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Did the recording industry help destroy jazz?
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Henryrobinett



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

PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2012 6:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

All true. I'll contribute later, if I have anything else to contribute, after I finish practicing!
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Henryrobinett



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

PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2012 9:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cjm wrote:
Well Henry, of course there's another issue here -- and a reality check:

Your playing and musicianship is at a far higher level than mine. That's not false modesty on my part -- those are the plain facts of the situation.

And so, there are some gigs out there for players like you at the top of the game. A bit sparse, I think you'll admit, if you tried to maintain even a lower middle class life style from playing alone, and even tougher if you chose to work solely in jazz as a performance artist...but as an educator/performer you're making it happen through skill AND hard work.

(And frankly, it's a privilege to have the opportunity to exchange ideas with some one at your level.)

But what I'm talking about is a formerly rich milieu in which -- again, no false modesty -- hack level players like me -- in fact, players who don't even come to my level -- could get by living and working in smaller markets by taking some gigs that weren't to their tastes -- making do by scrimping to cut living expenses.

I didn't want to play anything but jazz...not good enough to break into even the minor leagues...so for me, personally, it was always a matter of having a day job/career outside of music and gigging for fun/beer/grocery money. But I knew plenty of guys who did manage to get by on what they earned through playing alone...even if they played mostly rock and/or country and only veered off into a few near jazz experiments.

Today, even the contemporary rock/blues players my kids' age either have day jobs or still live iwith their folks ten years after they should have moved out on their own, or have conned some young gal into supporting them as "artists."
Good points and thank you for the compliment. I'm not sure it's deserved, but thanks anyway!

Most of the gigs in town here are occupied by musicians, - how do I say? - less schooled than myself. That is entirely my own fault. Several reasons, but this isn't the thread for that digression.

The scene has definitely declined over the years. I think the causes for that are myriad. Live music is no longer held upon the mantle it was once because people have more things to divert their attention: Video games, internet, DVDs, streaming, iPods, iPads, shall we call these electronic toys?

When I was a whippersnapper everyone spent their time going to hear local live music. The topic of the day, for almost everyone in high school and beyond was who's playing? who you heard last night, who you're going to hear tonight or this weekend. Some were name bands but most were local denizens. Now the audience isn't there like it used to be because they have so many other interesting things to do. And they just don't know, because . . .

I don't think recorded music stopped this. On the contrary, it helped to create the audience and mystique.

And then artists stopped being artists and decided that the audience KNEW what it wanted so they stopped giving them what they needed. Audiences are fickle. They don't know. They know what they like, or they think they do. And if you only give them what they KNOW they like, they dictate the scene and no new art happens; just regurgitation of the old in new bottles.

In terms of jazz also I think this is what happened: The young or old jazz musician with "bad attitude," resentful for all kinds of things, mainly that no one's coming to his lame gigs, ends up blaming the audience and the club owner for not understanding jazz, "america's greatest art form." He forgets that he's not John Coltrane and takes 9 choruses on every tune, like Blue Bossa and Stella By Starlight and Take The A Train. The band's late and takes forever between tunes and plays like they're unaware or unconcerned there's an audience there, because often there is barely one. But if there is he doesn't know how to treat them. The audience isn't interested in seeing a bunch of guys scratching their head, telling inside jokes to themselves, turning their backs, taking forever between tunes and asking each other,

"What do you want to play?"
"I don't know. What do YOU want to play?"
"I don't know. What do YOU want to play?"
"I don't know. What do YOU want to play?"
"I don't know. What do YOU want to play?"
"I don't know. What do YOU want to play?"
"I don't know. What do YOU want to play?"
"I don't know. What do YOU want to play?"
over and over again.

Sometimes this is the first and last time a person comes to hear jazz. It could have been such a wonderful experience . . .

