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Will anyone be listening to our music in 50 years time?

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Perhaps it's the New Year that got me thinking of the future. We're still listening to jazz of 50 years ago (though we're very much a minority), but what will there be in 2059? A few professors poring over 20th century music, like medieval music today? Or will revival bands still be trying to get the Blue Note sound? Or will the jazz tradition have continued to evolve, producing a music which would bewilder us? What do you think?

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Not to be flip, but 50 years is but a blink of the eye, really, once you remove "yourself" from the picture. Try 500, 5000, or even more...

Having said that though, we got stuff preserved in a way that past generations didn't. Look at how much "classical" music has survived simply due to its having been preserved in written form. Even though the standard repertoire is a relative fraction of what survives, the other stuff is stll there when/if somebody wants to get to it.

We have actual recordings, not just printed facsimiles. And I can guarantee you that somebody is going to keep a big bunch of them around in some form, even if tragedies like the Universal & Atlantic warehouse fires cut back on the totality of it all.

So I'm confident that the recodings will survive, somehow. Now as to how many people are actually listening to them, well, who knows. The cool thing about sampling is that it allows for voices (vocal & instrumental) to keep popping up in constructs far, far removed from their original settings. So, yeah, in 50 years, you might well still be hearing Bird, or Trane, or damn near anybody, just as a "voice" in some whole other environment. Purists will be outraged, but I think that's a good thing, since a "voice from beyond" that speaks to you too literally, too clearly, too right-in-your-face-ish is kinda....creepy.

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We have actual recordings, not just printed facsimiles. And I can guarantee you that somebody is going to keep a big bunch of them around in some form, even if tragedies like the Universal & Atlantic warehouse fires cut back on the totality of it all.

Yeah, I would suppose that this period, the period of the beginning of recorded sound -- which in the looooong term we may still be in -- will always be of interest simply because it's the period of the beginning of recorded sound.

Imagine what a gold mine that historical documents such as the ones Allen Lowe puts together will be in another 50, 100, 200, 500 years. (One can only imagine what they'll fetch on amazon. :blink: )

And imagine if today we could hear for ourselves recorded performances from the 17th or 18th centuries?! I'm guessing we'd be listening, collecting, comparing, but most of all marveling.

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And imagine if today we could hear for ourselves recorded performances from the 17th or 18th centuries?! I'm guessing we'd be listening, collecting, comparing, but most of all marveling.

That might be overload...we'd have next to no time left for 21st century music!

Which is why I think the tendency towards sampling/etc. is both necessary and healthy over the long haul. We need to clear up some space on the mental hard drive to keep functioning in the present. Too much of a backlog slows things down that way. Yet we need to keep some signifiers from our past active somewhere in our consciousness as well. Although at one level it's unfortunate that many people only know, say, the opening few notes of Beethoven's 5th, on another level, so what? Would it be a better world if everybody knew the whole piece inside and out, or would it be the same world only more Beethoven-literate? As it is, those notes "ring a bell" with a helluva lot of people, and some of them at least know that it's Beethoven, and some of them at least know that once upon a time there was a cat named Beethoven, who was a guy who wrote some stuff back a long time ago, and it's supposed to have been pretty awesome, and if you go dah-dah-dah DAHHHH and say, "That's Beethoven", they might smile and say, "Oh, THAT guy!" and then move on with a smile on their face.

In that kind of way, sampling, etc. is just another form of this. Maybe not the best of all possible worlds, but one of the better of all plausible ones, if you know what I mean. Never scoff at having people walking away with a smile on their face relative to the overall condition of the world in which we live!

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Perhaps it's the New Year that got me thinking of the future. We're still listening to jazz of 50 years ago (though we're very much a minority), but what will there be in 2059? A few professors poring over 20th century music, like medieval music today? Or will revival bands still be trying to get the Blue Note sound? Or will the jazz tradition have continued to evolve, producing a music which would bewilder us? What do you think?

