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"...By not responding, I felt it was a sign of disrespect...There is a rudeness that has perpetuated throughout this art form and the many businesses connected to it." These are accurate appraisals, Dom. Thanks for this excellent article.
Dom, personally, I'd rather not re-open the old debate about electronics, one that seemed to me to have been settled a long time ago, as noted by one of the people you interviewed. But, since you raise it...The issue gets skewed when people talk about using "effects." For me, that's not at the center of it at all. Rather, what I mean when I talk about my own use of "electronics" is really a particular way to talk about an attention to "sound." When used well, electronics expand an instruments natural sonic capabilities or shift them in unique ways. I'm not sure how that's different than all of the ways horn players use false fingerings, overblowing, and so on. Abstracted from solid musicality and vision, these become just devices. Conversely, they can grow what a good musician create beyond limitations of conventional technique. I see nothing different about electronic expansions of instruments and even the use of electronic sounds as complements to one's playing.Frankly, beyond the use of one's voice, every instrument is technological. I play the piano, one of the most complex pieces of technology (albeit 19th century technology) the world has ever known. And of course as you know well, a transducer doesn't just amplify the sound of guitar strings - it shifts the nature of an acoustic guitar in very radical ways. Never mind the greatly varied ways that different kinds of amps expand and change the nature of the electric signal from the guitar. Without its own electronics and those of an amp, an electric guitar wouldn't be an electric guitar.
Thanks Guys for posting.Robert I did say I may not be as opened minded as I should be and the argument pro and con, I think, is valid, only because there are new comers to the genre all the time
Jazz never got better after 1960- it got different. Ornette opend the door for all of the no talanet FREAKING PHILISTINES that call them selves jazz musicians-what a travisty these pretenders to the throne are--what a diservice they do to a art form that takes DICIPLINE-TALENT-CREATIVE EMOTION- AND THE ABILITY TO CUMUNICATE A STORY using structure and rules---YEAH RULES!! (I know rules impede progress) there are rules that goveren universe from the micro to the macro! All of this talking doesnt do jack for the music! DUDES, I just finished practicing scales chords-thirds -whole tones -long tones breath control-----and much more for over 3 freakin hours so that I can keep my chops up in order to be able to tell my story through my ax when it's show time. Man iv'e got to stop reading these articles as they make me sick---but then again,what do i know? I'm just an OLD F**k-ain't nothin brave about this brave new (jazz) world!! I remain, Mort Weiss I'm OUT!
The question of what 'jazz is' effectively beats a dead horse. It constantly evolves, it becomes whatever the musicians chose to make it. In my mind, what makes jazz such a difficulty are the stiff jazz snobs who dump on all forms of music, judging it to be of an inferior quality, but never listening to the soul being expressed. The best example is hip-hop, while markedly declined nowadays, still remains, in places, imaginative, dexterous and good to listen to, which cannot be said for a majority of modern jazz that tries to out-hip every one when all people want are a hook and a groove. And there's nothing wrong with that. If you want to try and make something progressive, don't count on anybody caring about it until long after your dead. While telling a story through your instrument is what music is really about, you have to get to know your audience. To ask the place for electronics in jazz, where it has been a staple for 40+ years, you need to get out a bit more and realize what people are listening to, because it's by and large electronic music. It has been since the big city blues players plugged into amplifiers.Quit intellectualizing this, that's not what jazz is to me. It's that incomparable feeling of vulnerability and hyper-speed communication. Just play from your heart and don't worry what it is or is not, that's not the point!
Yeah Aaron Stern!!! You get it!!!!! Mort
Mort, Aaron, we all get it!Sammy
Hey Dom when you write about Latinos don't refer to them as Spanish They're either Cuban Puerto Rican Mexican or a dozen other nationalities not from Spain!
Hey, Dom.I'm glad you got in touch with Hal Galper. I enjoy reading his thoughts on music, and find him an enlightened thinker. I agree with his comments regarding innovation vs. style. In any art form, innovation is a rare thing... which is as it should be. And as you yourself allude to near the end of your article, style is just another way of referring to an artist's "voice," which, ultimately, is what any of us should strive to attain in our respective creative fields. Oftentimes, it's the artist's pursuit of their unique voice that gives rise to an artform-wide innovation.Overall, nice article. I enjoy reading them.I find it funny that Mort finds fault with you for "all of this talking" considering that his comments are spread all across the AAJ comments sections (not to mention his own site).I would like you to continue with these articles.P.S. I enjoyed your new album.Cheers.
