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Jazz and/or saxophones in popular media (TV, Movies, Popular music, etc...)

2578 Views 6 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Swampcabbage
So, yeah, I read jazz is dead. And I suppose the fact that it's just a word means it was never alive so it can't be dead.

But, if you believe in jazz as an entity that can live and die, (the living art form I suppose becomes pertinent here), then you might have noticed that some mainstream mediums have been incorporating it into their products.

In TV I have noticed at least 3 instances of jazz related infuences.

Showtimes "Homeland" features a lead character who is a jazz fan (particularly trumpet - her character even played trumpet as a kid - this would be Claire Danes' character); she frequently listens to Miles Davis.

USA's "Covert Affairs" features another main character who goes to jazz festivals and adores Charles Mingus.

(Interesting to note that both shows are CIA/spy shows).

And last but not least, USA's Psych recently had an episode where a character had a "fear of saxophones"; Kenny G's "Songbird" was later used in the episode to disarm a potential threat whilst the main characters pontificated on how the tune was actually a good song, etc...

In music - Mos def has been performing with brass bands on and off for some time (he's also got some strong roots with young jazzers such as Ashlin Parker).

He and Kanye West even did some freestyle at the Blue Note in February with Robert Glasper.

Katy Perry and Lady Gaga have included sax on their recordings. (Probably some violins too...).

And aside from the regular features from late night live tv (Conan, Tonight, Letterman, and SNL all feature music that is charged with the intrinsic elements that make the "dead" jazz walk amongst the undead).

Wayne Escoffery did some commercials for Grey Goose I think. Esperanza Spaulding has gotten some nice press.

Is it really dead? Dying? Undead? Who cares?

But, if you hae noticed anything, I think it would be interesting to note. Even though we all know it is shrinking - there's something that's going on. Maybe it's just standard media manipulation - a way to lend "culture" to characters and elevate the artistic brow of performers. Or maybe...., nah, it's dead. Or did it ever really exist?
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