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ghost of miles

Nate Chinen's "Playing Changes: Jazz For The New Century"

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My time and money will be better invested elsewhere.

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Not a huge fan of Chinen but at least he’s writing about new jazz which is more than I can say for......

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I like the notion of "playing changes" applying to societal evolution as well as navigating harmonic structures, but has Chinen ever written anything that is compelling me to read a book of it? Not that I can think of right off hand, but when I see it at a Half-Price in a couple years, I'll probably pick it up to confirm.

One thing's for sure - the ecosystem of "jazz" that I grew up with is gone and not coming/can't come back. Still trying to determine whether or not this "new" one is a place I really want to be, but, as they say, no reasonable offer refused. Or at least, any reasonable offer will be considered.

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If I was single with little other obligations I could easily attend 8-10 shows per month and be thrilled with almost all the music I would see live. 

And I think I’m a hard marker. My overlap with Chinen’s choices would probably be minimal or marginal but at least he’s listening - even though he gets paid for it.

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Steve Lehmann seems to enjoy reading it

 

Steve Lehman @thestevelehman 8h8 hours ago

 
 

Having great time reading new @natechinen book. Used 2 devour books like this as a kid — Rosenthal’s “Hard Bop” always a fave. My only quibble is that there’s no mention of Brad Mehldau’s dad being my eye-doctor when I grew up in Hartford 🤓

 

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On 8/18/2018 at 6:38 AM, JSngry said:

IOne thing's for sure - the ecosystem of "jazz" that I grew up with is gone and not coming/can't come back. Still trying to determine whether or not this "new" one is a place I really want to be, but, as they say, no reasonable offer refused. Or at least, any reasonable offer will be considered.

I fear that most of us will have to be content to wallow in the drivel that has sustained us, depending on your age, for the last 20-40 years.  I'm girding my loins for the challenge.

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Here's my thing - ok, one side says that "jazz" has to be this. And I get that. And then the other side says, no, jazz can be anything, and although I get that, uh...yeah, whatever. Taylor Swift is anything, and Taylor Swift is NOT jazz, right? Right!

So either way, "jazz" is no longer a thing as much as it is an object fixed in time, place, and esthetic. If you're gonna be from Antarctica and play jazz, you better to be ready to bring the Charlie Parker and such, and really, why would you want to do that. or more to the point, how could you do that as anything except an abstraction based on what you think you should know? Call it the Grace Kelly Paradigm, play everything, know nothing, and then start dancing because that's something you DO know.

And ok, sure, that's a starting point. But the "industry" today is so rooted in itself rather than in the communities that organically fertilized and birthed really unique visions with so may variations AND commonalities...I don't know, this shit is just getting too "digital" for me, not technologically, but just in terms of thought. 0s & 1s, nothing in between (when we know the reality that there's EVERYTHING in between), executing code, not writing it (or jsut scrambling somebody else's). Call me crazy, but that's how it feels to me. It's different, and it's  a difference I don't know how much I have it in me to go with over the long haul. Young people, I wish you well, hope you get at least as much out of yours as I've gotten out of mine, but ours are not the same things except for each being our own things.

Truthfully, given an opportunity to hear a new, young energetic string quartet playing, say, Bartok or Janacek or..anybody but Mozart (LOL) or a jazz quartet that's not really telling me anything that I don't already know, really know, I'm going to the string quartet. Because for me personally, "new" is, like the man said, in the ear of the behearer. There's so much I don't know that...why not? Or, why?

I'm also quite happy to engage in "post-jazz" musics that seem to come from the gut and brain in more or less equal measure. Because if "jazz" can only be so much, what comes next? Something or nothing? More of the same is not really something, is it? Not a next-thing thing, anyway.

Gotta go looking for things, but oh well, the more things change...

 

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There's a book launch party at Hudson Valley Vinyl in Beacon, NY on September 8.

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He's having a sit-down discussion on Dec 17 at SFJAZZ.

