I don't think Dave is by any means suggesting this is a "good" idea just 
that it has certainly been a persistent theme for the past 40 years or 
so. I know the guy that wrote that latest piece here in Philly and it is 
wrong headed and myopic on so many levels I won't even dignify it with a 
response. I think that Tom gets right to the heart of the matter below 
and I have had this same engagement with others for decades.

The ENTIRE chordal system and temperament and harmonic language of jazz 
is from Europe. Even the drum vocabulary that we often assume is the 
most "African" element has much of its roots in Swiss drum rudiments, 
flam, press rolls, paradiddles, etc. Almost without exception the 
instruments that we identify with jazz (except for drums) are of 
European origin and in many cases quite late, like the saxophone 
invented in the 19th century by Adolphe Sax. No sane person will suggest 
that the great soloists and architects of jazz have not been 
overwhelmingly African-American but the idea that it was anything other 
than a uniquely American amalgam that drew from all kinds of different 
sources is patently absurd. Likewise, if you want to get into its many 
roots and tangents, an enormous number of the iconic Jazz standards were 
penned by Jewish songwriters from Tin Pan Alley! Take "I Got Rhythm" out 
of Jazz and the countless tunes that were based on its chord changes 
(aka IGR changes) also don't exist! All roads lead to Rome from what I 
can tell.

Jazz in my mind has always had many parents of all shapes, colors and 
sizes let's accept and celebrate how these extraordinarly disparate 
elements all contributed to the Jazz mutt instead of trying to establish 
some self-congratulatory Apartheid system that is both odious and 
patently untrue.


On 4/5/13 6:41 AM, Tom Fine wrote:
> Hi Dave:
> Wow, this new discussion is the ULTIMATE of historical revisionism and 
> political correctness.
> JAZZ or Jass, as has been known as a distinct music for over a century 
> now, is definitely NOT just a "black" musical form. It's an amalgam of 
> long-standing European scales and chords, march tempo and other 
> elements, plus European instrumentation, combined with African rhythms 
> and the same African elements that formed field chants and then the 
> blues. Jazz and blues, especially in the early years, borrow liberally 
> from each other, and continue to influence each other to this day.
> Yes, the first practicianers of early jazz were mostly black and 
> creole (which is in itself a "mutt" just like jazz is "mutt" music, 
> which is what makes it so distinctly American, from a country of 
> "mutts"). But almost immediately the music was embraced and mastered 
> by white musicians. The first recordings were by white musicians if 
> you count ODJB as the first band to record. Most of what Cary and I 
> were complaining about, ignoring the Hot-Jazz Revival musicians and 
> ignoring Latin-jazz stems from racial politics. Injecting new racial 
> politics into the study of jazz would be a big mistake.
> I can't understand why people just can't embrace the whole spectrum of 
> jazz and celebrate it as AMERICAN music, the "mutt" that is in, the 
> product of a "mutt" country. We should all strut the mutt, as our 
> local dog shelter says on its banners. More importantly, appreciation 
> of those who were great jazz musicians and those who moved the music 
> in new directions shouldn't depend on their skin color. Jazz is one of 
> those areas that, from early in its history, it was a meritocracy. It 
> broke down silly and arbitrary skin-color barriers (aside from the 
> fact that mixed-race bands existed from the early times forward, 
> anyone can study the lives of folks like Duke Ellington, Louis 
> Armstrong, Benny Goodman, John Hammond, Norman Granz or Fletcher 
> Henderson and form the same conclusions). Leave it to the PC crowd 
> today to re-erect barriers!
> As for slicing and dicing jazz into "micro-categories" -- why??? The 
> beauty of the music is that it ebbs and flows in so many directions, 
> it's massive and varied like the country of its birth. I think there 
> may be academic bones to be made (ie publishing rather than perishing) 
> from slicing off tiny sub-genres and writing too many words rather 
> than letting the music speak for itself, but I see no other purpose to 
> over-classify any type of music. That's the main beef about many of 
> the well-known/well-regarded anthologies and the Burns documentary -- 
> the definition was too narrow from the get-go. So why narrow things 
> further?
> -- Tom Fine
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "David Lewis" <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Friday, April 05, 2013 2:29 AM
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] revisiting an old thread -- jazz anthologies
>> 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.
>> 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.
>> Uncle Dave Lewis
>> Lebanon, OH