together.
    (The way I like to see it is that the slaves ended up liberating their masters, from the stultifying effects of elitist European culture.)

    The way jazz differs from most other vernacular music is in the degree and status of improvisation. All vernacular music (folk, blues, rock etc) involves some degree of improvisation - even classical music can, in tiny amounts - but in jazz it's central: it's the whole point of the performance.

    That's usually what separates those who don't get jazz: they don't get the idea of improvisation. They want tunes they can recognise, or sing along to, or dance to, or all three. They want to be entertained but, to them, improvisation is just the musicians messing around meaninglessly in the middle for their own interest. ("What's up, have they forgotten how it goes?" )

    [...]


    Jazz is the one form of western music which has elevated improvisation to a high art, made it its raison d'etre. When a jazz musician composes a tune, he/she creates it primarily as a vehicle for improvisation. That's not the case with composition in any other genre.

    And what that means, in turn, is that live performance is where jazz comes alive. It's a little meaningless when recorded - a jazz recording simply preserves one performance, one possible take of the tune.

    [...]
    Great points in a really good post, JR.

  31. #80

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    I think there is Jazz the genre and the spirit jazz.

  32. #81

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    Quote Originally Posted by wolflen
    Point taken...but here is a reason why many people WANT the live performance of rock/pop style music to be "just like the record" A paraphrased quote from Glen Frey..

    "..we played the backround music of peoples lives.."

    and yes..people have inner experiences of their lives that are connected to a song and they want to "re-live" it..they want to feel the same way they did when they heard that song on the radio or wherever they heard it..
    Pete Townshend said something along the lines of, "I can play my hits, but I can't recreate the moment when you were losing your virginity and "You'd Better You'd Bet" came on the radio.

  33. #82

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    I propose we banish categorizing by genre and go back to labeling music by what dance steps it's suited for. what is jazz?

  34. #83

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    Let me try and throw a wrench in this whole thing. Where do whole pieces containing no improvisation written and played by "jazz" musicians, purposely written and intended as a jazz piece fall? If there is no improve, is it "jazz"?
    You mean like The Grand Wazoo by Frank Zappa?
    Last edited by Hugo Gainly; 02-27-2020 at 10:38 AM.

  35. #84

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    I’ve been drawn lately towards the idea that what makes jazz jazz is really its social organisation and community.

    Come to think of it, that’s what keeps me in it, actually more than the music itself (I love all kinds of music.)

  36. #85

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    I’ve been drawn lately towards the idea that what makes jazz jazz is really its social organisation and community.
    But you could say that about trainspotting or cake-baking groups. But you wouldn't say their sociability is what makes a train a train or a cake a cake.

    I'm not being flippant, it's a serious comment. The fact that a love of jazz holds them together surely isn't what makes jazz jazz?

    Anyway, jazz is like God. People believe in it but no one knows what it is :-)

  37. #86

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    Jazz is the stuff that stained Monica Lewinski's dress. Presidential jazz.

  38. #87

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    Interesting that there are several threads on the 'what is jazz' theme on this forum; one, particularly raw and bloody. I also love and have played - can't say 'play' really now - flamenco and similar arguments rage there - fakemenko, neuvo flamenco etc. There are broad attempts at definition but not universally accepted. As a mature student I did a 'Popular Music Studies' degree so I could change stream in my lecturing so-called career and almost the first thing that was said was 'we don't know how to define 'Pop Music' but we know what we mean'. In fact, The Mahavishnu orchestra, Can, Bing and Coltrane were all considered Pop.

    I think there are two questions here: One, can you define a genre which is effectively organic, and if you can why are you doing it? Two, this thread refers to 'jazz' with the implication that it is not merely the characteristics of the music itself which is the subject of the question.

    Is there a system of values that more closely relates to jazz than other musics? Probably; pretty well outlined above with aspects of rhythm, importance of impro etc. I offer the music I create as having aspects of jazz only. I firmly believe that for most people what we like is what we experienced in that first rush of mania in our young lives. For me, that was early The Beatles; out-there jazz (late Coltrane, Albert Ayler, Archie Shepp etc), Blues (Son House etc), the Underground as we called it in Britain; Zappa and Beefheart in the US; The UK Canterbury scene etc. I've been able to love other music since then, but the basic principles of that early music pertain through all of what I like. So, I could probably point to the aspects of jazz I like within it, but I couldn't define it.