The Big Ears Festival in Knoxville was an eye-opening experience for me this year. They really stretch the boundaries of "new music" especially those from the jazz side. And it wasn't specifically focused on younger players.

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On 8/19/2018 at 6:10 PM, JSngry said:

Here's my thing - ok, one side says that "jazz" has to be this. And I get that. And then the other side says, no, jazz can be anything, and although I get that, uh...yeah, whatever. Taylor Swift is anything, and Taylor Swift is NOT jazz, right? Right!

So either way, "jazz" is no longer a thing as much as it is an object fixed in time, place, and esthetic. If you're gonna be from Antarctica and play jazz, you better to be ready to bring the Charlie Parker and such, and really, why would you want to do that. or more to the point, how could you do that as anything except an abstraction based on what you think you should know? Call it the Grace Kelly Paradigm, play everything, know nothing, and then start dancing because that's something you DO know.

And ok, sure, that's a starting point. But the "industry" today is so rooted in itself rather than in the communities that organically fertilized and birthed really unique visions with so may variations AND commonalities...I don't know, this shit is just getting too "digital" for me, not technologically, but just in terms of thought. 0s & 1s, nothing in between (when we know the reality that there's EVERYTHING in between), executing code, not writing it (or jsut scrambling somebody else's). Call me crazy, but that's how it feels to me. It's different, and it's  a difference I don't know how much I have it in me to go with over the long haul. Young people, I wish you well, hope you get at least as much out of yours as I've gotten out of mine, but ours are not the same things except for each being our own things.

Truthfully, given an opportunity to hear a new, young energetic string quartet playing, say, Bartok or Janacek or..anybody but Mozart (LOL) or a jazz quartet that's not really telling me anything that I don't already know, really know, I'm going to the string quartet. Because for me personally, "new" is, like the man said, in the ear of the behearer. There's so much I don't know that...why not? Or, why?

I'm also quite happy to engage in "post-jazz" musics that seem to come from the gut and brain in more or less equal measure. Because if "jazz" can only be so much, what comes next? Something or nothing? More of the same is not really something, is it? Not a next-thing thing, anyway.

Gotta go looking for things, but oh well, the more things change...

 

Amen and thanks.

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Has anyone actually read it yet or are people just dismissing the book without reading it? I am confused by the ire up thread.

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8 hours ago, Jay said:

Has anyone actually read it yet or are people just dismissing the book without reading it? I am confused by the ire up thread.

No, just a usual forum thing ;)

I will probably take a look at it, assuming I can find it in a bookstore. 

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8 hours ago, Jay said:

Has anyone actually read it yet or are people just dismissing the book without reading it? I am confused by the ire up thread.

Nate Chinen's writing for the NY Times didn't do anything for me, and the reviews I've read don't lead me to think that there will be anything in this book to change my opinion. I see that there are copies on order from our local library system, so I'll probably take a look at the book at some point, but my expectations are low.

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My viewpoint is even many listeners who were previously curious ones are not interested in new jazz they havn’t heard before. I’ll read the book even knowing my tastes skew a bit more to the outside but if he’s talking/writing at all about the current improvisors that are playing/gigging/recording in NYC and elesewhere, that’s much better than another rehash of historical jazz or another reissue of A Love Supreme or whatever. I wonder how many here have heard (for one example) Taylor Ho Bynum’s large ensemble recording from a couple of years back? It’s called Enter the Plustet. It’s astounding. Creative. Stunning. Over the top commentary by me?? Listen to it. It’s cheap. $10 delivered or less. Who will buy it?

probably no one here. 

One of many and I’m not even nearly as involved with new music as I’d like to be.

so yes I’m happy at least someone is writing about new jazz - I sure wish more were listening but oh well....

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On 8/22/2018 at 10:15 AM, Steve Reynolds said:

 I wonder how many here have heard (for one example) Taylor Ho Bynum’s large ensemble recording from a couple of years back? It’s called Enter the Plustet. It’s astounding. Creative. Stunning. Over the top commentary by me?? Listen to it. It’s cheap. $10 delivered or less. Who will buy it?

probably no one here. 

