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Perhaps Not Surprising (Jazz Has Become The Least-Popular Genre In The

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So many Fallopian pregnancies.

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I think when it comes to "jazz" most people just aren't going to appreciate improvisation over content. That's like venerating method acting over drama or a story.

Don't know what Allen means by post-modern but it sounds like I've been post-historical for years! Presently appreciating music of the past and not appreciating contemporary music so much, without it meaning I am living in the past! Like Ali Farka Touré saying his Timbuktu is not at the end of the world, it's at the center!

What the hell does "improvisation over content" mean?

So many Fallopian pregnancies.

Do you favor tubes over valves? :-)

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Again, I wrote about these aspects in "Jazz in the 21st Century," see http://www.goodbaitbooks.com/events.htm. In the 1970s already Ekkehard Jost wrote about an renaissance, or upheaval, in European jazz (including free improvisation) that finds European traditions equally relevant or far more relevant than American jazz traditions.

For a long time I've been used to seeing audiences full of gray hairs or heads as bald as mine - usually in places where pre-free jazz idioms are played. What saddens me lately is the preponderance of us gray or bald heads at free/outside/AG (I really hate that term) concerts. OTOH a few young, white trad musicians play Bix-Whiteman and Morton and Waller pieces and a few young, white jitterbugs dance to their music at a couple of Chicago places.

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You know that for me, I really don't care if it is called jazz or not. Certainly there are strains of SME (as one example) that stretch or even break some line between jazz and something else. What we agree on is that it is radically different. The "swing" element of the drummer and bassist is deliberately eliminated thereby obfuscating or disowning any seeming connection to the great American jazz tradition.

What has happened is that some of the later (or second generation) improvisors have reconnected some jazz influences back into the music. Paul Dunmall and Mark Sanders are two examples - listen to Mujician's Birdman to hear a clear free jazz recording that has rock and EFI influences.

There are many recordings/musicians/bands that cannot be pigeonholed as Clifford states above.

The AMM story is purely one on another plane where the music is almost anti-jazz - yet some musicians in or associated with the group over the past almost 50 years play jazz or jazz related music(s).

Very nicely stated, Steve.

I think after all these years (remember we first met on Freejazz.org??!!) that not only do we agree to disagree, but that we also somehow agree with each others disagreements to a certain degree! Do the math on that one!

If I had to bottom line it, I'd say that just because it's improvisation, that doesn't automatically make it Jazz. On that I'm actually thinking we agree. I guess it's kinda like saying Symphony Pop is Classical. Is it really? Not to my ears. Yes, they do share a lot in common, but so does Country and Rock.

Either way, each genre stands on its own. IMO, that should be honored.

You're absolutely right about the crossover aspect, but that's a wormhole I'd rather not go down...

It just seems that if we follow your definition of jazz a little more we're going to come out in Marsalis Land, where Jazz is by definition African-American, blues-based, and swing-oriented. In that view, it's jazz because it is these things, and it is these things because it is jazz. This battle has been fought for a generation, so we're not going to pin it down here.

EI doesn't reject these things necessarily (Brotzmann has always paid tribute to Ayler and the blues) one might find that these are not central features of EI, certainly not for someone like Derek Bailey. So how is their stuff jazz? I do think it is precisely on the point of its improvisatory nature. To use a comparison: is a poem a poem because it rhymes, or can a free verse writing be a poem as well? I think most people accept both as legit literary devices, and I feel the same way about swing and EI approaches to jazz.

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The piece of John's that he links to in post #78 is well worth reading. full of shrewd, better-than-good good sense.

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I think when it comes to "jazz" most people just aren't going to appreciate improvisation over content. That's like venerating method acting over drama or a story.

What the hell does "improvisation over content" mean?

Nothing very complicated. Whenever I ask what in the world King Oliver or Jelly Roll Morton have in common with free jazz, for example, and how in the world they can both be called jazz when their content is so different, their sound, their mood, etc., I am told on this board that what they share is not so much the content of their music as the spirit of improvisation which is the very heart of jazz. I don't think people are listening for improvisation but for sounds and moods that communicate with them. They may communicate with many people on this board, but not with a large percentage of music consumers in America, which was what I thought the article was about.

A lot of genres weren't even included in the statistics.

Edited by Neal Pomea

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Leeway, then where does it end?

Jam bands are all about improvisation. Does that mean that they're Jazz?

