Well I would say that most or a lot of the music I create defies genres, but I don't think of it as telling a story. To me music is abstract and doesn't really tell a story unless there is a specific story telling lyric. If I was to say that my instrumental music tells a story I would feel I am being a bit pretentious or even pseudo intellectual - it is just music to me.
Can expand on what you mean by "telling a story?"
Good Question like anything most songs or musical pieces instrumental or lyrical seems to tell a story to a certain extent. Whether the creator meant for that to be the case is another thing entirely.
A sax friend (lurking member here) and I have had this discussion many times. I (we) feel, that instrumental music doesn't usually really 'tell a story'. It may be evocative (at its best).....but it does not tell a story as in providing a narrative really.
Lyrics do that.
I think this is why instrumental music is, generally speaking and in the popular sense, harder for most people to grasp onto than music with lyrics. Most folks are NOT musicians, and a large number do NOT have the propensity towards musicality, arguably (not saying they cannot acquire it, just saying they 'naturally', 'intrinsically' might not possess it - or if they do, modern society is such that it is not considered valuable or 'useful', as the arts are often dismissed in today's world). So as a stand-alone form, instrumental music possesses less 'commonality' for the general listener than lyrics music does (let's set aside soundtrack instrumental music for time being, because again in this instance there is an additional (visual and often to a degree, narrative) association being delivered with the music which a listener may well refer back to in their memory when listening to said soundtrack afterward, sans the visuals).
OK, so, not to digress.....I hear ya', OP. Many times, given a band I have been in, when asked the (innocent) question whether it be by a venue owner, friend, or stranger: "what kind of music does your band play"...my reply usually begins with a very long "ummmmmmmmmmmmm.......", simply because the material, and more so how we have chosen to arrange and present it, doesn't fit a tidy label.
This may or may not be important as an artist...and it may or may not be important in how we choose to market ourselves:
Then the "overlords decide this is Jazz fusion, Smooth Jazz, Blues , Gospel (the gospel label is incredibly stupid), etc. I believe the artist should decide the general genre but a specific sub genre is unimportant.
Fair enough and indeed this may cause some frustration in the artist, but I think we have to temper that with the fact that, in order to market one's wares, some of this will be necessary. Now, if you are a 'pure creator' with no real desire to actually get gigs or market yourself and maybe even sell your tunes online....then the 'compromise' of being 'defined' becomes unnecessary.
Digression #2.....I can say from experience, knowing what my 30-year old daughter likes, her playlists, as well as those of her friends and even those of those who are younger.....are ...by the standards of codgers over 50 such as myself...incredibly eclectic...sometimes to the point where I feel they are chaotic or schizophrenic, even.
This even occurs within particular single songs by recording or performing artists...which at its best can be extremely interesting, and at its worst be incredibly manipulative and derivative to the degree of abuse for the sake/intent of pulling heartstrings or creating a 'false familiarity'....
Yet to her generation(s), there is a continuous thread in there somewhere. I think that is kinda cool, actually...although I myself might not be able to find what that thread may be.
And I think, in large part this is probably due to technology delivering more choices and accessibility to the listener..as opposed to, say, 30 years ago when your access was basically:
Listen to the Radio
Buy Records at the store
Go to live shows
The access of all being quite controlled by the music/entertainment industry, when you think about it.
All of which is to say "Genre Bending"...today...seems to be becoming more of a norm than a rarity.