Can Jazz Be Saved? JazzLetter Nov 2008

Can Jazz Be Saved? JazzLetter Nov 2008

Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

March 20th, 2010, 9:04 pm #1


Jim B generoulsy sent the complete article in the Nov 2008 issue of Jazz Letter. Thanks Jim

http://bixbeiderbecke.com//JazzLetterGe ... v2008.html

Albert
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Brad Kay
Brad Kay

March 20th, 2010, 10:19 pm #2

I strongly advise that the several pages of this article be read from bottom to top. Otherwise, you will contract a bad case of deja vu from the retrograde continuity, curable only by walking around the room backwards and repeating, "Emoh Ekil Ecalp On Sereht."

-Brad Kay
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Eric E.
Eric E.

March 20th, 2010, 11:25 pm #3

Jim B generoulsy sent the complete article in the Nov 2008 issue of Jazz Letter. Thanks Jim

http://bixbeiderbecke.com//JazzLetterGe ... v2008.html

Albert
For what it's worth, here are my two cents:

Conservative hand-wringing about feminism and records in praise of drugs? Goodness, keep that poor man away from the Cab Calloway records! Not to mention the Armstrong... 'Licence' is a word easily used in this article and not so easily defined. I think it's a historical truism that every new generation is immoral and hell-bound.

Jazz and classical music will always have an audience, but it will surely be a small one for both. I don't see why we should worry about a 'gap' between them... Rembrandt has a small (relatively) audience too, and always has. Life goes on, and the past cannot be recaptured, however much we idealize it.

Jazz has not been classified as 'America's Classical Music' (Ugh...) and even worse, Black Music (viz Albert Murray etc). Vox populi can be sneered at all we want, but that's not a couple of labels that are likely to make kids take that particular can off the cultural shelf. Side comment: I'm the only person I know who read Albert Murray's "Stomping The Blues" and was horrified at the smug Crow Jim within. Have you talked about that here? Yes, I'm looking through your archives but just starting! What a thought-provoking forum you have here...

You'd hardly know that Evan Parker, Tony Oxley et al existed, listening to jazz on American radio... when it can be found, that is.

Jazz cruise? Sounds great, but I'm not likely to be able to afford that in the near future! I wonder who would have been on a 1947 version?

I will continue to listen to Bix, Monk and Brad Mehldau too... Enough typing; I'm going to have a drink and listen to Sonny Rollins at the Vanguard! We're all so lucky to be able to listen to all of this priceless music.
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Ken Bristow
Ken Bristow

March 21st, 2010, 12:38 pm #4

The killer line in Terry Teachout's article is - "Here's the catch: Nobody's listening". To jazz, that is. Well not true, not quite yet, anyway. All around the world at this very moment, thousands upon thousands are tapping their feet to the righteous music. But not only is jazz a minority interest, the noun "Jazz" itself covers a multitude of sins. There's Trad and Vintage and Classic and Swing and Revival and Mainstream and Bop and Free Form and probably more I've missed. Few devotees of one style rarely have any interest in many of the others. I personally can only listen to Parker or Coltrane for a few minutes before I start losing interest. I know deep down I should be able to appreciate them but if I say I do I'm only fooling myself. Who is there coming along who will keep jazz alive? I've said before, go to any inner city ghetto and ask a group of black youngsters who Joe Oliver, Louis Armstrong, Johnny Dodds, Ferd Morton or Fletcher Henderson were, and none of them could tell you. How sad is that? And as each generation grows old and the next take their place, fewer and fewer will have any interest in jazz. Like those youngsters in the ghetto, for future generations coming along, jazz will hold no appeal. They will be listening to the popular music of the day, however awful it will sound to their parents. But that's how it's always been.
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Jamaica
Jamaica

March 21st, 2010, 1:30 pm #5

Jazz isn't "heels up," yet. Take a look around Facebook, and My Space, and you'll see a surprising amount of people 30 and under who are listening to and playing this music. Sure, they're in the minority, but they are definitely there.
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

March 21st, 2010, 2:05 pm #6

For what it's worth, here are my two cents:

Conservative hand-wringing about feminism and records in praise of drugs? Goodness, keep that poor man away from the Cab Calloway records! Not to mention the Armstrong... 'Licence' is a word easily used in this article and not so easily defined. I think it's a historical truism that every new generation is immoral and hell-bound.

