Author Topic: Books about jazz  (Read 30152 times)

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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Books about jazz
« Reply #60 on: March 13, 2022, 06:40:52 AM »
They should have had a stated cutoff date of 1965-ish for the documentary which is really where they give up, offering only the last half of the last episode for a confusingly selective list of shout-outs to complete the story.

And no mention of the ECM label or any of their artists - who I would have thought were carrying the torch in the later 20th century.

Indeed. Burns shouldn't have even bothered after the bebop era. The series should've been retitled to Jazz: According To Wynton Marsalis. This seems much more appropriate. I'm not a Marsalis "hater" by any stretch, but I do believe the series focuses too heavily on his opinion and those of Stanley Crouch as well.
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Offline San Antone

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Re: Books about jazz
« Reply #61 on: March 13, 2022, 06:43:23 AM »
To the bolded text, I disagree. I didn't hear any variety in the opinions expressed. All I heard was the Marsalis/Crouch clan speak of their own personal biases. A mere nod to Bill Evans doesn't actually give accord to his accomplishments. I don't recall Dave Brubeck being mentioned or talked about to any great length and, again, this shows yet another oversight to this deeply flawed documentary series. In fact, I don't think the whole West Coast scene got much attention in general. And we won't even talk about the oversight of the European jazz musicians. Anyway, this series may be important to you, but to me it hardly measures up to anything of remote substance. I agree with what Claude Debussy said about the tradition in music "I love music passionately. And because I love it, I try to free it from barren traditions that stifle it." The same ideology applies to jazz. This music isn't for the museum as depicted in the Ken Burns' series. It's a living, breathing musical organism that will never find its' footing, because of its inherent adaptability to change with the times. This is something that the Marsalis/Burns clan have continued to fail to acknowledge.

Of course you are entitled to your opinion but the Jazz tradition is over 100 years old and you are complaining about the treatment of (at the time the film was made) about the most recent 20 years.  You also seem to want more coverage of white musicians, but the film covered the early white groups Original Dixieland Jazz Orchestra, New Orleans Rhythm Kings, and as I said earlier Bix Beiderbecke, Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, and many of the white big bands.  Jazz accepts any musician no matter what is their race.  The only requirement is that they "can play," i.e. swing, have an individual sound, and can play the Blues.  (Btw, the book has more coverage of all of what you complain about, an entire chapter on white musicians, and more about West Coast jazz.)

The film was meant to tell the story of Jazz, the main personalities and styles - not to be a comprehensive exhaustive account of every musician or regional sound that has ever been. 

We essentially disagree about what the Jazz tradition encompasses and in fact even means.  Jazz is not simply any improvised music.  Bach improvised, Beethoven improvised, Indian Classical musicians improvise, Bluegrass musicians improvise, and yes European musicians on ECM improvise - but without the stylistic specifics along with improvisation - swing and Blues - the music is not part of the Jazz tradition.

I have a lot of respect for what Wynton Marsalis has devoted his career to doing: keeping the Jazz tradition alive in his playing as well as teaching future generations of young musicians about Jazz. As part of his position as Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center he has created at least 20 educational programs, an entire academy of Jazz.  Much of his time is spent teaching, something you never see unless you go looking for it.

And since he matured as a performer and composer his bands have included some of the best musicians who became leaders of their own bands creating contemporary Jazz in the tradition.

Those styles of European improvising musicians offer some fantastic music.  But it just isn't within the Jazz tradition - and there's nothing wrong with that.  After all "Jazz" is a label two of the most important artists rejected, both Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong preferred to say they played "my/our music" and distanced themselves from the term Jazz.

The Jazz tradition is important not the label.  But since we use labels as shorthand, they need to have specificity or they become meaningless.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2022, 06:46:34 AM by San Antone »

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Books about jazz
« Reply #62 on: March 13, 2022, 06:55:34 AM »
Of course you are entitled to your opinion but the Jazz tradition is over 100 years old and you are complaining about the treatment of (at the time the film was made) about the most recent 20 years.  You also seem to want more coverage of white musicians, but the film covered the early white groups Original Dixieland Jazz Orchestra, New Orleans Rhythm Kings, and as I said earlier Bix Beiderbecke, Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, and many of the white big bands.  Jazz accepts any musician no matter what is their race.  The only requirement is that they "can play," i.e. swing, have an individual sound, and can play the Blues.  (Btw, the book has more coverage of all of what you complain about, an entire chapter on white musicians, and more about West Coast jazz.)

