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Old Jul 9, 2001, 07:17 AM
Mel Mel is offline
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Post The New York Times on European New Jazz

Below is an article from the New York Times on the Web. I thought it might be of interest.

June 3, 2001

Europeans Cut in With a New Jazz Sound and Beat


LONDON -- FOR years Americans have regarded European jazz with the same tolerant smile they reserve for Japanese baseball. But something is stirring in the Old World. A generation of musicians is emerging from Europe's jazz underground, and now they're raising a tolerant smile at the mention of American jazz. Talk to them about the current state of the music, and it's as if an old and dear friend has passed away. They believe American jazz is retreating into the past while Europe is moving the music into the 21st century.

The highly praised Norwegian pianist Bugge Wesseltoft spoke for many recently when he said: "I think American jazz somehow has really stopped, maybe in the late 70's, early 80's. I haven't heard one interesting American record in the last 20 years. It's like a museum, presenting stuff that's already been done."

In the past, European musicians largely marched in step to whatever developments were coming out of America, striving to keep abreast of successive shocks announcing the new beginning with ragtime. But now a small group of musicians, most notably in France and Scandinavia, is taking the creative initiative and going its own way with the music. These musicians are embracing the liberating potential of jazz as dance music, taking elements from the European house, techno, drum 'n' bass and jungle scenes, and in so doing are re-establishing jazz's long lost links with popular culture. It is unlikely, however, that the new music will be in evidence at this year's JVC Jazz Festival, which begins in two weeks.

The music, called the European new jazz by musicians and critics, is not strictly acoustic, like much of mainstream American jazz, yet neither is it completely electronic. Bending improvisation around familiar and unfamiliar sounds and rhythms, this European jazz is moving out of the jazz club and into club culture, and young people are willing to line up around the block to hear it. While there have been experiments by American jazz musicians in combining jazz and hip-hop, like Miles Davis's "Doo Bop," Gary Thomas's "Overkill" and Don Byron's "Nu Blaxploitation," the results merely confirmed the seeming incompatibility of jazz and rap. In contrast, drum 'n' bass is not too far removed from driving jazz rhythms and can easily accommodate jazz improvisation. This reliance on specifically European club-culture styles differentiates the new music from the kind of experimental jazz coming from the Chicago underground and the New York downtown scene.

A feature of the European jazz is that the rhythms are a mixture of acoustic and sampled sounds. Electric basses are out, upright basses are in, and drum kits are pared down to snare, bass drum, high-hat and cymbals. Turntables and samples create haunting, often ambient backdrops against which the improviser plies his craft. The Norwegian trumpet player Nils Petter Molvaer, who has studied North African styles, makes music that is a mix of ethnic roots and modernity. In his playing, the minimalistic grooves of European house easily relate to African music. Similarly, some accents in rhythms like 7/8 and 9/16 are based in an old tradition of North African ethnic music; when played with electronic delays, they appear to make the rhythms float within the ambient soundscape.

Not surprisingly this new European music has raised cries of "is this jazz?" from purists both in America and in Europe. That question always greets experimentation in any artistic genre. Fans of New Orleans traditionalism similarly railed at the popularity of the big bands in the 30's and be-bop in the 40's. Even today, free jazz and Miles Davis's electric music, for some, hold a tenuous place in jazz history.

Certainly, European new jazz is not what jazz was but is a vision of what it can be. Nor does it compete with jazz's past achievements in the way today's jazz mainstream is doing. If jazz history tells us anything, it is that the music, until the last decade or so, has always been a reflection of its time. The new European jazz is unmistakably music of today.

"European jazz has liberated straight- ahead jazz from its harbor and has sailed away," said the French pianist Laurent de Wilde, who played on the New York scene for several years. "Keeping tradition is a great thing, but it's not the only thing. You have to keep tradition but at the same time keep evolving."

