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  1. #1

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    well lets just say i think the music has one feature that is both hugely important and very rarely identified explicitly.

    the thing with jazz - unlike other music forms - is to join in not just to listen

    the music is only incidentally a spectator sport - so to speak.

    in its essence it invites participation rather than mere observation or appreciation.

    you can of course listen to the (sometimes recorded) results of people doing it. but the deal is to do it - and only secondarily to listen to it.

    this is not so for classical music or rock or pop or even folk (at least typically). in those musics the main thing with the music is to listen to it or dance to it or both.

    but the point with jazz is that it is what happens when people try to make music up as they go along - together. (or something)

    its all very well to dig it and to dance to it (and you can do forms of those things IN playing it of course) - but the thing is to join in with it properly - to help make it.

    (gospel music comes to mind as having this feature too).

    so for jazz to be really successful as the sort of music it is - would be for more and more people to learn how to do it together.

    that sounds like it might be right (ish) to me - and its interesting too. jazz is a social practice (perhaps the grooviest one ever) - not an art-object to be bought and consumed. bla bla

    i like it - a lot that's interesting would follow from this - if it were right (or nearly right even).

    (it might help to explain why so few people like to listen to it, for one thing.)
    Last edited by Groyniad; 01-19-2016 at 06:36 AM.

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  3. #2

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    I don't know, jazz comes in all shapes and forms. It can be groovy and singable or it can be abstract and weird. Some of it is really playful and interactive and some of it isn't. Some jazz is just listenable music. Like with Keith Jarrett and bill Evans and 60s miles I think of it as listening music. Free jazz is total listening. You listen to everyone listening.

  4. #3

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    Jazz is what happens when you think you are doing something that isn't jazz and then someone says to you after the show 'that's jazz.'

  5. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Jazz is what happens when you think you are doing something that isn't jazz and then someone says to you after the show 'that's jazz.'
    Yes, that's pretty much how my own "jazz" hero Billy Jenkins describes it, at around 1:00 here:

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Groyniad
    well lets just say i think the music has one feature that is both hugely important and very rarely identified explicitly.

    the thing with jazz - unlike other music forms - is to join in not just to listen

    the music is only incidentally a spectator sport - so to speak.

    in its essence it invites participation rather than mere observation or appreciation.

    you can of course listen to the (sometimes recorded) results of people doing it. but the deal is to do it - and only secondarily to listen to it.

    this is not so for classical music or rock or pop or even folk (at least typically). in those musics the main thing with the music is to listen to it or dance to it or both.

    but the point with jazz is that it is what happens when people try to make music up as they go along - together. (or something)
    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.

    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. With classical it's the vision and imagination of the composer (who may have been dead many centuries) that we are being presented with, albeit filtered through the interpretations of conductor and musicians.

    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. Naturally that's valuable for future musicians learning the craft, but otherwise a jazz recording is a "dead" artefact. (That's most obvious with "free jazz", which is totally improvised from scratch. A recording of that is a snapshot of one moment in time. No point in replaying it at all. Better to go and watch the musicians do another one.)

    With jazz, you hear music in its pure form, being created in real time. Music only exists while it's being played anyway. How much purer is it when this music at this moment has never been played before and never will be again? It's a unique artistic experience, involving an unusual degree of attention; nothing else quite like it - except maybe raconteurs or comedians who vary their routines all the time. (Like them, when you see a particular musician or band you've seen before, you know the kind of thing you're likely to hear, but never exactly what it's going to be. If you knew that, there'd hardly be any point in going.)

    Of course, you still get jazz that is treated as if it is some kind of classical music, listened to reverentially, usually on record, by aficionados who wouldn't dream of playing anything themselves. The recording business does tend to turn music into that sort of passive consumer activity, degrading live performance (too many unpredictable rough edges, as if that's a bad thing) in favour of "perfect" versions that can be played (in the privacy of one's own home or MP3 player) as many times as one likes.
    There is no "perfect" version of any jazz tune. Performances may vary in quality, but it's always about creating what feels right for that moment. Even if, one night, you play your best performance ever, you won't attempt to re-create it note for note next time - you'll just try to get into the same mood, the same vibe.

    Rock soloists often talk about "writing" a solo, and playing solos the same way every time (copying classic recordings note for note). That's nonsensical to a jazz musician; missing the whole point. (A sign of how much the recording industry has come to dictate terms, by producing classic artefacts frozen in time, that acquire value through repetition.)

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by JonR
    Yes, that's pretty much how my own "jazz" hero Billy Jenkins describes it, at around 1:00 here:
    Haha this is great. I haven't really checked out Billy Jenkins...

  8. #7

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    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.

    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. With classical it's the vision and imagination of the composer (who may have been dead many centuries) that we are being presented with, albeit filtered through the interpretations of conductor and musicians.

    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. Naturally that's valuable for future musicians learning the craft, but otherwise a jazz recording is a "dead" artefact. (That's most obvious with "free jazz", which is totally improvised from scratch. A recording of that is a snapshot of one moment in time. No point in replaying it at all. Better to go and watch the musicians do another one.)

    With jazz, you hear music in its pure form, being created in real time. Music only exists while it's being played anyway. How much purer is it when this music at this moment has never been played before and never will be again? It's a unique artistic experience, involving an unusual degree of attention; nothing else quite like it - except maybe raconteurs or comedians who vary their routines all the time. (Like them, when you see a particular musician or band you've seen before, you know the kind of thing you're likely to hear, but never exactly what it's going to be. If you knew that, there'd hardly be any point in going.)

