Since I can’t get the comments section to turn on, in this template of WordPress, I’ll quickly some-arize the replies to the previous post. One guitarist mentioned the legendary rant of Pat Metheny about Kenny G, in regards to jazz abilities.
His take on Kenny G “Kenny G: bland, crappy pentatonic riffs, plays sharp, just knows a couple of manipulative crowd-pleasing tricks.”
“I guess the other phenomenon to note here is the rise of the MTV video, where—sort of as TV did to radio—the images the music and lyrics are supposed to evoke don’t come from the listener’s imagination anymore but instead are conveniently furnished pre-packaged, another hit impoverishing our infinitely better and more colorful internal world. Someone, maybe Garrison Keillor?, complained that before the dawn of TV, when on New Year’s Eve the radio broadcasted Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians, in his mind’s eye he’d always pictured a magnificent entire orchestra in red uniforms on horseback, all sporting those fabulous Pharrell Williams hats.”
Another jazz guitarist views jazz, for musicians, as being something they like to do.
A professional multi-instrumentalist– including washboard– said, “I’m not sure if I know enough Americans well enough to say ‘Most American Don’t like jazz.’ Most of the Americans I know do like jazz, but then a disproportionate number of them are jazz musicians.”
A long time solo and band pianist reports that, “In the 30s thru 50s plus it was ‘timely’ to hang out in clubs filled with smoke, swaying musicians, standards being the music of the time. A lot of that was the audience/people plugging into an atmosphere, and trying to fit in. Many may have not understood jazz, and the music being performed, however sat along with their friends, doing their best to do so.”
And he mentions that learning an instrument was more widespread then than now, with the possible exception of the guitar and electric guitar.
“Guitar performers seem to be prominent. Most buskers on a sidewalk belting out some lyrics and strumming a guitar would likely get at least some minimal attention. Since…many (e.g. in the crowd) can connect, since they could also likely be able to strum….
If the lyrics/vocal tell a story…more points for the busker…good changes, and correct chords are optional.”
A professional violinist and multi-instrumentalist said, “Traditional” Jazz is now “sub-culture” music. If its used as soundtrack music for a movie about retro hipsters, America will briefly become interested. Its most contemporary cultural expression is “electro swing”:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PEMcuOIEnFQ I hear a mix of Triplets of Belleville music, hiphop, and rock and roll swing a la the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies.
Jazz rhythmic play and harmonic aspects crushed to death.”
And another respondent came up with this graphic from somewhere online:
And this just in from another great jazz guitarist:
“I guess Bebop really pissed on the whole enchilada. It’s that and the fact that a less alienating ,culturally relevant jazz sound hasn’t emerged since. Is it just me, or is it possible that the pool of music (The Great American Songbook) that pre-bop jazz musicians were dipping from was a hell of a lot better than the popular song writing that any jazz musician could find now? Anybody composing songs as good as Gershwin, Rodgers and Hart/Hammerstein, Cole Porter, Hoagy Carmichael, Jobim, etc.? Interpretations of great material helped jazz, immensely. Now, we can only rehash a by-gone era’s music. What’s new and relevant? Would Ben Webster be doing an album of Andrew Lloyd Weber if he were alive today? Perhaps if he were really liquored-up, and the money was right.”