Therein lies a fascinating European paradox. At the turn of the 20th century, many European artists blamed "the tradition" of Western culture for stifling creativity, particularly in classical music. The composer Darius Milhaud and other French artists of his generation, including Ravel and the Paris-based Stravinsky, looked beyond European traditions to the vitality and exuberance of jazz . Milhaud's 1923 ballet "La Création du Monde" was hailed for its strong jazz influences. Now jazz itself is looking beyond its boundaries for a new vitality and exuberance.

In France, the enigmatic Ludovic Navarre's group, St. Germain, has had considerable success in combining French house music and jazz. Released last year, the group's album "Tourist" has already sold more than 600,000 copies, mostly in Europe. To put this figure into context, sales of 10,000 in the jazz world represent a hit record. In bars, restaurants, clubs and clothing stores across Europe, St. Germain's "Rose Rouge" has become ubiquitous with its insistent 4/4 vamp and the now-famous sample of Marlena Shaw singing "I want you to get it together."

With fluent, lively improvisation from the trumpeter Pascal Ohse, the saxophonist and flutist Edouard Labor, the keyboard player Alexander Destrez and the guitarist and reggae pioneer Ernest Ranglin, St. Germain is reaching young audiences in a way that has relevance for them, through dance — just as jazz did in the Swing Era. This idea was not lost on Jazz at Lincoln Center, which presented the "For Dancers Only" tour last year. But the title of the tour says it all: it was taken from a 1937 hit record by the Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra.

The flute virtuoso Malik Mezzadri, who has occasionally played in St. Germain, said recently: "St. Germain has changed the way the public thinks about jazz in France — don't put it in a box. You listen, you dance, this is what my generation wants, the dance."

Mr. Mezzadri is a charismatic figure on the Paris jazz scene. Mere mention of his name is enough to fill any club there, and the makeup of the musicians and the music on his latest album, "Magic Malik," reflect the racial diversity of Paris, that most cosmopolitan of European cities. "In my band, I have South American, African and Cuban musicians," he said. "I grew up in the West Indies, in Guadeloupe, and this is a population that came from Africa, with slaves." His music is rhythmically unambiguous while bursting with pan-ethnic frissons.

Something of the excitement of the current Parisian jazz scene is captured on "Candombe" from the saxophonist Julien Lourau's album "Gambit," which was recorded live at the New Morning Club last year. With Mr. Mezzadri as a featured sideman, the music is intense and compelling as Mr. Lourau's tenor sax riffs mediate the ebb and flow of the powerful drum 'n' bass- influenced grooves. "I want to play for people my own age and even younger because I think jazz is not elitist," Mr. Lourau said.

The new crop of Scandinavian jazz artists was inspired by an earlier generation, particularly the Norwegian saxophonist Jan Garbarek, who achieved international recognition on the Munich-based ECM label run by Manfred Eicher. In the mid-90's, young musicians like Mr. Wesseltoft, Mr. Movaer, the drummer Audun Kleive and the guitarist Eivind Aarset, all of whom are Norwegian, rejected the contemplative calm of what Mr. Eicher called the "Nordic tone" and began experimenting with dance-based grooves. Mr. Wesseltoft formed his own record label, Jazzland, and his album, "New Conception of Jazz," sold more than 40,000 copies across Europe — remarkable sales for a small independent label. "Jazz is American, of course," he said. "But I feel the techno and electronics scene is more European. The beats I'm using, the grooves, I feel I'm not stealing from the black American music scene."

In 1998 Mr. Aarset recorded "Electronique Noir" and created one of the best post- Miles albums. "My approach has come out of the Nordic jazz thing inspired by people like Jan Garbarek and Terje Rypdal, and the serious ECM approach to music mixed with techno beats," he said.

Mr. Molvaer's 1997 album, "Khmer," has sold more than 100,000 copies in Europe. It led to Mr. Molvaer's nomination for the prestigious Nordic Council Music Prize 2000 and several awards, including the annual prize of the German Record Critics, and was voted Jazz Record of the Year by LA Weekly.

One of the most talked about groups currently on the European circuit is the Esbjorn Svensson Trio (or E.S.T., as they call themselves), which saw its latest album, "Good Morning Susie Soho," shoot to No. 15 on the pop album chart in the group's native Sweden, alongside the likes of Madonna and Radiohead — a significant achievement for a jazz piano trio. Highlights of this album, along with those from his 1999 release, "From Gargarin's Point of View," are to be issued by Sony Jazz in the United States in August as "Somewhere Else Before."

