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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2009
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Due to following comment :
JasonDuMars said:
The trouble is, jazz (bebop, postbop, etc.) has really reached a terminus similar to that of western European classical music. In order to be differentiated, you need to express prowess in terms of flawless execution of accepted musical practice -- not innovation or individuality. I find this very disheartening. Making it in Europe or anywhere else means you are in the business of being a stylistic interpreter.
I might not know enough of jazz to know if this is true, but my experience is quite different. I post the same clips here again :

Fabrice Alleman Quartet :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZyNONSKf3H0
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6c4j0EDrp_M
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VwPySjq5Oc8

Bert Joris Quartet :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o4-jOexxuZw

Jef Neve trio :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aaAe7MPcJ9w
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DaO0VlTrGI8

Rony Verbiest :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8WHWbZQ8iQ

It's all Belgian jazz, and I don't consider any of them "being a stylistic interpreter". In contrary, the influences from different other genres and the use of less "jazzy" instruments like clarinet, accordeon, marimba, ... give quite some European jazz for me a "newer" sound. Am I wrong here?

So : discuss European jazz, give your heroes, or shoot it to the bottom of the ocean, but explain me why!

edit : this might fit better in the forum lounge or so. admins, feel free to move it around.
 

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Jolle: I think possibly Jason was referring to what would be called "mainstream jazz" in the UK. I don't think he was denying that there is original music being made in the jazz tradition in Europe. I think maybe he was questioning whether it is possible to make a good living playing progressive jazz in Europe or anywhere else. He was saying (i think) that there is an audience for "flawlessly executed" concert music in the jazz tradition in Europe as there is in the States. I may be corrected!
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2009
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Discussion Starter #3
Well, the guys I link to (check Fabrice, I'm his biggest fan, his sound on soprano is unheard of!) are among the big jazz guys in Belgium. They are what I would consider our "mainstream" now. But I probabely get it all wrong again, don't i?

Another example is Jan Garbarek : you love him or you hate him, but he does the same : take the jazz-idea, and apply that on local music. In fact, maybe that's why I like non-American jazz so much : they always mix something else through it.

So I would even dare to state that the mainstream jazz in Europe as a whole is more "inventive" than anything else.
 

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Don’t you just love labels? This thread set me to thinking what I consider to be ‘European Jazz’ and I’m struggling with the ECM stereotype, which is very scary given the Jarretts, Peacocks, Lloyds, Bleys etc that populate that label!

I’m probably on fairly safe ground saying that, historically speaking, British Jazz (cos I know even less about Euro Jazz) was a slavish copy of the US product, whether that product was Traditional (Trad) or Modern (Bop) Jazz (I’m not suggesting that some of those players like Ronnie Scott, Tubby Hayes, Johnny Dankworth, Humphrey Lytlleton etc weren’t world class in their own right). I think that the edges started to get blurred with the arrival on the UK scene of Joe Harriott – who experimented with Free Form a la Ornette, but independently of Ornette – from the West Indies and the arrival in Europe/UK of Chris McGregor and the Bluenotes from South Africa during the 60’s. The younger UK jazzers took elements of these influences and worked through ‘free jazz’ (influenced more by European players than Americans???) into a form of improvised music that, I guess, I now think of as the start of contemporary UK jazz – represented by players & groups like SME, Brotherhood of Breath, Keith Tippett, Lol Coxhill, Evan Parker, Mike Osbourne, Mike Westbrook, John Surman, Kenny Wheeler, Harry Beckett, Graham Collier etc. There was a ‘glitch’ with the emergence of ‘jazz rock’ in the 70’s with bands like Nucleus, Soft machine & Coliseum, but this was a bit of a side-bar. The 80’s saw a resurgence of interest in Jazz in the UK and young bands Loose Tubes and the Jazz Warriors were instrumental in introducing jazz to a new generation and indeed a new generation of players like Django Bates, Iain Bellamy, Courtney Pine, Gary Crosby, Andy Sheppard, to name only a few.

To be sure, there are still players in the UK that do stand out because of “prowess in terms of flawless execution of accepted musical practice” – players like Peter King, Bobby Wellins, Art Themen, Alan Skidmore, Don Weller, Danny Moss & Alan Barnes come to mind, but many, many players achieve differentiation primarily through originality of conception (and not just the youngsters – Stan Tracey is still cutting edge and challenging the establishment!) and its hardly surprising given the lack of nationally structured jazz education in the UK and the huge variety of influences available to anyone with big ears. I’m with Jolle on this – Europe is a melting pot of cultures and influences; artificially divided little countries with their own national identity and heritage that makes itself known through elements of art & music, but in this day and age, all easily accessible via the web, radio and indeed by catching a bus and hopping over a border. It’s this diversity that feeds the innovation of contemporary jazz in the UK & Europe today, if this isn’t happening in the US perhaps its because the continental US is too well defined in terms of its national identity and jazz has just become “more of the same, only better”…….. ramble over.
 

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Hey, nice rants guys, LOL, but I don't think that's what Jason was talking about. :dontknow:
 

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Jolle said:
Gary, shut up. That post's a good excuse to rant about how great we are in our little country.
:sign5:
 

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Grumpie said:
We just prefer Champcar and send a Dutch Rookie who seems to be doing not to bad in his first year. :D
Does Champcar racing go round and round in an oval too? If so, I like to watch the finish, which is more than most because you've got to be swacked to sit through the whole race, then you miss the finish.:D
 
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