[JPL] Re' Kenny Drew Jr's remarks

Jim Wilke jwilke123 at comcast.net
Mon Apr 10 13:17:09 EDT 2006

I read that commentary by KD a short while before it was published 
here, and was reminded of Pat Metheny's comment on "G" which was a 
similar cry against dumbing down music, but without the racial aspects.

I thought of both for a moment yesterday after a concert by the Seattle 
Symphony which is currently in the middle of a Shostakovich festival.  
Mstislav Rostropovich, who knew both Shostakovich and Prokofiev, was in 
town to conduct several concerts and this one included Shostakovich's 
rarely performed First Symphony.  S. sketched this one for a 
composition class at Leningrad Conservatory when he was 19 and finished 
scoring it in a matter of weeks!  The faculty was amazed and 
recommended the work to the Leningrad Symphony which premiered it in 
May of that year (1926) and it was the first public triumph for a young 
musician who quickly became one of the most important composers of the 
20th century.  It also got an ovation from a couple thousand people in 
Seattle yesterday.

Coming out and heading for a drink and a bite to eat after the concert 
I was thinking "I wonder how many 19 year olds are writing 40-minute 
compostions scored for 90 piece orchestras today?" when what should I 
hear but a "fump / tshew / fump / tshew/ fump"  from a passing car.   
One has to wonder about our musical progress ....

Jim Wilke
Jazz After Hours, PRI

On Monday, April 10, 2006, at 09:45  AM, Arturo wrote:

> Although Kenny makes some valid points it appears to me that his 
> monologue
> is partially "sour grapes". Granted, Pop music is now made for the 
> eyes and
> not for the ears due to the proliferation of videos which is what sells
> music nowadays. The dismissal of current music by elders is nothing 
> new, I
> recall reading a quote by Aristotle or another classic Greek figure
> bemoaning the end of good music as the new generation was creating 
> music
> that was going against the grain. Every generation believes the music 
> they
> came up with is the best.
> In our world of jazz, it too has always found opposition to new 
> innovations,
> there are folks who believe that if jazz doesn't have a banjo it is 
> not jazz
> at all. Many swing musicians thought of bebop to be the end of jazz as 
> did
> beboppers with the 1960's progressive movement. Pop music lovers of the
> 1950's signaled the burgeoning rock & roll movement as a "way of 
> lowering
> White people to the level of the nigras", heck in the Black 
> communiites of
> post WW2, many viewed jump blues and R'n'B as the "devil's music" as 
> they
> did with the blues decades before. Rock n rollers thought of 
> rock(without
> the roll)in the late 60's and 70's as the end of civilization. 
> Followers of
> R n B and soul concluded the world would surely end because funk had 
> taken
> over, then came the low point of US music history, disco. Hip hop 
> which is
> far different than rap which is not correctly called "rap music" began 
> as an
> alternative to the boring, cloroxed, lame disco sound of the mid to 
> late
> 70's. Hip hop is an extremely creative art form, a recycling of the old
> turned into something new. Hip hop's influence dominates today's 
> mainstream
> society, it is everywhere, used by those who want nothing to do with 
> the
> creators and fans of hip hop to sell, inform or simply communicate 
> with the
> masses. Hip hop changed the face of the world, then came the co-opting 
> of
> hip hop by the multi-nationals corporations in the late 1980's and 
> early
> 1990's and turned hip hop into rap promoting the negativity for maximum
> appeal through its lowest common denominator. For the most part it was 
> White
> suburbanites that made hip hop turning into rap possible, not African
> Americans.
> Black music, style, fashion, slang etc has always been the most 
> influential
> force of the USA, the saddest part of today's rap scene is that the 
> artists
> are allowing themselves to get used for a few carrots that have been 
> dangled
> in front of them, the true hip hop artists are still out there, in the
> underground, they are not on any major labels or on any of the radio 
> and TV
> outlets. Jazz musicians are the true revolutionaries in my opinion as 
> they
> defy the majority of artists looking to make big bucks and instead opt 
> for
> making an artistic statement instead. Here's some food for thought by 
> the
> seminal spoken word group The Last Poets: "The record label is the 
> pimp, the
> artist is the ho' and the audience is the trick"
> Arturo Gómez
> Music Director, jazz89-KUVO
> The Oasis In The City
> Colorado's First HD FM Radio Station
> Celebrating 10 Years of Live Performances!

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