Captain Howdy

Has jazz produced anything to compare to Beethoven's piano sonatas?

90 posts in this topic

4 minutes ago, Captain Howdy said:

This is great. I take back everything I said. Clearly I have much more to learn about jazz.

Why? I'm hearing the Koln Concert for the first time right now and I think it's wonderful. Is the problem that he's too accessible to the masses, not difficult enough? :rolleyes:

I don't deny that he is talented:  It's just that most of his music does nothing for me, and the bleating goat does not help.  There are tens of thousands of records I would reach for before pulling a Keith Jarrett record off the shelf.  The Beethoven Sonatas would be among those tens of thousands.  

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5 minutes ago, Teasing the Korean said:

I don't deny that he is talented:  It's just that most of his music does nothing for me, and the bleating goat does not help.  There are tens of thousands of records I would reach for before pulling a Keith Jarrett record off the shelf.  The Beethoven Sonatas would be among those tens of thousands.  

Oh no, is he a bleater? I hate that. I heard some noise in the Koln recording but no bleating.

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Posted (edited)

6 hours ago, Captain Howdy said:

But the more classical music I listen to, the less satisfying I find jazz as composition.

... To me it comes down to a question of what am I going to spend my time listening to tonight? I find classical music fascinating. I'm struggling to find reasons to continue listening to jazz.

 

At this point of the debate I wonder what this "debate" is about anyway. If you feel other styles of music attract you more than jazz then what is keeping you from just and SIMPLY listening to and enjoying and exploring it as it is? Do you REALLY mean to say you need to justify this change (?) of preferences by making elaborate comparisons of technicalities?
Just go and listen to the music you prefer without resorting to any sort of comparisons or justifications. Just do it. For yourself. You are entitled to do it. And nobody (nobody in his/her/its right mind, that is ... ;)) is going to blame you for it.

Edited by Big Beat Steve

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Posted (edited)

13 minutes ago, Captain Howdy said:

Oh no, is he a bleater? I hate that. I heard some noise in the Koln recording but no bleating.

IIRC, it's worse on some records than on others, but I'm not about to revisit his catalog to assess the goat content.  Maybe one of his fans can weigh in...

To answer your original question - which I'm not sure I understand - how about the Art Tatum solo box set?

Edited by Teasing the Korean

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6 hours ago, Captain Howdy said:

I keep thinking about something Wynton said in the Ken Burns doc. IIRC he said essentially what's so great about jazz is that it's composing on the fly...

See, that's why you should never pay attention to anything Wynton Marsalis says. He's not an insightful musical intellect, he's a corporate propagandist. You took his bait and now find it lacking. Kudos to you for that, but now it's time to deal with both musics (hell, ALL musics) on their own terms.

 

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10 minutes ago, Big Beat Steve said:

At this point of the debate I wonder what this "debate" is about anyway. If you feel other styles of music attract you more than jazz then what is keeping you from just and SIMPLY listening to and enjoying and exploring it as it is? Do you REALLY mean to say you need to justify this change (?) of preferences by making elaborate comparisons of technicalities?
Just go and listen to the music you prefer without resorting to any sort of comparisons or justifications. Just do it. For yourself. You are entitled to do it. And nobody (nobody in his/her/its right mind, that is ... ;)) is going to blame you for it.

No, of course I don't need to justify anything. It's a learning exercise, and it's paid off if I get nothing else out of it but Keith Jarrett. And in researching Jarrett I came across Brad Mehldau, who also looks interesting.

 

28 minutes ago, Teasing the Korean said:

To answer your original question - which I'm not sure I understand - how about the Art Tatum solo box set?

I probably should have just said "please recommend some solo piano music" :lol:

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49 minutes ago, Captain Howdy said:

No, of course I don't need to justify anything. It's a learning exercise, and it's paid off if I get nothing else out of it but Keith Jarrett. And in researching Jarrett I came across Brad Mehldau, who also looks interesting.