    I don't think one can ever fully define a genre. One could probably define something with limited range, such as Gamelan (What!? Unleash the Gamelan Hell!!) or Baroque but not something organic and growing/changing. We do so because we are human and we want to live in communities. Some are happy to be the water carriers but others want to be the headmen, with THE BIG TOTEMIC THING. The former are those who simply ask questions seeking elucidation, move slowly ahead, and those who help. The latter are the individuals who tell you that you're not a real 'jazzer' unless you can cut it 'on the bandstand' with no books, do a fantastic job and not let down the balloon of ego that separates them from 'the rest'. It's always been like that, from when money was to be made. Mingus' comment about Minton's? That. "If you have to ask..."? That. I saw George Coleman attempt to roast Critch, Martin Drew and Dave Green once. Didn't work, but why? It's animal 'spraying'. The cutting contest. Well, for most of them, 'The Good Lord' (sic) has had the final director's cut.

    We all like to achieve, and contrary to what we wish was the case, we like our Scout/Guide Badges - cutting wood, doing knots, playing Coltrane changes etc. I thought I loved jazz, and I do, certain things. But I decided by trying to learn it, in addition to the musical benefits of knowing 'what's going on' and being able to express my music more effectively, what I really wanted to achieve was recognition of having something of value. i.e. being given a jazz badge, and to have that association by playing with 'better and better' musicians. I can't say I don't really care about that any more, but it is less and less important the more secure I am in what I do.

    At the margins, the logic will always be different, but telling a beginner they have to learn a tune in all 13 keys to be jazz, is meaningless. It might be meaningful on 'Strictly Come Dancing' where monumental money is the real key. But that's not jazz. That's the amphitheatre.

    I am practising my stuff in order to better express my musical self and have stopped caring about what people think. I can't sound like someone else because it's the most important thing to sound like ME. So I don't try. Some want to though. In Britain, I can think of Alan Skidmore or Pete King. Brilliant and exciting keepers of someone else's flame.

    The older I get, the more I see us as frail-ly bobbing about on the uncaring sea of life and agglomerating like corks or plastic ducks of similarity. The keepers of the dharma at 'the top' (ie local gig bookers, teachers of teachers, Carnegie Hall impresarios, those who feel in charge of duck alignment) are the same. They pontificate and lecture, but they just want a bit of respect too.

    That's jazz.

  39. #88

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    Quote Originally Posted by Duffy Pratt
    Some interesting stuff here. It's a little disturbing to see people who think that improvisation is somehow new, or that it is alien to classical music. Bach would improvise fugues. His "casual" approach to composition included writing a full cantata a week, every week for a couple of years. Mozart and Beethoven were both firstly, and primarily, famous as improvisers.

    Figured bass asks was a system in which the continuo player was supposed to improvise against the notated bass line and figures (think of a more sophisticated lead sheet). Mozart has extremely simple left hand lines, and figures, in his concertos. He wrote these for his own use, and would improvise the left hand accompaniments as he played his concertos. Moreover, any concerto soloist was expected to improvise on the cadenzas to the concerto.

    At this time, most music that was written and published was for the benefit of accomplished amateurs. All of that changed in the 19th century with the advent of the concert hall performance, and as a result of that move, improvisation started to fall out of the music, and there became a growing distinction between performers and composers.

    For some discussion of the great composers abilities as improvisers, look here

    Facts About Improvisation | The Daily Improvisation
    I honestly think people's hang ups about jazz and improvisation come from classical music rejecting what to every other tradition of music is perfectly normal practice. Jazz turns up at roughly the same time (gen or two after) and everyone loses their shit.

    Concert artists boggle at the ability of musicians able to make music without using a score! Wow!

    (Of course they don't understand what jazz actually is - listen to the average classical musician trying to 'swing' - or what's improvised and what isn't.)

    The deeply ass-backward way we teach jazz and popular perceptions of it are a result of this accident of history. We think Improvisation is uniquely important to jazz. Of course, it isn't. No more so than Bach's era, or Indian classical ragas, or flamenco, or ... well just read Derek Bailey, right?

    Jazz, as Peter Bernstein has put it is a decorative art. But then.. so is ... baroque. Look it's in the friggin' name.

  40. #89

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hugo Gainly
    I am practising my stuff in order to better express my musical self and have stopped caring about what people think. I can't sound like someone else because it's the most important thing to sound like ME. So I don't try. Some want to though. In Britain, I can think of Alan Skidmore or Pete King. Brilliant and exciting keepers of someone else's flame.
    From what I hear, Pete King is a great example of a player who works out a solo and keeps it the same pretty much, with tweaks.

    A lot of jazzers are conditioned by their education to think this is a bad thing. In actual fact it's how a lot of the greats did it.

    Anyway, in direct response to your post. Some people get really offended at being told they don't play jazz. I wonder what that's all about. ('Look I went to music college for 4 years to learn about this irrelevant thing no-one likes, I demand to have some pseudo-intellectual credibility!') Why does it matter?

