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  1. #121
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    Default Re: Agree or disagree?

    Quote Originally Posted by Grumps View Post
    ... No one is making such an assumption. Just that the artform is wholly unpopular. No matter who may sit at the top, it's a rather small peak. Jazz used to be popular. The true discussion here is why this is no longer the case. Ignoring the obvious won't preserve jazz or rescue it from obscurity.
    Quote Originally Posted by Buck Laughlin View Post
    I like jazz. I like it a lot. I know many people who really like jazz, too. Of course, I know many people who don't like jazz. Blame it on whomever you want, but most of those people don't understand it. There seem to be many more alternative types of music available these days than there used to be. But to say that jazz is dead, or even that there is something wrong with it, because it has changed in the last half century and it might not be as commercially viable or readily available smacks of . . . well . . . snobbery.
    Despite Grumps' provocative style, I agree wholeheartedly with the portion of his post that I quoted. Sadly though, I think we are about to go off the rails here. (Let's hope I'm wrong.)

    Gary once said "People hear with their eyes", and this seems like a good observation to me. In my own experience, "non-jazzers" don't like bebop or dance to it, but they seem to really enjoy it live, such as if they come with me to hear my friends playing on father's day or my birthday. Live jazz is a very different experience, and I am not surprised to hear the reports of people dancing at concerts. But in my house or on the radio, the same people have limited tolerance. So I think that a lot of jazz is not danceable to nearly the degree as familiar music.

    I did not go back and reread the thread, but I do not read Grumps' remarks above as saying that jazz is dead or that there is anything wrong with it. It's not popular and it is the music of a relatively few people. Those are facts. Beethoven's music and Gregorian chant are also the music of a relatively few people. No one dances to them so far as I know and there is not a top 40 for them. But nothing is wrong with them and they are not dead.

    Personally, after taking a few college courses, I think I do understand a good deal of post swing jazz. No one hears and can understand everything of course, and I don't mean to demean the talents and work of our fellow members. But with occasional exceptions, the stuff I do hear and do understand is stuff I don't particularly want to hear or understand more of. God bless you if you do, but I just don't like it. Get it? That does not make me ignorant or a snob.

    I don't see anything helpful in saying that people who dig free jazz, bebop, fusion, etc. are snobs (even if some of them are). By the same token, I think it's at best useless to say that people who are not on the bebop train are ignorant or snobs.
    Last edited by LampLight; 04-29-2012 at 11:16 PM. Reason: correct some silly sounding grammatical errors
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  2. #122
    Distinguished SOTW Member/Logician Grumps's Avatar
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    Default Re: Agree or disagree?

    Quote Originally Posted by Buck Laughlin View Post
    ... but most of those people don't understand it.
    That's actually the snobbery; that someone may not like the things you do because they don't understand it. They understand perfectly. They understand that they don't like it. They don't need to be educated, or are somehow not intelligent enough to accept your preferences. I myself, like you, like jazz a lot; and in many different forms. But that's beside the point. I mean, just to cut to the chase and not blame the scholars or avant garde, jazz became unpopular to most folks when you couldn't dance to it anymore. It's really that simple.

  3. #123
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    Default Re: Agree or disagree?

    In reality, I agree with everything you just said, Lamplight. My comment that you quoted above was rhetorical in nature, made to point out that the term "snobbery" can be thrown at just about any person or group that likes something you don't, or doesn't like something you do, or both. As such, it has become a trite, useless, and counterproductive aspersion. I suggest that we retire it once and for all in these discussions.

  4. #124
    Distinguished SOTW Member/Logician Grumps's Avatar
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    Default Re: Agree or disagree?

    If the shoe fits...

  5. #125
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    Default Re: Agree or disagree?

    Quote Originally Posted by Grumps View Post
    That's actually the snobbery; that someone may not like the things you do because they don't understand it. They understand perfectly. They understand that they don't like it. They don't need to be educated, or are somehow not intelligent enough to accept your preferences. I myself, like you, like jazz a lot; and in many different forms. But that's beside the point. I mean, just to cut to the chase and not blame the scholars or avant garde, jazz became unpopular to most folks when you couldn't dance to it anymore. It's really that simple.
    Perhaps. But speaking from my own experience, I really only liked upbeat, melodic, and swinging jazz at first. I didn't like Coltrane at all, and I disliked most other jazz. But once I started learning more about it, I started liking it more. The more I understood what jazz was all about, and what was happening with it, the more I grew to like it. I still don't like all jazz, but I can appreciate what the players are doing with it. (Except "free jazz." I still struggle with most of that.) For me, jazz was like coffee and whiskey. I had to learn to like those things, too, but now I love them and I can't get enough of them.