If the players are doing something right, the jazz being played in fifty years should bewilder and outrage us. In fact, it shouldn't sound like jazz at all. After all, to a Dixieland player, Bop didn't sound remotely like what he thought of as "jazz." And many a "mouldy fig" was plenty outraged and bewildered by Bop.

If the jazz of fifty years hence still sounds like the jazz of fifty years ago, then it will be pretty much dead...

Edited by Alexander

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If the jazz of fifty years hence still sounds like the jazz of fifty years ago, then it will be pretty much dead...

Hmmmm....

1958:

ornette_something-791020.jpg

2008:

willie_nelson_wynton_marsalis_two_men_with_the_blu_300x300.jpg

So, waht if the jazz of 50 years hence sounds like the jazz of 75-100 years ago, is that gonna be a good thing? :g

Edited by JSngry

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It's interesting to wonder what jazz (if any) recorded in the last 5-10 years will be canonized 50 years down the road. It seems like 50 years ago musicians such as Rollins, Miles, Bird, Ellington etc. were already regarded as 'giants' by their contemporaries and their place in an emerging canon was clear enough. (i may be wrong, and I'll defer to those among us who were around in those times). The situation seems a lot different today, for better or worse.

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they might smile and say, "Oh, THAT guy!" and then move on with a smile on their face.

This guy?

john-belushi-beethoven-snl-1975-22.jpg

In all seriousness, how many people know those notes because of "A Fifth of Beethoven" not actual exposure to the composition?

As far as the question goes - while its theoretically possible I'll be here in 50 years, I wouldn't count on a 93 year old being too interested in what's "now". Especially when I can hardly be moved to care about any current "new" recordings. Jazz as we know it died a long time ago, and the best way I can view it is the same way that a great classical composition is viewed: as a great artistic/cultural achievement of a particular moment in time.

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I think Dan nailed most of it.

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I think Dan nailed most of it.

Yep.

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"Will anyone be listening to our music in 50 years time?"

What would they be doing, dancing to it instead? :winky:

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I think Dan nailed most of it.

Yep.

I gotta disagree. There's some great music being made today. It ain't necessarily hard bop, but the music would kind of be in trouble if it were, no?

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"Will anyone be listening to our music in 50 years time?"

What would they be doing, dancing to it instead? :winky:

Your avatar seems to be looking at his dick. Same should be happening in 50 years. Dancing with it out just looks silly. :rolleyes:

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they might smile and say, "Oh, THAT guy!" and then move on with a smile on their face.

This guy?

john-belushi-beethoven-snl-1975-22.jpg

In all seriousness, how many people know those notes because of "A Fifth of Beethoven" not actual exposure to the composition?

Dan, you impetuous youngster! :g

I had heard it in commercials & TV comedy shows in the 50s & 60s long before I heard Walter Murphy do it. The point being that there will always be little "artifacts" that survive in some form or fashion, and getting worked up about it all "dieing" or some such is just plain silly, really, like "Our time on Earth was just SO damn special that nobody else will ever be able to do the grand things we did, so we MUST keep our time on Earth alive for all to be stunned into submission by!".

That's bullshit. Life does go on.

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It's interesting to wonder what jazz (if any) recorded in the last 5-10 years will be canonized 50 years down the road. It seems like 50 years ago musicians such as Rollins, Miles, Bird, Ellington etc. were already regarded as 'giants' by their contemporaries and their place in an emerging canon was clear enough. (i may be wrong, and I'll defer to those among us who were around in those times). The situation seems a lot different today, for better or worse.

Not much doubt about the canonized status of 50 years ago! The current Nightlights show, called "!959: Jazz's Vintage Year", reminds us that this was the year of Miles's Kind of Blue, Brubeck's Time Out, Coltrane's Giant Steps, Ornette's The Shape of Jazz to Come, Mingus's Mingus Ah Um and Bill Evans's Portrait in Jazz! :party:

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One aspect of this, which many others here can speak to with far greater insight than I, is that the music walks hand-in-hand with the history of its time -- the depression ear, segregation, the war years, post-war, the 60s, etc. So, thinking of the music that is being made today one might think of how it speaks to, or reflects, our current times. They certainly seem to be important times socially and politically, but only history can judge that.

