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Marc Myers on jazz geniuses


BillF
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Yeah. Him, Fletcher and King Oliver and possibly Bix. That's if you're taking the approach of just listing the most high profile names viewed from a contemporary standpoint who flourished before 1960.

Query how many people on this board would equate that list concept to "genius" though (or even be comfortable with the "genius" concept). I think a more serious approach would need to have Clifford Brown on, at least, even if you are still sticking to the pre-1960 idea. But he was on the wrong label and hasn't had the late career and/or posthumous marketing campaigns that have benefited other musicians' name recognition.

As for the fact that they are all from more than half a century ago - that's another matter entirely.

Edited by Rabshakeh
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Ellington is missing... for me that's Game Over right there... I mean, I see that the rule he made is "my definition of a genius is an artist whose playing was so innovate and influential that it created a new jazz style and spawned many imitators" and I guess he would argue that Ellington was not influential in this sense... but I disagree plus the definition doesn't convince me either

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2 minutes ago, Niko said:

Ellington is missing... for me that's Game Over right there... I mean, I see that the rule he made is "my definition of a genius is an artist whose playing was so innovate and influential that it created a new jazz style and spawned many imitators" and I guess he would argue that Ellington was not influential in this sense... but I disagree plus the definition doesn't convince me either

I can't believe I missed that Ellington wasn't there. What the hell?

Lists like this are always going to be a disaster. I think by that definition you'd have to have Keith Jarrett, Tony Williams, and a bunch of guitarists. But that's never how it's going to be. 

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29 minutes ago, BillF said:

Might that not be saying something about jazz since the 1960s?

I think it just speaks to the general view that "jazz" is bop music from before 1969, plus some agreed earlier musicians whose music isn't too associated with "Swing" or "Dixieland". Someone somewhere decided that the canon of who is a "genius" in jazz closed with Coltrane, so that tends to be the position taken in these lists. We could all easily think of best selling and/or very influential jazz musicians since then (Hancock? Jarrett? Metheny?).

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There’s a difference between greatest and those who changed the music and you could argue about that endlessly. Armstrong changed the music but did Bix? Marc Myers probably sees him as coming out of Armstrong and Keith Jarrett as coming out of Bill Evans and so forth. Ultimately, it’s just one of those list that people debate but just one person’s opinion.

As far as the last 50 years goes, is there anyone who has altered the music in the way that Bird, etc. have? I’m merely posing the question, not making a judgment. 

Edited by Brad
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12 minutes ago, Brad said:

As far as the last 50 years goes, is there anyone who has altered the music in the way that Bird, etc. have? I’m merely posing the question, not making a judgment. 

The music is very different. As to who altered it, that's a different debate.

But it isn't all Armstrong, Parker, absent Ellington and Coltrane. The list includes players like Art Blakey and Dizzy Gillespie. Great musicians who produced great albums. But it is pretty easy to think of jazz musicians since then who have been their equal, had as much influence and/or sold as many albums. Their inclusion on the above list is just down to the gravitational force that previous lists of jazz geniuses have exerted on this list of jazz geniuses: must be bop (save for a few chosen names), must be pre-70s. 

Edited by Rabshakeh
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14 minutes ago, Rabshakeh said:

The list includes players like Art Blakey and Dizzy Gillespie.

I would give the nod to Elvin Jones over Blakey for a list like this, but perhaps I’m undervaluing the importance of Art’s band-leading. And maybe too the sheer volume of quality material released under Art’s leadership.

But imho, Elvin was a significantly more skilled player in terms of complexity, and probably the GOAT on his instrument — and I say that as someone not steeped deeply in the Coltrane catalog.

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I like that he included songs among the list. Nice little 16-track mixtape to listen to. 

Regarding the list itself, if he'd kept it to "16 Jazz Geniuses" as the title reads, I don't think there'd be any "controversy." LIke hey, here's 16 jazz geniuses and some tracks I dig from them - sweet!

But he had to go and write that intro which proceeds to draw exclusionary lines - totally unnecessary. He'll get clicks though. 

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21 minutes ago, Teasing the Korean said:

I'm waiting for Marc Maron's list.  

I've seen it. It is just a list of his own name written ten times, but with hundreds of pages of text about what his own work means to him in each case.

4 minutes ago, JSngry said:

Thelonious Monk, whose lurching, child-like piano style not only was complex and impossible to duplicate...

gack

Blurrrgh.

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Just now, kh1958 said:

The overvaluation of Louis Armstrong relative to Jellly Roll Morton and Sidney Bechet has gotten absurd.

I prefer to think of it as the undervaluation of Jellly Roll Morton and Sidney Bechet relative to Louis Armstrong.

But, you know, Louis got a Narrative Industry working for him now (and has had one for a good long while, to be honest), those other two, hardly an at all. And this is what happens with that.

Louis should never be undervalued, but if the plate needs to be bigger to hold all that belongs, then make a bigger plate dammit.

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