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The author makes many valid and at times very insightful observations about the relationship between jazz and classical music, the development of harmonic theory, the role of quartets in music, and the idea of "progress" in the history of the arts. The article is well worth reading for these acute comments, although the writer's academic style may be off-putting to some readers.

Unfortunately, the author also inserts a large number of self-consciously provocative claims about jazz's being "dead"; about the music's having been "killed" by Coltrane and others; and about the fact that there's nothing left for a saxophonist to say or for a composer to write (because there supposedly has not been another jazz composer since Ellington). Including theoretical goads like these ensures that the provocations, rather than the insights, will be what most readers of the article notice, discuss, and complain about. Watch this thread and see.
 

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Just listen to John Coltrane play "Lush Life" and you'll see how he could play "In" and beautiful. What he eventually did was go beyond the Jazz Saxophone norms of his time and charter new territory for saxophone. Most horn playes in Jazz, Rock, Funk, R&B, Rock n Roll etc. use all those dynamic discoveries that Coltrane found for sax players. He needed to go outside of and beyond the jazz of his time to create those new sounds for us players of today to use and appreciate. He didn't kill anything...he was just ahead of his time. Most sax players use some of what he found in special places of their solos. Coltrane was finding so much unheard sounds on sax that he went elsewhere musically. Those who had heard his early playing wanted more of that Coltrane, but his new listeners followed him to the future and his new found sounds are still part of our present day sax playing.
 

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The author calls Alice Coltrane "the Yoko Ono of jazz". There's no way I could take anything he says seriously after a remark as stupid as that.
 

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Pretty much the premise that any single player could destroy music is pretty naive...no matter how popular or influential.

Despite recording, music is fluid. Its not sculpted in marble or bronze.

Its not like some vandal destroyed all statues...past, present, and future.

Like I said...its simply naive...not to mention a bunch of fancy words to try to convert the writers personal opinion and taste into doctrine.

(in other words more BS propaganda from individuals suffering from too much self imporatnce)
 

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The author makes many valid and at times very insightful observations about the relationship between jazz and classical music, the development of harmonic theory, the role of quartets in music, and the idea of "progress" in the history of the arts. The article is well worth reading for these acute comments, although the writer's academic style may be off-putting to some readers.

Unfortunately, the author also inserts a large number of self-consciously provocative claims about jazz's being "dead"; about the music's having been "killed" by Coltrane and others; and about the fact that there's nothing left for a saxophonist to say or for a composer to write (because there supposedly has not been another jazz composer since Ellington). Including theoretical goads like these ensures that the provocations, rather than the insights, will be what most readers of the article notice, discuss, and complain about. Watch this thread and see.
This seems about right. The article has some interesting observations sprinkled in here and there, but also lots of facile, somewhat lazy generalizations that are either mistaken, or could just as easily have been said about someone else.

Just to take one, "The further [Coltrane] went, the more ambitious and less accessible the music became, until it was incomprehensible to almost all of his audience and even to some of his closest collaborators." You could probably say the same thing with some justification about what Parker and Gillespie did when they stopped playing music that was, on a superficial level, accessible to dancers, and started playing music that required an audience to sit, shut up, and carefully concentrate on what they were listening to -- you pretty much had to think about it in order to enjoy it. So, I guess Parker and Gillespie must have killed jazz too? Obviously, they didn't -- not even the styles that preceded them.

I'm actually more surprised that The Weekly Standard even bothered to have an article about jazz, to be honest. ;) But between the lines, there appears to be a somewhat reactionary artistic (and by implication political) attitude and agenda behind it, so maybe that's why.
 

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Innovators take things to a new level. Some people were made to stay in the box and other people were made to think out-of-the-box. What Bird and Trane did in their very short lives, is astounding!
 

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This seems about right. The article has some interesting observations sprinkled in here and there, but also lots of facile, somewhat lazy generalizations that could just as easily have been said about someone else.

