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The Death of Jazz

GUEST,DDT 23 Feb 13 - 01:24 PM
GUEST,DDT 23 Feb 13 - 01:27 PM
GUEST,leeneia 23 Feb 13 - 02:08 PM
GUEST,DDT 23 Feb 13 - 02:25 PM
Ron Davies 23 Feb 13 - 02:26 PM
GUEST,roderick warner 23 Feb 13 - 03:31 PM
GUEST 23 Feb 13 - 03:37 PM
GUEST,Spleen Cringe 23 Feb 13 - 03:38 PM
GUEST,Spleen Cringe 23 Feb 13 - 03:40 PM
fat B****rd 23 Feb 13 - 03:47 PM
GUEST,DDT 23 Feb 13 - 03:59 PM
Don Firth 23 Feb 13 - 04:05 PM
GUEST,DDT 23 Feb 13 - 04:30 PM
GUEST,DDT 23 Feb 13 - 04:33 PM
GUEST 23 Feb 13 - 05:07 PM
MartinRyan 23 Feb 13 - 05:36 PM
GUEST,Ripov 23 Feb 13 - 05:51 PM
Will Fly 23 Feb 13 - 07:58 PM
JohnInKansas 23 Feb 13 - 07:59 PM
Amos 23 Feb 13 - 08:04 PM
Stringsinger 23 Feb 13 - 08:10 PM
GUEST,DDT 23 Feb 13 - 09:14 PM
pdq 23 Feb 13 - 09:38 PM
Gurney 23 Feb 13 - 11:03 PM
GUEST,DDT 23 Feb 13 - 11:12 PM
GUEST,DDT 23 Feb 13 - 11:17 PM
michaelr 24 Feb 13 - 01:06 AM
GUEST,Spleen Cringe 24 Feb 13 - 05:52 AM
GUEST,Spleen Cringe 24 Feb 13 - 05:54 AM
Roger the Skiffler 24 Feb 13 - 07:11 AM
GUEST,DDT 24 Feb 13 - 10:17 AM
michaelr 24 Feb 13 - 12:24 PM
John P 24 Feb 13 - 01:09 PM
GUEST 24 Feb 13 - 01:22 PM
GUEST,Nick 24 Feb 13 - 01:23 PM
GUEST,Tunesmith 24 Feb 13 - 01:30 PM
GUEST,Oldtimer 24 Feb 13 - 01:48 PM
Will Fly 24 Feb 13 - 02:02 PM
Don Firth 24 Feb 13 - 02:05 PM
GUEST 24 Feb 13 - 02:30 PM
GUEST,Nick 24 Feb 13 - 02:46 PM
GUEST,Spleen Cringe 24 Feb 13 - 03:28 PM
Ron Davies 24 Feb 13 - 05:15 PM
Ron Davies 24 Feb 13 - 08:42 PM
GUEST,DDT 24 Feb 13 - 10:22 PM
Jack Campin 25 Feb 13 - 09:05 AM
GUEST,Blandiver 25 Feb 13 - 01:49 PM
pdq 25 Feb 13 - 02:41 PM
JohnInKansas 25 Feb 13 - 04:53 PM
GUEST,DDT 25 Feb 13 - 06:58 PM
Jack Campin 25 Feb 13 - 07:22 PM
pdq 25 Feb 13 - 07:51 PM
Big Al Whittle 25 Feb 13 - 08:17 PM
Spleen Cringe 26 Feb 13 - 05:35 AM
GUEST,DDT 26 Feb 13 - 08:11 PM
GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser) 27 Feb 13 - 03:27 AM
Will Fly 27 Feb 13 - 03:59 AM
Jack Campin 27 Feb 13 - 08:01 AM
GUEST 27 Feb 13 - 12:08 PM
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Big Al Whittle 27 Feb 13 - 10:25 PM
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Subject: The Death of Jazz
From: GUEST,DDT
Date: 23 Feb 13 - 01:24 PM

According to Neilsen SoundScan (the official source of record sales in the music industry since 1991), the top ten best-selling albums for each of the first 12 years of the 21st century do not contain a single jazz album. Even worse, as a result, Americans seem to be increasingly ignorant of what jazz is. The top-selling album of 2011 and 2012 was Adele's "21." She has far outsold every other artist. I am amazed at how many times I have heard someone call her a "jazz artist." Do these people have ANY IDEA of what jazz is?? If not (and they obviously don't), why do they say that?? I have listened to several Adele songs on Youtube and not one of them is even jazz-flavored pop much less jazz. I suppose she's a decent enough artist, it's not anything I would care to buy, but she is simply NOT jazz or even remotely jazz.

Interesting also that in 2011, bassist Esperanza Spalding became the first "jazz" artist to win the Best New Artist award at the Grammy's in spite of the fact that Spalding had not released a jazz album in three years. She was given the award so that the Grammy committee could have an excuse not to award Justin Bieber whom Spalding had beaten out which enraged many of Bieber's fans. Spalding had not sold enough albums to rate in the top ten for any year while Bieber had done so from 2010 to 2012 so perhaps Bieber's fanbase had a right to be angry.

The album that the Grammy people seemed to be recognizing Spalding for was "Chamber Music Society" released the previous year. It was also rated as the number one jazz album but is not jazz but more of jazz-flavored pop. Spalding repeated the feat in 2012 with "Radio Music Society." Again, this album is not jazz. Ironically, the last jazz album Spalding released, "Esperanza" (2008), never got higher than #3. Her debut album, "Junjo" (2006), also jazz, sold so few copies that it was never rated. The first two releases, however, featured some impressive jazz chops imaginatively displayed. Spalding demonstrated that she was a formidable jazz artist who might well "take it to the next level." However, her next two releases saw her basswork take a backseat to her vocalizing.

