I think your explanation about the reason why poeple like jazz is wrong. Yes, jazz can be difficult. But it can be simple too. Especially when it’s good. The thing about jazz is flow. You start with a musical idea and you don’t know where you’ll end. Most pop/rock muisc starts with an idea and stays there. Of course, both genres can lead to amazing music. Progressive metal, that’s mental masturbation!
I didn’t say jazz was difficult. I said some folks will always insist on doing things the hard way, which pretty much sums up the whole “don’t know where you’ll end” thing. By the way, you’re not helping your case by defending improvisational jazz. That pretentious atonal cat fuckery is the very worst any musical form has to offer.
You say the thing about jazz is flow? Well, I say who gives a fuck? Lots of thing are about flow. Long division can be about flow. Hell, jerking off a horse is about flow, but that doesn’t mean the resulting sounds are music.
I’ve never met a jazz afficionado who didn’t readily admit to it being an acquired taste. I’ve also never met one who wasn’t an insufferable, fuzzy-chinned, finger-snapping parody of himself. Contemporary jazz is deliberately esoteric and aloof, quite often for no other reason than to mask the truly god-awful musicianship.
Maybe it’s better in your town. Whatever. I doubt it. Even within jazz’s upper echelons of genuine talent, unless it’s blended with another musical genre, like soul or funk in the case of Herbie Hancock or even bluegrass in the case of Bela Fleck, the stuff is absolutely unbearable. In other words, even when a contemporary jazz artist really shines, it’s in spite of the music sounding like jazz, not because of it.
And sure, it may not be my flavor, but I can still recognize the genius of greats like Miles Davis and John Coltrane. Everyone respects the classics by Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald. I’m not the kind of asshole who’s gonna talk shit about legends, but I’m also not the kind of asshole who would have lumped them into the same record bin as Kenny G or Diana Krall. Call that shit jazz if you want to. The rest of us will just call it painfully boring music that our parents listen to while waiting for the viagra to kick in.
And you know what else, Thelonious? Fuck what I think. When it comes to your own personal music preferences, don’t let anybody’s opinions keep you from bebopping your way down to whatever underground jazz club makes your favorite appletini.
Fair warning, though. If our first date is to that jazz club, there probably won’t be a second.
2 thoughts on “On jazz”
I’ve been hitting random on this site for a while and found some brilliant old gems, then stumbled on this, which I remember chafing at when I first (hastily) read it. Now I see why: By your standards, it’s strikingly narrow-minded and anti-intellectual. (You also, uncharacteristically, pretend to know what you’re talking about when you don’t. “Improvisational jazz” means exactly nothing.)
Is it that hard to believe that many people derive pleasure from listening to experimental music — ecstatic pleasure, even, of the sort normally associated with more conventional music? Or even that many such people also derive and seek the same pleasure from commercial pop?
Sure, this post is strikingly narrow-minded and anti-intellectual, but hey, sometimes I take the low road.
I recognize that my opinion on Jazz is deliberately unsophisticated. It was poisoned by any number of men I’ve dated who’ve totally ruined it as an art form for me. I know that about myself, and I accept it. It’s cool, though. We don’t have to all like the same things. Thanks for reading, Archie!