Monday, September 15, 2014

Jazz Music is Overrated

Am I qualified to have an opinion on Jazz music?  Probably not.  But that won't stop me from linking to a guy who is qualified (and it won't stop me from putting up a cartoon which makes light of Jazz with an annoying "water mark" on it).  This Washington Post piece, which appeared in the Arkansas Democratic Gazette yesterday, nicely puts into words pretty much what I've thought of Jazz music ever since first encountering it.  I've tried it and found it wanting.

There was a new pizza place in West Lafayette bordering Purdue that my wife and I used to frequent (famous for its "pitcher and a pie" for $10) when there was a jazz band that would usually play on Thursdays.  I admit to liking jazz when it's live and one doesn't have to focus one's entire attention on it.  That's because I like live music. But I can't imagine ever paying for it when there's about any other available alternative.  A couple quotations:

“Jazz might be the stupidest thing anyone ever came up with,” read “Sonny Rollins: In His Own Words” — actually written by Django Gold of the Onion. “The band starts a song, but then everything falls apart and the musicians just play whatever they want for as long they can stand it. People take turns noodling around, and once they run out of ideas and have to stop, the audience claps. I’m getting angry just thinking about it.”

This music has retreated from the nightclub to the academy. It is shielded from commercial failure by the American cultural-institutional complex, which hands out grants and degrees to people like me. Want to have a heated discussion about “Bitches Brew” or the upper partials ? White guys wielding brass in Manhattan and New England are ready to do battle.

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