Which got me to thinking about the famous Whitney Balliett line that jazz is "the sound of surprise" and it got me to thinking things like:
How often are you really "surprised" when listening to this music?
How important is it to be "surprised"?
When I see active threads seeking recommendations of Milt Jackson and Blue Mitchell recordings - after a certain point, where is the "surprise" in hearing these "new" recordings? A lot of folks who love Duke and Count Basie - how much surprise do you hear in their typical recording?
It occurs to me that the true moments of "surprise" are few (though this is not an exhaustive list):
Klook or Max Roach transforming the sound/contribution of drums
Parker or Gillespie
Ornette, when he first got attention
I know that the sound of surprise is meant to invoke something smaller - the perfect chorus, or the near instantaneous, ESP-level interaction between players. But does everyone listen closely enough to catch those moments? Relatively few people here have the musical training to truly follow an improvisation and catch those true moments of "surprise".
So, where does "surprise" fit into your appreciation of jazz? And if "surprise" isn't a big part, what keeps you listening?
For me, I don't think that "surprise" is what got me into jazz or kept my interest. I think its the "dark blue center", the swing pulse, the sound of trumpet/sax/piano/guitar etc.
Well I've run off at the mouth - I hope this gets an interesting discussion started.
Edited by Dan Gould, 15 October 2007 - 07:56 PM.