- Wednesday, September 28, 2011
- by Jonathan Martin
Jazz is a modifier.
It's an adjective that changes the meaning of whatever music it modifies.
The purists are still mourning the death of "Hard Bop"; before that it was "Bebop". Anything that was ever thought to be "Pure Jazz".
The thing is, there never really was any such thing as "Pure Jazz". New Orleans Jazz modified the Blues. Swing modified the American Popular Song Form. Bebop modified Swing, and that's where the term "Pure Jazz" began; bacause Bebop Jazz modified Swing Jazz. Or, Jazz modified Jazz.
Too much of a good thing happens all the time in music, art, and literature. And, when Jazz is used to modify itself too much it becomes stale, predictable, and dated. In other words, not Jazz.
Now, Bebop and Hard Bop and Post-Bop are really cool. I love them all. But, when they reached their pinnacle, the height of what they could achieve; there was no place else to go. It had to evolve in some direction. It could only go up, down, or sideways.
How Can You Say These Things
So, why is it that there is no such thing as a Jazz fan? How can I say that with a clear conscious?
It's pretty simple. Because Jazz is so difficult to define, and has to be understood in terms of what it modifies; it's just not right to say you're a Jazz "fan". It is ok to say you like Jazz, or that you love Jazz.
You could be a fan of Hard Bop, Soul Jazz, Jazz-Rock, Fusion, Latin Jazz, etc. Or, any of the thousand or so permutations and fusions that have occurred in the last fifty years. The most recent popular form of Jazz being Smooth Jazz.
Be a Musician Fan, Not a Music Fan
But, you really need to be a "fan" of your specific favorite Jazz musicians. And. it's ok to always be on the lookout for new intriguing and interesting musicians to become a "fan" of.
This way you can keep an open mind to new things that may happen on the ever changing horizon of modern music. All the while staying grounded to your favorite music from the past and present.
Proclaim Your Undying Devotion ...
You don't have to proclaim undying devotion to one style or sub-genre of music, and that's all you're ever going to listen to no matter what. Even though, some of your favorites only ever played in that sub-genre of Jazz and never attempted anything else.
Listen to everything, and choose your favorites from the vast pool of talent and creativity that exists out there. You may discover a new way to use Jazz to modify your own music to make a completely new and unique statement. And, set yourself apart as a Jazz innovator of the future.
How do you find new music to listen to? Who are your current favorites? Tell us in the Comments ...
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