Just to take one, "The further [Coltrane] went, the more ambitious and less accessible the music became, until it was incomprehensible to almost all of his audience and even to some of his closest collaborators." You could probably say the same thing with some justification about what Parker and Gillespie did when they stopped playing music that was, on a superficial level, accessible to dancers, and started playing music that required an audience to sit, shut up, and carefully concentrate on what they were listening to -- you pretty much had to think about it in order to enjoy it. So, I guess Parker and Gillespie must have killed jazz too? Obviously, they didn't -- not even the styles that preceded them.
I think there is a difference between what Parker/Gillespie and what Coltrane did. True the genpop didn't get it, but the bebop revolution caught on amongst jazz fans and has survived - note that it's more or less still the ,main focus of what is taught in schools and universities.

Coltrane's ultimate revolution, as in his last period (e.g. Love Supreme, Ascension...along with Ornette's innovations) did actually catch on at the time and lasted through the 70s, but the jazz afficionado following for what is called "free" or "avant garde" jazz has shrunk tremendously since then, and is more or less ignored in jazz education these days.

ie the bebop revolution survived and is alive and kicking, free jazz is dying (or at least smelling a bit off) - just look on hear and check out the videos that get posted.

[EDIT:] sadly the above statement has been misconstrued (see later post #34). "smelling a bit off" was a failed attempt at irony as it references the (what I thought was famous) Frank Zappa quote "Jazz in not dead, it just smells funny." This is not my opinion. I apologise for not making that clear.

I also mentioned the videos that get posted to point out popular opinion here, there are far more traditional or mainstream forms than there are avant garde. That's all I meant, I was not saying my preference is for the more traditional as I appreciate a lot of free jazz and avant garde. [/EDIT]
 

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I think there is a difference between what Parker/Gillespie and what Coltrane did. True the genpop didn't get it, but the bebop revolution caught on amongst jazz fans and has survived - note that it's more or less still the ,main focus of what is taught in schools and universities.

Coltrane's ultimate revolution, as in his last period (e.g. Love Supreme, Ascension...along with Ornette's innovations) did actually catch on at the time and lasted through the 70s, but the jazz afficionado following for what is called "free" or "avant garde" jazz has shrunk tremendously since then, and is more or less ignored in jazz education these days.

ie the bebop revolution survived and is alive and kicking, free jazz is dying (or at least smelling a bit off) - just look on hear and check out the videos that get posted.
Certainly there are differences. My point was that what the author says in that blurb is so vague and general as to be empty -- it could be just as well said about things that are obviously very different. ;)
 

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Pretty much the premise that any single player could destroy music is pretty naive...no matter how popular or influential.

Despite recording, music is fluid. Its not sculpted in marble or bronze.

Its not like some vandal destroyed all statues...past, present, and future.

Like I said...its simply naive...not to mention a bunch of fancy words to try to convert the writers personal opinion and taste into doctrine.

(in other words more BS propaganda from individuals suffering from too much self imporatnce)
+1000
Very well said !
 

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Jazz isn't dead. It is hibernating, waiting for a change in popular music. Jazz has always relied upon popular music genres from which to draw material for performance. If anything is responsible for the decline of jazz it is the decline in the sophistication of the idiom popular among the general listening audience. (Note the word general). The listening audience has become segmented as has the music that has been produced over the past thirty to forty years years (or longer). It is difficult to find popularity among such a segmented, disparate audience.

A challenge: how many popular tunes presently being played on the radio would you actually want to use as a vehicle for a jazz performance?

Coltrane played popular ballads, and later in his career, he played his own compositions. That's a natural progression for many musicians. Throughout his career Dizzy Gillespie drew heavily from the popular idioms of his time as well as those before his time and from idioms outside the American popular idioms (African, Afro-Cuban, Latin, Caribbean). The same is true of Bird. Gillespie's and Bird's approaches to reharmonization and improvisation were much different from that of their predecessors' (think Coleman Hawkins, Johnny Hodges, Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman, et. al), but their music drew upon popular idiom (as did their predecessors').