Spalding is used by the Grammy people as a way to block other artists that it clearly considers more important (because they sell more records) if they nevertheless view said artists as being musically "vapid", shall we say. In this way, jazz is done a grave disservice. Indeed, Spalding has continued to make her name as a jazz artist in spite of not releasing a jazz recording in five years at the time of this writing (2013). For instance, Spalding won Jazz Artist of the year in 2011 at the Boston Music Awards and took Best Jazz Vocal Album at the Grammys in 2013. The last award is telling for she did not win for her bass-playing but for her vocals. We are free to assume that had she released an instrumental album, she may not have received any recognition at all since this is true of all the other jazz instrumentalists. Dave Holland and Eddie Gomez are two of the most awesome bassists in the world but both do instrumental jazz. So how many Grammys has either man won in the many years both have been recording? Combined together, the answer is none. Spalding also won another award at the 2013 Grammys that had nothing do with jazz: Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalists—a category as meaningless as it is confusing—for the song "City of Roses."


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Subject: RE: The Death of Jazz
From: GUEST,DDT
Date: 23 Feb 13 - 01:27 PM

The Grammys create these bogus categories to disguise the true title what is really a single category: "This Stuff Doesn't Sell Because It's Classified as Jazz But It's Still Pretty Good and Generally Better Than the Stuff That Does Sell." Jazz will always receive short shrift because its sales cannot come close to matching pop music sales. Spalding demonstrates that to remain relevant among the more popular artists, jazz must become a form of pop music—a more sophisticated form of pop but pop nonetheless. Nor is Spalding the best in this category. I place Steely Dan far above her.

To be sure, we cannot disparage pop music too severely without becoming hypocrites. Record labels generally use the sales of pop music to fund the more artistic recordings and projects. Regardless of how one feels about Justin Bieber or Katy Perry, their huge sales may have financed that boxed set of swing jazz bands of the 30s and 40s that you loved so much or that glorious Wagner opera recording that you gladly shelled out $50 for. That's the terrible irony of the music industry—pop music overshadows all the truly far better forms of music out there and yet without the enormous sales of pop, many of these far better forms of music would not even be available for public consumption. The problem is that the consumption is so shamefully scant.

People as Esperanza Spalding, as talented as she is, are trying to increase public consumption of jazz at the risk of the integrity of jazz itself.

The future of jazz is one that will be invaded by lightweights who grew up listening to Spalding and Adele (who, to my knowledge, has never had the audacity to call herself a jazz singer) and thinking this is jazz.


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Subject: RE: The Death of Jazz
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 23 Feb 13 - 02:08 PM

Humans do music because they enjoy it. The musicians enjoy playing and the audience enjoys listening. Unfortunately, jazz musicians moved the slider bar way far to the the 'musicians enjoy' end of the scale and too far from the 'audience enjoy' scale. The result is much tuneless rambling.

I explained to a friend once that jazz musicians have a good time fiddling with their instruments but that doesn't mean the result is intersting for the audience. He said, "You have liberated me from jazz!"

There are reasons why jazz is a not-for-profit activity.


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Subject: RE: The Death of Jazz
From: GUEST,DDT
Date: 23 Feb 13 - 02:25 PM

So Spalding is not a jazz artist as far as you are concerned? That's really the essence of my argument.


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Subject: RE: The Death of Jazz
From: Ron Davies
Date: 23 Feb 13 - 02:26 PM

So, you've reverted to your curmudgeon phase.   Not surprising. It's clearly a more comfortable fit than your avant-garde pose.   Interestingly enough, I agree with you in part--pop music these days is in fact both mostly vapid and responsible for financing better music.

But you can rage against the injustice of it all as much as you want.   Thread appears to have been better titled:   "Rejection By Public and Grammy People Of Instrumental Jazz I Think Is Good".    However I'll have to say I don't ever buy instrumental jazz (haven't bought any since the Tijuana Brass , which was both eons ago, and also no doubt does not fit your definition of jazz)--and I'm a big consumer of non-pop music.   In fact it's vocal jazz that I love- (and I'm with the Grammy people on that) --and that has been in decline since the bebop era. The best jazz was long ago. As I've said before, as primarily a singer, I want a recognizable melody.   And it's possible that I am not alone in this.

There's even the possibility that the use of synthesizers, drum machines etc, in current instrumental jazz has turned some people off. Wouldn't that be something. But you'd know better than I would as to if these abominations are in fact used in instrumental jazz these days.


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Subject: RE: The Death of Jazz
From: GUEST,roderick warner
Date: 23 Feb 13 - 03:31 PM

I don't think anybody told saxophonist Charles Gayle on his amazing visits to the uk over the last few years that jazz is dead... Or the Arkestra... or a whole bunch of people I've seen down the Cafe Oto in Dalston over the years either with a young and vibrant audience listening to challenging musics. Off there in April to see one of the best jazz musicians this country has ever produced - the mighty Keith Tippett, pianist supreme.


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Subject: RE: The Death of Jazz
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Feb 13 - 03:37 PM

Apart from Django they stopped recording good Jazz in 1931


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Subject: RE: The Death of Jazz
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 23 Feb 13 - 03:38 PM

Isn't jazz a bit like folk? A fiercely contested non-mainstream music that doesn't generally sell in huge quantities (but when it does it's generally stuff from the pop/crossover end of the spectrum)?

And there's plenty of great jazz around: Try some William Parker Hamiet Bluiett Charles Gayle recorded at a concert a couple of months back. Unlikely to win a Grammy, I admit...


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Subject: RE: The Death of Jazz
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 23 Feb 13 - 03:40 PM

And if there was a like button on Mudcat, I would "like" Roderick Warner's post above...


