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I read and listened to a number of bios and interviews of great jazz musicians and at some point the always discuss there dissatisfaction with the label of jazz being attributed to there music. They regarded there music as simply that...music. I think they felt that applying labels to things formed more barriers or hindered even more what they were trying to accomplish through music. On youtube there is a video where Miles Davis is being interviewed by Bryant Gumbel and he talks about how he doesn't like the word jazz for his music and even discusses that he believes there is no more jazz anymore it's just social music at this point. I somewhat agree seeing how all the innovations in jazz (swing, bebop, post bob, hard bop, fusion, latin jazz, pop jazz, funk jazz) have already been done at this point we're really just reacting to the past. Which brings me to the question if there ever really was jazz to begin with. It seems like after the swing era and bebop jazz if you call it just evolved outwards becoming more diverse and combining with different musical styles across the world. It was never a consistent musical style so it really isn't one....but enough of my rambling, I just wanted to see what your thoughts were on this subject.

Miles Interview:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IHeYG9SNaS0
 

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Well, I don't think that Jazz is properly a " genre" but rather a methodology, an approach to playing music which , to some extent or other, has roots in certain musical traditions which could be classed as " genres" (traditional or sometimes called dixieland, Blues, Be-bop, Hard-Bop, .......etc.) and that like all definitions of genres in art serves more a taxonomic purpose to the critic or the journalist or the audience than to the artist who is concerned with other things. So as a Methodology it requires at the very least the improvisational approach to music which often times is built starting and departing by some common grounds among the musicians which is usually a repertoire or a certain body of set schemes. In fact, the branch of philosophy that concerns itself the most with art, aesthetic philosophy, has struggled quite a bit trying to find a definition of what a genre is, let alone defining the boundary of any particular genre.
 

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The word "jazz" first came about in the early 20th century in the brothels where this style of music was played. The word was slang for sexual intercourse. Witness the popular tune from that time entitled, "Jazz Me Blues." The word gradually was transferred to the music to mean a lively, carefree style of playing.

Thing is, all the styles we call "jazz" today were not originally called that. The big-band music of the 30s and 40s was called dance music, not jazz. And the bebop of the 40s and 50s was originally called modern music. The only style that was referred to as jazz is what we now call dixieland, or New Orleans. Eventually everything was lumped into that name in order to make it easier to sell records.

I think that musicians who don't like that word for several possible reasons. They still feel the force of the original connotation. Or they recognize that it's a label, a way to pigeonhole people. Or they see it as a general trivialization of what they do. Or they see it as a way for marketers who know nothing about music to simply make money.
 

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There's an overlap between modern avant-garde jazz and modern classical music.

Miles had a lot of criticism for using electric guitar and keyboards. He had good reason to hate some people.
 

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Would you like to swing on a star; carry moonbeams home in a jar?

Reading a Miles Davis autobiography that was transcribed from taped interviews I got the imipression he didn't much care for anything if it didn't come from Kansas City.
 

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I could easily come up with a list of great current players and many I knew (and have passed) that used "jazz" commonly to describe what they played and composed.
 

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I am not an expert. Maybe because it was played in houses of ill repute.
To me the word JAZZ is the most beautiful word.
 

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I didn't know many musicians didn't like the word. There are a lot that would argue what is or is not jazz, and Miles at the point that he started embracing electronic instrumentation, probably thought there was a better name for what he was playing then because it departed from the trend of jazz in it's day.

Many detest the term Smooth Jazz, because they don't like it and it has characteristics that allow it to be categorized differently than those things that constitute "jazz." So be it. You may find people who don't like the term Jazz applied as liberally to different facets of music which in themselves are identifiable. Sometimes those forms get included because they are played by players who are themselves identified as jazz musicians.

As far as hating the term Jazz itself, I just don't know of a lot of musicians that "hate" it. FWIW.
 

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The word "jazz" first came about in the early 20th century in the brothels where this style of music was played. The word was slang for sexual intercourse. Witness the popular tune from that time entitled, "Jazz Me Blues." The word gradually was transferred to the music to mean a lively, carefree style of playing.

Thing is, all the styles we call "jazz" today were not originally called that. The big-band music of the 30s and 40s was called dance music, not jazz. And the bebop of the 40s and 50s was originally called modern music. The only style that was referred to as jazz is what we now call dixieland, or New Orleans. Eventually everything was lumped into that name in order to make it easier to sell records.

I think that musicians who don't like that word for several possible reasons. They still feel the force of the original connotation. Or they recognize that it's a label, a way to pigeonhole people. Or they see it as a general trivialization of what they do. Or they see it as a way for marketers who know nothing about music to simply make money.
This captures my understanding of the phenomenon pretty well. You might want to read Arthur Taylor's Notes and Tones, a collection of "musician-to-musician" interviews (actually African-American - uhm - jazz musicians). If I recall correctly, interviewer Arthur Taylor discussed this question with most of his interview subjects.

The problem was that no viable replacement term ever caught hold, in my opinion because no satisfactory alternative was ever proposed. "Music," "Black Music," and "Creative Improvise Music" were among the proposed alternatives but each has its limitations.
 
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