The film was meant to tell the story of Jazz, the main personalities and styles - not to be a comprehensive exhaustive account of every musician or regional sound that has ever been. 

We essentially disagree about what the Jazz tradition encompasses and in fact even means.  Jazz is not simply any improvised music.  Bach improvised, Beethoven improvised, Indian Classical musicians improvise, Bluegrass musicians improvise, and yes European musicians on ECM improvise - but without the stylistic specifics along with improvisation - swing and Blues - the music is not part of the Jazz tradition.

I have a lot of respect for what Wynton Marsalis has devoted his career to doing: keeping the Jazz tradition alive in his playing as well as teaching future generations of young musicians about Jazz. As part of his position as Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center he has created at least 20 educational programs, an entire academy of Jazz.  Much of his time is spent teaching, something you never see unless you go looking for it.

And since he matured as a performer and composer his bands have included some of the best musicians who became leaders of their own bands creating contemporary Jazz in the tradition.

Those styles of European improvising musicians offer some fantastic music.  But it just isn't within the Jazz tradition - and there's nothing wrong with that.  After all "Jazz" is a label two of the most important artists rejected, both Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong preferred to say they played "my/our music" and distanced themselves from the term Jazz.

The Jazz tradition is important not the label.  But since we use labels as shorthand, they need to have specificity or they become meaningless.

But you are allowing tradition to dictate how you ultimately feel about the genre's history instead of acknowledging that the very essence of jazz is change.

As for Marsalis, I don't really give a flying f*** what he's done or has achieved. To me, he's nothing more than a museum showpiece and has, in essence, become a parody of jazz instead of what the genre actually represents.

Anyway, we'll agree to disagree and just leave it there.
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Offline San Antone

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Re: Books about jazz
« Reply #63 on: March 13, 2022, 07:23:34 AM »
But you are allowing tradition to dictate how you ultimately feel about the genre's history instead of acknowledging that the very essence of jazz is change.

As for Marsalis, I don't really give a flying f*** what he's done or has achieved. To me, he's nothing more than a museum showpiece and has, in essence, become a parody of jazz instead of what the genre actually represents.

Anyway, we'll agree to disagree and just leave it there.

You are trying to have your taste dictate the definition of Jazz.  And Jazz is not about change as much as individual sound, Blues, and swing.  You are wrong about Marsalis, but it doesn't matter, IMO, he long ago won the argument, for which I am very grateful.

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Books about jazz
« Reply #64 on: March 13, 2022, 07:46:16 AM »
I can't really agree. I've seen it three times now and each time it feels in that last segment that they are obliged to follow Wynton's very outspoken and unbending verdicts about what is and is not Jazz, and that ECM artists are in his estimation Not Jazz. And by 2001 when it was screened, or whenever the project was started, it should have been clear that many were, are and will continue to be important.

It's important to remember that jazz is only jazz when Marsalis says it is, but if you disagree, then you're the one who is wrong. Oh well, I'll continue to listen to my Kenny Wheeler or Tomasz Stańko albums and enjoy them for bringing a newfound elegance to the genre.
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Offline San Antone

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Re: Books about jazz
« Reply #65 on: March 13, 2022, 08:20:10 AM »
It's important to remember that jazz is only jazz when Marsalis says it is, but if you disagree, then you're the one who is wrong. Oh well, I'll continue to listen to my Kenny Wheeler or Tomasz Stańko albums and enjoy them for bringing a newfound elegance to the genre.

Kenny Wheeler and Tomasz Stanko created some fantastic music, and I enjoy it too.  It doesn't become any better by calling it Jazz and it isn't hurt by saying it isn't Jazz (although some of what Kenny Wheeler has done does fall within the Jazz tradition).  Just like when Clarence Clemons plays solo in a Bruce Springsteen song it is not Jazz, although it is also very good music.