    Of course, you still get jazz that is treated as if it is some kind of classical music, listened to reverentially, usually on record, by aficionados who wouldn't dream of playing anything themselves. The recording business does tend to turn music into that sort of passive consumer activity, degrading live performance (too many unpredictable rough edges, as if that's a bad thing) in favour of "perfect" versions that can be played (in the privacy of one's own home or MP3 player) as many times as one likes.
    There is no "perfect" version of any jazz tune. Performances may vary in quality, but it's always about creating what feels right for that moment. Even if, one night, you play your best performance ever, you won't attempt to re-create it note for note next time - you'll just try to get into the same mood, the same vibe.

    Rock soloists often talk about "writing" a solo, and playing solos the same way every time (copying classic recordings note for note). That's nonsensical to a jazz musician; missing the whole point. (A sign of how much the recording industry has come to dictate terms, by producing classic artefacts frozen in time, that acquire value through repetition.)
    I like the sound of that book, will check it out!

    - Well rock musicians used to improvise didn't they?
    - Then, later it moved towards what I called devised improvisation - where the improvisation is done in rehearsal and the result freeze dried for performance (this happens to an extent even for some free improvising groups to be fair.)
    - Now, rock solos seem to be very set in stone, pre composed perhaps.

    I do hear the odd rock jam though - there's one near my home. I find it interesting how the rock improvising sensibility is different to the jazz one. I'd like to hear more of it.

    I think punk may be in part responsible for this - I know that I wrote all my solos when I was playing in indie bands back in the day... Improv was wanking! But also, I suspect the same is true of metal and other less mainstream, more virtuoso styles of rock.

    That said, it was common during the big band era for soloists to have to learn their solos exactly as recorded. So rock didn't invent this...

    You could say of course big band music isn't really jazz, but I would disagree. (I have my own idea of what jazz is - and isn't - in any case that no one else seems to agree with. Perhaps they don't realise that I HAVE SPOKEN!!!!!)

  9. #8

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    its why there's such a thing as 'rhythm section' in jazz - but in no other music form

    (which is not to say there aren't basses and drums and chordal instruments in other music - they're not called 'the rhythm section' or anything like it - and, i'm suggesting, for good reason)

    the rs provides for the possibility of joining in - and of a range of other musicians (in principle unlimited) to join in.

    and the rs itself could be indefinitely large too - as long as everyone was sensitive about doing complementary or matching things.

    and the important point made above - that you damn well don't join in with the bill evans trio etc. etc. - that the music has become too sophisticated now to be a participatory form - invites an obvious response:

    - the more time we put into playing music together which we make up as we go along together - the better we get at it and the more nuanced and technically demanding joining in becomes.

  10. #9

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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"? There are countless examples of this throughout the greater jazz idiom. Is it all Third Stream then or is it a non-jazz composition with jazz like tendencies?

    I don't one have an answer. I will agree that Improve is a core tenet of jazz, but jazz is not a three legged stool.

  11. #10

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    jon R said...
    (Like them, when you see a particular musician or band you've seen before, you know the kind of thing you're likely to hear, but never exactly what it's going to be. If you knew that, there'd hardly be any point in going.)

    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..(the backseat of a car perhaps) so that dynamic is built in rock/pop live performances..people go to "revival" concerts to hear groups they grew up with..the want the songs to be note for note the same..no room to improvise in this stuff..being that the Eagles are going to get a lot of airplay for the next few weeks...when they were a top touring band .. imagine them playing Hotel California and they decided to just ramble with that classic two guitar solo..People would boo and demand their money back..

    on the flip side is "soft jazz" by some top names..they will play note for note the head of their popular tunes..but then improv over the changes to a slight degree or an extream depending..if the artist played the solos note for note as on a recording of the tune..yeah -- booing and all that..the audience in this case wants the musicians to let loose..(expose themselves-as it were)

    and somewhere in the middle are performers that seem to have the ability to do the same thing and make it different every time...James Brown comes to mind..

  12. #11

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    or you could say if improv is such a big part of jazz, does that make other improvised music part of jazz?

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by jazzguy100
    or you could say if improv is such a big part of jazz, does that make other improvised music part of jazz?
    Not to me it doesn't.

    I mean, if it did, then you'd have to include Indian music under 'jazz' for example.

    But then, on the highest level there is only music.

    Even improvisation and the playing of other compositions are not really different things.

    Because, I believe that for a true improvisor there is no such thing as 'choice', any more than there is for someone playing a Bach fugue. And JS Bach had no 'choice' when he composed that piece.
    Last edited by christianm77; 01-19-2016 at 06:46 PM.

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Groyniad
    its why there's such a thing as 'rhythm section' in jazz - but in no other music form

    (which is not to say there aren't basses and drums and chordal instruments in other music - they're not called 'the rhythm section' or anything like it - and, i'm suggesting, for good reason)

    the rs provides for the possibility of joining in - and of a range of other musicians (in principle unlimited) to join in.

    and the rs itself could be indefinitely large too - as long as everyone was sensitive about doing complementary or matching things.

    and the important point made above - that you damn well don't join in with the bill evans trio etc. etc. - that the music has become too sophisticated now to be a participatory form - invites an obvious response:

    - the more time we put into playing music together which we make up as we go along together - the better we get at it and the more nuanced and technically demanding joining in becomes.
    The continuo group in Baroque music is similar to a rhythm section in many ways.

