Another thing to be said for free or experimental jazz was its popularity amongst fans of indie rock, punk, hardcore, emo and screamo, especially in the 1990s as so many of those folks were snatching up 60s albums at record shops or getting the CD reissues. It's not surprising that its cathartic element would appeal to those folks. So while a trad jazz fan might find free jazz to be "unfriendly and inaccessible," it's those elements which is exactly what would attract an aficionado and champion of the style like experimental noise rocker Thurston Moore. This is also the underground crowd that never gave up on vinyl.
Something similar could be said for avant-classical and minimalism. A Mozart fan might not want Reich, Glass, Ligeti, Penderecki, etc. on the symphony program, but indie rock, kraut rock or electronica folks (e.g., Tortoise, Battles, Sonic Youth, Aphex Twin, etc.) are very interested in and influenced by that stuff. Those who work in the classical biz need to think more who the audience for that kind of music really is.
(David, you're also right on the money for free jazz keeping the acoustic flame burning and for bop players being invigorated by it even if they didn't play it: Art Blakey's "Free for All" isn't a "free" album but it's his most energetic and perhaps his best.)
-- Tim Williams
From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List [[log in to unmask]] on behalf of David Goren [[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Sunday, April 07, 2013 11:00 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] revisiting an old thread -- jazz anthologies
Tom, I think you're unfairly lumping all free or experimental jazz into one, er, lump.Within that scene there are many variations of style and approach. Some were pretenders, some were the real deal and seriously trying to stretch the form. Also, if perhaps the records didn't sell much compared to fusion, groups like the World Saxophone Quartet, Cecil Taylor, the Sun Ra Arkestra, and Ornette Coleman (and many others) could fill up clubs and theaters with enthusiastic audiences. In fact, before Wynton and the attendant young lions told hold in the early 80's many of the free jazz groups kept the acoustic flame burning. Also, there were (and are) many players like Don Pullen, George Adams, and David Murray whose stylistic reach was wide. They could take a song from more traditional jazz forms all the way to free and back again.
I've done a lot of jazz interviews and oral histories over the past twenty years and I've been struck by how many times more traditional jazz musicians have said that even if they themselves didn't play free their ears were open to it and influenced their playing.
Dave Lewis wrote:
> Free will never fit into the
> Lincoln Center fossilization of jazz, though I do note
> that John Zorn will be celebrating his 60th birthday there this year.
JALC has fitfully nodded in the direction of free jazz. In that past they have had the Sam Rivers Orchestra, and the JALC Orchestra has played the music of Ornette. Cecil Taylor played a double bill with John Zorn a couple of years back, and this year the remnant of Sun Ra's Arkestra led by Marshall Allen will be playing there. Paul Motian and Lee Konitz played a wonderful set of concerts in 2001 that were completely freely improvised. In fact you can hear it at jalc.org. I wrote and produced the radio program version of that one.
> Lebanon, OH
> On Sat, Apr 6, 2013 at 6:22 PM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>wrote:
>> Related to this original thread, here is the National Endowment for the
>> Arts (ie the taxpayers' dime) curriculum for jazz in the schools:
>> This would be The Canon as far as public education is concerned.
>> Look at Lessons 3-5. Where is ANYTHING about soul-jazz or acid-jazz? There
>> sure is a lot about free-jazz, yet no mention of how few copies most of
>> those recordings sold because they were unfriendly and inaccessible to the
>> casual listener. There's a brief mention of Latin-jazz (which was HUGE as
>> far as cultural impact and record sales), mentioning only Stan Getz.
>> There's not much of anything about fusion (probably a safe bet that Weather
>> Report, Mahavishnu Orchestra and Herbie Hancock sold thousands or millions
>> more records than all the free-jazz albums combined) and nothing about the
>> success of smooth-jazz.
>> So the taxpayers' dime seems to have been spent to adopt the Ken Burns
>> view of jazz. Great stuff!
>> -- Tom Fine
>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Cary Ginell" <[log in to unmask]>
>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>> Sent: Saturday, April 06, 2013 12:01 PM
>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] revisiting an old thread -- jazz anthologies
>> Check out Randy's performance on "Some of These Days."
>> Cary Ginell
>> On Apr 5, 2013, at 6:54 AM, Carl Pultz <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> Thanks Cary - I have not heard him. BTW, I haven't kept up with Wynton's
>>> work, but the band he had on NPR for last New Year's Eve was smokin'! And
>>> was mostly about exploring trad space. I loved it. It would be worth the
>>> time to read the Burns interview text. Wynton might have gone out on a
>>> but the form and nature of a broadcast documentary just can't be relied on
>>> to reflect the nuance of complex meanings. I take that as an absolute
>>> But, I think television is a tragedy even when it isn't being a travesty.
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
>>> [mailto:[log in to unmask]**GOV <[log in to unmask]>] On
>>> Behalf Of Cary Ginell
>>> Sent: Friday, April 05, 2013 9:25 AM
>>> To: [log in to unmask]
>>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] revisiting an old thread -- jazz anthologies
>>> Randy Sandke, incidentally, is a wonderful trumpet/cornet player who is a
>>> huge Bix fan. I believe he's sat in with Vince Giordano on more than one
>>> On Apr 5, 2013, at 6:16 AM, "Carl Pultz" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>> Fascinating discussion - thank you, all.
>>>> I recommend a book I recently read: "Where the Dark and the Light
>>>> Meet: Race and the Mythology, Politics, and Business of Jazz" by
>>>> Randall Sandke. As with any study of such a complex subject, it should
>>>> not represent a definitive or final judgment on the history of the
>>>> music. It does reflect the experience of musicians I've known, for
>>>> whom the late 60s and early 70s were a heart-breaking time of
>>>> exclusion and distrust. It gets at some very uncomfortable things.
>>>> The research also makes the Burns series dominant model of two racial
>>>> tracks, parallel but isolated, appear that much more absurd. But, it
>>>> is PBS and it is KEN BURNS, both brands that have a lot invested in
>>>> mainstream consensus and pretty pictures and golden memories,
>>>> calculated to liberate the check-books of "viewers like you."
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