Dmitry

How do you define genius , as it pertains to jazz?

73 posts in this topic

On 10/20/2017 at 10:04 AM, clifford_thornton said:

yes, so much of a genius that he somehow circumvented my list ! 

As did David S. Ware! ;) 

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Oh I think Ware is great, no question about that.

Shipp is a genius too.

Wynton is not.

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4 hours ago, Scott Dolan said:

I find it incredibly interesting that you didn't mention any comtemporary artists, especially considering the recent discussion we had about Ware. 

I just threw out some namens. But here I go... and Kidd Jordan, Jason Moran, Geri Allen, John Zorn, David S. Ware, Fredd Anderson and groups like Atomic and Hera.

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2 hours ago, clifford_thornton said:

Oh I think Ware is great, no question about that.

Shipp is a genius too.

Wynton is not.

Poor Wynton. Can't catch a break.

As for Shipp- I was listening to him playing on Third Ear Recitation and thought of Ravel of all things. Has anyone heard any of The Art Of Perelman-Shipp series issued by Leo? Here is an interesting overview.

https://www.allaboutjazz.com/ivo-perelman-matthew-shipp-and-the-buddha-walk-in-to-a-bar-ivo-perelman-matthew-shipp-by-mark-corroto.php

I think the author has a valid point whether it is worth listening to pure improvisational recordings more than once.

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On 21/10/2017 at 5:58 PM, paul secor said:

I can understand enjoyable, but where exactly does "useful" come into play in music?

Just to mention one: courting.

MG

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Shepp, genius?

Street-smart scrappy survivalist musical anthropologist of the highest order, hell yeah. Perhaps that's it's own type of genius, but when I think of "genius", I think of a vision that creates itself beyond the currently known visions. Shepp...propagandist/dramatist, again, of the highest order, but I think of him not so much as a visionary as a re-director and/or redefine(r) of known visions - something that W. Marsalis also undertook, but with woefully inadequate/limited vision and contextual comprehension with which to work. And infinitely more financial reward.

Just to be clear, I love Shepp. Perhaps/likely, "words like "genius" are ultimately irrelevant, especially now that it's been more fully monetized (which means it can ultimately be metricized, and hi, 3 gallons of genius, please!).

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8 hours ago, JSngry said:

I'll throw in two names as possessing some kind of mechanical genius as it pertains to jazz - Lockjaw Davis and Eddie Harris. Counter to general experience, the more I listen to Jaws, the less I can figure out how he played what he played or, occasionally, even what he played. The guy took an instrument that was designed be played one way and figured out a whole other way of playing it. I'm not talking about basic false fingerings or overtones or anything like that, sometimes the guy hits certain notes with a timbre that is not germane to any fingering for that note that I've found or even heard about. A few people, including Johnny Griffin, have talked about how he corked some of his keys closed, which would mean that he essentially created his own fingering system, which...mechanical genius at the very least, and the way he integrated the mechanical changes into his rhythmic and harmonic math...he really did create his own way of playing both instrument and music.

Eddie Harris, so much more than just Varitone and other effects, although his official recordings seldom reveal his true depth. Every now and then, though, you get  a glimpse of a guy who also created his own musical and sonic universes. There's things on that Tale Of Two Cities (or whatever it's called) Night Music thing where you hear a guy who had a lot bigger mind than general commerce would accommodate. Perhaps c.f. Lewis Porters recent look at Art Tatum for the beginnings of a parallel? Also, musically, his quartal/"intervallic" approach was often displayed on commercial recordings in its most basic form, but there are moments (like "Oleo" from Excursions where it becomes very clear that this guy could run like hell with that language, not just pimp it. He'd play your conventional triadic/diatonic/ harmonies all night long, but when he wanted to leave all that behind...no hesitation, no problem.

And as far as "value", these are two guys who had pretty good success in spite of their real genius not because of it. There are more than a few Lockjaw solos that would have gotten him fired off of a lot of gigs if it was somebody else who was making that noise. And people bought Eddie Harris records because of the surface appeal. He knew it, and produced product accordingly. It was later in his career (and/or after his death) that a portrait of the real skills of Eddie Harris even began to be considered.

Two good 'uns, whom I couldn't have picked, but right. And Earl Bostic, too. He told Lou Donaldson that the secret of success was NOT to play his best stuff on record because people could and would copy it. 

" I’m telling you, Earl Bostic was the greatest saxophone player I ever knew. I didn’t like him ‘cause sometimes he’d play stuff that I’d consider corny, [with] that wide vibrato and the sound of growling in the mouthpiece. But the man could play three octaves. I mean play ’em, I don’t mean just hit the notes. He was bad. He was a technician you wouldn’t believe. But he never put those things on a record. And I asked him one time; “Earl, with all this stuff you can play”–and he said let me tell you something. “Don’t play anything you can play good on a record, [because] people will copy it.” And the man was dead right. Now you’d see him, we’d run up there and think that we’re going to blow him out, and he’d make you look like a fool. Cause he’d play three octaves, louder, stronger and faster. But he never put that on a record.(via https://larryappelbaum.wordpress.com/)

MG

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2 hours ago, JSngry said:

Shepp, genius?

