Jazz Suspicions

Be forewarned–this post is reactionary in nature.  Yes, indeed. This is my reply to certain comments made by all sorts of people, friendlies, relatives, and strangers either to me or in earshot regarding the multifaceted musical genre known as Jazz.  If one more person complains to  me that they can’t listen to Jazz because it has no structure, no nice neat beginning, middle and end, I’m considering ways and means to make them eat their own musical choices. Banana Spears cd a la mode, anyone? Heavy metal grill burgers? Country fried cluck cluck on a spit sound tasty? Apparently improvisation makes many people uncomfortable with the music entering their ears.  Is it just that they like predictable and staid or is this a symptom of something deeper and darker in their mentalities? “I just don’t know where those musicians think they’re going with that stuff.” Ahh ever consider just going along for the creative journey’s surprises? Ever go along with the flow of anything? I’m thinking NOT! Lately I’ve become very suspicious of folks who assert their absolute lack of tolerance for Jazz in any of its various manifestations.  Wondering just what their intolerance really says about their mentalities.  Are they all “in the box thinkers”? Why are they “uncomfortable with music that doesn’t follow the rules”? Or are they just some of the many who only appreciate the music that they encountered on the radio during their teenage years and never explore anything beyond those hard rock cafe offerings?  At this point, no generalizations seem appropriate for handling the various folks who voice disdain when I offer them Jazz the likes of Miles Davis’ “Kind of Blue” or Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme.”  Maybe the likes of the talented and very personable young Esperanza Spalding will create some sort of comfort zone for self-proclaimed Jazz No Takers. I don’t know. What I do know is that the next time a friend tries to shove some American idolized pop singer’s mundane tunes into my ears I  just may hit the STOP button on the cd player and demand total musical shut out unless there’s equal audio sharing time allotted.     

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8 Comments

  1. slpmartin said,

    September 6, 2010 at 4:28 am

    Nothing better than jazz ….thanks for the post.

  2. lesliepaints said,

    September 6, 2010 at 4:29 am

    I enjoy painting with Jazz playing and often do so to our segment of Jazz on PBS. Thanks for the mini-video concert, Eva. My favorite of this grouping is “Summertime” by Charlie Parker.

    • September 6, 2010 at 8:18 pm

      Hi Leslie. Parker is tough to beat. Thought you might enjoy some of the images in the Spalding video too. I like working with all sorts of music when doing art. Often Jazz is my first choice depending on where my mind “is.”

  3. artistatexit0 said,

    September 6, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    I hear you! Jazz is our country at its most creative and Americans should at least respect it even if they don’t care to listen to it. I think Classical music suffers a similar fate. I was listening to what my 14 year old thinks sounds cool on the radio and one song after another was indistinguishable from the one that came before it. It seemed every pop song was heavy on the use of a voice modulator. Best quit now because I’m starting to feel like some old dude who thinks the music of my age was better….etc…!

    • September 6, 2010 at 8:27 pm

      Yes, indeed, artistatexitO, Classical music is often ignored and shoved aside on the radio waves of today. That’s one of the reasons I try to ‘plug’ KKFI’s Dr. Mike’s Chamber Music show on Wednesdays–because there are so few venures for the genre that it’s nearly impossible for it to find new audiences. I don’t think it’s a matter of considering the music of “your age” any better–I think you’ve made a valid observation about the homogenenity of the sound of a lot of current pop songs/singers. They often are indistinguishable corporate designed packages with no heart and soul. I feel like I can make such a statement since I listen every now and then in case there’s someone worth exploring.

  4. Graham said,

    September 10, 2010 at 8:46 am

    Thank you for this post. Too many people dismiss jazz out of hand,and confessing to liking jazz can leave you open to ridicule. I love it. Thanks for the videos – Miles, Coltrane, and Bird are firm favourites, and it was nice to learn of a singer I hadn’t heard of before. Esperanza Spalding is great, I’ll look out for more of her stuff.

    Thanks again.

    • September 11, 2010 at 11:50 pm

      Hey Graham. I think Spalding has two cds out–one very new. I’ve also just recently found her. I think there’s more of us ‘Jazz Lovers’ out there than we are aware of. Glad you enjoyed the videos–and if you’re ever wanting a Jazz fix while online do check out http://www.kkfi.org because the station offers a steady diet of it in its various manifestations. Grins.


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