  6. #126
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    Default Re: Agree or disagree?

    Quote Originally Posted by Grumps View Post
    If the shoe fits...
    Whatever.

  7. #127
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    Default Re: Agree or disagree?

    Quote Originally Posted by LampLight View Post
    free jazz, bebop, fusion, etc..
    And of course it's a stretch to lump those three genres together! But that's what happens with the term 'jazz.' Over the years a lot of different music has been lumped together under that term. So someone hears some very 'free' jazz and then instantly decides it's chaos and they just don't like jazz, period. Someone else might hear some old big band recordings and decide jazz is too dated for them. Or a cut of Charlie Parker playing Koko and decide jazz players just play too many notes. And so on...

  8. #128
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    Default Re: Agree or disagree?

    Quote Originally Posted by Buck Laughlin View Post
    In reality, I agree with everything you just said, Lamplight. My comment that you quoted above was rhetorical in nature, ...
    Hey I get it Buck, but I missed it on the first reading.
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  9. #129
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    Default Re: Agree or disagree?

    Quote Originally Posted by JL View Post
    And of course it's a stretch to lump those three genres together! But that's what happens with the term 'jazz.' Over the years a lot of different music has been lumped together under that term. So someone hears some very 'free' jazz and then instantly decides it's chaos and they just don't like jazz, period. Someone else might hear some old big band recordings and decide jazz is too dated for them. Or a cut of Charlie Parker playing Koko and decide jazz players just play too many notes. And so on...
    LOL. I absolutely agree that it is a stretch to lump those genres together. BTW, the other side of that very same coin is that a lot of the stuff that I hear called "jazz" today is either not improvised music, or it is a fairly straightforward 12 bar blues. People have very different ideas of what jazz is.
    You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.

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  10. #130
    Non Resident SOTW Eccentric & 2012 Forum Contributor Jazzaferri's Avatar
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    Default Re: Agree or disagree?

    Has anyone actually been successful at defining jazz.

    Pops called it music that wasn't played the same way once.....whatever that means. If you define it as improvisational music woops, there are some great improvisers in bluegrass.
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed

  11. #131
    The most prolific Distinguished SOTW poster, Forum Contributor 2014 gary's Avatar
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    Default Re: Agree or disagree?

    Quote Originally Posted by Grumps View Post
    That's actually the snobbery; that someone may not like the things you do because they don't understand it. They understand perfectly. They understand that they don't like it.
    So, would that rule out enhancing your enjoyment of something by learning more about it?
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  12. #132

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    Default Re: Agree or disagree?

    That's actually the snobbery; that someone may not like the things you do because they don't understand it. They understand perfectly. They understand that they don't like it.

    I don't know about that. Plenty of people claim not to like classical music, without ever really giving it a chance. Reverse it, and we have many who hate rock or hip hop having never really investigated it. It takes more than a casual experience to form an opinion on something you do not know or did not grow up with.

    <rant>
    The perception that people know what they know and do not need to study and "understand" things they don't like...people do not know what they like. They only like what they know or are familiar with. What they are familiar with is shaped by their environment and social interactions, e.g. their life experiences. If we're ok with letting people "like what they like", then we might as well shut down all arts programs and devote all our money to entertainment programs, teaching people to dance and sing pop songs in schools instead of trying to keep classical and jazz programs alive.

    I'm not saying we force everyone to do anything they don't want to do...but it NEVER hurts to ask people to give things they are unfamiliar with a deep look before discounting it. Sometimes, it is necessary to investigate and study something before forming an opinion. That is not snobbery...it's education.

    Sorry, the last two paragraphs were slightly off topic.</rant>

    If you (general you, noone in particular) did put in the time and conclude something is not for you, that's one thing...but how many people actually do that?

  13. #133

    Default Re: Agree or disagree?

    Great thread.