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Subject: RE: The Death of Jazz
From: fat B****rd
Date: 23 Feb 13 - 03:47 PM

I'm listening to UK BBC radio 4's programme abut the saxophone even as I type. Soweto Kinch and Courtney Pine compering. They seem quite happy about jazz in general, mind you I believe the progamme is a repeat.
As a jazz person and not a folk person I agree totally with Spleen Cringe.


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Subject: RE: The Death of Jazz
From: GUEST,DDT
Date: 23 Feb 13 - 03:59 PM

"Isn't jazz a bit like folk?"

Very superficially. Yes, neither is mainstream but here is what concerns me:

Jazz has reached the status of "art form" while folk has not. One reason blacks have dropped away from blues so drastically is that it is not an art form. They have clung to jazz because it is. Because of this, shows as the Grammys can't ignore jazz. To do so, would be perceived as a slap in the face. They must acknowledge it. But the Grammys are an awards program based really on sales and not artistic merit. They like to think they are but they aren't. So they have found a way to use jazz--to block those popular artists they feel it would be beneath their dignity to award and to achieve this by creating bullshit categories to give to the "jazz" artist.

I'd much rather that jazz be ignored by the Grammys because what they inevitably issue awards for is not jazz for the very reason an earlier poster stated: The pop music listener perceives it as tuneless rambling. Jazz is what it is and turning pop into jazz and then awarding it doesn't make it jazz and doesn't further the cause of jazz.


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Subject: RE: The Death of Jazz
From: Don Firth
Date: 23 Feb 13 - 04:05 PM

I'm sticking a toe into a pond I'm not really that familiar with here, but off the top of my head, I'd say announcements of the Death of Jazz are a bit premature.

I'm not a jazz aficionado, but I do enjoy it as a pleasant listening diversion from folk music, classic in general, and opera, my usual listening choices. There are two radio stations within my listening area that play jazz all day long, and I often tune into one or the other of them.

In my listening area, one small station plays some "folk music" a couple hours a day (a little traditional, but mostly recent singer-songwriter stuff). I listen to a lot of the one all classical music station here, but when I've had about as much Mozart or Bach or Ravel as I can take, I switch to one of the jazz stations.

Jazz seems pretty healthy to me.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: The Death of Jazz
From: GUEST,DDT
Date: 23 Feb 13 - 04:30 PM

"Try some William Parker Hamiet Bluiett Charles Gayle recorded at a concert a couple of months back."

Jesus, that's just a bunch of tuneless rambling!! Just kidding, yes, that's nice stuff but notice there's not any younger musicians. That's the part that worries me. Younger musicians can't lead jazz bands but they must apprentice in these bands when they are young so they can be ready to lead when they are old enough.

That's been the biggest complaint of the jazz musicians I've played with--where are the young kids? Sure, there'll be a few but there's frankly not enough. I remember when I was a boy wonder of jazz. Now I know why the older musicians took such an interest in me--I was a rarity, a teenaged kid who even wanted to listen to jazz much less be able to play it. Now I'm all grown-up and I see it too. There's a dearth of kids who want to play real jazz.

Now there might be people thinking, "What's he talking about? Wynton Marsalis is bringing up young jazz talent year after year!" Yes, he is. He deserves some kudos for that. But Marsalis is also what is known as a neo-classicist jazzer. He has no interest or patience for jazz innovation. He wants his wards to be new Ellingtons, new Lester Youngs, new Miles Davises, new Jelly Roll Mortons, new Wyntons. Well, we already went through that period, we don't need copies. We need originals. Jazz is a spontaneous, existentialist form of music, it is playing what is in your heart at that moment, it can't survive as an "oldies" reunion show.

One of my favorite bassists is Chris Dahlgren. Check him out:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r44FBulwprM


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Subject: RE: The Death of Jazz
From: GUEST,DDT
Date: 23 Feb 13 - 04:33 PM

"Jazz seems pretty healthy to me."

Take it from a jazz musician--it isn't.


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Subject: RE: The Death of Jazz
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Feb 13 - 05:07 PM

Jazz died with Amy Winehouse - discuss...


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Subject: RE: The Death of Jazz
From: MartinRyan
Date: 23 Feb 13 - 05:36 PM

I started listening to jazz more than 50 years ago - I suspect it was 1959, when Brubeck's Take Five was a sensational crossover hit. It was a minority sport then, in Dublin, and remains so - but it's still there. One of the joys of my (anec)dotage is that the tiny village of Kinvara, in the West of Ireland, where I now live, has a weekly jazz session with a mix of excellent musicians across a range of jazz styles. Jazz survives, no matter what the media or the general public do to it! It is fated never to have huge, mass appeal - for which, as an art form, it should be profoundly grateful.

Regards

p.s. Kinvara has a population of about 300 at peak times, and a fairly thinly populated hinterland. I reckon I know FOUR double bass players in the area. I have this theory that they're actually some kind of millennial cult who plan to escape a catastrophic flood by fitting sails to the damn things!


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Subject: RE: The Death of Jazz
From: GUEST,Ripov
Date: 23 Feb 13 - 05:51 PM

Dunno where that went?!
If, like Don, you find that steam radio's can be a bit restrictive,
try some internet radio stations arranged by genre. Or a mediaeval one with fascinating links to other bits of the site.


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Subject: RE: The Death of Jazz
From: Will Fly
Date: 23 Feb 13 - 07:58 PM

Jazz - improvised music - is alive and kicking. Like other genres of music - folk, for example - it gets the spotlight turned on it from time to time and then stays where it is when the spotlight moves on.

There are thriving jazz festivals all over Europe, for example, with great musicians getting good audiences. I was in Orleans in France last years, and there was a programme of free jazz being played every evening in venues all over the city. I don't know what the scene is like in the US, but it's slightly quieter than it used to be in the UK at the moment. I have to say I'm getting regular work playing jazz guitar duets at the moment. In the Sussex scene, funnily enough, there's a big revival of string-band music and Western Swing - much of which verges on jazz in its approach. The Hot Club Of Cowtown, for example, come to Brighton regularly and they swing like hell.

