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Why are some things sacrosanct?
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cjm



Joined: 16 Oct 2006
Posts: 369

PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2011 11:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Henryrobinett wrote:


What underlining principles/practical/pragmatic reasons are you referring to? It seems all artistic to me. Or are you referring to the commercial considerations?


Thumbnail sketch:

We encourage college students to regularly sit in with us...a few older undergrads, a few grad students. Some going for teaching certification -- about as many are performance majors.

From them, I'm getting the impression that bop is generally regarded as a classical form...fun to dabble in, but not a "living" jazz form.

And I can further divide them into two more groups:

* Those who regard "real" (or "living") jazz as being a postbop, cool, and/or modal genre from the very late 50s through the mid 60s.

* Those who regard this as a classical form too, and that perhaps the only currently living, breathing, jazz began circa 1970 with Bitches Brew.

Miles Davis stands out, of course, as an individual who is largely, and maybe primarily, responsible for both of these "paradigms."

We don't just play, sometimes we sit around and relax over a few afterwards...and often the discussion is music.

The slightest suggestion that commercialism played a part in this evolution is not merely a point of disagreement in discussion...it is regarded as character assassination.

It's just something that I've been thinking about.

Now, I'll freely admit that I'm somewhat in the Stanley Crouch/W. Marsalis camp on this. It's just where I am...I got narrow tastes and they're getting narrower because I'm focusing on something in the time I've got left.

Upthread, I mentioned Oscar Peterson...and I'm a big admirer of him. But one of the other older guys I work with weekly can't stand Peterson. And he can say something like "Peterson sucked, and here's why" -- nobody cares other than to make a case for Peterson.

But "Miles" -- it's as if we're talking about a deity -- and any suggestion. for example, that some of his artistic decisions were motivated by commercial considerations and not to advance the art is as often as not met with anger.

Of course, part of it is the old jazz/not jazz conundrum, and was jazz rock a progressive or regressive movement compared to the swing to bop transition...but there seems to me to be more to it than that...it's like a cult thing.
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Henryrobinett



Joined: 01 May 2010
Posts: 180
Location: Sacramento, Ca

PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2011 11:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JakeJew wrote:
Man some of you guys are so mellow. I wish I could be that mellow, sometimes.
It took years of realizing other people could like music too. Realizing the I alone am not the arbiter of taste in music. Early on a band mate called me a musical bigot, and that seemed to be the perfect term for my kind of close mindedness.

Opinions, I would soon realize, for myself, are what everyone has a right to have. There is no right or wrong in their pronouncements. All art, I believe, is subjective and can really ONLY be subjective. Therefore who cares? I've spent a lifetime developing and cultivating MY TASTE for MYSELF and my art. So again, other than me, who cares?

Music is not a competition like a sport.
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cjm



Joined: 16 Oct 2006
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2011 11:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Henryrobinett wrote:

Music is not a competition like a sport.


I prefer that viewpoint, but point to famous "cutting" sessions as a real world phenomenon.
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Henryrobinett



Joined: 01 May 2010
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2011 11:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, well cjm, there's a lot of jazz snobbery and musical bigotry in the jazz world, for sure. Oscar does have his vitriolic critics. In part I think its because, past JATP he didn't really play with the cats. He had his own thing going that was WILDLY successful. He didn't play or record with Miles, or Coltrane or Joe Henderson, Clifford Brown. And in his way he was very commercial.

In some ways bop is a classical form. I think it's the most difficult of jazz forms, so I have my students study it. They take Ko Ko apart. YOu don't see a lot of the younger players phrasing, doing the triplets and enclosures the way the real bop cats did. But that's OK. It;s there for the study. I don't play like that either.

And a case has to be made that music must exist in it's own time stream. There's no right or wrong. Bop existed fully in the mid-late 40s to mid 50s. But to discount it, as students may, can also be an excuse because it's so hard to play convincingly well. I know a bunch of youngish, modern players who can play Cherokee, and Rhythm changes with all the language and phrasing of a true bop player. So it might be, in part a case of who you're hanging with.
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Henryrobinett



Joined: 01 May 2010
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Location: Sacramento, Ca

PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2011 11:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cjm wrote:
Henryrobinett wrote:

Music is not a competition like a sport.


I prefer that viewpoint, but point to famous "cutting" sessions as a real world phenomenon.
Ha! Yes, of course. I've used that example too. I didn't mean that musicians didn't and don't regularly use sports like competitions in music. Colleges regularly have competitions. The famous cutting sessions. American Idol crap. Downbeat polls.

But the sooner we musicians get our heads out of the competitive frame the sooner we can start making better music. We start looking for THE BEST, which ultimately I think is harmful towards the aesthetic of great music. Technique, speed becomes watch words for invalidating others.
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cjm



Joined: 16 Oct 2006
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2011 11:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Henryrobinett wrote:
Bop existed fully in the mid-late 40s to mid 50s. But to discount it, as students may, can also be an excuse because it's so hard to play convincingly well. I know a bunch of youngish, modern players who can play Cherokee, and Rhythm changes with all the language and phrasing of a true bop player. So it might be, in part a case of who you're hanging with.