    My dad (now 83) is a huge jazz fan and very knowledgeable about much of it pre-70's, with a special knowledge of West Coast Jazz. He had connections at Stanford University and so got free passes to many of their Jazz Workshop Series concerts, some of which I would go to with him although our tastes were pretty different. In fact you could use the 70's as the fulcrum point to define which side of the jazz 'teeter-totter' we each sat on. With some cajoling, I managed to get him to see Peter Apfelbaum's Heiroglyphics Emsemble. I was in heaven; he mostly looked confused. Afterward he told me "I didn't understand it, but I liked it". I think he was just being kind because he saw how much I dug it, but this is exactly the point I get from Grumps:

    that someone may not like the things you do because they don't understand it. They understand perfectly. They understand that they don't like it.
    When I first heard Coltrane as a teenager is was mesmerized. I didn't completely understand it, but I recognized immediately that I liked it tremendously. I had been listening to a lot of the extremely intense fusion of the time, especially John Maclaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra, so to me Coltrane sounded like 'source'; like one of the the ponds Mclaughlin and his Orchestra had drunk from. At the time, the other musicians I was playing with thought I was absolutely nuts and both of these were each worse than the other, and there was nothing I could do to make them UNDERSTAND the feeling I got from listening to this music that, to me, was not of this earth in the best way possible. But I totally "understood" the music; and by that I don't mean I had studied it theoretically. I understood it because I knew it and loved it.

    But getting back to the original question, I do agree wholeheartedly with KB. As has been pointed out many times in this thread, Jazz can now be studied at the university level. You can get a PhD in it for god's sake. Are the best poets PhD's? Are the best painters PhD's? Music is art and art is the expression, the communication, of truth/reality beyond the confines of it's medium. Communication on that level, where it genuinely becomes art MUST transcend the confines of it's materials and technique.

    I've seen musicians I absolutely love give performances that left me in a state of awe and wonder, and I've seen those exact same performers simply 'going through the motions' leaving me feel like we'd both just completely wasted the last hour and a half. The amazing thing is that you could transcribe, and subsequently teach, all the notes and chords from each of those two events and no longer be able to tell the difference. This is probably why I have such complete respect for Bobby Hutcherson. Every single time I've seen him live, He is trying to do something new, something with some reach. I've also seem him go ballistic if people were recording him without his knowledge or permission. He would make mistakes. He'd try something and, from his expression, fail (apparently -I coudn't always tell) and keep pushing the envelope. The artistic integrity was, to me, perfect. AND HE WAS PLAYING STANDARDS!!! Of course some of them he wrote himself. But I think this is what's "missing from jazz". Both the ability to render true beauty in a composition, and the unwillingness to not put all of your abilities on the line to speak truth in the moment, in a way you've never done before, when you're playing for an audience. As long as at least some players are doing that, jazz will never die. Where else does life come from, anyway?
    What I play is more important than what I play.

  14. #134
    Distinguished SOTW Member ratracer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Agree or disagree?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzaferri View Post
    Has anyone actually been successful at defining jazz.
    Nope...

  15. #135

    Default Re: Agree or disagree?

    A "Wine Bar" versus the old fashioned "set 'em up joe" bar? Jazz seems to have developed a patronage of a more affluent listeners while your average "dive bar" custmers aren't sticking around long enough to enjoy a concert except to know how many selections their money buys on pitchers and maybe a juke box, and maybe wine also if it's cheap enough. :tsk:


    Sip fine wine or guzzle pitchers and "sneaky pete."

  16. #136
    Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2009 warp x's Avatar
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    Default Re: Agree or disagree?

    Quote Originally Posted by Grumps View Post
    And there you go... jazz snobbery in a nutshell. This is a saxophone site for saxophone players with vastly differing tastes and styles.
    True, but this topic is about modern jazz.

  17. #137

    Default Re: Agree or disagree?

    "He didn't play anything that hasn't existed before, in terms of harmonic concept and rhythm...but he put it all together in a way that was unique and conceptually brilliant. So, yes, he was a maor innovator and all of that...but to downplay the influences on bird himself (everything from prez, hawk, the blues, ravel, pop songs) is also shortsighted."