There are also several gypsy jazz outfits in the area - not always my cup of tea - but they get good bookings.

So - not dead over here - just pootling along and enjoying itself as ever.

My final dare: define jazz - while I run for cover playing Crazy Rhythm... :-)


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Subject: RE: The Death of Jazz
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 23 Feb 13 - 07:59 PM

Quite obviously, in order to keep the discussion orderly, it will be necessary to answer in a way on which we can all agree:

"What is jazz?"

Obviously it would be counterproductive to defer the answering of this question while we still haven't agreed on (to the satisfaction of many?):

"What is Folk?"

We have made some progress with "What is Trad?," but "nobody sues you if you play it" seems somehow unsatisfying as a musicologically precise definition.

And for "What is bluegrass" the previously accepted "Whatever (but only what) Bill Monroe played" is now in dispute by a few, who maintain that it's really "anything you play so fast nobody notices the notes you leave out (like Bill did sometimes).

Please pardon the interjection, but I'm afraid I'm a little confused about how to respond in acceptable fashion to the questions posed ...

I think ...

maybe(?)

Of course maybe I'll figure it out if the thread proceeds far enough to give me some additional information that I can assimilate and digest.

Does anyone think it all has anything to do with "marketing?"

(OH SH*T - something else we don't have a really good definition for - dammit!)

John


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Subject: RE: The Death of Jazz
From: Amos
Date: 23 Feb 13 - 08:04 PM

The Brubeck Brothers would energetically disagree with you--all four of them are (Darius, Chris and Danny in particular) making livings in jazz. Together or apart they play some for the finest music being made today.


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Subject: RE: The Death of Jazz
From: Stringsinger
Date: 23 Feb 13 - 08:10 PM

Esperanza is every bit a jazz musician extraordinaire. To say she's not is ridiculous.
She is a great jazz vocalist as well as bassist.

Jazz is very much alive in the small venues and clubs around the country.
Wherever there are real musicians there will be jazz, because it takes a real musician to play it.

The Grammys are like the Oscars, they have lost all meaning artistically and only indicate what recordings are selling.

Berklee in Boston is turning out great jazz players at a productive rate.

You can hear jazz all over the net.

I would relabel this thread the Death of Recording because the music biz is really hurting right now and it deserves it.

Jazz and folk are not that far apart and yes blues is an art form, folk interpretation is an art form and the best of jazz musicians such as Louis Armstrong and Charlie Parker all recognized the role of blues and country musicians.

Jazz came out of folk music originally. The blues is a form of folk music.
Trad jazz is very close to its folk roots. Even the most sophisticated form of the blues such as Charlie Parker stems from a traditional blues base.

Jazz guitarists are eminently popular among guitar players today of which there are quite a few.

To paraphrase Mark Twain: The Death of Jazz is greatly exaggerated.


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Subject: RE: The Death of Jazz
From: GUEST,DDT
Date: 23 Feb 13 - 09:14 PM

"Esperanza is every bit a jazz musician extraordinaire. To say she's not is ridiculous."

Sorry but she has not been a jazz musician in five years. She was. She is not now.

"She is a great jazz vocalist as well as bassist."

She played marvelous chops on her first two releases. The last two I can teach any kid whose never touched a bass in his or her life to play in 6 months. It's that easy. That's what they'll want to learn right away and then think they are playing real jazz. They don't want to learn the Songbook even though it is the foundation of jazz training. You have to learn hundreds of standards because everything you need to know about playing jazz is in those standards. Then you take that use it to forge something new. Some kids take to the Songbook and others just hate it.

"Jazz is very much alive in the small venues and clubs around the country."

I don't where you get this. The venues are disappearing. Jazz can't fill the house. Wynton Marsalis often plays to half full houses and he's the "ambassador of jazz." They're having trouble filling houses on 52nd Street and that's the jazz capital of the world! Are you talking about paying gigs or just some place where people play for tips? I won't play for tips. It's not that I'm stuck up. If I play for tips, I'm hurting those jazz musicians who make their living playing music. If I play for tips, then they are expected to play for tips. Those guys have bills to pay just like everybody else. They need to be paid adequately. If a working jazz musician plays for tips out of desperation, then so be it. But I won't play for tips out of respect for those guys because working musicians were my instructors and mentors. I have a regular job and don't depend on gigs to pay bills but I'm also not as good as those guys because I can't devote myself 24/7 to music they way they have. THEY carry the torch and deserve respect for that. If you want to learn jazz, THAT is who you MUST learn from--MUST.

"Wherever there are real musicians there will be jazz, because it takes a real musician to play it."

Playing jazz is like playing classical (since most of us were classically trained to begin with), you have to be taught to play jazz. You can't just learn it sitting in your living room playing the Songbook. You have to be trained by someone who is a master and even then you have to go out and PLAY real gigs. Anybody can play some jazz reasonably well but to get REAL chops you have to be a REAL JAZZ musician not just a real musician.


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Subject: RE: The Death of Jazz
From: pdq
Date: 23 Feb 13 - 09:38 PM

" Dave Holland and Eddie Gomez are two of the most awesome bassists in the world but both do instrumental jazz. So how many Grammys has either man won in the many years both have been recording?"


I do not know if Dave Holland has won a Grammy, but he came to the US and did several records with John Hartford, Vassar Clements and David Grisman.

If you went to a record store, that stuff was filed under Bluegrass.

Go figure.

{both Dave Holland and Todd Phillips are as good as it gets on "doghouse" bass}


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Subject: RE: The Death of Jazz
From: Gurney
Date: 23 Feb 13 - 11:03 PM

I stopped going to jazz clubs long ago. I like the more tuneful jazz, as my LP/tape/CD collection testifies, but the habit that has developed of the audience applauding 'breaks' (apparently for politeness!) irritates me to the point that I walk out.
This discontinuity puts me off 'musicals' much the same.