    Playing in one is a very similar experience in someways. Keep the groove, keep the music dancing, realise the harmony in sympathy to the soloists. More experienced players can sometimes respond in improvised counterpoint.

    Contemporary accounts of Monteverdi's orchestras suggest there was a whole forest of plucked strings - guitars, lutes, chittarones, harps - which sound quite different to the rather meagre harpsichord, chittarone and violone combination you find in most period ensembles for budgetary reasons....
    Last edited by christianm77; 01-19-2016 at 06:29 PM.

  15. #14

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    These days, practically anything with a 7th chord...

    Popular music is devolving, soon a third will be to much color...

  16. #15

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    you don't even need to go that far to distinguish jazz from improvised music.

    the problem is with style of jazz. it needs to sound a certain way, feel a certain way, look a certain way. that's what i can't stand, the restrictions. to me, it doesnt need to sound like anything. I use it as a describing word.

    I like that last line you said "for a true improvisor there is no such thing as 'choice'". can you ellaborate?

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by jazzguy100
    you don't even need to go that far to distinguish jazz from improvised music.

    the problem is with style of jazz. it needs to sound a certain way, feel a certain way, look a certain way. that's what i can't stand, the restrictions. to me, it doesnt need to sound like anything. I use it as a describing word.

    I like that last line you said "for a true improvisor there is no such thing as 'choice'". can you ellaborate?
    Then don't play 'jazz' (BTW FWIW Jazz for me is a specific polymetric rhythmic language lending itself to communal improvisation and strongly linked to other African diaspora forms. The harmony and instrumentation are unimportant to the definition.)

    The 'choice' statement, it comes from the concept of the music playing you rather than the other way around. If you are playing really well, something takes over and you simply watch yourself. You have no choice or control in the matter.

    (You will probably need an initial conscious spark - a starting point.)

    For me it happens in short bursts, maybe a bar or two, sometimes it might last for longer. The aim of being a musician, for me, is to stay in that zone for longer and longer....

    Most musicians - performers, improvisors and composers - report similar experiences.
    Last edited by christianm77; 01-19-2016 at 06:48 PM.

  18. #17

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    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.
    Sorry but that is just plain wrong. Here's a simple test: Romania had no African slaves therefore there should be no continuous history of village-level folk music in Romania. For Romania you can substitute Ireland, France, Scotland - who wrote all that bagpipe music? Definitely not Mozart!

    No elitist cult of composer/performer in Africa? Malian music is full of famous musical dynasties.

    Your overall post may be accurate but this paragraph is just bullshit.

  19. #18

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    I avoid the general term "jazz" by itself, since it's so ambiguous and means something different to everyone. If I'm talking about a style of music I want to be more specific than "jazz".

  20. #19

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    I tend to go with a color analogy approach.

    Jazz - all the colors in the spectrum arranged in both linear and nonlinear fashion
    Classical - all the colors in the spectrum arranged in linear fashion
    Rock - bright to darkish primary colors arranged in linear fashion
    Pop - bright, bold primary colors arranged in linear fashion
    Grunge/metal - darkish muted colors arranged in linear fashion
    Country - mutated primary colors arranged in linear fashion
    Blues...

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Groyniad
    its why there's such a thing as 'rhythm section' in jazz - but in no other music form

    (which is not to say there aren't basses and drums and chordal instruments in other music - they're not called 'the rhythm section' or anything like it - and, i'm suggesting, for good reason)
    Is this a Scottish perspective? A rhythm section can exist for any type of music that uses one. I've certainly been a member of many non-jazz rhythm sections.

  22. #21

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    Labels are tricky.

    I like Music "Labels" because they can be a kind of guide for Composition or Rhythms ( especially )or playing or describing to other Musicians ( or Singers) what you are going for Artistically/Stylistically ...or even Marketing .

    But most Musical labels have exceptions and lots of overlap into other areas ...

    And becoming more familiar with Jazz and being able to almost instantly play almost anything on my phone...( yes my Phone NOT on my Guitar - it is much easier to play Michael Brecker and especially Art Tatum Blues lines from 1947 -1948 - on my Phone than on my Guitar).

    Jazz is a vast musical Category- hard to define precisely especially at the fringes or the 'scope' ..

    People hear things differently too especially non Musicians and they are not necessarily correct or incorrect...

    ....maybe whoever is "buying" or paying for the Music or Gig is " right" is a good rule to follow...but I'm sure there are exceptions to that also.
    Last edited by Robertkoa; 02-17-2016 at 03:04 PM.

  23. #22

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    I'm not sure I understand something...jazz is participatory? since when?

    I thought the whole point of playing All the Things You Are in the key of C# is to keep out the riff-raff?

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by JonR
    Yes, that's pretty much how my own "jazz" hero Billy Jenkins describes it, at around 1:00 here:
    Brilliant - love Billy Jenkins!

    Remember seeing him on long gone BBC2 TV jazz programme playing a savage free jazz version of Close To You!