Curiously, British jazz musicians have only tentatively embraced the club-culture rhythms that largely emanated from London. The saxophonist Courtney Pine is the best-known exception. His album, "Back in the Day," shows that he has moved a considerable distance from the 1980's, when he was seen as Europe's Wynton Marsalis. (He even recorded with Mr. Marsalis's father, Ellis). His latest album uses samples and computer-generated rhythm tracks, underpinning some torrid soloing on soprano and tenor saxophone.

ALL these Europeans readily acknowledge that jazz is America's gift to the world. But what impact will this fast-changing European scene have on American jazz? Initially, the effect is most likely to be felt financially. Money, as Cyndi Lauper once famously sang, changes everything. Europe has historically been a key market for American jazz in album sales, in its extensive festival circuit and in year-round gigs. Just how important was once highlighted by a comment made by George Wein, the producer of the JVC festival: "No Europe, no jazz."

If American jazz remains fixed in the certainties of the mainstream, European jazz musicians may move into the space long occupied by Americans. Indeed, Mr. Svensson is doing just that. Recently he was on the cover of two major German jazz magazines as well as the influential French magazine Jazzman. He was also hailed by the German news weekly Der Spiegel as "The Future of Jazz Piano" (along with the American pianist Brad Mheldau), and his "Good Morning Susie Soho" was named album of the year in a poll conducted by the critics of the British magazine Jazzwise, an award that has hitherto been the province of American jazz albums.

The emergence of the European new jazz poses the intriguing question of whether American jazz can maintain its stance without lapsing even further into high-art marginality, given its dependence on the European market. As the American saxophonist and clarinetist Michael Moore, who now lives in the Netherlands, put it recently: "In America there's more pressure to be conformist, and players can work a lot more if they play tunes in a traditional way. In Europe there's a larger audience that grew up listening to experimental jazz over a 25- year period, and they appreciate not hearing the same thing all the time."

Suddenly there is real possibility that the stewardship of the music may no longer remain exclusively American. "Europe is going to be the place for jazz," Mr. Svensson said. "We're ready now. We like to sound different."**

Stuart Nicholson is a London-based music critic and author. His most recent book is ``Reminiscing in Tempo: A Portrait of Duke Ellington'' (Northeastern University Press).
Copyright 2001 The New York Times Company | Privacy Information
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Old Nov 8, 2005, 12:00 AM
Clamato Clamato is offline
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Don't Believe The Hype! of Stuart Nicholson

OK, for those of you who have read the piece by Stuart Nicholson and also may have read the November Jazziz piece on E.S.T., this is my opinion about the whole issue of Europe v America in terms of innovative jazz. I think Mr. Nicholson is highly misinformed and his piece is , well, I want to say he has oversimplified to the point of spreading propaganda. At the worst, the article is complete BULLSHIT. To imply that there have been no interesting CDs released by Americans since the 80's must mean that Mr. Nicholson just doesn't seek out any new artists. Hey, Nicholson. Here's a partial list of American artists who aren't named Wynton Marsalis who are doing stuff that doesn't "retreat into the past".
Kurt Rosenwinkle
Mark Turner
David Gilmore
Steve Coleman
Jason Moran
Tyshawn Sorey
Robin Eubanks
Greg Osby
David Binney
Dave Douglas
Ralph Alessi
Lonnie Plaxico
Gary Thomas( while I'm mentioning him , in the article, it says that" While there have been experiments by American jazz musicians in combining jazz and hip-hop, like Miles Davis's "Doo Bop," Gary Thomas's "Overkill" and Don Byron's "Nu Blaxploitation," the results merely confirmed the seeming incompatibility of jazz and rap." I appear on Gary Thomas' Overkill, and we had 3 sucessful tours in Europe.The Europeans SEEMED to like it. Why are Jazz and Rap incompatible but Jazz and Drum and Bass compatible( as N goes on to say)? It seems arbirtrary to me.I doubt N knows about the artists that influenced that particular CD, they are as diverse as Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, and Billy Harper, not to mention Messian.)