TO DAVE SUMNER about my wrings being all over the site, YEAH DUDE, BUT THATS DIFFERENT!! Kidding!!! No, Dom did a great job on this article and i wasn't crtizing him---I didn't say it to well - but what i meant was (in general, theres to much talking-inelectualizing- ersatz research -bull crap about what it am-(JAZZ) and what it am not. In otherwords (fly me to the moon) one has to know what is-is and lf it isn't is it? Is it to be? or is not the is factor at all? Gotta go now and write more comments all over aaj and at many other sites----OH, IT REALLY DON'T MEAN A THING IF IT AIN'T GOT THAT------I hope most of you out there know the last word - and if your a player ----CAN F***ing DO IT! Mort Weiss OUT!
Keep the comments coming. I appreciate all your thoughts whether I agree or not. Thanks
Hey, Mort.Thanks for the clarification. That makes more sense.And while I agree the perpetual conversation about what jazz is/isn't can seem tedious at times, in some ways, jazz really needs to sort it all out. Not so much from a is/is not decision, but from a sub-genre perspective.Jazz has developed into a very broad, extremely varied collection of sounds and influences, traced back to a variety of jazz lineages. I think it would serve Jazz well to agree upon some agreed upon sub-genre titles, much how Rock and Hip-hop and Classical have done. It would serve to illustrate just how multi-faceted Jazz is, and show new listeners that to say "Jazz isn't my thing" isn't an accurate statement, because the breadth of jazz can't be so summarily dismissed. It would be like "vegetables are not my thing" or "I don't like big cities"... there's so much out there that, surely, some permutation/sub-genre of jazz or vegetables or big cities will make a connection.Or said differently, we make connections with people based on their personality. Our connections with art is no different. Jazz has many personalities, and it would be nice for the public to be shown that they will likely get along famously with one (or more) of Jazz's personalities if they just spend the time mingling and getting to know it.But, yeah, it's gonna take some discussion and covering/re-covering the same ground. But, ultimately, I think it will be good for jazz to work through it all.Cheers.
I agree with Dave: open-minded discussion and propagation (rather than dogmatic categorization) of all "jazz" encompasses (rather than one thing it "is") might go a long way. It’s easy to talk about music as something that defies or somehow doesn't need discussion, but wouldn't it be helpful to have some discourse about what jazz or classical, rock, etc. does differently? "Just call it music" doesn't tell us much about what Charlie Parker or John McLaughlin brings to the table differently than another artist.“Style versus innovation” is a tremendously useful distinction but I do think there is a tendency in jazz discourse to praise innovation above style. As someone who listens to a lot of prewar jazz, there are many stylists who don't make it into the history books but offer a productive, at times eye-opening experience, even if they were never an innovator (and even if their music never goes "chank-a-dang" or jettisons barlines and diatonics).