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Banksia
    Sorry but that is just plain wrong. Here's a simple test: Romania had no African slaves therefore there should be no continuous history of village-level folk music in Romania.
    You're misreading what I'm saying (my bad).
    I was talking about how African-American music broke down the hegemony of the European classical tradition, in a way that European folk music never managed to. (I know that's still an oversimplification )
    Quote Originally Posted by Banksia
    No elitist cult of composer/performer in Africa? Malian music is full of famous musical dynasties.
    I'm well aware of that and it's a fair point. I didn't mean to suggest Africa is a homogenous continent!

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by rkwestcoast
    Brilliant - love Billy Jenkins!

    Remember seeing him on long gone BBC2 TV jazz programme playing a savage free jazz version of Close To You!
    Allow me:

    2:10 - love it...
    and 3:30 when he sprays half-chewed apple over the audience.
    Last edited by JonR; 02-17-2016 at 03:27 PM.

  27. #26

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    [QUOTE=JonR;607822]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.

    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. 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 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."

    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.


    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. 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....certainly there were not many skilled practitioners in the African population, by and large. (I'm talking broad currents here...yes there are some few exceptions....people who'd gotten ahold of records and listened, and studied.)


    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....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. I bet many more people had the experience of playing in some form of classical orchestra or band, than had the experience of playing in a 5-piece jazz combo....I think that latter is far more difficult, and demanding....takes more "moves" musically.

    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.

    This is true.

    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?" )

    This reminds me of the scene from the movie "Trading Places" where Eddie Murphy, the street con man, is being lectured on "what is a commodity", and one of the rich old white guys says "The orange juice you drink....the bacon you eat are all commodities....William." Eddie Murphy turns to the camera, breaking through the "4th Wall" between the movie audience and the actors, and just gives a look to the viewer, as if to say "How stupid do you think I am?" 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.

    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.
    Last edited by goldenwave77; 02-17-2016 at 03:39 PM.

  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by Banksia
    Your overall post may be accurate but this paragraph is just bullshit.
    To be fair, Jon was quoting Christopher Small.
    If you read Christopher Small, perhaps you might better grasp what Jon was trying to represent of him.
    You seem to be labouring under the common and widely shared misconception that Africa is one unitary nation.

    As I understand the history, Mali was a major empire on the trans-Saharan trade-routes and hence their trade in slaves put their slice of the diaspora (estimated at between 10 and 14 million souls) firmly in regions of north Africa. They still do slavery today, embarrassingly. But, back then, they appear to have missed the second passage to the Americas altogether. - so they have zip impact on the afro-american practices under discussion.

    The majority of bodies captured for the trans-Atlantic trade came from West Central Africa (maybe 40%) the Kingdom of Benin (maybe 20%) Cameroon, Guinea and Gabon (maybe 15%) Ghana and the Côte d’Ivoire (maybe 10%) with the balance sourced from places like Madagascar, Mozambique, Sierra Leone and the Gambia.

    Culturally, the dominant legacy surviving in the New World across all those years is Yoruba. We can hear it in the liturgies of Candomble and Santeria, and in surviving myths and stories and songs in Brasil and Cuba. But that's mainly due to the management styles and philosophies of Portuguese and Spanish colonists who figured their slaves were happier and easier to handle if they were allowed families and a bit of love and children and a bit of song and dance now and again. The British, on the other hand, were absolutely brutal in their suppression of slaves' native practices. No drumming. No maintenance of family or tribal ties. The Brits thought efficient control of the blackfella required eradication of all that old shit. Hence, cultural retentions among the U.S. slave population beyond French Louisiana was of a very different order.

    I believe Christopher Small was right on the money with his observation that a most significant influence on the performance arts of black America is in the attitude of communal participation they brought across the water with them. It's a solid part of what I know as "the Blues Aesthetic". If you have any anthropological curiosity, I reckon you would not have a hard time understanding where it comes from were you to take a look at Yoruba and Ewe sources, f'rinstance. Did you know they have no word for "music". It isn't a product for them - it isn't a "thing" - just something they do. Every day. Participatory celebration and ritual.

    This is NOT to suggest that village-level folk practices exist nowhere else. Just optimistic encouragement to recognise what it is about cultural retention in the US that made such a unique impact on jazz. Digging up a little knowledge and understanding first and then applying a little thought and consideration to it might help you to avoid posting specious bullshit yourself.
    Last edited by Lazz; 02-17-2016 at 06:35 PM.

  29. #28

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    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,
    I think you're missing the point big-time, Goldie. Nobody is saying that they ARE playing jazz. Not JonR, not Christopher Small, nor anyone I know. You have no argument. Just a lazy misunderstanding. What Small is referencing is a form and degree of non-discriminatory community participation which simply doesn't happen anywhere in Europe or the rest of the West.

    Dudu is no exception to the truth that "jazz" is not really an indigenous African art form. It is an American art form which many African musicians from Lagbaja to Adullah Ibrahim learn from and attempt to emulate in their own way.

    Quote Originally Posted by goldenwave77
    Quote Originally Posted by JonR
    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....
    Perhaps only to you.
    JonR's perspective may not be an original one - but it remains provocative and persuasive.
    Last edited by Lazz; 02-17-2016 at 09:23 PM.

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lazz
    To be fair, Jon was quoting Christopher Small.
    If you read Christopher Small, perhaps you might better grasp what Jon was trying to represent of him.
    You seem to be labouring under the common and widely shared misconception that Africa is one unitary nation.

    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.