I do take DDT's point about discordant modern jazz though. I don't listen to that stuff.


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Subject: RE: The Death of Jazz
From: GUEST,DDT
Date: 23 Feb 13 - 11:12 PM

Yes, Todd Phillips is excellent. He is a bluegrass bassist from what I've been told. I have his CD "Timeframe." Great stuff. That's jazz, though. Give a listen to Eddie Gomez. Also the late Scott LaFaro and David Izenzon. Charlie Haden is another and Chuck Israels. Gomez and LaFaro played with Bill Evans. LaFaro, Haden and Izenzon played with Ornette Coleman. I also enjoy Richard Davis of New York Unit with Pharaoh. Pretty good composer too. And Mingus, of course. I have his rare small ensemble recordings from the early 50s before he went all orchestral. Man, that is some serious doghousin'!


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Subject: RE: The Death of Jazz
From: GUEST,DDT
Date: 23 Feb 13 - 11:17 PM

Yeah, the audience clapping after every solo is tiring. You're supposed to applaud only after someone just played something awesome not for every damned solo. That happens at the Dixieland gigs a lot. I don't play those often because I can't land them. Those go to the older guys. They don't trust us young uns to play those gigs, I guess (plus they are some of the few steady paying gigs because they are under union rules).


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Subject: RE: The Death of Jazz
From: michaelr
Date: 24 Feb 13 - 01:06 AM

I'm watching Espearanza Spalding's 2013 Austin City Limits show right now.

Anyone who claims she is not jazz does not know what they are talking about. From her superbly confident scat singing to her brilliant bass playing (simultaneous!), not to mention the excellent rhythm section, horn section, and backup singers, this is a knowledgeable, mature jazz artist with a Brazilian influence. And listenable, too! (unlike some hard bop commented on above) A major talent who is keeping jazz alive and well.


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Subject: RE: The Death of Jazz
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 24 Feb 13 - 05:52 AM

I get slightly miffed at the audience clapping at every flippin' opportunity, too...

DDT - thanks for that link to Chris Dalgren - truly lovely stuff.


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Subject: RE: The Death of Jazz
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 24 Feb 13 - 05:54 AM

Though it's a worry that young turks like Chris Dahlgren or Matthew Shipp are my age!


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Subject: RE: The Death of Jazz
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 24 Feb 13 - 07:11 AM

Although "my" generation of jazzmen are dead or dying off, there are many young musicians coming along. The audiences however, at least locally, for both trad & modern jazz and for blues are, for the most part, my generation. We've got all the records we need (my wife laughs cynically at the thought of me ever saying I don't need to buy any more!)so sales are dropping and lets face it, the mainstream record shops don't sell specialist music and specialist shops are disappearing. Even oldies are downloading.

RtS


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Subject: RE: The Death of Jazz
From: GUEST,DDT
Date: 24 Feb 13 - 10:17 AM

Dahlgren is slightly younger than me but infinitely more gifted. I have his CD "Best Intentions" where the standard drummer is replaced by Japanese drummers. So it sounds like Ornette Coleman's band collided with Kodo in a bloody mess on the freeway. It's great stuff. It's clear he has an affinity for Japanese music. He is a true jazz artist--stretching boundaries.

He plays with some of the same people that Esperanza Spalding does but she's just rehashing her old jazz chops. michaelr mentioned her singing in Portuguese in 2013 at a live show. That was her stuff from 5 to 7 years ago! She hasn't sung a word of Portuguese since 2008 on her recordings. As I said, her first two albums were phenomenal but her last two are disappointing for someone with her chops. I don't know but a CD every other year indicates something isn't right. When you debut, you want your 2nd CD out within a year. You want the fervor over the first one to barely die down when you get that 2nd one out. It was two years before Spalding put out her second and it was another two before she got a third and another two before her fourth. Couple that with the fact that her chops seem to have vanished and something is going on we're not being told about. I do give her kudos for doing her own stuff instead of the old tired classics but she's no longer cutting edge.

But the Grammys are perfectly happy to hold her up to the world as the greatest thing going on in jazz. It simply isn't true. I would give that title to Dahlgren before I gave it to Spalding. To regain my respect, she'll have to earn it and it isn't going to happen by chasing after Grammys who wouldn't know jazz if it bit em in the ass.

Yes, RtS, it's a dire situation. There is new jazz talent coming up every year but they are being raised as if they were classical musicians--groomed to reinterpret the old calcified classics. Endlessly rehashing the old Songbook which is no longer adequate to hold increasingly shorter attention spans. Wynton Marsalis is chiefly responsible for this. He wants jazz to enshrined on the same level as classical music. He wants it to be regarded the same way. He is forever comparing the great jazzmen to the great classical composers as though these are true parallels instead of the loose analogies they really are. He has paid scant attention to the boppers and free jazzers except for those who have become somewhat calcified in jazz (e.g. Monk, Miles). Guys like Cecil Taylor and Albert Ayler are simply ignored. Marsalis used to be far more dismissive of the contributions of white jazzmen although he has softened up on that in the last few years. He was far more militant about it back in the nineties when he felt that white musicians or non-black musicians in general (there are some excellent Japanese jazz artists) can never really grasp the essence of jazz because it is a black music borne from black experiences.

The result has been a large-scale rejection of jazz by the young who have no interest in playing the music of old dead black men much less old dead white ones. And, yes, it's hard to find shops that sell anything that isn't just mainstream anymore. I remember when I was a teen, you could find anything in the stores. Want it now? Go to Amazon or CD Universe.


