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Thread: Jazz Inquest

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    Default Jazz Inquest

    I used to call these type of threads 'X Autopsy', but Reynolds gave me an Oxbridge bollocking and told me to call them inquests.

    You could argue a rough definition of Jazz being music that incorporates Jazz harmony, swing time and improvisation. Those individual components continue to be relevant in music, so why did Jazz die?

    Elitism, too avant-garde for its own good (Caf Oto- John Eden), dissolved by Fusion, J Dilla is Jazz, Miles Davis (the only Jazz innovator since the late-40s) died, all genres die, no new ground to be covered, everything Kendrick Lamar touches turns to shit, improvisation in the age of sequencers, improvisation in the age of samplers, decline of African-American middle-class, commercial unviability, Chris Dave is God

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    Oxford bollocking = vampire weekend Sleaford mods collaboration

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    Louis Moholo-Moholo was at Cafe OTO on Monday with the lad who is on the front cover of The Wire this month and it was a pretty accessible jazz gig I'd say.

    With some free-ish flourishes on the sax admittedly, but nothing that would be out of place on a Blue Note album from the late 50s.

    Amazing night, in fact.

    There is an argument that polarity has meant that the genre is too bifurcated to be cohesive any more. It's not healthy if you have avant garde scraping one on hand and polite lounge/lift music on the other with nothing in between.

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    roscoe mitchell, is all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by thirdform View Post
    roscoe mitchell, is all.
    that's not all. please explain.

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    Quote Originally Posted by john eden View Post
    It's not healthy if you have avant garde scraping one on hand and polite lounge/lift music on the other with nothing in between.
    how/why did this happen?

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    I think all genres or movements in music have finite resources - they use them up and have nowhere else to go by a certain point

    The venerable jazz critic Gary Giddins worked out some kind of schematic to describe the evolution of the genre, in terms of different phases. It was quite persuasive and you could map it onto rock, onto techno-house-rave etc.

    I'll see if I can dig it up

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    ah I blogged about the Giddins schema on my Retromania blog a while back:

    Truth is, genres generally are finite, in the sense of having a range of resources that they burn through and exhaust. Then you get a heritage version of the genre: musicians and custodians who resemble conservationists husbanding a nature preserve, protecting vulnerable species that would otherwise go extinct. Underground rap is one example of this syndrome [albeit slightly different: this is a preserve for a fetishised earlier phase - boom bap, breaks, samples - of a genre that is still very much alive and going places (traplanta etc) just in forms that the undie-rapper doesn't accept or respect] So is the neo-classical school in jazz. Unlike undie rap, it has institutional support that keeps the legacy on life support, as with Lincoln Center's subsidizing of Wynton Marsalis's orchestra.

    Legendary jazz critic Gary Giddins came up with a four-phase schema for the life cycles of musical genres. In his impishly titled essay "How Come Jazz Isn't Dead?" he outlined a succession of stages.

    "Native" is the emergent phase, when the music is primarily tied to a community.

    "Sovereign" is when the music dominates mainstream popular culture.

    "Recessionary" is when it is ousted from center stage (in jazz's case, by rock'n'roll) but continues to have a strong presence in the culture. It goes through a multitude of artistic developments and mutations as it interacts with other forms of music and even achieves a prestige it never had before when it was popular dance music.

    "Classical", the final and present stage of jazz, is when "even the most adventurous young musicians are weighed down by the massive accomplishments of the past." Many are "content to parrot the voices of the masters". The genre isn't dead exactly, but has become a "stately, classical art", a "Cultural Treasure".

    My own Giddins-style schema would be:

    -- emergent / (raw, nave, effortlessly and unconsciously innovative) ROCK'N'ROLL

    -- mature (selfconsciously innovative, with overt ideology of progression etc) ROCK

    -- outer extremes (purism/intensification/back to basics reductionism) OR fusion/maximalism (looking outside itself) (this is still a modernist phase, but starting to unravel, decay, undermine itself) PROG/PUNK/POSTPUNK / POST-ROCK

    -- postmodernism/retro/"museal" -- pastiche, revivalism, parody, recombinant, historicism - INDIE / ALTERNATIVE / BRITPOP / HYPNAGOGIC / FREAK FOLK / ETC
    Last edited by blissblogger; 10-10-2018 at 08:12 PM.

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    i don't know where non-idiomatic improv fits into the Giddins scheme

    perhaps he would consider it so far from the source that it has become its own tradition

    and i think that's what Derek Bailey thought - that it had nothing to do with the jazz tradition anymore

    even though most of its pioneers had started out playing jazz

    a conservative / conservationist like Stanley Crouch & Wynton M would say that improv doesn't have blues feeling or swing and ergo isn't jazz

    plus they're not wearing nice suits and ties, but scruffy jumpers
    Last edited by blissblogger; 10-10-2018 at 08:14 PM.

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    1) Emerges from other traditions

    A new music begins to emerge from one or more other traditions by way of fusion or outright innovation. Often, the music that comes out of this stage is hard to distinguish from the music that came before.

    2) Solidifies as a genre, singularly functional

    The music at this stage becomes easier to distinguish from the music that preceded it. It is intent on serving a singular social purpose and as such is at its most accessible.

    3) Genre evolution and artistic exploration

    The music begins to evolve, and artists start to explore musically, even at the risk of detracting from its previous social purpose.

    4) Peak abrasiveness, singular musical vision

    The music is at its harshest and most inaccessible. This often entails the music becoming very narrowly focused on a single characteristic or idea.

    5) Self-conscious eclecticism, drawing in foreign elements

    Though the music is always drawing from other music, at this stage it is doing so self-consciously and to a much larger extent. Eventually, so many elements are drawn in that it becomes hard to say if the music is still of the same tradition as stages 1-4. At this stage the music may return to stage 1, either because the macro-genre starts another cycle or because a new macro-genre has been pioneered.
    ,

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    "Assuming some constraints on the definition of the form, the amount of innovation that can be done within that form is finite. Most of it will come early and fast, then decline after the peak." - https://www.overthinkingit.com/2008/...of-good-songs/

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    senescence or at least the autumnal phase of a music seems to come when it's original / originating audience moves on to something else

    first step in jazz decline - when the black popular audience moves on to R&B

    terminal stage in jazz decline? when the musician class itself is no longer majority black

    Stanley Crouch grapples with this in one of his books - being both conservative and optimistic he tries to see the fact that some of the best (meaning in his terms, the most faithful to original principles) players of contemporary jazz are Italian or Norwegian as a sign of the music's continued vitality

    a sociologist or anthropologist, on the other hand, would probably wonder how vital a music could really be if it's drifted loose of the population that birthed it

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    I think with improv there is an argument that its jazz + post war European avant garde and therefore a new thing. I mean something like The Necks is nothing like jazz.

    We can argue whether improv is dead too but first wed need to get into whether its really a genre or a technique or both. (See also: Dub).

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    Be interested to know what Giddins means by community also.

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    Quote Originally Posted by blissblogger View Post
    first step in jazz decline - when the black popular audience moves on to R&B
    i might be a bit off with the timing, but this was also probably the stage when jazz was at it's most innovative.

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