 

I probably should have just said "please recommend some solo piano music" :lol:

Lennie Tristano

Jimmy Yancey

Fats Waller

Earl Hines

 

 

 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iPmyjmIvmhg

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Teddy Wilson

 

 

Bud Powell
 

 

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I'm no Jarrett apologist, but records like the Köln Concert and the Sun Bear Concerts are pretty wonderful.

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Luckey Roberts
 

 

Thelonious Monk
 

 

Eubie Blake (as played by Bob Wright)
 

 

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James P. Johnson

 

 

Dodo Marmarosa
 

 

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Clarence Profit (a likely influence on Monk)
 

 

Al Haig
 

 

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8 hours ago, Captain Howdy said:

That's not an argument.

I could say the same about you're 'jazz is inferior' statement. And to be honest: could you really make such a statement if you have never heard Jarrett's Koln Concert? If you haven't heard that one, you probably haven't heard 99.999999% of jazz piano. Then how could you make such a statement? 

Anyway, some Tatum?

Now, wasn't Tatum the pianist that found critical acclaim by classic pianists like Horowitz and Rachmaninoff? Horowitz even said Tatum was the greatest player in any style. But come on the list is endless: Powell, Monk, Bill Evans, Cecil Taylor, Phineas Newborn Jr., Mal Waldron, McCoy Tyner to just name a few. And no you still cannot compare them to Beethoven, nor to Jimi Hendrix or 2Pac. And why should you?

On Jarrett: I agree he has made some pretty nice music: Koln Concert and Tales of Another with Peacock are among my favorites. And The Survivor's Suite with the American quartet is desert island material for me. But I do agree he is definitely overrated. To some people every crap he takes is gold but I heard some pretty shitty records by him. The 'standards' stuff is even boring. Than the crying, moanin and snorin + the ultra arrogant attitude aren't really working either. And just like for example John Zorn, he brings out way to much subpar stuff. He should better bring out one outstanding record in 5 years.

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6 minutes ago, Pim said:

he brings out way to much subpar stuff. He should better bring out one outstanding record in 5 years.

One of the hazards of improvisation: it encourages profligacy. Look how little music Beethoven produced. ;) 

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7 minutes ago, Captain Howdy said:

One of the hazards of improvisation: it encourages profligacy. Look how little music Beethoven produced. ;) 

Yeah, but look at Mozart and JS Bach, the complete editions on CD match Jarrett ECM output as dimension.

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16 hours ago, ep1str0phy said:

[ ... ] that has everything to do with my own state of mind and absolutely nothing to do with the radioactive objectivity that so much music theory, both brilliant and terrible, seems preoccupied with. 

"Radioactive objectivity."  Love that phrase. All the measurements... they're smoke and mirrors! 

The only musical value that's worth a damn is something that we discover and create in ourselves during the process of LISTENING TO and THINKING ABOUT music.

The value isn't out there. It's in us.

Or at least that's how I think about it. ;) 

 

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3 hours ago, Captain Howdy said:

I probably should have just said "please recommend some solo piano music" :lol:

I'm not sure I catch your drift.

1 hour ago, Larry Kart said:

Clarence Profit (a likely influence on Monk)

My Dad was a big fan of his.  I don't think I've ever checked him out.

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4 hours ago, JSngry said:

See, that's why you should never pay attention to anything Wynton Marsalis says. He's not an insightful musical intellect, he's a corporate propagandist. You took his bait and now find it lacking. Kudos to you for that, but now it's time to deal with both musics (hell, ALL musics) on their own terms.

 

I can attest to this personally. When I was a NYC Public HS Teacher, we were forced to attend these horrific conferences at Lincoln Center for arts instruction, and Wynton was the 'keynote' speaker at one of them. His 45 minute 'speech' revealed his complete ignorance on most musical matters outside of jazz. I felt like I was in some Twilight Zone episode, as I listened to him put on his minstrel show, while my dimwit colleagues applauded and cajoled him on. 

I couldn't stay seated and started walking around the area, spouting curses on my way to the men's room. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised after hearing his embarrassing attempt at writing a 'serious' piece of music on the radio. 

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Not that big of a solo piano listener but I think that Paul Bley should be mentioned. 