Street-smart scrappy survivalist musical anthropologist of the highest order, hell yeah. Perhaps that's it's own type of genius, but when I think of "genius", I think of a vision that creates itself beyond the currently known visions. Shepp...propagandist/dramatist, again, of the highest order, but I think of him not so much as a visionary as a re-director and/or redefine(r) of known visions - something that W. Marsalis also undertook, but with woefully inadequate/limited vision and contextual comprehension with which to work. And infinitely more financial reward.

Just to be clear, I love Shepp. Perhaps/likely, "words like "genius" are ultimately irrelevant, especially now that it's been more fully monetized (which means it can ultimately be metricized, and hi, 3 gallons of genius, please!).

The man wrote "Shipp'. . . .

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On 10/23/2017 at 3:38 AM, Pim said:

To me a genius is original, skillfull and creative. I mainly like ‘original’ voices in jazz, people that differ themselves from the rest. There are people that I dig and also people that I do not dig, but still consider a genius. 

I personally don’t dig Lennie Tristano, Anthony Braxton and Lee Konitz. But I do consider them to be genius. I appreciate what they have meant/still mean to jazz and I can see what they are doing but I just don’t feel it.

Geniuses that I do feel:

Hawk, Bird, Lady Day, John Coltrane, Mal Waldron, Monk, Archie Shepp, Steve Lacy, McCoy Tyner, Dollar Brand, Kidd Jordan.

And of course much more...

and this man wrote Shepp. i  vote for both.

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I was looking at CT's response, but either way, onscreen character identification skills continue to deteriorate...

 

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Okay. And thanks for mentioning Lockjaw as it made me realize that Teagarden was similarly extremely inventive and possibly "blessed" with genius. I love that guy.

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Some candidates for a genius status suggested here,  reminded me of a quote from a genius writer - 

"...We were placing laurels on lice-ridden heads." :)

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Yeah, the term "genius" becomes more watered down as this thread progresses. 

I'm expecting to see Phineas Newborn Jr. mentioned any minute now. 

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Armstrong, Parker, Monk, Davis, Mingus, Coltrane, Coleman. Honorable mention: Ellington, Powell, Dolphy, Braxton.

Criteria: totally original thought that moved jazz into new territory.

Edited by mandrill

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I'm still waiting for somebody to decode the intro to "Ko-Ko" (Bird, not Ellington).

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So about Monk being a genius vs. perhaps the most singularly-original pianist and composer...can you give us your most substantive reasoning of his genius status? For instance, how did he influence those that were his contemporaries and the ones that followed?

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No, I would not like to engage in that at this time, this is not a question to ask me or anybody else. I would encourage you to contemplate space, time, color, and shape in general, then take it to music, then take it to jazz, and then come to your own conclusion(s). Or not. Learn for yourself, and if you don't like the findings, learn to detach emotion from fact.

I will say, though, that genius "invents" nothing that's not already there. They do, however "discover" (un-cover is the more accurate term, imo) it to a degree so that there's no turning back.

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1 hour ago, Dmitry said:

So about Monk being a genius vs. perhaps the most singularly-original pianist and composer...can you give us your most substantive reasoning of his genius status? For instance, how did he influence those that were his contemporaries and the ones that followed?

I'm not a musician and never studied music, so I can't explain it technically, but to me it's self-evident.  His was a concept that simply didn't exist before: the way he plays with rhythm, with dissonances, with the way things are "supposed" to resolve vs. the surprising ways they can resolve, the way his comping "opened up" behind the soloist almost as a commentary, allowing more rhythmic space for both the soloist and the rest of the band, the way his playing could make a familiar tune sound strange and unfamiliar, all within the confines of that tune.  As for who he influenced, pretty much everyone at Minton's revered him, and the ones that followed?  Horace Silver, Sonny Clark, Herbie Nichols, even down to "straighter" pianists like Hank Jones and Tommy Flanagan...he allowed them to not play so "straight."

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I'd need a musician to help here, but wasn't Monk approximating quarter tones or something like that? I recall another musician talking about that, but I'm not familiar with the technical aspects of it. 

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The word genius is used in different kinds of ways, and there are different types of genius.  Someone with an IQ that is off the charts qualifies immediately as a genius, even if he or she is unable to create anything original at all.   Then there is "creative genius," which is what we are talking about, I guess. 

Yes, Monk is the personification of a creative genius to me, someone who had a completely unique sound world inside of himself, and was somehow able to bring that whole sound world gift to all of us.   

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On October 27, 2017 at 11:51 AM, mandrill said:

Poor Wynton. Can't catch a break.

True, but unlike most contemporary "jazz" artists, he earns a regular paycheck. 

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On ‎10‎/‎27‎/‎2017 at 11:51 AM, mandrill said:

Poor Wynton. Can't catch a break.

 

It's not often that "poor" and "Wynton" are placed together.

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Genius is in the ear of the person listening,  could he hit a higher note than Maynard, was he more lyrical than Desmond,was he smoother than Getz,one could on forever, it all ends in the ear and the person that is listening.

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