    As I understand the history, Mali was a major empire on the trans-Saharan trade-routes and hence their trade in slaves put their slice of the diaspora (estimated at between 10 and 14 million souls) firmly in regions of north Africa. They still do slavery today, embarrassingly. But, back then, they appear to have missed the second passage to the Americas altogether. - so they have zip impact on the afro-american practices under discussion.

    Irrelevant, as I was referring to the contention that there was no elite class of composer/performer in Africa. That statement, which I rebutted, also made no reference to impact on afro-american practices, simply that were was no elite composer/performer class in Africa.



    This is NOT to suggest that village-level folk practices exist nowhere else.

    These village-level folk practices not only existed all around the World but also existed contemporaneously with, and separate from, African influences on American music. Those hillbillies in the Appalachians didn't have slaves but they had music and it wasn't Bach or Mozart.


    Just optimistic encouragement to recognise what it is about cultural retention in the US that made such a unique impact on jazz. Digging up a little knowledge and understanding first and then applying a little thought and consideration to it might help you to avoid posting specious bullshit yourself.

    That's offensively pompous although I do feel humbled that you took time out of your busy schedule to offer me this "optimistic encouragement."

    When I reply to a post, I reply to the content of the post. He didn't quote Christopher Small so I wasn't replying to Christopher Small. He referenced an idea which he was espousing as his own, so I replied to what he said, not what Christopher Small may think or have written.

    You don't know me. You don't know that I have been a jazz fan for 45 years, all of them as a guitar player. You don't know that I am acutely aware of the role played by black Americans in nearly all forms of American music. Yet you feel qualified to dismiss my thoughts, which you clearly didn't comprehend. At no stage did I say Mali was the only society in, or the dominant culture or stereotypical of, Africa.

    Take your own advice.


    ......

  31. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by JonR
    You're misreading what I'm saying (my bad).
    I was talking about how African-American music broke down the hegemony of the European classical tradition, in a way that European folk music never managed to. (I know that's still an oversimplification )

    I'm well aware of that and it's a fair point. I didn't mean to suggest Africa is a homogenous continent!
    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."

  32. #31

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    And I simply responded to the content (and style) of your post.
    Much of what you say is, to me, wrong-headed as well as rudely expressed.

    You're right - I am far to busy to waste time in discussion with you.

    (Is that "Banksia" as in Joseph?)

  33. #32

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    Banksia, as in the species of plants named after Banks, yes.

  34. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lazz
    I think you're missing the point big-time, Goldie. Nobody is saying that they ARE playing jazz. Not JonR, not Christopher Small, nor anyone I know. You have no argument. Just a lazy misunderstanding. What Small is referencing is a form and degree of non-discriminatory community participation which simply doesn't happen anywhere in Europe or the rest of the West.

    Dudu is no exception to the truth that "jazz" is not really an indigenous African art form. It is an American art form which many African musicians from Lagbaja to Adullah Ibrahim learn from and attempt to emulate in their own way.



    Perhaps only to you.
    JonR's perspective may not be an original one - but it remains provocative and persuasive.
    I might be missing the point, but I 'm not sure there is any point to be missed. I said---that the so-called "truly participatory" phenomenon which this dude--Small--cites....did NOT manifest, or maintain itself, in jazz music, at least in anything I've ever heard....bebop--definitely not....big band--nope....New Orleans style---c'mon this takes some ability and chops to play it well....maybe, maybe the point has some validity with New Orleans street bands...but even there I'm skeptical. On to "modern jazz"---geez a lot of people think that this takes 4 years in a music college degree program to even approach playing it.

    I haven't read this dude Small's book, and I don't think I'd want to: Anybody who thinks jazz audiences go to hear jazz, and thinks that they don't like it....because they don't understand that musicians are trying to improvise...is either ridiculously obtuse...or has an ideological axe to grind....Eddie Murphy would be looking right AT this dude Smalls....with that look. On balance I don't think anyone could be this willfully stupid, and I'm forced to conclude that he has an axe to grind. So, tendentious claptrap is....I think ...probably accurate.

    As to your other responses, all I can say that ad hominem attacks mean you can't answer the propositions in a responsive way....In history, I think Adolf Hitler comes pretty close to a pure incarnation of evil---but if I state "Hitler asserts that twice two makes four", it's a logical and rhetorical fallacy to say...this can't be true because of his evil nature...In this case, the proposition is still valid

    If you have to resort to raising your voice, or ad hominem attacks, I think it means you've lost the argument, or can't meet it head on.

  35. #34

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    I remember waaaayyyy back when I first started playing, my teacher said "this is mixolydian, its the jazz scale". So ya, I quickly realized that wasn't jazz.

    No sure why I told this story here.

  36. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by goldenwave77
    If you have to resort to raising your voice, or ad hominem attacks, I think it means you've lost the argument, or can't meet it head on.
    I'm not able to follow what you're saying here - maybe that's because I'm stupid - but please show me this ad hominem nonsense - not guilty, geezer.

    Shame that I appear to have turned you off it, but I believe you would enjoy the book, and at least you'd get a grip on what his point is, what it is he's saying - rather than my clumsy misrepresentation of the guy. Eddie Murphy would have no problems with it, for sure.

    Quote Originally Posted by goldenwave77
    I haven't read this dude Small's book, and I don't think I'd want to: Anybody who thinks jazz audiences go to hear jazz, and thinks that they don't like it....because they don't understand that musicians are trying to improvise...is either ridiculously obtuse...or has an ideological axe to grind
    I have read it - and he says nothing remotely like that. Where on earth did you get the idea that he did?