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Subject: RE: The Death of Jazz
From: michaelr
Date: 24 Feb 13 - 12:24 PM

Re-read my post, DDT. I didn't say anything about ES singing in Portuguese. And to claim that "her chops seem to have vanished" is just nonsense.

I'm not familiar with her recordings, but I just happened to see her on Austin City Limits yesterday, after reading the OP here. I recommend watching that concert before disparaging her abilities.


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Subject: RE: The Death of Jazz
From: John P
Date: 24 Feb 13 - 01:09 PM

When I'm sitting around the house playing music, I play jazz almost as much as I play folk. I know lots of other people who play jazz regularly. How can it be dead if we still play it?

Looking to popularity contests such as the Grammys as an indication of whether or not a form of music is alive and well is very silly. There's a big difference between a genre of music being massively popular and it being healthy and vital. Coming up with a fairly narrow definition of jazz and then saying that musicians who are outside that definition aren't playing jazz probably contributes to the idea that jazz is dying.


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Subject: RE: The Death of Jazz
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Feb 13 - 01:22 PM

Martin Taylor seems to keep himself busy year in year out. Listening to Pat Metheney as I type this and earlier today Errol Garner and Joe Pass. Went to see Frank Vignola recently.

Not for everyone I realise but one of the musical genres I enjoy.


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Subject: RE: The Death of Jazz
From: GUEST,Nick
Date: 24 Feb 13 - 01:23 PM

Whoops logged out


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Subject: RE: The Death of Jazz
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 24 Feb 13 - 01:30 PM

Here's a prediction:
   
    If they ever make a great movie about Django Reinhardt - and it probably will happen - then gypsy jazz could become very big!

Why, well the music itself is so catchy, and everything is in place - e.g. lots of gypsy jazz groups all over the world - to capitalize on a sudden massive interest in the music.

It happened before! It will happen again!


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Subject: RE: The Death of Jazz
From: GUEST,Oldtimer
Date: 24 Feb 13 - 01:48 PM

Aside from all of the sincere contributions . my feeling is that this link provides a profound & passionate analysis on this debate http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wscZhvj_lH4
OT.


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Subject: RE: The Death of Jazz
From: Will Fly
Date: 24 Feb 13 - 02:02 PM

What I don't understand is why music has to be anything. DDT - you believe that jazz is dying - and then denigrate all sorts of jazz or people ("calcified musicians") that you're not interested in. You talk about the "integrity" of jazz. You say that "pop music overshadows all the truly far better forms of music out there" - but, even if true, so what? Because something might be harmonically more complex than something doesn't make it "better" - as if "better" had any meaning when applied to individual taste.

I'm very fond of all sorts of jazz - Jelly Roll Morton, Thelonious Monk, Sonny Rollins and many others - but I don't for an instant think it's "better" than, say, Eddie Cochran or Richard Thompson. I can live with "Summertime Blues" just as much as I can live with "St. Thomas" or "Al Bowley's In Heaven" or "The Pearls". Music just IS - regardless of what you want it to be. And, if the attention of the public is drawn to this and that, then so be it. The real aficionados of a particular style of music will always seek it out and gather together to worship their particular gods, regardless of fashion, money or anything else. Aged (and not-so-aged) rockers wearing treasured '50s gear gather in empty holiday chalets in midwinter to jive a weekend away. And aged and not-so-aged musicians play the music for them. Guys and gals in jeans, boots and cowboy hats go line dancing in social clubs all over the UK. Folkies gather together to sing and play. Let them. Nothing wrong with any of it.

I love playing my kind of jazz because, now and then, nothing can beat the feeling of flying, musically, by the seat of one's pants, always on the edge of a great mistake or a bad fluff. Sometimes it doesn't fly - and sometimes you're "in the zone". But even being "in the zone" is no "better" than singing in "Tristan" or having a metal thrash in the back room of a pub. Different - certainly - but not better.


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Subject: RE: The Death of Jazz
From: Don Firth
Date: 24 Feb 13 - 02:05 PM

Just getting a little historical perspective on this, jazz, in one form or another, has existence since the mists of antiquity. In Elizabethan times and well before that, people use to get together equipped with various instruments such as what was referred to as a "case of viols" (bowed instruments of various sizes), and "case of recorders" (same deal), a lute or two, and perhaps a cittern, perhaps a harpsichord or clavichord or both, and maybe even a Renaissance guitar (four "courses" or doubled strings)—and JAM.

They didn't call it that, of course, but that was what it was.

They usually had melodies to work from, and one or more of the instruments would be playing that, while the rest of the instruments would be improvising around it.

Jazz, the way it's done these days, usually improvises around pre-chosen popular or well-known melodies, and generally wanders far afield in a sort of "theme and variations" mode.

This sort of playing has been going on in one form or another for centuries.

I've known a lot of jazz musicians over the years and I've heard one helluva lot of jazz. The particular STYLE of jazz you're use to may be on the wane, but jazz—improvisation—has been around for centuries in one form or another and, by its very nature—and what musicians do—will continue to be around as long as people play music.

Since when have the Grammies been the arbiter of what constitute's a particular form of music?

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: The Death of Jazz
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Feb 13 - 02:30 PM

I have been to the Kircudbright Jazz festival for the last four years. I go because bruv-in-law loves jazz. I have grown to enjoy some styles but generally it isn't my bag. My contribution is that jazz is fading but not dying. "folk" is fading too. They are both cyclicle. It is unfortunate that the cycle is degenerating for both genre. Kirkudbright four years ago was 80% sold. Last year 65% sold. I have always believed that folk and jazz are related, not in their content but in their relative popularity. It's complex init?


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Subject: RE: The Death of Jazz
From: GUEST,Nick
Date: 24 Feb 13 - 02:46 PM

And by chance my wife chose Sarah Vaughan as background for food.