To be clear about it, I can't play bop convincingly either. But I'm not willing to turn to something that I might be able to play more convincingly just because it's easier.

In my case, more a matter of "Better to shoot at the moon and miss, than to shit at the floor and hit it."

By that I mean, bop lures me because it's elusive. And even if it were possible for me to try...I couldn't make a living in music...and fortunately, I didn't and don't have to. That way I don't have worry about any commercial aspect...just so long as it's not so bad the Health Department steps in to shut it all down.
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cjm



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PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2011 11:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh well...I gotta' take a nap. I have to play until 1:00 AM tonight and I don't like doing that. Too damned late for me these days. The old woman is at a funeral so the house is quiet.

Off goes the laptop and it's Bzzzzzzzzzzzzz for me! Very Happy
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Henryrobinett



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PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2012 1:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have a great gig!
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Henryrobinett



Joined: 01 May 2010
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Location: Sacramento, Ca

PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2012 4:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, OK. But I just heard Wynton Marsalis broadcast live form Dizzy PLace. He was playing Louis Armstrong and Jelly Roll Morton. Guys, that was like a 100 years ago. I mean it really IS COOL to take a look back like Wynton does and mine the fields left fallow these many years. But I think, com one on now. At a certain point the student has to move on. He was probably Buddy Bolden or Jelly Roll Morton, or even Louis a life or two ago. I get it.

OK, is THAT sacrosanct?
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cjm



Joined: 16 Oct 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2012 3:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Henryrobinett wrote:
Have a great gig!


Tough night. Rough weekend. Particularly for my wife. Kinda hesitate to even talk about it.

Among our circle of friends, my wife is sort of unique in that her parents are still around. But they got married young and she popped out ten months later...well, you get the point. The rest of us, if our parents were still alive...they'd be in their mid-80s to late 90s...my wife's parents in their late 70s.

So anyhow, since I was playing New Year's Eve, I arranged for a table for my wife and another couple that's "next of kin" in all but law and shared ancestry. Because of the lighting, I can't really see them from the bandstand.

About an hour into the gig, my wife's best friend comes to the bandstand and tells me that my wife's dad is in an ambulance heading for the hospital and that she's taking my wife to the E.R....and that she'll get back to me in a few, so just keep playing.

About 10 minutes later, her husband, who is someone I consider my closest friend, comes up to tell me I better come with him because it looks like Bob was probably DOA, so I excuse myself and jump in his car for the short trip to the hospital about half a mile away.

Well, of course he was DOA, and it wasn't really a surprise, and you know, it was one of these things where you really have to say that it was for the best...although we had all figured he would live another couple weeks at least.

I guess the worst part is that even though it was just New Years Eve, my wife and mother-in-law will associate the holiday season with Bob's death and they both tend to stress out this time of year already, and my wife is already having to deal with the fact that I've got untreatable cancer (although I'm damned sure going to fool my oncologist and his statistical predictions).

But so it goes.

Anyhow, it's 2012, and while I don't have a "cyclical" view of time based on an artificial calendar, my wife and mother-in-law do, so I'm encouraging them to look at the new year as a new beginning and a year that will go better for both of them than 2011.

But that puts a lot of the onus on me...not only to try to reestablish some semblance of normality for both of them, but also in that I've got to make damned sure I don't croak next winter no matter how this metastasis progresses . Mind over matter and all that. And I think maybe gigging more will help.

One of the great things about an online forum is anonymity. Understand, I'm not looking for sympathy, because I'm just the online persona "cjm" and it's important to me to keep it that way.

In addition to this being a way to arrange my thoughts though, I also thought, "well maybe this could be useful as a vignette of middle age for some younger player." Not to bum anyone out...just to illustrate that it's normal for life to have some rough spots...and for those who have had been dealing with some of these "rough spots" themselves, to remind them that they're not alone.

But enough of this shit. Let's get back to whether or not Stanley Crouch and Wynton Marsalis were right to dismiss Miles Davis's later work.
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Henryrobinett



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2012 4:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OUCH!! I'm sorry. I hope this was a gig you were expendable for -- you know like not a guitar trio. No matter, of course.

I'm sorry. That's terrible. How is everyone holding up? Your father-in-law was sick? Cancer? And I'm sorry about your own cancer. Are you receiving treatment? Have you looked into alternatives?

Yes, I'm sure the best you can do is to try and lessen the stress level. Take excellent care of yourself and don't add unnecessary stress. But I've observed, for myself, that lying to cover up, has an opposite effect. People, especially if they're sensitive, can smell the wrongness of something and the lies. Truth, even if it's not good, cuts through the bullshit and allows people to help and face the otherwise formidable.