Hello Andrew and Dave. Re. both of you two cats- Very hip observations and comments----BUT, and I say this with nothing but respect for you both --you and people like minded -- ( about any and all art forms) are TOO HIP FOR) this dumbdowend)ROOM we find our selves in-another BUT-- as the song says-" it will do untill the real thing comes along" All thats good to you both my brothers.Mort Weiss
Mort, Just wondering what you mean by "this dumb downed room"?Cheers!John
Hi John, There's a old saying amongst jazz musicians, that being- that "he-she- it whatever-"WAS TO HIP FOR THE ROOM" indicating audience lack of attention-talking during ones performance etc--as in NOT GETTING IT! I used same metaphorically, in my usage THE ROOM being a composite of the world-that being the world of people that make up the core of the so called patrons-fans-wannabees-and those that delve into and use the ARTS as a means for a social and business vehicle--It's always been thus--and probably always will. John , I hope that answers your question. With respect and best wishes--Mort
As a non musician but a lover of many forms of music including Jazz I have little interest in academic debates about what does or does not constitute Jazz.I found the questions posed amusing - I wouldn't recognise an odd time signature if it fell on me, I don't care if the music was improvised or composed and if the musicians used electronics - so what?"Three chords and an attitude" from a "rock" musician can inspire and move as much as any seasoned "jazz" musician practicing their technique for seven hours a day for twenty years in my opinion - they all have a place and they all have a value. What I do have an interest in is critics/reviewers developing a language that classifies and describes music in a way that helps me choose what to listen to as I don't have limitless time and money.So Dave Sumner's points are dead right for me. "Jazz" is far too broad a church to review under - you need some sub genre classifications that we all understand.What puts many people off "Jazz" is that they feel they know what it is and they don't like it. I.e. they have two formulas in mind - old men in silly hats and bow ties playing "trad" or double bass, drums and one other instrument trading endless noodling solo's forever. "Jazz" has grown much bigger than that and people don't know it. And don't let critics loose on music they don't like - reviewing shouldn't be about ego/point scoring/striking a pose. If you liked the release then classify it accurately so I understand where it sits - then sell/communicate to me why you loved it. If you don't like it then don't review it!
Yeah Mike, some good points made. Critcs and reviewers are irrelavent. (cpell check went out) If some thing in any and all of the so called arts make YOU laugh-cry-pat your foot etc, then IT'S GOOD for you seeing/hearing it from your frame of reference!!!!'Seeing all these comments on said topic is a GREAT THING! coming from all points of the musical compass-----as Bird once was heard to say-IT ROCKS!!!! Mort
"...Critcs and reviewers are irrelavent (sic)..." They're not irrelevant. The best ones are like teachers; they help define, clarify, and bring historical perspective. Strong writers like Ira Gitler are a case in point. His essays about Fats Navarro lead me to further investigate that musician's work. In this current article, Dom addresses issues that are very close to the source. Like it or not, it is a highly relevant critical analysis.
I agree James.If a critic is knowledgeable that's great. But sometimes editors send CDs to critics who don't know too much or are prejudice towards some kind of music and that can be a problem. Years ago when my Vampire's Revenge came out, the editor of a prestigious magazine gave it to a reviewer who was definitely a straight-ahead guy. He had no idea what he was listening to He hated it. It was the worst review I ever got it in my whole career. I though that was completely unfair
Understood, Dom. The best reviewers are perceptive, and conversant in different genres of music. It's a rare skill set, and one that's not necessarily acquired at the university level.Like you, I've had my share of hostile reviews. Ten years back, a critic at the now-defunct KUSF radio station in San Francisco told me to re-record my bassist's performance, which was highly pantonal. There were no thanks, and the CD was abruptly round-filed.Incidents along these lines underscore the often partisan nature of this field. It goes with the territory.
Actually guys,since my return to the scene (2001) I've never had a bad review or comment about my work:) But to paraphrase Sonny Rollins about critics and reviewers--that he stopped reading and listening to them because when they were good he dug them and when they weren't, it upset him.Hey, this is a great disscussion group! --ca-mon some of you others out there Join us! best, Mort
Isn't one of the more traditional elements of jazz include an awareness of appeal to a "populist" audience, rather than the elite? I think there was a time when most jazz musicians were thinking more along the lines of impressing the man on the street, rather than fellow hipsters from "academia". The fact is, lots of jazz has become more complex and sophisticated than classical music. I don't think that helps it's popularity. You shouldn't need to be musically educated to find enjoyment in it. It used to be about grits, now it's about escargot.
YEAH JEFFREY! If it dont make you pat your foot and smile---get up and make ya wanna DANCE (no matter your age) It ain't S**T no matter how many degrees one has and or how eleqount they present their point of views RE THE MUSIC!! Best Mort
Aside from the Spanish remark it was overall a good article. I don't know where Nick got 1959 as the year the music died because the classic groups of Miles and Trane jumped off around 63-64 and as far as I'm concerned the best Blue Note LPs came out in the 60's! Guess I'll have t re-read his treatise!
Is this jazz?www.youtube.com/watch?v=dlpIRxLMEEY
Is this Jazz? To my ears it could be, but it has too many elements of New Age Music.
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