    As I said - you're missing the point, big-time.

    Small's completely non-controversial point is that socio-cultural characteristics which the enslaved Africans brought with them to the New World had an influence on the resulting Afro-American art. No idea why this should provoke such obstinate denialism. Though I'm still impressed by the way you can dismiss it without reading it. It's interesting stuff.

    Oh - and,yes - he does have some ideological preferences - but you'd find him disarmingly and refreshingly open and honest about them - and I'm buggered if I can recall any point where they distorted or corrupted the story he was telling.

  37. #36

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    The blurb for the book on Amazon identifies Small's central organising question as being:

    "Why is it that the music of an alienated, oppressed, often persecuted black minority should have made so powerful an impact on the entire industrialized world, whatever the color of its skin or economic status?"


    Neat and - in my view at least - entirely unobjectionable.
    (But then - we are living in an outrage culture.)

  38. #37

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    [QUOTE=Lazz;620602]I'm not able to follow what you're saying here - maybe that's because I'm stupid - but please show me this ad hominem nonsense - not guilty, geezer.

    See, now you're doing it again. Look, I went through the Radical 60's with older brothers, one of whom was an anthropology grad student who actually knows a LOT about Africa. Further, I have a sister who is a married to a black Senegalese guy...which is unfortunate (for him, my sister can be a piece of work.) But he's a very nice guy. There were a lot of people running around at that time, pointing to Africa and ascribing all of its problems to its post-colonial hangover. Well, the Empires have been gone for 50 yrs. or more, and I think its fair to say that indigenous black leadership has not exactly ushered in the New Millennium....Biafra...Rwanda....Idi Amin.... the slave trade in Mali...rampant kleptocracy...an AIDS crisis that couldn't be talked about....Nigerian scammers....one could go and on, but I won't, it's too depressing. It's too bad there are not more leaders like Nelson Mandela, who I think is an authentically great man.


    I have read it - and he says nothing remotely like that. Where on earth did you get the idea that he did?

    As I said - you're missing the point, big-time
    .

    Well, I was assuming that Jon R's paraphrase of what this guy Small supposedly said is accurate. Maybe it's not. (I think you can see why there is a rule against hearsay evidence in legal proceedings.)

    Small's completely non-controversial point is that socio-cultural characteristics which the enslaved Africans brought with them to the New World had an influence on the resulting Afro-American art. No idea why this should provoke such obstinate denialism. Though I'm still impressed by the way you can dismiss it without reading it. It's interesting stuff.

    Well the point at issue was the supposed "group participation" aspect of jazz. I responded to this assertion with specific objections, and I haven't heard any sort of convincing rebuttal yet, just generalities.

    I don't think it's exactly earth shattering news that West African rhythms found their way into jazz music, and Latin music as well. I went to a college where Ed Blackwell (and maybe others) offered a course in West African drumming. Couldn't find time to take it, but it would have been interesting. Look at a bunch of my posts, and you'll see that I'm pretty much on record as saying that playing jazz well requires a LOT of listening, and that European musical concepts probably don't "track entirely" or well, to give a proper sense of the rhythm needed for the music.

  39. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    (BTW FWIW Jazz for me... The harmony and instrumentation are unimportant to the definition.)
    Could you elaborate your thinking about this?

    Personally, the most fundamental distinguishing features of jazz to my ear are the harmony and instrumentation. To my ears, it is the sound of the music that matters, not musicians' accidents of geography or history.

  40. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Groyniad
    jazz is a social practice (perhaps the grooviest one ever) - not an art-object to be bought and consumed.
    I like that statement - to me, it's romantic (should that be with a capital r?) and a high ideal. I think that's a Good Thang.

  41. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lazz

    Small's completely non-controversial point is that socio-cultural characteristics which the enslaved Africans brought with them to the New World had an influence on the resulting Afro-American art. No idea why this should provoke such obstinate denialism. Though I'm still impressed by the way you can dismiss it without reading it. It's interesting stuff.
    Nobody is disagreeing with that first sentence but this thread is not about that proposition. A lot of it is about the contention that non-elite European music traditions were lost before they were re-introduced to the American public by the African traditions found in jazz. I expound on the virtues of jazz at every opportunity but only when it's true.

    I don't see any denialism in the posts on here except in the posts claiming that America was devoid of folk-level participatory music before jazz came along. I also agree with other posters who've questioned the "participatory" aspects of some jazz. I love Bebop but very few people could play it, nobody could dance to it and you couldn't sing along with the lyrics.

    The original post didn't mention Christopher Small so I fail to see how reading/not reading one of his books should be evidence of a more qualified opinion or a prerequisite for participation in this thread.

    Lastly, I'm reading some hints of the race card in this thread. To pretend that anyone who disagrees with you is a White Denialist refusing to acknowledge the contribution of Africans to modern USA culture is a desperate, last-ditch attempt to obscure the fact that your proposition is bankrupt and easily refuted by boundless factual evidence.

  42. #41

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    And there are certainly differences in the type of improvisation, especially comparing rock/blues/folk to jazz. Rock improvisation tends to use the most obvious note choices while jazz often avoids these, drawing instead from chord tones and the lesser harmony notes.

    To use a painting metaphor, a rock solo is likened to colors or objects in the foreground of a picture, while a jazz soloist's job is to make everything in the background come alive.