Your acting like you are the only one here listening to new and exciting music or catching it live (when, in fact, you listen to a pretty narrow spectrum of improvised music) is getting old.

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On 22/08/2018 at 3:15 PM, Steve Reynolds said:

probably no one here. 

I didn't buy it because I didn't like it as much as you did Steve.  I gave it a good listen though. Different strokes

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2 hours ago, Justin V said:

Your acting like you are the only one here listening to new and exciting music or catching it live (when, in fact, you listen to a pretty narrow spectrum of improvised music) is getting old.

I know you are consistently seeing live music (probably much more than me as the last year or two has been slow for me for numerous reasons) but how come the posts about the Coltrane release or Sonny Rollins go on for ages but posts or discussions of new jazz (whether it be avant-garde or more mainstream) never get any traction? 

I’m well aware of my current interest in most more left field jazz/improv but that doesn’t mean I’m not disappointed that there is really no place on the internet to discuss current jazz of any sort. The discussions/lists are always overwhelmed by historical jazz. As great as it is, I guess for many it overshadows what is being created these days.

As far as live music, it’s been obvious for a decade+ that many here and elsewhere simply prefer the listening to recorded historic jazz to seeing/hearing live music. This in turn leads to the lack of interest and energy/commitment to delve into current modern jazz as there is no real dedication to see these musicians play live.  

This is NOT a value judgment - maybe I’m just wishing & hoping it was different.

peace and blessings  

1 hour ago, mjazzg said:

I didn't buy it because I didn't like it as much as you did Steve.  I gave it a good listen though. Different strokes

I’m very surprised - by my third listen through I was pretty much in awe of what the band had accomplished. I was especially impressed by Bynum’s writing and I don’t think I’m easily impressed by modern jazz composition. I think much of it is derivative in nature as it’s tough to carve out an original voice in the compositional area. 

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I think I'll check it out.  I've just read the introduction (on Amazon) and the review that ghost posted. 

I don't know how much Chinen's aesthetics line up with my own -- some of the musicians that he's writing about don't much appeal to me -- but it sounds like Chinen is touching on some interesting, BIG topics: Jazz vs. "Jazz", the tension between the jazz tradition and the broader culture.  Knowing what I know about the book (which, like I've said, is practically nothing), it sounds like Chinen might exploring some of the same territory that Howard Mandel did in his book about Miles, Ornette, and Cecil. The sub-title of that book is Jazz Beyond Jazz

Anything that stirs the pot a bit is (or at least can be) good, right?

And, like Steve points out, at least he's writing about contemporary musicians. That counts for something. (Or at least it does for me.)

 

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I,d be more enthusiastic about the book if there was a body of work driving me to read more of his writing. There just isn’t. Mileage’s will and should vary, no doubt.

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Nate Chinen will be talking about his new book with Mike Reed at Constellation in Chicago this Friday evening:

Nate Chinen in conversation with Mike Reed at Constellation

I'll be there with Aaron Cohen (former DownBeat editor, author of liner notes for the Mosaic Bee Hive set and an excellent 33 1/3 book about Aretha Franklin's Amazing Grace); would love to meet up as well with any other Chicago-area Organissimos who might be interested in attending.

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I've picked this up and started it because it has been getting quite a lot of mentions on social media. People seem to really enjoy it and refer to it a lot as an authority on where jazz is going.

From what I have seen so far, I am not sure that people on this board will be quite as favourable. It is very much an exploration of the "modern mainstream" jazz space (Mehldau, Iverson, etc.) and some more current genres like neo soul which have had some influence on that sort of jazz.  Avant garde genres and Criss Cross / Steeplechase type retro genre work are pretty much ignored, save for stuff like David S Ware and John Zorn. 

I note that most of the above thread is people discussing the book before reading it. Has anyone else read it?

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9 minutes ago, Rabshakeh said:

 Has anyone else read it?

Still waiting for a reason to.

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