Ssems just as open-ended as saying any music involving electric guitar is Rock.

Or any music using a violin is "classical".

As I said before, you can draw a ton of parallels between Country and Rock. Does that mean there is no line of demarcation to be drawn between the two? I don't buy that.

And the Marsalis crack is grade school. Nothing happened after 1959 in his opinion. That certainly is not my opinion. Not even close. But, if you're not willing to make distinctions, then why bother with genre labels at all?

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this is all giving me a headache, but I probably deserve one. I'm so lost these days when it comes to following the events of music that I get worried that I'll stop listening; which I won't, but I'm at the point that, as an historian, I have to remind myself to never make historical generalizations without having an encyclopedic knowledge of whatever era I am discussing. And truthfully I am able to do this with confidence only until about 1970. So it may be that I'm post-historical but the rest of the world isn't.

it's like how I lost interest in baseball after expansion; there were too many teams and too many players.

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Whenever the topic of "no one listens to jazz" arises, so many people chime in about the number of great or important jazz artists there are. These are two completely different conversations.

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I saw / heard Lee live in a quartet last night.

It was a little sad & surrealistic.

He sang (scatted?) on every song.

Appeared to be out of breath. Maybe it was the altitude.

When he played mostly it was 8 bar segments.

Set overall was quite short.

Hope he's O.K.

BTW, George Schuller played very nicely.

Sorry to hear that. But a friend who may have the most acute ear of anyone I know heard Lee in Chicago recently and was very impressed.

I felt in the presence of a "legend", but there was no stamina & the "singing" on every song was distracting.

He kept looking at his watch, asked how long are we supposed to play & was finished in less than 45 minutes. There was no 2nd set.

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Whenever the topic of "no one listens to jazz" arises, so many people chime in about the number of great or important jazz artists there are. These are two completely different conversations.

Quite.

But that could be because 'very few younger listeners listen to jazz' also gets extended to 'jazz is dead'. Which then leads to 'no it's not'.....

The odd thing is that in jazz, folk and classical music I experience the sea of grey-hairs situation constantly. Yet in every one of those genres the stage generally contains a more than generous number of young players.

Maybe it's an inevitable shift in the population dynamic. We (in the West) now have an increasingly large, retired, wealthy (in some social classes), elderly population with time on their hands. And a younger generation for whom employment, housing etc is a real struggle. So the market has led to the latter servicing the entertainment needs of the former. Can't see any other reason why young people would want to spend their lives playing to a completely different generation. It's not so in pop/rock.

Edited by A Lark Ascending

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look ultimately it doesn't matter, at least to me; people have stopped reading but I still read; people have stopped making human sacrifice but I still...well, we'll talk about that at another time.

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Leeway, then where does it end?

Jam bands are all about improvisation. Does that mean that they're Jazz?

Ssems just as open-ended as saying any music involving electric guitar is Rock.

Or any music using a violin is "classical".

As I said before, you can draw a ton of parallels between Country and Rock. Does that mean there is no line of demarcation to be drawn between the two? I don't buy that.

And the Marsalis crack is grade school. Nothing happened after 1959 in his opinion. That certainly is not my opinion. Not even close. But, if you're not willing to make distinctions, then why bother with genre labels at all?

Yes, why bother? Hardly gets us anywhere. Categories are for librarians. I'm with Ellington a bit on this: "Beyond category." I do think one can distinguish between occasional use of improv and an improv-based music.

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well, they are for librarians because there's good reason for organizing knowledge.

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well, they are for librarians because there's good reason for organizing knowledge.

Bingo.

Nothing is "beyond categorization. If it were, then everything essentially would be. And if that were the case, we wouldn't have made it very far as a species since communication, in general, wouldn't have advanced very much.

Edited by Scott Dolan

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If you think librarians have all the answers, ask him or her whether Brotzmann is considered "jazz."

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look ultimately it doesn't matter, at least to me; people have stopped reading but I still read;

No, it doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things. I don't see many people doing the cakewalk but once upon a time it was all the rage.

Except...that some people use the word 'art' when talking about jazz (and folk and classical), and the term 'timeless' tends to follow not far behind (along with 'sublime' etc etc).

So if it doesn't matter that it dies out after the currently initiated listeners, what about that 'timelessness'? The idea that Coltrane, like late-Beethoven string quartets will still be absorbing people 300 years from now?

