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All About Jazz: The web's most comprehensive jazz resource


Some Notes on Jazz Writing and Scholarship

By Published: January 29, 2007
The fact of the matter is that "opinions are like assholes—everybody has one. All jazz writing is merely a form of "word play using jazz music as a stimulus. The philosopher Wittengstein and others showed that the words and phrases of a language do not refer to "objects in the so-called "real world, but rather are defined in and through other words and phrases within the same language. So, too, jazz writing is its "own thing, narcissistically self-referential. In a way, jazz journalism and scholarship are vain enterprises ("mirror, mirror on the wall ), for jazz writing is nowhere near as beautiful and exciting as the music itself. We jazz writers are ultimately a lonely crew, looking for scraps of understanding and recognition where we can get it and sometimes basking in the glow of the musicians themselves. We are merely "seekers and not cultural icons. But we perform a necessary "social function, bringing together musicians, audiences, and thinkers in a dialogue and extended conversation. That is great—and it is great fun. For me, that is what my tenure on All About Jazz has been about—and I love it.

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