This is what I think did more to kill the jazz scene than recorded music. And I've seen the above happen in places all over the world in local bars and venues. Musicians get confused between their heros like Bird, Miles, Coltrane and themselves. They forget that their main responsibility is not to be students on the bandstand, but to get and keep an audience.
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cjm



Joined: 16 Oct 2006
Posts: 369

PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2012 12:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I have to admit that you accurately described the majority of jazz gigs. And it's something I've fought to prevent, but some guys are just "too cool for the room," and won't be reined in.

The inside jokes are a real problem, and I've seen too many people near the bandstand get uncomfortable because they think they're being laughed at...and all too often they are.

And nine choruses on anything...it bores me if I'm on the bandstand and it's pure misery at a table.

But even if you're right, I'm not going to tell my kid that there is likely something beyond my hypotheses that explains the decline. Little whippersnapper thinks he knows everything already!Laughing
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PaulD



Joined: 18 Sep 2004
Posts: 1129
Location: Chicago

PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2012 2:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So when is music is art, when is music jazz, and when is jazz art (and when is it not)? What are the defining features and qualities? The recording industry gave the world a new medium for packaging and distribution. Maybe some music now is just mass produced decorative art to create atmosphere, like a mass produced vase or painting. Does that count as art? Or jazz? Who decides? Boy, I have a lot of questions...Smile

For me "jazz" and "art" are words with way too many interpretations. I don't know if the jazz music that was around when the recording industry started was even considered art at the time - at least not in the way some tend to look at the jazz that came later. For instance, I wonder if Louis Armstrong considered himself an entertainer or an artist.

Paul
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Henryrobinett



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

PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2012 2:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Satchmo was always an entertainer. I mean he played great, especially during his King Oliver and Hot Fives periods, I think. But musicians, as revered as they we're in the black community, at least, weren't considered "artists".

Hm. I don't knw. Coleman Hawkis? Certainly Art Atum and Bnny Goodan, Artie Shaw, Duke!

Gotta run!
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Henryrobinett



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

PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 2:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

PaulD wrote:
So when is music is art, when is music jazz, and when is jazz art (and when is it not)? What are the defining features and qualities? The recording industry gave the world a new medium for packaging and distribution. Maybe some music now is just mass produced decorative art to create atmosphere, like a mass produced vase or painting. Does that count as art? Or jazz? Who decides? Boy, I have a lot of questions...Smile

For me "jazz" and "art" are words with way too many interpretations. I don't know if the jazz music that was around when the recording industry started was even considered art at the time - at least not in the way some tend to look at the jazz that came later. For instance, I wonder if Louis Armstrong considered himself an entertainer or an artist.

Paul
I think ART is a loaded term. Like most words, there are several definitions that can apply. "Art" is merely something created whose purpose is to communicate emotion and aesthetics , right? A chair is created, but it's not necessarily art. But it can be, right? A 6 year old can draw a picture and it's art.

But there's another definition which I think is misunderstood, because sometimes you don't even find it in the dictionary. People seem to think ART means something great and significant, like Beethoven. But this isnt necessarily the case. Really it's just something created in the fields of art.

So of course jazz is art. Of course Armstrong was art. But he was an entertainer primarily. But an entertainer can be an artist too.
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Viper



Joined: 04 Oct 2005
Posts: 568
Location: Bristol, UK

PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 9:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Artiste, man artiste.
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greentone



Joined: 31 May 2008
Posts: 670

PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2012 8:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think the recording industry destroyed jazz. I think _WE_ (the musicians) did. Musicians went on strike (the unions), banning all recording, in the early 40s. This really killed off jazz and orchestral music. Around the same time, musicians started playing bebop. Don't know about you, but I love bop, hard bop, post bop, etc. The public, however, never made the shift from pre-bop jazz--which was truly the popular art form of its day--to bebop and beyond. CROWDS danced and listened to the jazz of the 20s. The jazz of the 40s and after has been small room affairs. We did this by evolving our art beyond the tastes of the listening and buying public. ("Smooth" jazz doesn't count.)
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