Thursday, August 27, 2009

Jazz reads

Writer/musician Chris Kelsey read Terry Teachout's obituary for jazz, went on vacation, mulled things over, and loaded his shotgun. I don't share Kelsey's views on Wynton Marsalis as the jazz destroyer, but I really like a lot of what he has to say, specifically:

"A trip of a thousand miles begins with a single step, and our first step should be to consciously revise our attitude about what is or isn't jazz.... Jazz suffered when we allowed the conservatives to narrow its definition. Make the decision that those days are over, and act on it. From this moment, let's drop the admissions test and let in anyone who wants to be a member. Jazz is whatever it wants to be.... Dismiss the idea that if music doesn't sound like something Pops or Duke or Bird might've played during their lifetimes, it can't be jazz. A better approach would be, if it sounds like something those guys might play if they were alive and in their creative prime today, it is most definitely jazz."

Read the whole thing here.

Two old favorites from my bookmarks:

James Carter Ruined My Life. I came across this a few years back and have passed it on to several people. It's funny, it's generous, it's bittersweet.

How to Be a Jazz Critic. Uh-oh.

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