Wonderful


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Subject: RE: The Death of Jazz
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 24 Feb 13 - 03:28 PM

Matthew Halsall, who lives just up the road from me, is rather good. As the Guardian notes, "his group combines 1960s modal-jazz looseness with the meditative music of Alice Coltrane," which I think is just about spot on. The reason I mention him is that he and his collaborators are on the right side of young... Check him out.

Fletcher Moss Park by Matthew Halsall


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Subject: RE: The Death of Jazz
From: Ron Davies
Date: 24 Feb 13 - 05:15 PM

Sorry, I was wrong when I said DDT was back in his curmudgeon phase.   It's actually not just a phase but his curmudgeon persona---and clearly the one he identifies most strongly with.

What's somewhat interesting is that he himself is a wonderful example of a curmudgeon, he does not seem to want to permit others to show similar traits without attacking them as "irrelevant", laughably clueless, etc.

Sorry DDT, you're the one off base on this:   anybody who buys tickets to concerts or buys music in any form--whether it's the current vapid top 40 or other music we may think it more worthy-- is definitely relevant--as are those who make their own music. And desire for melody, for instance, shows no signs of dying out, including in generations following ours.

So when did you say the thread will be retitled "Rejection By The Public And the Grammy Committee Of Instrumental Jazz I Like" ? Which I suspect most posters will agree is a far more accurate title.


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Subject: RE: The Death of Jazz
From: Ron Davies
Date: 24 Feb 13 - 08:42 PM

"is that though he himself... "


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Subject: RE: The Death of Jazz
From: GUEST,DDT
Date: 24 Feb 13 - 10:22 PM

"I'm not familiar with her recordings,"

Well, I am. And I paid full price for them with my own hard-earned money. The trouble with CDs is if you feel like you didn't get your money's worth,you don't get your money back. When that happens, I feel entitled to complain about the product.

"but I just happened to see her on Austin City Limits yesterday, after reading the OP here. I recommend watching that concert before disparaging her abilities."

Her live clips are all over the internet and I posted a number of them some years ago when I still believed she was the best thing going in jazz.

"Looking to popularity contests such as the Grammys as an indication of whether or not a form of music is alive and well is very silly."

Then why do we have Grammys at all?

"Since when have the Grammies been the arbiter of what constitute's a particular form of music?"

My question exactly.

"It is unfortunate that the cycle is degenerating for both genre."

Jazz musicians are well aware that their genre has been degenerating. That's why we're looking for that new Louis, that new Lester, that new Bird, to come along and shake things up. Spalding looked like she was it and that nothing was going to stop her from doing it and then suddenly she stopped on her own and went Grammy-chasing instead at the most crucial point in her career. That third CD needed to start exploring jazz at a very deep level and, if you listen to anything from it, you'll hear just the opposite. So we're still looking. I think Chris Dahlgren deserves that recognition but, amazingly, few people--even other jazz musicians--have heard of him.

"And by chance my wife chose Sarah Vaughan as background for food."

Sarah was the Shit.


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Subject: RE: The Death of Jazz
From: Jack Campin
Date: 25 Feb 13 - 09:05 AM

I hadn't heard of the Kirkcudbright festival - seems they don't bother telling people in Edinburgh about it.

Could be good if they didn't pretend the world ended in 1950.


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Subject: RE: The Death of Jazz
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 25 Feb 13 - 01:49 PM

Humans do music because they enjoy it. The musicians enjoy playing and the audience enjoys listening. Unfortunately, jazz musicians moved the slider bar way far to the the 'musicians enjoy' end of the scale and too far from the 'audience enjoy' scale. The result is much tuneless rambling.

That has to be the most depressingly restrictive bunch of tosh I've ever read here on Mudcat. To redress the balance a little:

Humans do music to commune with infinity & divinity. The musicians are shamans who play out of tortured necessity & devotion to their ancient craft - and the audience listen because they're in awe of their humility & genius. If anything Jazz musicians didn't move the slider bar far enough; Rahsaan Roland Kirk maybe tried too hard to teach his audience of higher truths, Sun Ra likewise, and Miles Davis, but the music still went way over the heads of many who failed to hear what they were doing. The result is an ill-educated population fed on mass produced reclaimed musak-based products who nevertheless think they know what 'real music' is all about and can dismiss the impassioned yearning of some of the greatest musicians ever to walk the planet as 'tuneless rambling'.

Here's Albert Ayler.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dtiSA2RKDzc


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Subject: RE: The Death of Jazz
From: pdq
Date: 25 Feb 13 - 02:41 PM

The question "what constitutes Jazz" is still a good one.

I see little connection between five Black cats playing 3 chord songs featuring brass instruments back in 1923, and the White guy in a Las Vegas lounge in the 1970s playing slick electric guitar using chord progressions so advanced that Stavinsky would have to think hard about them.


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Subject: RE: The Death of Jazz
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 25 Feb 13 - 04:53 PM

Slight drift:

chord progressions so advanced that Stavinsky would have to think hard about them

Having played quite a lot of Stravinsky during a brief phase, I'm not that sure Igor did all that much thinking ... . His "Circus Polka" is the only (documented) piece to cause an elephant stampede at the first public playing. (Although elephants are not much recognized as the greatest of music critics.)

John


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Subject: RE: The Death of Jazz
From: GUEST,DDT
Date: 25 Feb 13 - 06:58 PM

"I see little connection between five Black cats playing 3 chord songs featuring brass instruments back in 1923, and the White guy in a Las Vegas lounge in the 1970s playing slick electric guitar using chord progressions so advanced that Stavinsky would have to think hard about them."

I'll sum that connection up in two words: Louis Armstrong.

He is the bridge between that early jazz and what came about in the bop and post-bop eras. He never claimed the credit because he was above all else a traditional jazzman. He just happened to be an extremely innovative traditional jazzman. So much so that jazz would not likely have survived into the 1930s without him.