  43. #42

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    Great debate guys, not knowledgeable enough to weigh in, but feel I'm learning things here....

  44. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by pauln
    Could you elaborate your thinking about this?

    Personally, the most fundamental distinguishing features of jazz to my ear are the harmony and instrumentation. To my ears, it is the sound of the music that matters, not musicians' accidents of geography or history.
    Your ears hear jazz the way that they hear them.

    I know what's important about the music to me, and it's nothing to do with where musicians are from.

    FWIW The harmony of many of the line of the jazz musicians I admire is not really terribly different from European music, major/minor scales, elaborations of chord tones and so on. The thing that makes it different is the rhythm.

    I suppose if we must talk about instrumentation probably the big thing is actually the drum kit...
    Last edited by christianm77; 02-19-2016 at 06:31 PM.

  45. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by goldenwave77
    Quote Originally Posted by Lazz
    I'm not able to follow what you're saying here - maybe that's because I'm stupid - but please show me this ad hominem nonsense - not guilty, geezer.

    See, now you're doing it again.
    Doing what exactly?
    I am still not guilty.
    Gimme gimme evidence

    Quote Originally Posted by goldenwave77
    Look, I went through the Radical 60's with older brothers, one of whom was an anthropology grad student who actually knows a LOT about Africa. Further, I have a sister who is a married to a black Senegalese guy...which is unfortunate (for him, my sister can be a piece of work.) But he's a very nice guy. There were a lot of people running around at that time, pointing to Africa and ascribing all of its problems to its post-colonial hangover. Well, the Empires have been gone for 50 yrs. or more, and I think its fair to say that indigenous black leadership has not exactly ushered in the New Millennium....Biafra...Rwanda....Idi Amin.... the slave trade in Mali...rampant kleptocracy...an AIDS crisis that couldn't be talked about....Nigerian scammers....one could go and on, but I won't, it's too depressing. It's too bad there are not more leaders like Nelson Mandela, who I think is an authentically great man.
    Colonialism in Africa – as it was put by Nicolas Sarkozy speaking in Dakar back when he was still French prez –

    “... is not responsible for genocide. It is not responsible for dictators. It is not responsible for fanaticism. It is not responsible for the corruption, prevarication. It is not responsible for waste and pollution……

    “The tragedy of Africa is that the African man has never really entered history. The African peasant who for centuries has lived according to the seasons, whose ideal is to be in harmony with nature, has known only the eternal renewal of time via the endless repetition of the same actions and the same words. In this mentality, where everything always starts over again, there is no place for human adventure, nor for any idea of progress.”


    “Présidents d'Afrique” is an African response, organized by Didier Awadi alongside others from the continental Francophone hip-hop scene and beyond, and a tribute to Pan-African revolutionary heroes. Rather unexpectedly, I found I quite enjoyed the entire album. This track is dedicated to Mandela – so I thought you might be curious to listen and maybe like.



    There seems to me a strong sentiment among the proud young people (in the limited bits of Africa I know not a lot about) that they don’t need help in knowing what’s going on and what’s going wrong. Thanks. Colonialism happened. It had consequences. Undeniable, but just history. They wish freedom and independence to mean taking responsibility for their own solutions for their own problems. Always a big stretch from ideals to realities. But happening, I think.
    Last edited by Lazz; 02-20-2016 at 07:21 PM.

  46. #45

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    Like any genre Jazz has evolved from it's original roots into many styles over more than 100 years. But the original priciples still apply. Improvisation amongst it's players w/ melody,harmony and rhythym, and most importantly, it has to SWING! That means it needs to GROOVE!

  47. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by Banksia
    I'm reading some hints of the race card in this thread. To pretend that anyone who disagrees with you is a White Denialist refusing to acknowledge the contribution of Africans to modern USA culture is a desperate, last-ditch attempt to obscure the fact that your proposition is bankrupt and easily refuted by boundless factual evidence.
    Crikey! You have an entire army of straw men at your service, doncha? But this accusation has to be the cheapest and most scurrilous old bollocks seen since Winston Churchill rode down the bannisters in his nightshirt.

    Quote Originally Posted by Banksia
    posts claiming that America was devoid of folk-level participatory music before jazz came along
    Straw-man.

    Quote Originally Posted by Banksia
    the contention that non-elite European music traditions were lost before they were re-introduced to the American public by the African traditions found in jazz
    Straw-man.

    Quote Originally Posted by Banksia
    The original post didn't mention Christopher Small so I fail to see how reading/not reading one of his books should be evidence of a more qualified opinion or a prerequisite for participation in this thread.
    At last, a hint of the factual.
    Though otherwise vacuous and fatuous.

    You are correct that the original post did not mention Christopher Small. But the conversational flow of the thread nonetheless included JonR’s reference to him, and so Small became a legitimate part of the discussion quite fairly and reasonably, I thought.

    My own participation in the thread was prompted only by the responses to JonR from you and Goldie.

    “this paragraph is just bullshit” was your response to JonR’s small Small précis. In retrospect, I believe your challenge may have been only to the last bit of the paragraph. But still, the fact that stratification has also long existed on the continent does not mean by automatic consequence that those significant socio-cultural characteristics under discussion by Small magically cease to exist. That is some perverse logical sophistry you have going on. As for your other objection, traditional tribal/family structures in Ghana, in a regular Ewe village for example, are hugely substantively different from village-level Europe – and so a comparison without any real value or purpose .