Jazz and classical music will always have an audience, but it will surely be a small one for both. I don't see why we should worry about a 'gap' between them... Rembrandt has a small (relatively) audience too, and always has. Life goes on, and the past cannot be recaptured, however much we idealize it.

Jazz has not been classified as 'America's Classical Music' (Ugh...) and even worse, Black Music (viz Albert Murray etc). Vox populi can be sneered at all we want, but that's not a couple of labels that are likely to make kids take that particular can off the cultural shelf. Side comment: I'm the only person I know who read Albert Murray's "Stomping The Blues" and was horrified at the smug Crow Jim within. Have you talked about that here? Yes, I'm looking through your archives but just starting! What a thought-provoking forum you have here...

You'd hardly know that Evan Parker, Tony Oxley et al existed, listening to jazz on American radio... when it can be found, that is.

Jazz cruise? Sounds great, but I'm not likely to be able to afford that in the near future! I wonder who would have been on a 1947 version?

I will continue to listen to Bix, Monk and Brad Mehldau too... Enough typing; I'm going to have a drink and listen to Sonny Rollins at the Vanguard! We're all so lucky to be able to listen to all of this priceless music.
First, let me welcome you to the Bixography forum and thank you  for your posting.

Consider Baroque music. No modern composer writes exclusively in the baroque style. Some composers, alive today, include bits of baroque style music in their compositions, but they do not compose full works in that style. [There are a few exceptions here and there. For example, Michel Legrand's soundtrack score for Joseph Losey's "The Go-Beween" has been described as a "quasi-baroque masterpiece."]  Nevertheless, baroque music is alive and well. Current musicians record the works of the masters trying to use what is called "historically informed performance," see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical ... erformance. See also the article about early music revival inhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Early_Music_Revival There are concerts and there are recordings available. Baroque music is alive and well. Of course, the overwhelming majority of people know nothing about the masters, the style, the current keepers of the flame. But there is a small minority that buys recordings, listens to the music live, discusses it, etc. That is all that we should expect in the 21st century, and that is all that is needed to keep Baroque music alive and well. I will point out that the revival of old music is not a modern phenomenon. See note below.

I view 1920s jazz and hot dance band in a similar way as to what I wrote above for baroque music. There are current musicians that revive the old style of playing, use vintage instruments manufactured in the 1920s, adapt 1920s arrangements for their particular group of musicians and instrumentation. This is done both in live performances, jazz festivals, steady gigs such as Vince Giordano's Nighthawks every Monday at Sofia's Restaurant at the Edison Hotel or David Ostwald's Armstrong Centennial band every Wed at Birdland, and in recordings (sound only, commercial CDs, or videos seen on youtube).

In the early 1950s if you wanted to listen to Bix and did not have original or resissued 78s, all that was available (and at the time it was considered a lot)  were the three Columbia Lps produced by George Avakian. 

Vol 1 Bix and His Gang  

Vol 2 Bix and Tram 

Vol 3 Whiteman Days

Today we have the magnificent, complete chronological Bix as 5 volumes of "Bix Restored," 13 cds, the four cd excellent Mosaic set, the four cd Proper Box, and miriads of  individual cds, and that is witouth counting the enormous number of individual Bix recordings on youtube.

There were few jazz discographies in the 1950s, a couple of books, articles in magazines. Now we have the 2002 edition of Rust's jazz records, Tom Lord's Discography, American Dance Bands discography currently being reissued in several volumes, dsicographies on line.

Thanks to the internet, there has been a revolution in information technology. There are jazz blogs, jazz discussion groups, jazz magazines. web sites about individual musicians (let me toot my own horn: I was a pioneer in the use of the internet. I launched the Bixography on Feb 1, 1999 and soon after the Bix Forum and WBIX). What about another pioneer effort, the redhotjazzarchive where at the click of a mouse you can hear one of several thousand recordings from the 1920s. What about the small cd labels that re-issue with wonderful fidelity loads of 78s from the 1920s. Our own forumites  producing cds of vintage music, Brad, Nick. The list of what is available in cds and  on the internet endless.

And I have not mentioned books from the late 90s or the 21st century, Lost Chords, biographies of Bix,  Bing, Hoagy, Grappelly, Tommy Dorsey, Fletcher Henderson, Ruth Etting, etc etc What about radio programs? On regular radio Rich Conaty's "The Big Broadcast" Rob Bamberger's "Hot Jazz Saturday," Glen Robison's "Rapidly Rotating Records," etc and we also have the dozens of interent radios that play music from the 1920s.

