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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
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