This period we're in is also significant because of globalization, and I think some of the music today reflects that. There are musicians who look to influences beyond the blues, and the story of jazz doesn't end at the shores of the U.S., nor does it end whenever the blues might leave. ;) IMO.

It may be just beginning!

Just thoughts.

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I'd like to think so but Dan is about right. I've been listening for fifty years and although I get great pleasure from the the jazz of the 40s/50s/60s/70s I can't really get interested or be bothered to seek out most of the jazz coming out today. Fortunately many of the players from these eras are still active and have a lot to contribute.

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I'm sure a significant minority of listeners in 2059 will be listening to the music of 2009. There will still be people around who remember it as the music of their youth; and others whose curiosity about music inevitably leads them to explore the past.

What is certain is that some of them will be complaining that the music of 2059 is not nearly as good as the music of 2009. In fact, as I won't be around in 2059, can I be the first to say it?

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I'm sure a significant minority of listeners in 2059 will be listening to the music of 2009. There will still be people around who remember it as the music of their youth; and others whose curiosity about music inevitably leads them to explore the past.

What is certain is that some of them will be complaining that the music of 2059 is not nearly as good as the music of 2009. In fact, as I won't be around in 2059, can I be the first to say it?

Yeah, but you'll be able to download it at mind-boggling speed to your million gig hard drive that will be implanted under your skin at birth.

;)

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I'm sure a significant minority of listeners in 2059 will be listening to the music of 2009. There will still be people around who remember it as the music of their youth; and others whose curiosity about music inevitably leads them to explore the past.

What is certain is that some of them will be complaining that the music of 2059 is not nearly as good as the music of 2009. In fact, as I won't be around in 2059, can I be the first to say it?

Yeah, but you'll be able to download it at mind-boggling speed to your million gig hard drive that will be implanted under your skin at birth.

;)

Whoa! Freeze me now and bring me back later!

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I'm sure a significant minority of listeners in 2059 will be listening to the music of 2009. There will still be people around who remember it as the music of their youth; and others whose curiosity about music inevitably leads them to explore the past.

What is certain is that some of them will be complaining that the music of 2059 is not nearly as good as the music of 2009. In fact, as I won't be around in 2059, can I be the first to say it?

Yeah, but you'll be able to download it at mind-boggling speed to your million gig hard drive that will be implanted under your skin at birth.

;)

I imagine by then some other form of music storage/distribution will have come along. People will be pining for the natural sound and greater warmth of the mp3.

Edited by Bev Stapleton

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Some of the jazz being played TODAY already "bewilders" me and "doesn't sound like jazz." (I won't say "outrages" though.) In fact, some of Ornette Coleman and Cecil Taylor's music music from the 60's doesn't do a thing for me. No need to look 50 years into the unknowable future for that.

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It's interesting to wonder what jazz (if any) recorded in the last 5-10 years will be canonized 50 years down the road. It seems like 50 years ago musicians such as Rollins, Miles, Bird, Ellington etc. were already regarded as 'giants' by their contemporaries and their place in an emerging canon was clear enough. (i may be wrong, and I'll defer to those among us who were around in those times). The situation seems a lot different today, for better or worse.

I'm not so sure that I agree with this assessment. Perhaps the term "canonized" is hanging me up. Respect and admiration yes, canonization probably not, then or now. Enjoyment and appreciation, definitely.

Probably a similar 97-percent of the general population 50 years from now will be just as ignorant of "our music" as has always been the case. But there's plenty of music currently being composed, improvised and recorded that will withstand the test of time, and the searchers will find it.

There are a couple of particular "trends" the past few years that strike me as significant.

One is the fact that many musicians are important in the development of a new "canon" (using the term very loosely) rather than a select handful of movers and shakers.

And the other is the increasing globalization of what can still be loosely called "jazz"; the influences and cross-fertilizations are so diverse and diffuse now that it's impossible to say who or what influenced whom. It's cyclical rather than linear.

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