In 1928, Louis recorded "West End Blues" in Chicago--a piece by Clarence Williams and King Oliver (Louis's main teacher). The opening trumpet intro is the start of bop. No, this is not a bop piece, obviously, but it was this intro that inspired a whole new music, a whole new approach, a revolution in jazz and in music as a whole:

West End Blues

While Louis disparaged bop, he knew he was a hero to the boppers and he was okay with that. He was close friends with Dizzy Gillespie. Diz never denied the importance of Louis when he uttered his famous, "No him no me" statement. In addition to bop, Diz went on to co-found Afro-Cuban jazz. So Louis's legacy is a powerful one.

Here's Louis in 1924 playing in New York with Fletcher Henderson. Henderson knew how special Louis was and after a bit of an intro just lets Louis cut it loose. Again, you hear the makings of bop in Louis's solo although it's not as developed as it would become when he returned to Chicago but it's equally obvious that Louis's trip to New York was essential to his development especially when we realize that he was playing the same orchestra with Don Redman (became perhaps the greatest big band arranger ever), Coleman Hawkins (the man who made the tenor sax what it is to jazz to this day) and Buster Bailey.

Shanghai Shuffle


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Subject: RE: The Death of Jazz
From: Jack Campin
Date: 25 Feb 13 - 07:22 PM

I just had a look at Metthew Halsall's website. I was curious to know who the harpist on the YouTube tracks is.

You can find no information whatever about his band lineups on that site. Or any biographical details at all. The whole site is so abysmally uninformative I am thinking of submitting it to http://www.webpagesthatsuck.com/.


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Subject: RE: The Death of Jazz
From: pdq
Date: 25 Feb 13 - 07:51 PM

That was great treatise on "Pops" Armstrong by GUEST,DDT so I withdraw my question.

BTW, a few decades back, Fletcher Henderson would have been given lavish praise and Don Redman very little, but I guess truth has won out.

OK, why aren't Phil Lesh and Jerry Garcia listed as two of the Jazz greats of alltime?


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Subject: RE: The Death of Jazz
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 25 Feb 13 - 08:17 PM

'I see little connection between five Black cats playing 3 chord songs featuring brass instruments back in 1923, and the White guy in a Las Vegas lounge in the 1970s playing slick electric guitar using chord progressions so advanced that Stavinsky would have to think hard about them.'

there used to be black cat ciggies when i were a lad. with cork tips.

I don't see the connection perhaps its just a fortuitous twist of language. Like the one that had all them serious folksingers empty the folk clubs which were chugging along with Julie felix/Bob Dylan types. Real folk music, they said.....

and quorn sausages - not much to do with real sausages. Lincolnshire chipolatas.

Its language itself that plays false with us. Reality is mislabeled.


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Subject: RE: The Death of Jazz
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 26 Feb 13 - 05:35 AM

Jack - The harpist is Rachel Gladwin, who you can also hear on the album by top Manchester folk-rock Juggernaut, The Woodbine and Ivy Band.


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Subject: RE: The Death of Jazz
From: GUEST,DDT
Date: 26 Feb 13 - 08:11 PM

"I hadn't heard of the Kirkcudbright festival - seems they don't bother telling people in Edinburgh about it."

I don't really care for jazz festivals. Jazz was meant for small venues. It loses something vital when it's played in large outdoor places. It's an intimate music and needs to be heard intimately. When you're sitting at a table right at the bassist's elbow or something like that, that's when jazz is at its best.


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Subject: RE: The Death of Jazz
From: GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser)
Date: 27 Feb 13 - 03:27 AM

I wouldn't want to talk about the 'Death of Jazz' but one thing I noticed during the years I spent taking Jazz guitar lessons at my local college was how much of a 'Lifestyle' choice it seemed to be among people who'd started out as rock-listening hippies who'd grown older and ended up working in publishing, interior design or for the BBC.

It was like country music for arts graduates - something you 'get into' when you reach an age when you start looking a bit silly trying to play rock'n'roll. Mea culpa there, I'm afraid.


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Subject: RE: The Death of Jazz
From: Will Fly
Date: 27 Feb 13 - 03:59 AM

when you reach an age when you start looking a bit silly trying to play rock'n'roll

Heh, heh. Been there and done that. And, actually, I still play the stuff (rock'n roll) in a pub on rare occasions - always gets the room rocking, and I don't give a toss what I might look like.

I worked for the Beeb in the late '60s and ran their folk club (Clanfolk) for a spell. I met up with like-minded souls through work and the club, and we formed a jug band, playing regularly at the Redan pub in Queensway. Gradually, more and more 1920s and 1930s dance tunes crept into the band's repertoire, and we got people like Bob Kerr and Diz Disley sitting in with us. When I moved down to Brighton in the late '70s, I went to the regular Sunday lunchtime jazz jam sessions at the King and Queen and then got drawn into the scene, joining a mainstream band for a few years. It was a great musical education in harmony, melody and improvisation. Then I started playing rock'n roll...


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Subject: RE: The Death of Jazz
From: Jack Campin
Date: 27 Feb 13 - 08:01 AM

Jazz was meant for small venues. It loses something vital when it's played in large outdoor places.

The Kirkcudbright festival hasn't announced the venues it'll be using yet, but it's safe to say they will be closer in scale to phoneboxes than fields.


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Subject: RE: The Death of Jazz
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Feb 13 - 12:08 PM

RE: Kirkcudbright-It would be better, from one view, anyway, if the original poster would restrict himself to being dismissive of things he actually knows something about.


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Subject: RE: The Death of Jazz
From: Ron Davies
Date: 27 Feb 13 - 12:45 PM

Dream on.


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Subject: RE: The Death of Jazz
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 27 Feb 13 - 10:25 PM

if it is dead, I'm not sending flowers....sod it!


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