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JSngry

Ahmad Jamal, Vindicated

112 posts in this topic

Not too much about Jamal in there, eh?

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I liked Quartette Trés Bien - still do!

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well, Francis is a friend of mine and a brilliant critic. BUT I HATE JAMAL's

PLAYING

Edited by AllenLowe

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I liked Quartette Trés Bien - still do!

I really dug what they were trying to do...

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personally I preferred Quartette So So

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well, Francis is a friend of mine and a brilliant critic. BUT I HATE JAMAL's

PLAYING

I don't.

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I've found the Mosaic set to be highly enjoyable.

However, I do MILDLY DISLIKE Ramsey Lewis.

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well, I'm definitely in with the in crowd.

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One of the eternal truths in music is that critics are never as important as the music and its creators ... 

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well, what about the musician who is also a critic? or who writes extensively?

Virgil Thompson, Harry Partch, Glenn Gould, John Cage, Dick Katz, (the journals of) Louis Moreau Gottschalk (as Moms recently reminded us), Anthony Braxton?

as a matter of fact, to carry this further, there are many critics whose work is as interesting or more interesting than that which they are discussing, in and out of music: George Bernard Shaw, Ted Solatoroff, Donald Barthelme (did both), Richard Gilman, Stark Young, Larry Kart................

Edited by AllenLowe

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It depends ... or what do you think about what John Cage wrote about jazz? ;)

And, of course, there are exceptions to the rule. But, unfortunately, they are exceptions. I think we could agree that we could do without the majority of critics ...

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yes, but also without the vast majority of musicians.

Cage was wrong on jazz, but still an indispensible theorist, I think.

Edited by AllenLowe

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I like Cage's excellent critical article, "4-1/2 pages."

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Maybe I'm naive about the implicit or explicit politics of the role, but I've always thought of criticism as nothing more or less than thinking and talking about jazz, or any other art -- the very same thing my friends and i did as a matter of course ("What did you think, Morry?" Oh, yeah? -- Well here's what I thought"), and that long before I had a glimmer of doing this kind of thing in a public journalistic forum. I know the sorts of bad incidents and bad experiences that make many of of us shy away from the idea of criticism in general and jazz criticism in particular, but to me it's always seemed a vary natural and useful side of individual human nature and the human social condition. Further, those people who say, and sometimes literally mean, that the only proper response to a work of art is to remain stunned and mute in its presence ... well, I guess you could say they leave me speechless. Finally, as for the supposed ghastly inadequacy of words as a medium to respond to music (as in that old "like dancing about architecture" line), it depends (to quote the late Lester Bowie) on what you know.

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Maybe I'm naive about the implicit of explicit politics of the role, but I've always thought of criticism as nothing more or less than thinking and talking about jazz, or any other art

If all critics would share this view, there wouldn't be a problem - at least for me. You're not naive, Larry, IMHO, but very much aware of the implications and limitations of the role - and that's what makes your writings so much more acceptable to me than some doubtful or plainly subjective "evaluations" like the one that prompted this thread.

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One of the eternal truths in music is that critics are never as important as the music and its creators ...

Touche.

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There's so much to be gleaned from well-written commentary on jazz. Writers like Larry (whose praises in this regard I've sung before), Allen, Loren Schoenberg, Martin Williams, Mark Stryker, Jsngry and others will enhance both your interest and your listening experience (and if your listening experience extends for more than four hours call a doctor? Sorry, there must be a better way to say it that doesn't make good jazz criticism sound like a medical product...back to the coffee). Anyway, I'm grateful for it; some people really have a gift for talking about all of the beauty and details in the music that will make you love it even more.

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Maybe I'm naive about the implicit of explicit politics of the role, but I've always thought of criticism as nothing more or less than thinking and talking about jazz, or any other art

If all critics would share this view, there wouldn't be a problem - at least for me. You're not naive, Larry, IMHO, but very much aware of the implications and limitations of the role - and that's what makes your writings so much more acceptable to me than some doubtful or plainly subjective "evaluations" like the one that prompted this thread.

BTW, if by 'doubtful or plainly subjective "evaluations" like the one that prompted this thread' you mean Martin Williams' vintage comments on Jamal, I found them enlightening/thought-provoking at the time and still do; even though my own feelings about Jamal are a bit different, they evolved in part because Martin said what he did. That is, what he claimed were manipulative, applause-begging gestures in Jamal's music certainly exist; if Martin is wrong about why they're there and how they work, what is really going on there? (Something fairly unique and notable certainly is.)

Also, I know all about those tales of a bad review costing someone a job, but the sooner we stop thinking about jazz musicians as a box of potentially bruised peaches, the better off we'll all be. As John Cage didn't say but should have, there's too much self-pity in the world.

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I actually heard Jamal in person once, and it was an odd experience - obviously a guy who knows the piano; I kept waiting for him to cut to the chase, to just start playing - similar to the reaction I have when watching Brubeck. I once compared it to watching somebody shuffle a deck of cards, over and over and over again, and never get around to actually playing the game.

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One of the eternal truths in music is that critics are never as important as the music and its creators ...

Touche.

Well, no. I mean, aren't most of us on this Board effectively critics? At least, as Larry defines the term? Don't we talk about the music, discuss what we think is pretty good and pretty bad, what's been well done, badly done?

gregmo

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I actually heard Jamal in person once, and it was an odd experience - obviously a guy who knows the piano; I kept waiting for him to cut to the chase, to just start playing - similar to the reaction I have when watching Brubeck. I once compared it to watching somebody shuffle a deck of cards, over and over and over again, and never get around to actually playing the game.

I like that.

BUT, watching a master shuffle a deck of cards can be more enjoyable than playing a hand.

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I don't see how you listen to a Jamal group through the course of a piece and hear the piano as the only focal point.

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