I've had a recent scare as well. I have a goiter - a growth on my thyroid. It's benign, from the biopsies performed. There's always a chance, small though it may be, that something was missed. I'm looking at either surgery or an alternative treatment.

And this last month, or so -- all of November plus a week or two, I've seen 6 deaths of people I knew. All kinds of causes and ages. It puts the mortality subject front and center. Plus my mother is 89 and not doing well.

On another subject, I don't understand, but I do really, I just disagree, with the safety of anonymity. I don't feel any sense that I can't say anything I wouldn't say using my real name. And then I feel at some level I just can't trust people who won't tell me who they are. It seems to be a means to just flame somebody with impunity. On good forums I feel it's almost like having a great conversation with friends, associates or strangers. You know like around a campfire or late at night huddled around a kitchen table, or fireplace with nice wine talking about deeply personal things. But in this case it's like you're talking to people in masks and costumes with voice modulators. And the two people who are just themselves look at each other and think what a bunch of cowards.

Whatever - be well cjm whoever you really are! Sometimes I think life's purpose is just to challenge us. Hang in there. And thank you for sharing yourself.
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Last edited by Henryrobinett on Mon Jan 02, 2012 6:19 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PaulD



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2012 4:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cjm, I'm extremely sorry to hear about your wife's father. My sincere condolences your wife and her family. That's one tough way for the new year to come in. My father-in-law died on my birthday and my sister died a day before the birthday of one of my sons, so these otherwise festive dates have always had a different tone, especially the first couple of years after. Over time though, they've been easier to deal with because the grief eventually gives way a little to fond memories of those we lost, making those days are a little easier to deal with. Hopefully over time the same will be true for your wife.

Also very sorry to hear about your health battles. You seem to have a very positive outlook, and from everything I've read as well as witnessed, that makes a huge difference. Hang in there and take good care of yourself.

Paul
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Gorecki
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2012 5:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My condolences as well. I really donít have anything more to offer other than I truly admire and appreciate your ability to marshal all of these happenings with a seemingly objective and positive posture. I can only hope I will be nearly as sound and brave when presented with the situations you have.

Best of all things possible to you!
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PaulD



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2012 5:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cjm wrote:
...Let's get back to whether or not Stanley Crouch and Wynton Marsalis were right to dismiss Miles Davis's later work.


As far as Wynton & Crouch, I'm not really familiar with their views on Miles. I've vaguely heard about an "issue" between Miles and Wynton at the Vancouver (I think) Jazz fest when, if I recall correctly, Marsalis went up on stage uninvited, but not really sure...maybe an urban legend, I supposed I should Google it Smile

If somebody wants to find fault in another player's musical choices, I think thatís fine with me and entirely their prerogative. I'm not going to get upset or lose sleep about somebody's opinion of music. Where my own musical influences and "heroes" are involved, I tend to be more interested in their music rather than their attitudes or opinions about it or about each other. Of course it was probably those attitudes, shaped by their experiences, times they lived in, and countless other factors, that helped influence the music they created. And even though I love to read biographies about them to gain a historical perspective or get a glimpse of the person, the only byproduct of their experiences I usually really benefit and learn from is the music itself, much of which has been accurately preserved in recordings or on paper for me to analyze (at least the parts that resonate with me). The rest of the stuff is just the drama that led up to it, which I neither can nor would want to emulate.
cjm wrote:
...But "Miles" -- it's as if we're talking about a deity -- and any suggestion. for example, that some of his artistic decisions were motivated by commercial considerations and not to advance the art is as often as not met with anger.

If somebody gets bent out of shape or angry in a discussion about music, whether about Miles or anyone else, thatís when I usually change the topic or just bow out of the conversation. Thereís way too much stress elsewhere in life for me to allow it in one of the few areas that truly relaxes me Cool

Paul
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cjm



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PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 6:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, anyhow...funeral is over.

Was drafted to write and deliver eulogy. Not something I'm suited to, but brother-in-law couldn't.

Was drafted to write obituary...more suited, but still puzzling to me. Oddly enough, knew more about many details of life and career, including aspects still classified by the Army and NSA than his own flesh and blood, so had to explain that yes, he was literally a Vietnam vet because he was in Hanoi when Eisenhower was President and before they thought the U.S. was in Vietnam. Weird gaps in what they knew like that throughout...

Did mention the thing with the fish fork during the eulogy. How the hell was I supposed to know what a fish fork was? I was raised on a reservation in a family of ranchers and could identify individual horses in the dark by their smell and I bet I could still saddle one in the dark if I had to...three star restaurants in England were a bit alien to me.

Suave as he may have been, though...he just couldn't get bop. Listened to opera, but I swear the man couldn't tell a flatted 5th from a jug of Old Crow.

Wasn't the sort of man with whom one could discuss the issue I started this thread with...knew who Miles Davis was, but...
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