I could go on listing musicians unknown to Nicholson, but I think now is a good time to discuss the notions of what is "new" and "different" and what really isn't, and why it even matters.
I was unfamiliar with Bugge Wesseltoft and Laurent De Wilde, two musicians mentioned in the piece who feel that European jazz musicians are
pushing the boundaries more than American musicians in general. I searched them out on the web and listened to a few sound samples. Since we are all over generalizing here, I will say first that I think Wesseltoft and De Wilde are obviously fine musicians, but essentially they are playing a form of fusion( some call it jazz rock), Which is a product of the American music scene of the 70's. Which was 30 years ago. So who is really living in the past? Fender Rhodes is not new. Playing hip jazz lines over funk beats is not new. Synthesizers are not new. What Nicholson should say is that these Europeans have more recent point of departure than SOME American musicians. Namely the Wyntons and Marcus Robertses. ( I'm not bashing them either, I think they have their place and a right to their stylistic preference and belief. Marsalis and Roberts inspired me in my early days.)Futhermore, the use of electronics and turntables and hip hop or techno beats, without there being a foundation of quality improvisation or composition or performance,is just gimmickry. Chick Corea, Stanely Clarke, Lenny White, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Joe Zawinul( an Austrian)all had serious roots in the JAZZ TRADITION. Yet they were all forward thinking, and they had a foundation in their approach which made their musical concept strong, regardless of what instruments or electronics they used. Herbie can swing and play over chord changes with the best of them.
Can the aforementioned Wesseltoft and De Wilde? Maybe nobody cares, and I don't expect them to sit down and wail on Stablemates.And if they can , cool. But this article is so back and white I felt the need to present a different side. Playing angular lines over beats in not new, whether Europeans or Americans are doing it. But how well is it being done? is the question.

I think part of what's going on here is that since Europe truly has supported jazz more than the U.S. in terms of festivals, touring, and funding, that European musicians want more appreciation. And I am not saying that they don't deserve it. I have made 4 recordings of my own with various European musicians( 2 duo recordings on Steeplechase with Jesper Bodilsen, a great Danish Bass Player, and 2 CDs for Fresh Sound with Perico SamBeat,Mario Rossy, and Marc Miralta from Spain. These labels don't do any promotion, so you probably didn't hear about it, and I'm sure Nicholson didn't get any free copies, so he doesn't know anything about it either.It's to bad he didn't mention these European musicians, who to me know the tradition and are also forward thinking as well>).
I think there is some nationalism , some snobbery, and some deluded thinking going on here. Not to mention possibly some anti Americanism due to , what's his name, I think it has a W in it somewhere. (I talked to one European Jazz Producer who didn't want to come to New York anymore because of the invasion ofIraq. I had to explain to him that I seriously doubt that any musician recording for his label could possibly be in favor of the war. He had a hard time with that.)
Don't forget that European musicians have it a lot easier than American musicians who move to New York.Yes, musicians in Europe have tons more funding and I imagine it's a lot less competitive on a local or national level. Can we help it that New York continues to be the Mecca of Jazz musicians, despite dwindling audiences, funds, and support from Record Labels?I remember a great Danish saxophone player who moved to New York in the late 90's. He had already won the equivelent of a "grammy" in Denmark, yet wanted to try his luck in the Big Apple. Well, the only gig he did was a gig I called him for at Smalls, and I paid him a grand total of 30 U.S.Dollars. Within 6 months, the Great Dane said,
"Fuck this"( How do you say it in Danish?)and moved right back to Copenhagen, and jumped right back into touring and making award winning recordings. Yea, the support sucks for Jazz here, is that our fault?Also, Is it our fault that many of the musicians really doing some innovative, or at the very least not super straight ahead, don't see the light of day due to the Diana Kralls and Jane Monheits blocking the view? ( I've considered moving to Europe considering how bad it is for creative music in this country.)