    1) false in many ways, especially rhythmic - and no one is downplaying the influences; I've written books on this. But the whole "it was just evolution" schtick really misses the point of why and how art forms change. As for Bird, again, harmonically he was light years ahead of everyone, with the possible exception of Tatum, Hawkins,and Duke. Talk to the few musicians left from that era - if you can find any. But people llike Dick Katz, Al Haig, Bill Triglia, Tommy Potter - guys who shared the bandstand with him or sat in front of him and listened - all still spoke, 30 and 40 years after the fact, with an awe and a sense that he was something astoundingly new. Even Albert Ayler had precedents -but it's more than simply putting old technques to new use. It involves an entirely new kind of consciousness, intangibles of sound and association which Bird had. If it was just a matter of taking old things and cutting and pasting them together, we could all do it.

    as for Grumps thinking I'm a snob - because I've pointed out the obvious? He would better spend his time actually llistening to the things he is apprently criticizing. Yes this is a saxophone cite, but this thread is about all of jazz.

    and as for Ornette - he does not and cannot play changes - he hears things in arcs similar to the beboppers, but he would not know a C7 from an F9. Which is NOT a criticism. His methods have very little to do with this. He heard the old stuff, but once again this is fitting a round peg into a square hole. He was about fitting together certain kinds of interval and melody, whether or not they fit into triads. But once again, talk to musicians who know him well or have worked with him. He's a genius, but of another kind. Once again, as with Bird, it's about a new kind of consciousness. Simply devising schematics of jazz history do not explain Ornette, nor do they do him justice.

  18. #138

    Default Re: Agree or disagree?

    you guys are getting a bit off topic, read original post again. OR NOT. maybe you should should all go play together somewhere and duke it out with your instruments. Hmm. that might require defining a criteria for winning. you probably cant agree on that either.

    on second thought. just keep doing what your doing

  19. #139

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    Cutting old things and pasting them together....I wasn't saying it was that simple. And no, we all can't do that...that's harder than it sounds. Case in point, Chris Potter regularly uses Bach melodic and harmonic devices in his playing...seems obvious when you consider Bach was a master at voice leading and jazz is about tension and release with good voice leading....but how he does it is pretty creative and ingenious. Bird is the same....the blues with the phrasing of prez and hawk and a bunch of other cats, with harmonic influences from the likes of Ravel and Stravinsky and a unique rhythmic approach (I'll agree with that one) ... Genius. But many aspects of his playing would not exist without study of what came before him...that's all I'm alluding to (and incidentally the aspect of jazz that seems to be downplayed in academic jazz. As if one only needs to check out what's new to be the next bird or whatnot)

    Bird may have been a genius and light years ahead of a lot of the current players then...but a lot of people seem to get the false idea he came out of some vacuum and just put everything together like some magician. The guy spent more hours in a few years studying and playing more music than most musicians can claim to.

    I think we're both agreeing in general, here, so I'm really not going to argue here. Not really.

    If your assertion that Ornette cannot play changes because he doesn't know the theoretical differences between chords and alterations, then I guess we have different definitions. From a player's standpoint, my ears tell me he's playing through things fine...but from the viewpoint of a blues musician. We can wax poetic about the genius (or not genius) of Ornette all day, but he's playing the blues and melody as opposed to worrying about chords and scales...and he phrases like a traditional blues musician does, which is not in happy little chunks of 2 or 4 bars. In the context of music, this is far more difficult than playing pyrotechnics over harmonically complex changes...

    But what do I know. I just play this stuff. I've written no books on anything...so I'll leave scholarly discourse to scholars

    Btw, Kenny Barron is a pretty advanced jazz musician who plays some technically masterful and harmonically impressive things in his own right. So, let's not all think he's somehow saying jazz should be more simple and that advanced harmonies or difficult melodies are bad. I think the whole discussion of intellectual vs not intellectual somehow became seen as "complex is bad", or something along those lines. I don't think that's what he was talking about...but I could be wrong.

    I could be wrong about everything!!!! Lol.

  20. #140

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    Default Re: Agree or disagree?

    This has been an interesting thread but I have to make one point. Neither Bird OR Trane would have been what they became without Earl Bostic. If you don't believe me, read up on the guy. He influenced both and from what I've read, outplayed Bird. I've been spending more time listening to his available music. He also said, you don't have jazz without the blues.

    Please, if we're going to discuss influences let's look at Bostic and maybe even Bostic's influences. But if we're going to talk where jazz is today, it isn't popularity that makes anything great or even special. Jazz had its heyday and the current generation of jazz [saxophone] is as broad as the use of the guitar has become. Just not as popular in terms of choice to use in as much music as it once was.

    The OP's question has no definitive answer. It is rather one of all our opinions. Which is fine with me. I think most everyone on this thread has enough reason to give their thoughts. But no one is going to be lauded as the Person With The Answer. Which is also fine as I'm not going to sit around reading everything here and getting into forum arguments just because I might think someone on the internet is wrong.

    Earl Bostic

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