Just google on any subject related to 1920s music and you'll be overwhelmed by the available amount of information.

No, jazz is not dead, 1920s music is not dead. It is alive and well. And I remind you of my slogan for the Bixography, "Through His Music, Bix is alive."

Albert

Note. From the wikipedia article on revival of early music. "Felix Mendelssohn is often credited as an important figure in beginning the revival of music from the past. He conducted a performance of Bach's St. Matthew Passion in 1829, and that concert is cited as one of the most significant events in the Early Music Revival, even though the performance used contemporary instruments and the work was presented in a greatly condensed version, leaving out a significant amount of Bach's music. Handel's Messiah, performed annually since it was composed in 1741, even with updated orchestrations by Mozart and others, is a work that shows a rare continuous line of performance that gradually defied early performance practice, only to be embraced by it in more recent years."
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

March 21st, 2010, 3:04 pm #7


Gene Lees places a lot of emphasis on the harmony/chord structures in jazz recordings. A good example of two tunes with very similar harmonic structures in some sections are "How Come You Do Me Like You Do" and "She Wouldn't Do."

Listen to the following juxtaposed sections of two recordings.

File 1. First a weird instrument (kazoo?) from "She Wouldn't Do" by the Arcadian Peacock Orchestra of St. Louis, and then another weird instrument (one string violin, Nat Brusilov, David S's uncle) by the Capitol Orchestra in "How Come You Do Me Like You Do." [By the way, Nat Brusilov's improvisation is terrific; I wish he had played it straight.]

http://bixography.com/ArcadiaPeacockCapitolians.rm

File 2. First Miff Mole with the Capitolians in "How Come You Do Me Like You Do" and then the Arcadian Peacock Orchestra of St. Louis in "She Wouldn't Do."

http://bixography.com/ArcadiaPeacockCapitolians2.rm

What do you guys and gals think?

Albert
Last edited by ahaim on March 21st, 2010, 3:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Michael Steinman
Michael Steinman

March 21st, 2010, 3:35 pm #8

I can't be the only person to point out that the funereal utterances of Terry Teachout came at the same time that he was relentlessly pounding the web to promote his new book on a {whisper this) jazz musician whose name and music are still recognizable by many young people -- that fellow Armstrong. It amuses me how many of the nay-sayers are now making capital out of their grim messages that their subject is now dead. Commerce, you funny thing!
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Glenda Childress
Glenda Childress

March 21st, 2010, 7:06 pm #9

First, let me welcome you to the Bixography forum and thank you  for your posting.

Consider Baroque music. No modern composer writes exclusively in the baroque style. Some composers, alive today, include bits of baroque style music in their compositions, but they do not compose full works in that style. [There are a few exceptions here and there. For example, Michel Legrand's soundtrack score for Joseph Losey's "The Go-Beween" has been described as a "quasi-baroque masterpiece."]  Nevertheless, baroque music is alive and well. Current musicians record the works of the masters trying to use what is called "historically informed performance," see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical ... erformance. See also the article about early music revival inhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Early_Music_Revival There are concerts and there are recordings available. Baroque music is alive and well. Of course, the overwhelming majority of people know nothing about the masters, the style, the current keepers of the flame. But there is a small minority that buys recordings, listens to the music live, discusses it, etc. That is all that we should expect in the 21st century, and that is all that is needed to keep Baroque music alive and well. I will point out that the revival of old music is not a modern phenomenon. See note below.

I view 1920s jazz and hot dance band in a similar way as to what I wrote above for baroque music. There are current musicians that revive the old style of playing, use vintage instruments manufactured in the 1920s, adapt 1920s arrangements for their particular group of musicians and instrumentation. This is done both in live performances, jazz festivals, steady gigs such as Vince Giordano's Nighthawks every Monday at Sofia's Restaurant at the Edison Hotel or David Ostwald's Armstrong Centennial band every Wed at Birdland, and in recordings (sound only, commercial CDs, or videos seen on youtube).

In the early 1950s if you wanted to listen to Bix and did not have original or resissued 78s, all that was available (and at the time it was considered a lot)  were the three Columbia Lps produced by George Avakian. 