Doesn't matter to me at all. I don't need the things I enjoy to be 'art' or 'timeless'. But for some people that is a vital part of their enjoyment, the belief that they appreciate something of superior worth whose value lies beyond the ephemeral.

Edited by A Lark Ascending

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Anyone can be asked a question about a subject they are not familiar with. Though, I sense you're attempting to make a point.

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Whenever the topic of "no one listens to jazz" arises, so many people chime in about the number of great or important jazz artists there are. These are two completely different conversations.

Quite.

But that could be because 'very few younger listeners listen to jazz' also gets extended to 'jazz is dead'. Which then leads to 'no it's not'.....

The odd thing is that in jazz, folk and classical music I experience the sea of grey-hairs situation constantly. Yet in every one of those genres the stage generally contains a more than generous number of young players.

Maybe it's an inevitable shift in the population dynamic. We (in the West) now have an increasingly large, retired, wealthy (in some social classes), elderly population with time on their hands. And a younger generation for whom employment, housing etc is a real struggle. So the market has led to the latter servicing the entertainment needs of the former. Can't see any other reason why young people would want to spend their lives playing to a completely different generation. It's not so in pop/rock.

Interesting. This leads back to what I wrote in post 52 or whatever. I think it is simply because jazz is no longer culturally relevant. It has become a legacy genre just like classical. When an art form is thriving, the listeners tend to follow; when it is on the decline, the artists tend to follow listener expectations.

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well, I have a degree in Library and Information Science and yes, I think Brotzmann is jazz.

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Anyone can be asked a question about a subject they are not familiar with. Though, I sense you're attempting to make a point.

Yes, I was being a bit facetious about it though. My point was that categories are always provisional and contingent, and if categorization were that definitive, a librarian could answer all questions hotly debated on this thread. But how good would that answer be?

well, I have a degree in Library and Information Science and yes, I think Brotzmann is jazz.

Case in point.

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well, I have a degree in Library and Information Science and yes, I think Brotzmann is jazz.

i have a law degree and will defend you without fees if necessary.

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I saw / heard Lee live in a quartet last night.

It was a little sad & surrealistic.

He sang (scatted?) on every song.

Appeared to be out of breath. Maybe it was the altitude.

When he played mostly it was 8 bar segments.

Set overall was quite short.

Hope he's O.K.

BTW, George Schuller played very nicely.

Sorry to hear that. But a friend who may have the most acute ear of anyone I know heard Lee in Chicago recently and was very impressed.

I felt in the presence of a "legend", but there was no stamina & the "singing" on every song was distracting.

He kept looking at his watch, asked how long are we supposed to play & was finished in less than 45 minutes. There was no 2nd set.

That was my feeling as well when I caught him a few months ago. Although Lee's scatting wasn't nearly as distracting as Dan Tepfer's over the top Keith-style body gyrations while playing scales.

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My idea regarding the word or descriptor "timeless" is that an artist's work in the non linear continuum can become timeless from the perspective of his or her work in the 90's, 00's or 10's might all meld together as one or almost be interchangeable despite ironically that musician growing or changing throughout that time.

It might seem incongruous but I think there is some truth to it. Ellery Eskelin's more recent music or Gerry Hemingway's more recent music might be different in some ways than it was in the past - but it is still all of the same person. Just as stages in the overall musical arc have been broken or mixed around, so it goes with musicians. It may seem the same or it may not. I hear Drake's drumming as altered from 15 years ago - not sure but I think so.

I imagine when Hemingway reprises (hopefully) some of those great 90's pieces on August 1st that they will be as fresh as they were 15 to 20 years ago - but they won't be the same. That quartet/quintet music to my ears is "timeless" whether anyone is listening to it in a hundred years.

Jazz fans today - even serious ones - have not even listened to it yet.

Standing on a Whale Fishing for Minnows

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well, I have a degree in Library and Information Science and yes, I think Brotzmann is jazz.

*thumbs up*

Anyone can be asked a question about a subject they are not familiar with. Though, I sense you're attempting to make a point.

Yes, I was being a bit facetious about it though. My point was that categories are always provisional and contingent, and if categorization were that definitive, a librarian could answer all questions hotly debated on this thread. But how good would that answer be?

well, I have a degree in Library and Information Science and yes, I think Brotzmann is jazz.

Case in point.

And also *thumbs up*

Check and mate, I suppose.

Or at least a stalemate...

Edited by Scott Dolan

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