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14 hours ago, Captain Howdy said:

I keep thinking about something Wynton said in the Ken Burns doc. IIRC he said essentially what's so great about jazz is that it's composing on the fly. But the more classical music I listen to, the less satisfying I find jazz as composition. And for all your talk about apples and oranges, that to my mind is what music comes down to: notes in succession. Whether they were written down 200 years ago or invented this very moment, all that matters is whether they sound good. And lately I've been reconsidering why and if I should continue listening to jazz. For example, when I listen to a string quartet I hear four instruments all doing interesting things at the same time. When I listen to a jazz quartet, I hear 3 instruments hanging back while one instrument does interesting things. And maybe that is one reason why improvisation is inferior to composition: in order to produce harmony rather than a circle jerk. What if Beethoven had improvised all of his sonatas? They might be creative but they probably wouldn't be the towering masterpieces that we know today.   

 

See, these premises are faulty--you're basically debasing an entire genre of music and performance practice because it can't replicate Beethoven on the spot. You may be right, but in the process of rendering this assessment you're missing the point of jazz and improvised music entirely--i.e., you're de-contextualizing the music from the very conceptual and practical pressures that it is predicated on.

You could flip this around and say, "Well, Beethoven isn't as great as Charlie Parker, because he was allowed to take his time--also, Beethoven just doesn't swing, so he's lame." This is of course nonsense, because one artist lived in midcentury America and the other lived at the turn of the 19th century.

If you want to get into real, contextualized comparative analysis, you have to assess things like how a lot of Bird's prime coincided with a wartime recording ban and how Beethoven had the benefit of a system of sponsors and patrons that was virtually nonexistent inside of midcentury jazz; hell, the Bird that we have on record is mostly shunted into these 4-5 minute chunks of time, so we're talking about hyper-compressed musical development performed in an interactive/reactive fashion vs. solo piano sonatas that have the consistent benefit of 15-30 minutes of motivic development. 

If you want to just talk about "notes and sounds," you have to define your terms--are you evaluating Beethoven by Bird's terms, or the other way around? Institutional musicology would suggest that we evaluate Bird's grasp of harmony and melodic development inside of Beethoven's, but this disregards the fact that the bebop that Parker co-invented (and that had such a significant mark on virtually all subsequent jazz) had an internal rhythmic matrix that is completely alien to 18th/19th century art music.

In short, this entire exercise is freaking nonsense, and if you want to enjoy any of it you have to confront the notion that beyond any de-contextualized commonalities that can be identified most value judgements in the way of western art musics vs. jazz will boil down to preference. 

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8 hours ago, JSngry said:

See, that's why you should never pay attention to anything Wynton Marsalis says. He's not an insightful musical intellect, he's a corporate propagandist. You took his bait and now find it lacking. Kudos to you for that, but now it's time to deal with both musics (hell, ALL musics) on their own terms.

 

With one exception.  From the Ken Burns series "Jazz - until Charlie Parker ruined it".  Wynton said his grandma used to say "Life has a board for every behind, and sooner or later, you get yours".  That has proven to be true for everyone I know.  

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6 hours ago, porcy62 said:

Yeah, but look at Mozart and JS Bach, the complete editions on CD match Jarrett ECM output as dimension.

Beethoven -- 135 opus numbers, many of them works of considerable length, plus a fair number of works without opus numbers. Not exactly a trickle.

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25 minutes ago, felser said:

With one exception.  From the Ken Burns series "Jazz - until Charlie Parker ruined it".  Wynton said his grandma used to say "Life has a board for every behind, and sooner or later, you get yours".  That has proven to be true for everyone I know.  

That's Wynton's grandma, not Wynton.

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Posted (edited)

9 minutes ago, Larry Kart said:

Beethoven -- 135 opus numbers, many of them works of considerable length, plus a fair number of works without opus numbers. Not exactly a trickle.

Yeah, and what about JS Bach Cantata's? I mean basically he had to produce a single every fuc**** week of his life.

Plus some orchestral music in the free time.

Edited by porcy62

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