    'you music doesn't swing and you don't know any tunes. ' - mouldy bop fig
    'well, your music is a stale and irrelevant echo of a once genuinely subversive new musical force .' - filthy modernist

    Both are correct haha.

    One thing I miss in the UK is people who have both skill sets. In NYC, people play loads of grandpa tunes, but they also play elaborate and alienating music from the year 2256, too. Sometimes, (and I really like this) they do it on the grandpa snooze tunes. It's the perfect combination!

    In the UK, you are either playing in a different time signature every bar, or you literally want to be Zoot Sims.



    For me, it's always about seeking a tradition to ground myself in. Not because I think it's important to play bop the way it was in 1953 (sorry Barry) but because it gives you somewhere to stand. It could be anything. I love all kinds of music, and I can get deep into things.

    I could already play jazz OK, and I don't have a chance with Indian slide guitar or something, so I thought, let's go down this path.

    And I think it's good. It trains the ear. But we live in an eclectic exciting world of music possibilities - and it is largely thanks to the people of your generation that this has happened - so to shut yourself off from that seems odd. Having a tradition, I think, can actually help you be more eclectic...

  41. #90

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    Jazz is Music's R & D department.

  42. #91

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    Jazz is what you say you play so people don't bother you with the nth instalment of Sir Eric & Ye Magicke Marshall Stacke.

  43. #92

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    lol mentioning an interest in jazz tends to terminate all further conversation with ‘normal’ humans, that’s why I usually keep it a secret.

  44. #93

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    I have no idea.

    I don't understand, for example, why a Grateful Dead jam in an odd meter over some interesting chord changes isn't jazz.

    It's improvised and arranged on the fly. Even the musicians don't know exactly what is going to happen -- like great jazz.

    The chord changes are more complicated than some that Miles used (eg So What, Time After Time) and the rhythms are more complicated than a lot of swing based jazz, to give an example.

    Too much treble in Garcia's tone? Drums stay too close to the beat?

  45. #94

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    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop
    lol mentioning an interest in jazz tends to terminate all further conversation with ‘normal’ humans, that’s why I usually keep it a secret.
    Yes, exactly. For people who have gotten to know me, all I can really do is poke fun at myself to express I understand it’s not normal, especially in my area.

    For people I don’t know, I tell them, but direct the conversation back to their favorite music, which they prefer anyway. Luckily, I’m knowledgable enough of other types of music to have something to say, but if I don’t I just pretend to be interested.

  46. #95

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar

    I don't understand, for example, why a Grateful Dead jam in an odd meter over some interesting chord changes isn't jazz....
    garcia and grisman-so what



    cheers

  47. #96

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    Is interesting the Dead and jazz relationship... back in late 60's or early 70's I was at a show at Filmore in SF. Miles fusion bands was opening... or at least played first with the Dead following...I think there were earlier bands, I didn't get there until after 9 or 10.... Anyway was a cool show. Chick was on Rhodes.

  48. #97

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    I can understand why some people might think of the Dead as some free form jazz when they do their all out jams, but the Dead solidified themselves when they perfected their vocals. Their vocals weren't jazz.

  49. #98

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    I think jazz is best summed up by the music store employee who once tried to plug me into a Marshall stack while I was checking out a Gibson Tal Farlow model:

    Him: "I really like your style man. It's like blues, but it has all these other chords too. And the melody is there, in the chords, like it could be a song just like that, and not even have a singer, y'know. It's like..."

    Me: "jazz?"

    Him: "No, that's like Kenny G and shit."

  50. #99

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    The interesting thing about jazz is that every member of a combo can be isolated and still be identifiable as distinctly jazz.
    Bass, drums, comping, solo, vocals all individually without hearing the other parts would have the properties that can be unmistakably identified as jazz.
    So may be it's easier to ask what makes drumming jazz, bass lines jazz, comping jazz etc.

  51. #100

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175
    The interesting thing about jazz is that every member of a combo can be isolated and still be identifiable as distinctly jazz.
    Bass, drums, comping, solo, vocals all individually without hearing the other parts would have the properties that can be unmistakably identified as jazz.
    So may be it's easier to ask what makes drumming jazz, bass lines jazz, comping jazz etc.
    I think it's largely vocabulary. But, there have been some seismic shifts in jazz vocabulary at times. Of course, there have always been a few older players saying "that new s*** isn't jazz".

    When Robert Glasper's laptop computer player (not a joke) led the Blue Note audience in a Time After Time (Cyndi, not the standard) singalong, was that jazz? I'd say, in the context of the entire show, yes. A 20 second clip of it, maybe not. "What is jazz?" is a hard question.