ECM is a label that includes a lot of music, even Classical music.  Some of it is Jazz, like Keith Jarrett's Standards Quartet, or Mal Waldron's recordings.  But much of it is a different style other than Jazz.



« Last Edit: March 13, 2022, 08:29:58 AM by San Antone »

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Books about jazz
« Reply #66 on: March 13, 2022, 12:08:33 PM »
Kenny Wheeler and Tomasz Stanko created some fantastic music, and I enjoy it too.  It doesn't become any better by calling it Jazz and it isn't hurt by saying it isn't Jazz (although some of what Kenny Wheeler has done does fall within the Jazz tradition).  Just like when Clarence Clemons plays solo in a Bruce Springsteen song it is not Jazz, although it is also very good music.

ECM is a label that includes a lot of music, even Classical music.  Some of it is Jazz, like Keith Jarrett's Standards Quartet, or Mal Waldron's recordings.  But much of it is a different style other than Jazz.

For me, jazz is more of a process than something that can fit comfortably into a box.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2022, 12:10:06 PM by Mirror Image »
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Offline SimonNZ

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Re: Books about jazz
« Reply #67 on: March 13, 2022, 12:56:53 PM »
To be fair to Marsalis: his own discography is far more interesting and varied than his own straightjacketing pronouncements would suggest.

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Books about jazz
« Reply #68 on: March 13, 2022, 01:11:55 PM »
To be fair to Marsalis: his own discography is far more interesting and varied than his own straightjacketing pronouncements would suggest.

Oh, he's done excellent work. As I said, I'm not a Marsalis hater, I just wish Burns' Jazz didn't feature him so heavily.
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Offline San Antone

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Re: Books about jazz
« Reply #69 on: March 13, 2022, 03:17:31 PM »
For me, jazz is more of a process than something that can fit comfortably into a box.

Jazz is a style of playing.  Any song can be played in a Jazz style, and the specific aspects of the style is what makes it sound like Jazz. 

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Books about jazz
« Reply #70 on: March 13, 2022, 07:37:41 PM »
Jazz is a style of playing.  Any song can be played in a Jazz style, and the specific aspects of the style is what makes it sound like Jazz.

I guess you have a difficult time reading what I wrote, so I'll repeat it again:

For me, jazz is more of a process than something that can fit comfortably into a box.

Take note of the bolded text.
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Offline San Antone

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Re: Books about jazz
« Reply #71 on: March 13, 2022, 07:43:12 PM »
I guess you have a difficult time reading what I wrote, so I'll repeat it again:

Take note of the bolded text.

I don't have difficulty reading what you wrote; I just don't think it is as important as recognizing the history of Jazz and what the major artists did.  If you wish to live in a solipsistic world where you create your own echo chamber and ignore the objective reality, that is your choice.  It is not something I care to indulge.

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Books about jazz
« Reply #72 on: March 13, 2022, 08:06:18 PM »
I don't have difficulty reading what you wrote; I just don't think it is as important as recognizing the history of Jazz and what the major artists did.  If you wish to live in a solipsistic world where you create your own echo chamber and ignore the objective reality, that is your choice.  It is not something I care to indulge.

To bolded text, pot calling the kettle black. You should learn that not everybody agrees with you. This doesn't make you right or vice versa. It simply means I don't use the same criteria you do when evaluating music. Also, I never said anything about not recognizing what the giants of this music have done. I acknowledge jazz's history, but jazz didn't end in the 60s and Marsalis and his clan aren't the official spokespeople of what is or isn't jazz nor are you.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2022, 06:04:17 PM by Mirror Image »
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Offline Dry Brett Kavanaugh

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Re: Books about jazz
« Reply #73 on: March 15, 2022, 02:04:44 PM »
Little Brown Book, Trane and Duke. This is Jazz about book, rather than book about Jazz. Any other songs about a book?

Offline Artem

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Re: Books about jazz
« Reply #74 on: April 03, 2022, 08:04:08 AM »
Recently finished this one. Didn't like it all that much. The books is basically a dictionary of jazz music development in the US up until mid 1970s.