Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

546

Free Jazz: The Jazz Revolution of the '60s

Robert Levin By

Sign in to view read count
We didn't understand the legitimacy and necessity of repression and delusion. We didn't understand (I've said all this elsewhere, but I think it bears repeating) that as debilitating as repression and delusion were they enabled us to deny and distort certain untenable truths of existence and to make an otherwise intolerable condition somewhat manageable. We didn't realize that we had no choice, that what made us crazy, stupid and destructive (what, for an obvious example in the current world—and to the objective of transcending death in heaven—has spawned all these suicide bombers and Christian Fundamentalists) was our profound and abiding need to mitigate the terror that the fact of death causes us. We didn't see that the reality of the human condition required us to be constricted and insane.

Off-the-wall as it sounds, you could say that the hydrogen bomb was invented in order to create, for its inventors at least, a controllable and therefore relatively comforting death locus.

But in our millennial zeal we were oblivious to such things and I think that at the Pentagon and with the Apollo landing, we were secretly expecting some kind of palpable divine ratification, expecting God to show His face and prove us right. That didn't happen, of course. Our acid visions turned out to have no physical application at the Pentagon. And the moon was only a barren rock—no Kubrickian monolith buried there to give blessing to the project. It was disappointments like these, disappointments equal in their size to the size of our ambition, that took the heart out of the '60s.

It wasn't long afterwards, remember, that mind-expanding drugs began to be replaced—and necessarily—by mood-elevating stimulants like cocaine.

Beyond the moon shot it was just the motor revolving down after it's been shut off. I mean the '60s are commonly judged to have ended when we finally withdrew from Vietnam. But they'd already expired at the foot of the Pentagon and in the deserts of the moon.

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Highly Opinionated
Sex and The Single Trumpet Player
By Steve Provizer
April 23, 2019
Highly Opinionated
Why Steely Dan Can Never Really Be Yacht Rock
By Eric Pettine
April 20, 2019
Highly Opinionated
Blue Note's Tone Poet Series
By Patrick Burnette
February 15, 2019
Highly Opinionated
Who Needs Monk?
By Patrick Burnette
December 13, 2017
Highly Opinionated
Jazz Karaoke anyone?
By David Hadley Ray
August 3, 2017
Highly Opinionated
Dusseldorf Rally: Jazz's Best Kept Secret?
By Phillip Woolever
May 16, 2016
Highly Opinionated
The New Orleans All-Star Brass Band: Do You Know What It Means?
By Ian Patterson
September 2, 2015