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ARSCLIST  April 2013

ARSCLIST April 2013

Subject:

Re: revisiting an old thread -- jazz anthologies

From:

David Lewis <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 5 Apr 2013 11:20:10 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (190 lines)

For the time being, Ken Burns' Jazz is rather solidly entrenched as a tool
in jazz studies courses curricula as "there is simply nothing better about
the subject." And for ten years, it basically
silenced most other prospective film projects that might have dealt with
jazz topics. Some got through, including a docu about free jazz called
"Inside Out and in the Open" which was made
as a reponse to Burns' rejection of that style as irrelevant. It appeared
in 2008; I don't think it has been very widely seen.

I once attended, in high school, a demonstration by singer Kathy Wade in
which she said that "the blues led to jazz and jazz is America's classical
music." It was a program designed to reach
kids and this phrase was repeated several times like a mantra, despite the
fact that it doesn't exactly roll off the tongue and is anti-historical. It
is pretty easy to document how separate blues
and jazz are in terms of development and where they connect, and how the
blues as understood by jazz players really isn't the same music as what
Charlie Patton played. This idea was being
advanced, though, in 1978 as I saw it. Kathy is a lovely lady and a fine
singer, but I would like to know where this comes from and why it is
important to promote it.

Naturally, the problem with jazz being "America's classical music" is that
America has classical music already. Roll over Aaron Copland; tell John
Knowles Paine the news. I have issues with
any agenda that works on disenfranchising or discrediting some other kind
of music. From that stems the notion that you only ever want to listen to
the best, as listening to discredited music
is like investing in a delisted stock; it might seem attractive, but really
isn't a good idea. However, music is not like that: if you enjoy Erroll
Garner, what would keep you from enjoying the side
of Carmen Cavallero that is close to that sound?

I do have a partial answer: there seems to be at work a conservative black
agenda behind a lot of this, one that not many folks of my shade are even
familiar with. Nick Payton elsewhere on his
blog states that he does not support President Obama and is glad that he is
relatively powerless, as it just shows that the old white power structure
is still in control. And this does echo some of
the attitudes that I have heard from other friends of mine who are
conservative African-Americans. I believe that their perspective matters,
but I don't think it should be regarded as the only one
that is regarded with any validity on these topics; it's too limiting. They
may hate ODJB and Paul Whiteman, but I recently joined a Paul Whiteman
facebook page that is far more active that I ever
expected one would be; it's almost too much, and I may drop it. What to do
with all of the 'discredited' people, listening to 'discredited music'? I
don't know, but one thing for certain is that they will
remain silent.