I may explore my displeasure with the lack of fairness in Nicholson's article at a later time, when I have a chance to do more research. But finally, I must mention the Esborn Svennson Trio, who I think are good players, but hardly worthy of the "future of Jazz" award. Again, here we are led to believe that because you draw from influences later than 1960, that you are an innovator. Poppycock! It sounds like Keith Jarrettfrom the 70's(30 years ago) to me. WHich is fine in and of itself. So I don't but the last paragraph-"Suddenly there is real possibility that the stewardship of the music may no longer remain exclusively American. "Europe is going to be the place for jazz," Mr. Svensson said. "We're ready now. We like to sound different."----Sure, you don't sound like Oscar Peterson or Earl "Fatha" Hines , but innovative and different, hardly. Electronics, Schmelectronics! What's really going on in the music?(By the way,I always find it funny that artists who are so overhyped always sound really arrogant when they are quoted in articles. WHy is that?) Anyway, my point is, don't shit in my mouth and call it an ice cream sundae, ok.

By the way, if you had mentioned Christof Schwitzer, or Akamoon, or Nils Wogram, these are some Europeans who I think are doing something possibly innovative- Or a least with an even more recent point of departure.
And Don't believe the Hype! There are plenty of forward thinking Jazz musicians from the USA.
George Colligan
PS Don't get the wrong idea. I love Europe and Jazz musicians form Europe. I think anybody can learn to play. But just the notion that Europeans are forward thinking in Jazz and Americans aren't remined me of going to Discos in Germany and Switzerland in the late 90's. People were still dancing to ABBA and Culture Club. Doesn't that say it all?
PPS I do think socially Europeans are way ahead of America. Check out a book called THE UNITED STATES OF EUROPE and it will change the way you think about World politics.

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Old Nov 8, 2005, 01:51 AM
Morgan Childs Morgan Childs is offline
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Man, totally... this shit is wack, to put it bluntly. I would rather listen to Jason Moran's "Modernistic" record than anything I've heard Bugge Wesseltoft do. And I'm not knocking him... I think his stuff is pretty rad, actually. But it's a huge hubris to suggest what he's doing is groundbreaking and forward looking, and what Jason (or any of the guys George mentioned... including George himself!) are any less forward looking.
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Old Nov 8, 2005, 10:23 AM
John Doheny John Doheny is offline
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Right on George. You've made every argument I wish I'd made about this kind of stuff, and with much more clarity and authority than I could have mustered.

The next time I get into a hassle about these things on this board, I'm just going to cut and paste your post. With appropriate credit of course.

(By the way,I always find it funny that artists who are so overhyped always sound really arrogant when they are quoted in articles.
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Old Nov 8, 2005, 10:26 AM
John Doheny John Doheny is offline
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Incidentally, I had a curious sense of Deja Vu reading that thing. It's like I've read it before somewhere. It seems like there's one of these "Europeans are taking" articles in the NYTs about every three years.
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Old Nov 8, 2005, 11:29 AM
John Doheny John Doheny is offline
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Sorry. That should be "Europeans are taking over."
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Old Nov 8, 2005, 12:09 PM
LAZZ LAZZ is offline
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Stuart Nicholson is a lovely chap doing a great job.
I disagree with the validity of his point of view as much as the rest of you - but he has been doing a terrific piece of work these last several years stirring up controversy and getting a pile of ink printed about "jazz" and getting people arguing - sole purpose of mission.
And don't go kidding yourselves about who he hasn't heard of - he does know his stuff - he's just taken a particular line 'cos it gets him regular writing commissions. Tough to do. Well done Stuart.
(There are absolutely amazing players in Europe thouigh - none of which he mentions.)
P.S. I've never known a late '90s euro-disco play ABBA or Culture Club !!
What sort of joints were you going to, Clamato?
Good heavens !
(yeah, right)
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Old Nov 8, 2005, 01:12 PM
Clamato Clamato is offline
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Red face Discos