Vol 1 Bix and His Gang  

Vol 2 Bix and Tram 

Vol 3 Whiteman Days

Today we have the magnificent, complete chronological Bix as 5 volumes of "Bix Restored," 13 cds, the four cd excellent Mosaic set, the four cd Proper Box, and miriads of  individual cds, and that is witouth counting the enormous number of individual Bix recordings on youtube.

There were few jazz discographies in the 1950s, a couple of books, articles in magazines. Now we have the 2002 edition of Rust's jazz records, Tom Lord's Discography, American Dance Bands discography currently being reissued in several volumes, dsicographies on line.

Thanks to the internet, there has been a revolution in information technology. There are jazz blogs, jazz discussion groups, jazz magazines. web sites about individual musicians (let me toot my own horn: I was a pioneer in the use of the internet. I launched the Bixography on Feb 1, 1999 and soon after the Bix Forum and WBIX). What about another pioneer effort, the redhotjazzarchive where at the click of a mouse you can hear one of several thousand recordings from the 1920s. What about the small cd labels that re-issue with wonderful fidelity loads of 78s from the 1920s. Our own forumites  producing cds of vintage music, Brad, Nick. The list of what is available in cds and  on the internet endless.

And I have not mentioned books from the late 90s or the 21st century, Lost Chords, biographies of Bix,  Bing, Hoagy, Grappelly, Tommy Dorsey, Fletcher Henderson, Ruth Etting, etc etc What about radio programs? On regular radio Rich Conaty's "The Big Broadcast" Rob Bamberger's "Hot Jazz Saturday," Glen Robison's "Rapidly Rotating Records," etc and we also have the dozens of interent radios that play music from the 1920s.

Just google on any subject related to 1920s music and you'll be overwhelmed by the available amount of information.

No, jazz is not dead, 1920s music is not dead. It is alive and well. And I remind you of my slogan for the Bixography, "Through His Music, Bix is alive."

Albert

Note. From the wikipedia article on revival of early music. "Felix Mendelssohn is often credited as an important figure in beginning the revival of music from the past. He conducted a performance of Bach's St. Matthew Passion in 1829, and that concert is cited as one of the most significant events in the Early Music Revival, even though the performance used contemporary instruments and the work was presented in a greatly condensed version, leaving out a significant amount of Bach's music. Handel's Messiah, performed annually since it was composed in 1741, even with updated orchestrations by Mozart and others, is a work that shows a rare continuous line of performance that gradually defied early performance practice, only to be embraced by it in more recent years."
Bravo, Albert. Well said.

We have so much jazz available that we might never have a moment of silence, 24/7, if we chose. It's an embarrassment of riches out there, now more than ever before.

If anyone is down about the lack of new jazz lovers, we have the wherewithal to bring them into the fold if they are willing.

Let Teachout moan if it makes him feel better, but let him also keep pushing his book. It will bring in some new listeners who come out of curiosity and stay to be delighted.
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Eric E.
Eric E.

March 28th, 2010, 11:12 pm #10

The killer line in Terry Teachout's article is - "Here's the catch: Nobody's listening". To jazz, that is. Well not true, not quite yet, anyway. All around the world at this very moment, thousands upon thousands are tapping their feet to the righteous music. But not only is jazz a minority interest, the noun "Jazz" itself covers a multitude of sins. There's Trad and Vintage and Classic and Swing and Revival and Mainstream and Bop and Free Form and probably more I've missed. Few devotees of one style rarely have any interest in many of the others. I personally can only listen to Parker or Coltrane for a few minutes before I start losing interest. I know deep down I should be able to appreciate them but if I say I do I'm only fooling myself. Who is there coming along who will keep jazz alive? I've said before, go to any inner city ghetto and ask a group of black youngsters who Joe Oliver, Louis Armstrong, Johnny Dodds, Ferd Morton or Fletcher Henderson were, and none of them could tell you. How sad is that? And as each generation grows old and the next take their place, fewer and fewer will have any interest in jazz. Like those youngsters in the ghetto, for future generations coming along, jazz will hold no appeal. They will be listening to the popular music of the day, however awful it will sound to their parents. But that's how it's always been.
By the way, has anyone read Teachout's 'Pops' biography? It looks good, but I'm a bit poor these days... I really enjoyed Teachout's HL Mencken book! I also enjoyed the recent Thelonious Monk biography, by a fellow named Kelley.
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