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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-black-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
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