UD
Lebanon, OH


On Fri, Apr 5, 2013 at 10:25 AM, Wolf, James L <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> I've been appreciating this discussion a lot. Sounds like its about time
> for a solid historiography of jazz, meaning a critical evaluation of the
> different ways in which jazz history has been constructed.
>
> One term for jazz that's always bugged me is "African-American Classical
> Music." To me, this speaks volumes not so much about racial identity but
> about class identity. By trying to claim to the golden ring of class status
> in music, certain jazz historians and musicians assume that European
> classical music actually occupies some throne of music and that jazz needs
> to "raise" itself by association. Both of these assumptions are absurd and
> unnecessary, IMO.
>
> Jazz's history is as complex as America's history, and that's how it
> should be. So I hope a lot of this reaction to Ken Burns gets taken up by
> academics and makes its way into the general populace.
>
> James
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List [mailto:
> [log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Carl Pultz
> Sent: Friday, April 05, 2013 9:09 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] revisiting an old thread -- jazz anthologies
>
> Fascinating discussion - thank you, all.
>
> I recommend a book I recently read: "Where the Dark and the Light Folks
> 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."
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List [mailto:
> [log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Don Cox
> Sent: Friday, April 05, 2013 4:13 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] revisiting an old thread -- jazz anthologies
>
> On 05/04/2013, David Lewis wrote:
>
> > I note that in 2009 someone noted that "discussion of jazz is finally
> > coming out from under the shadow of Ken Burns' 'Jazz.'" One direction
> > the discussion is now taking is the idea that the word 'jazz' itself
> > is inappropriate to identify the central core of the music, as it is
> > shackled to a milieu of colonialism and slavery. The term "Black
> > American Music," or BAM, or #BAM has been suggested as an alternative
> > by trumpeter Nicholas Payton, who cites that musicians such as Duke
> > Ellington disliked the term "jazz" and Louis Armstrong stated that in
> > New Orleans in the early days the term was not used.
> >
> Jazz is certainly not the same thing as "black American music".
>
> Do we have to define it ?
>
> > I've met Nicholas Payton, a long time ago, and I liked him very much
> > personally. But even he has said that he is not the same person that
> > he was 15 years ago when we met, and in all fairness, neither am I. I
> > will not link directly to his manifesto of thinking on this topic
> > because I think the foul language and content of the piece would tend
> > only to enrage many of the people here. Below my sig I have a link to
> > a (mostly negative) article about it, which does contain a further
> > link to Payton's statement, for those who dare. You've been warned.
> >
> > I do understand how such a designation, or one like it, might help to
> > separate out the desirable core from music that was either already
> > around, or also evolving, circa 1916-22 that is either distantly, or
> > not, related to it, all of which is called "jazz" in historical
> > advertising and other sources. But if you look at its history, what we
> > commonly call jazz covers a lot of territory that develops swiftly and
> > overlaps.
> > In just the years 1945-50 alone, we have bebop, progressive, the
> > decline of swing, sweet things like Marjorie Hughes vocal on Frankie
> > Carle's "Oh! What it Seemed to Be," Buddy Clark's last recordings,
> > Frank Sinatra's first solo outings, the rise of Latin Jazz. All
> > different things -- some may say Marjorie Hughes doesn't fit, but what
> > she did is not far off what we regard as jazz singing from other
> > singers who have reputations for that sort of thing. So you take BAM
> > out of that, and all of the other stuff goes flying off into other
> > directions category-wise. And there's a bit of a problem in separating
> > the Latin Jazz and the bebop, as they are clearly related in this
> > period. And most listeners at the time couldn't tell the difference
> > between bebop and progressive; it was all modern jazz, and many people
> > then hated it. Which brings up the question as to how important
> > historically derived categories are; it appears that we adopt some and
> > reject others with no traceable lineage as to why we determine that
> > some are not useful.
> >
> > So my main question is; are we all ready to redesignate such
> > individual, past styles into microcategories, much as has been done
> > with popular music of the last two decades? I do not know the
> > difference between Darkwave, Screamo or Slowcore, but they are all out
> > there and are recent. If we have to develop new authorities, who's
> > going to make the call? Are there folks on this list who already have
> > devised such smaller categories in their own systems? I can see at the
> > library/archival level where the idea might be desirable. But I do not
> > see how we would rid ourselves of the word 'jazz" in regard to the
> > past, and I can't say that getting rid of it altogether because "it is
> > holding on to an oppressive idea" is reason enough. If you want to be
> > rid of it in regard to what you are playing now, then I guess I don't
> > have a problem with that.
> >
> > http://blogs.phillymag.com/the_philly_post/2012/01/10/call-jazz-call-b
> > lack-american-music/
> >
> > Uncle Dave Lewis
> > Lebanon, OH
>
> I would divide jazz into N categories, where N is the number of jazz
> musicians.
>
> It is more like a network of relationships than a stack of boxes. Modern
> wiki-style databases make it easy to show cross links from any one person
> to others.
>
> One odd feature of jazz is the rarity of family links - there is nothing
> like the Bach family in jazz. (The junior Brubecks are not really great
> musicians.)
>
> Regards
> --
> Don Cox
> [log in to unmask]
>

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