I admit, one of these discos was in Eisenach, which is the former East Germany, so I guess that's to be expected. But Iv'e been in Luzerne and Lisbon, and they either played the crappy 80's stuff( Not to say it's all crappy...some of it is down right Wagnerian compared to today's pop music)or bad techno. And that's bad, because techno is already bad to begin with.( My apologies to techno fans reading this board.)My point is that I don't assume that Europeans are neccessarily on the cutting edge.The ones that are were not mentioned by Nicholson. He just mentioned people who are popular. I think he's more lazy than vindictive. As are most journalists these days." Oh, here's a press release....USHER IS BEST MUSICIAN OF THE 21ST CENTURY......I guess it MUST be TRUE! HOORAY!"
Nobody's actually thinking for themselves anymore.Maybe it's always been about PR. ( When was THE SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS with Burt Lancaster released, in the 50's?)
I think it's a drag that we musicians bust our balls to learn this music-going to expensive music schools, going to sit in at clubs, transcribing solos, making little in the way of real compensation for the most part( compared to the same amount of study in other fields, like Doctors and Lawyers), and then somebody who took Creative Writing 101 and owns Kind of Blue and The Ken Burns JAZZ thing can be taken seriously as a jazz critic. If I started writing in Law Journals about my new take on Brown vs. Board of Education and Plessy Vs Ferguson, would anybody pay attention?
OK I'm ranting again......take a deep breath.......
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Old Nov 8, 2005, 02:57 PM
mike rud mike rud is offline
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Very Interesting

I was really struck by what you said here, Clamato:

Originally Posted by Clamato
I think it's a drag that we musicians bust our balls to learn this music-going to expensive music schools, going to sit in at clubs, transcribing solos, making little in the way of real compensation for the most part( compared to the same amount of study in other fields, like Doctors and Lawyers), and then somebody who took Creative Writing 101 and owns Kind of Blue and The Ken Burns JAZZ thing can be taken seriously as a jazz critic. If I started writing in Law Journals about my new take on Brown vs. Board of Education and Plessy Vs Ferguson, would anybody pay attention?
I once got a less-than-glowing review from Mark Miller at the Globe and Mail, and boy was he in my bad books for about a year after that! For a while after that I was fond of saying that critics were simply the most articulate portion of the failed artists. But as the years have passed since then, I've come to agree with many of the criticisms he made of my record.

Your analogy to the law made me laugh and nod in agreement. But then as I thought it over, it struck me as not really being a very true analogy, since law is not being offered for public consumption, as a form of aesthetic experience.

I mean, when I play a gig I get a little hot under the collar when someone with no experience as a musician comes up to me and starts negatively evaluating my performance. I feel like Dr. Evil, when someone called him "Mr. Evil" and he replied

"That's Doctor evil; I didn't spend eight years in evil medical school to be called 'Mister'"

But am I not asking for the audience's approval by the very act of getting up on stage? If someone says they like my playing, I'm not all that curious about their credentials as a listener. But when I'm honest with myself, I can't help but notice that my concern with their qualifications as a judge varies in direct proportion with their disaproval!

The same trend applies to whether people agree with my musical tastes. If you and I are having a converstion about how great Charlie Christian is, I'm ashamed to say that I'm not all that concerned with your reasons for agreeing with me; I'm just happy that you do. But just start telling me you prefer Ben Monder, and suddenly I'm very concerned with what your opinion is based on, and whether you have any credentials as a musician.

If I want to write intelliegently about law, it looks more legit for me to do so the more legal credentials I have, since the law is so technical that only lawyers have the expertise to realy get into law as a subject matter.

But art which is presented for public appreciation is manifestly saying "Here! This is for you. Take this, and we hope you like it." And if the audience didn't have the legitimate option of disapproving, then that audience's approval would be meaningless. If the audience's approval of the music were predicated on the audience's expertise, there'd never be a show.

Now critics probably need to be more like the audience than they are like the musicians, since it's the audience for whom the critic writes. At the very least I thnk the critics need to be aware of the audiences needs and preferences. Musicians tend to have what one famous psychologist called "a mind debauched by learning". We are so familiar with the music, that we mostly assume that the audience is right there with us.