    Goldie’s response was to say “This is tendentious claptrap”. With which he was dismissing both an aspect of what Small refers to as “musicking” and also JonR’s own parenthetical personal hypothesis provoked by his reading of Small which he appended to his brief summation of it: (The way I like to see it is that the slaves ended up liberating their masters, from the stultifying effects of elitist European culture.)

    Following earlier broad exchanges down at the JazzGuitar.Pub about protocols of respect on the forum and how we might deal with things, and because of those comments, I figured I might intervene.

    My view is that the Small book is well worth taking seriously.
    Also that JonR’s tentative idea is actually worth looking at.

    Quote Originally Posted by Banksia
    The original post didn't mention Christopher Small so I fail to see how reading/not reading one of his books should be evidence of a more qualified opinion or a prerequisite for participation in this thread.
    There’s that weird sophistry shit again alongside this straw-man about prerequisites for participation. Any reasonable person must surely recognise that reading/not reading the book has direct bearing on one’s ability to pronounce an opinion on its contents, and the extent to which that opinion can be taken seriously. Instead, you pretend it’s about something else.

    Race is not our topic. But I read clear hints of the outrage card when you insist on its introduction. I would far prefer we were able to consider its place and role in music as well as our worlds without such pathetic acrimony.

    Quote Originally Posted by Banksia
    … a desperate, last-ditch attempt to obscure the fact that your proposition is bankrupt and easily refuted by boundless factual evidence
    If you are able to clarify this alleged proposition of mine so that I can understand what you’re talking about, then I will be happy to discuss it. Given its self-evident absence, however, this reads as just another conveniently self-serving and wilful misreading.

    Quote Originally Posted by goldenwave77
    I was assuming that Jon R's paraphrase of what this guy Small supposedly said is accurate. Maybe it's not.
    I went back to take a second look – and I think JonR did a fair job without any serious consequential misrepresentation. (Apart from his unintentional intimation of homogeneity)
    Last edited by Lazz; 02-20-2016 at 07:28 PM. Reason: it's complicated...

  48. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Great debate guys, not knowledgeable enough to weigh in, but feel I'm learning things here....
    I'm not either- (far less than you actually)...but I have played back Tracks of mine for different people and especially non musicians ( the Audience
    or Ad Agency if it was Music for a commercial .. etc.) give you all types of answers that in some ways are more enlightening or important than what we think even though we write or play the stuff.
    Music hits everyone in so many different ways..each listener has their own little Universe to fit it into...which is cool...so everyone is basically correct..especially if they are paying for it ☺
    In some ways non musicians give you a better "read" on what the "Style" or effect of a piece of Music is.

    Hard to define exactly where the boundaries are...this may be a long Thread...

  49. #48

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    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.

  50. #49

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    Quote Originally Posted by goldenwave77
    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 figured you'd like Sarkozy.
    My impression was your opinions were similar.

    But, if you will forgive me noticing, it doesn't look to me, reading back, that you were able to successfully distinguish between a) JonR's brief summary of the ideas in Small's book and b) Other stuff JonR wrote that wasn't in any way pretending to represent Small.

    You're not having any argument with me, by the way.
    Just with a few obstinate misrepresentations of your own about a book you refuse to waste time reading.
    There is no absolutely no argument with nonsense like that - I give in: you win,

  51. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lazz
    I figured you'd like Sarkozy.
    My impression was your opinions were similar
    .

    Look, I don't even know much about this guy Sarkozy, TBH. I looked him up, and he seems to be a right wing political figure, and I suppose you're citing this as if it somehow settles anything. But refusing to consider propositions because of who is making them is just intellectually bankrupt...it is lazy and a logical fallacy, the ad hominem fallacy. But it does save its adherents from having to think, so I can see its appeal.

    But, if you will forgive me noticing, it doesn't look to me, reading back, that you were able to successfully distinguish between a) JonR's brief summary of the ideas in Small's book and b) Other stuff JonR wrote that wasn't in any way pretending to represent Small.

    Frankly, I don't give a flying hoot whose propositions they were....I dealt with them, as they were presented. You must be in academe...to spend so much time caring about this. At one pt. I was encouraged to pursue scholarly pursuits...the more time I spent around college professors, the less impressed I became, esp. during the "identity politics" fallout which infected so much of higher education in this country in the 1960's. I'll take legal practice any time---the propositions there actually end up meaning something. Vinny won his case against UPS because I had an understanding about the law of common carriers and could cite him real propositions that made a difference, unlike the endless blathering and political correctness of so much of what passes for "scholarship". Gender correctness...semi-otic who de-doo...."critical approaches" to this and that...so much of this is heavy-handed tendentious nonsense...honestly it offends me on an esthetic level, as far as intellectual argument...so clumsy and lacking in subtlety....kind of like listening to endless Muzak versions of the Basie or Ellington band, or going to a Museum and seeing paint by numbers versions of Rembrandt, or Michaelangelo.

    Just with a few obstinate misrepresentations of your own about a book you refuse to waste time reading.
    There is no absolutely no argument with nonsense like that - I give in: you win
    ,
    You're absolutely right....if this guy (Smalls) can't make a coherent argument which you chose to repeat, then either you or he, is falling short.
    Last edited by goldenwave77; 02-22-2016 at 06:44 AM.