The Weekly Standard article is a load of pseudo-intellectual tripe.
 

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Yes, he did. He did it with 'hate music' - his term, not mine.
 

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Listen to many of the great young men and women jazz musicians performing today and I think you will have your answer. Jazz (in many forms) seems pretty alive to me - even if it seems that less folks may be listening these days.
 

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Yes, he did. He did it with 'hate music' - his term, not mine.
Apparently your term not his. I can recall some idiot critics tossing that kind of term around but Coltrane himself? I don't believe it and can't find it cited anywhere.
 

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Dominic Green is a moron and owes Alice Coltrane an apology. John Coltrane was part of an extremely creative era in jazz that fueled a great burst of popularity that lasted another 20 years. we were never going back to another big band era, with industry sanitized derivatives of original jazz dominating a mainstream radio audience again. but post-bop explorers hooked up with an enthusiastic young market to alloy a living amalgamen in the best tradition of creative impulse.
 

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Jazz isn't dead. It is hibernating, waiting for a change in popular music. Jazz has always relied upon popular music genres from which to draw material for performance.
It begs the question: What IS Jazz? What makes it Jazz?

Jazz absorbs other musical styles before they absorb Jazz. Jazz consistently is based on that which is historically Jazz. Improvisation is a main ingredient of Jazz to the extent that a lot of the time, the composition itself is only a vehicle for improvisation. And on and on, so on and so forth. Debating what Jazz is can be an endless debate.

Current musical tastes illustrate that music that all but requires knowledge of it, such as Jazz and Classical music, has fallen from favor. To really understand what a contemporary saxophonist is doing you have to be familiar with their influences and be able to discern what the new player is bringing. That is likely at least 75 or more years of history. Classical is even more of an investment, to be able to put the music into the context of what influences are apparent and the time period in which it was created, and how it reflects that time. People aren't willing to make the investment. Much of the time they're not willing to even sit and thoughtfully listen. That's not what music is for to most people.

Jazz is obviously not dead. If you tried to put a timeline on different eras of Jazz, Dixie gave way to Swing in the late twenties or early 30's; Bebop was defined by Charlie Parker, from 1940 to 1955; Post-bop from 1955 to 1969, with avante garde springing forth during that time; and with the release of Bitches Brew in 1969, jazz fusion. After that people just say 'Contemporary Jazz'. I don't consider 'Smooth Jazz' to be Jazz at all, it's instrumental pop music for the most part. Not that there's anything wrong with that, there's some good stuff going on within that genre. Why has it been so long since a rather well defined era of Jazz has evolved? Why are so many eras defined by players that came forth from the bop era?

I'd say that one reason why is indeed that Jazz hasn't had much in the way of popular musics to absorb, and that what's currently pop music requires so little investment to enjoy (not that I enjoy it very much) that more complex forms are being largely ignored.
 

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Coltrane's ultimate revolution, as in his last period (e.g. Love Supreme, Ascension...along with Ornette's innovations) did actually catch on at the time and lasted through the 70s, but the jazz afficionado following for what is called "free" or "avant garde" jazz has shrunk tremendously since then, and is more or less ignored in jazz education these days.

ie the bebop revolution survived and is alive and kicking, free jazz is dying (or at least smelling a bit off) - just look on hear and check out the videos that get posted.
Interesting. A Love Supreme is one of my very favorite pieces of music and yet I struggle with - really - late Coltrane and certainly Ornette Coleman. I would never think of A Love Supreme as free jazz. I have little understanding of music theory; I just listen, so I am probably missing out on lots of finer things. If someone told me that free jazz was smelly, I wouldn't think too much of it :mrgreen:. However, if they told me that A Love Supreme was, I would send them off to an asylum of sorts if it were up to me.
 
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