Guy Berger

Stewart Copeland on why jazz sucks

86 posts in this topic

I'll take a leap of faith here and presume that Mr. Copeland sucked and blew at jazz and was told so in no uncertain terms. So he played rock instead.

Funnily enough, I wasn't there at all, but a group called Last Exit (not the famous one) took part in the band contest in the 1975 Jazz Festival in San Sebastian. Bass player was Sting and according to a local critic "he was mediocre and was constantly breaking up the rhythm".

I wouldn't take Copeland too seriously. Many rock musicians of his generation tend to say silly things to appear provocative and get attention. Just be grateful he didn't pull an Elvis Costello.

He's not marrying Norah, is he? :rsmile:

F

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I think Copeland's real sin in the eyes of us jazz nerds is that he isn't taking jazz seriously. He says as much himself. Daddy was into jazz, so he becomes a rock musician and thumbs his nose at jazz. Plus he's a rock star, so he can condescend to whoever he wants to. Nyah nyah!

I heard a few of those Police songs on the radio back in the day. I guess if you like rock enough, it makes a difference if he's a really good rock drummer or not. But to not even know enough about Miles's career to realize that the band with Tony Williams wasn't early Miles--sacrilege! Blasphemy! ;)

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Why is it that whenever someone expresses an unpopular opinion everyone must attack him and insist that "he's obviously an idiot?"

I thought he said 'free improv'? .....who doesn't agree w/him on that score? ^_^

btw, re: that Ginger Baker-Elvin face-off someone mentioned.... Coltrane Quartet influenced Cream?

(from some guy on the Washington Monthly online forums in '06)

A Love Supreme, indeed ...

3) The British blues boom milieu out of which Cream arose was

contemporaneous with the rise of rock music as a mind-bogglingly

successful commercial phenomenon. It's easy to forget this, but

prior to the Beatles and the Stones and their happy conjunction

with an unprecedented youth cohort -- Elvis aside, you just didn't

make money steamshovel-bucket-over-fist in the music business.

This was all before the 70s turned it into Rock Music, Inc.

and tried to rationalize and rountinize such immense profits.

So many of the guys in the early British blues boom were "musos" --

British slang for musicians with musicianly concerns rather than

would-be pop stars. They admired musicianship for its own sake,

and a good many of them were awestruck by American jazz artists.

So it makes perfect sense that Ginger Baker (who really was quite a

good jazz drummer) would challenge the legendary Human Polyrhythm

(Elvin played hemiolas in triple time or triplets in duple time

like two halves of his body were rhythmically independent) to a

drum duel. The John Coltrane Quartette influenced Cream, doubtless.

I'd also argue that the JCQ were a defining influence for

Jimi Hendrix as well -- especially for Band of Gypsies.

The key element here is the modal jazz innovation of extending the

one or two chord vamp to cover an extended solo. John Coltrane (and

Ravi Shankar, too, for that matter) showed how you could improvise

on a single scale, without chord changes, for 20 or 30 minutes and

not get boring -- and Trane was an extraordinary enough musician to

do it convincingly. It's the sheer *athleticism* of these solos, I

think, that was so inspiring to rockers. In any case, this became

the template for every kid in a garage with an electric guitar.

4) Our only point of disagreement, Horatio, is your rather loose use

of the term "free jazz." You can water down bebop until it sounds

like *cough* Steely Dan, but you can't water down free jazz, either

rhythmically or harmonically. "Smooth Jazz" radio (CD 101.9 in my

region) will never play it. You can play "out" on a one chord vamp

and shred the mode into chromatic randomness like Eric Dolphy or The

Mothers of Invention, but that's not free if it's still obvious what

key you're in. Spread rhythm a la Eddie Blackwell (or Jack DeJohnette)

isn't rockin'; Ornette Coleman's "harmolodics" dispenses with chord

structure altogether, a kind of dissonant, pan-modal return to the

scalar improv of early jazz. Unlike Coltrane and modal jazz, these

kinds of innovations had a much more limited influence, and, I'd

argue, flew completely over the heads of British blues boom.

It took until progressive rock formed itself out of psychedelia

that truly free improvisation made itself felt -- and there only

at the margins. It's avant garde rock -- Henry Cow in particular

-- where genuine free improv flowered with electric instruments.

Bob

Edited by Son-of-a-Weizen

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I'd also argue that the JCQ were a defining influence for

Jimi Hendrix as well -- especially for Band of Gypsies.

More thoughts on this? I wonder if the influence was more indirect than direct ("defining" is a bit strong).

Mitch Mitchell was more influenced by Elvin than Buddy Miles.

Guy

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Hm. What an idiot.

Still, about one million people started playing drums because of him.

:rfr Can one million drummer boys be wrong? :rhappy:

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Hm. What an idiot.

Still, about one million people started playing drums because of him.

:rfr Can one million drummer boys be wrong? :rhappy:

Well yes they can.

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Hm. What an idiot.

Still, about one million people started playing drums because of him.

:rfr Can one million drummer boys be wrong? :rhappy:

Well yes they can.

So many drummers, so little time... :cool:

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Hm. What an idiot.

Still, about one million people started playing drums because of him.

:rfr Can one million drummer boys be wrong? :rhappy:

Eat shit - billions of flies can't be wrong!

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Well I like som of Police's work but it seems that Copeland is best enjoyed with his mouth SHUT ;-9

/Shaft

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That's like having Ella sing "against" Maria Callas and then ask which one's better.

Uhhh... Maria Callas!

I can't quite shake the feeling that I'm missing the point of this thread...

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Much of your reactions to Copeland's comments confirm his point. Many of us take "jazz" way to seriously. It's just a label people put on things so they can make selling "product" easier. It's all music folks. The true innovators don’t get hung up on labels because they are too busy internalizing ALL the music they hear, regardless of genre. Copeland simply says what he says because he's smart enough to know that a large majority of 'jazz people' are pretentious snobs that wouldn’t know irony or sarcasm if it came wrapped in a Coleman Hawkins saxophone solo.

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