So maybe one of the functions of the critic is to make the audience more aware of how the art works, and make the artist more aware of the public's perception of them. I'm sure different critics see their role differently. Quite a few critics have been big, big boosters for the music.

If you've never done it, go to the Vancouver Public Library and check out Ralph Gleason's Jazz Casual series. There's a critic really paying a very great deal of respect to musicians and their art, along with a ton of great live playing footage and fascinating interviews. I'm sure Gleason was as much a booster as he was a filter.

Between helping remind the artist of what the audience needs, promoting the artists they find worthy, and helping the public understand, maybe critics are something we should think twice before ostracizing.

"...the fate of art that tries to do without criticism is instructive."

Northrop Frye
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Old Nov 8, 2005, 04:34 PM
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Wow! Mike I totally dig your perspectives!
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Old Nov 8, 2005, 08:43 PM
Guy Guy is offline
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Mike, once again proving why he's the smartest guy I know (except for that ridiculous CBC argument he was making earlier!... See, his point above stands. When he agrees with me, he's brilliant; when he doesn't, less so).

I have no training in music beyond high school so don't feel particularly qualified in reviewing it (although I have on occasion). But I am blown away in talking to some really great young jazz musicians when I mention some fabulous player or singer in history and they've never heard of him or her! Part of being a reviewer is having a historical perspective. I review comedy for a living and have never performed outside of weddings and one roast. I'm sure some comics think the same thing -- that if you've never done it, you have no right reviewing it. And yet most of them have little historical perspective. Besides, comics/musicians are too busy doing their craft to write about it.

And when you look in history at the great players and critics, none of them were school trained. The musicians learned by playing, not in the classroom.
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Old Nov 8, 2005, 09:09 PM
John Doheny John Doheny is offline
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And when you look in history at the great players and critics, none of them were school trained. The musicians learned by playing, not in the classroom.
Well, I'm afraid I have to disagree with you there. While it may be true that the graduate school of jazz is the bandstand I think you'd be surprised how many jazz musicians have a B.mus degree or some amount of formal training, including every musician on this board that I am personally aquainted with. The notion of jazz musician as Holy Primitive never did stand up to serious scrutiny. Even a lot of old school cats had post-secondary paper, Charles Brown, Wayne Shorter, Cannonball Adderly, all university educated guys. Jazz has always skewed towrds middle class people who can afford to pay for music lessons for their kids (even if 'middle class' meant butlers and household servants, like Duke Ellington's parents). Dexter Gordon's father was a doctor.

And who are these hot young players who don't know the history of the music anyway? I've sure never met em.

We need names, Guy.:-)
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Old Nov 8, 2005, 09:12 PM
John Doheny John Doheny is offline
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Show me a comedian who doesn't know the history of his craft, and I'll show you a comedian who ain't funny.

Brownie points to anyone who can tell me what famous comic I just paraphrased.
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Old Nov 8, 2005, 10:04 PM
Clamato Clamato is offline
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I think Mike is right about the audience, but let's put it like this. If a food critic went to a 5 star Japanese restaurant that had an omikase tasting menu with special sashimi and exotic appetizers and such, and he had only eaten at places like McDonald's and Jack in the Box, then he is ill equipped to judge the Japanese restaurant. He has a limited perspective. He is supposed to relate the quality of a fine restaurant to people who might be less enlightened. Another analogy--a critic is like Consumer Reports for Jazz Music. In Consumer Reports,they have criteria which they base their evaluation of cars and other mechanical items. They couldn't just say" The 2005 Toyota Snatchmobiles are not worth your money due to the fact that they didn't seem to match my shoes and socks." I feel like a jazz critic who doesn't know his shit is giving laymen false and arbitrary information.Does that make sense?
You can get away with it in the arts because no one really cares about art, it's just about whether you are popular and can draw a crowd and sell CDs.
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Old Nov 8, 2005, 10:05 PM
Clamato Clamato is offline
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Talking WHo was the comedian?

I'll guess George Carlin?
Lenny Bruce?
Ruth Buzzy?
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