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Jazz writers used to know a little bit more about the music than they know now, besides recordings. They actually used to spend sometime trying to play. Amiri Baraka, Stanley Crouchthese cats played instruments. But we as musicians, we ought to be defining for ourselves what's great. We shouldn't be beholden to people who don't do what we do for validation, to make us an employable commodity, or entity in the industry. We have the power now through the technology to redefine that.
So, I've written some liner notes for some CDs. I intend to do more. I think cats should write other cats liner notes! Bassist Dwayne Burno wrote the liner notes for Jeremy Pelt's latest record. This is the thing that [needs] to happen more. Because in doing so, we can reclaim what's good, and it doesn't become this subjective, myopic viewpoint of somebody that can't see past the certain period of music.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.