[JPL] Benson, Jarreau...etc

jazzrockworld rick at jazzrockworld.com
Fri Sep 1 15:44:31 EDT 2006

The present discussion appears to be the same old discussion about Labels,
Genres, Markets, and that there is no perfect formula to define and separate
all the styles anymore. The lines between them are blurred to the point of
such overlap, that Amazon.com actually has Jazz categories called "Jazz Jam
Bands", "Modern Postbebop", "Avant Garde & Free Jazz", "Soul Jazz &
Boogaloo", "New Orleans Jazz", right next to "Bebop", "Acid Jazz", "Smooth
Jazz", "Cool Jazz", "Swing Jazz", and "Jazz Fusion". Can anyone identify
these styles as distinctly different from each other, so that a
non-aficionado would be able to judge for themselves? I'm not even sure that
an aficionado could separate those categories clearly. 

I grew up with Rock/Pop and remember when it was simple enough that if it
was on FM it was Rock and if it was on AM it was Pop. Some groups would go
so far as to have albums with one "hit" song that made it to AM, but the
rest of the album was FM material. 

I'm beginning to think that we've been duped into believing there's such a
thing as a genre, when that concept is not really musically valid. I'm
thinking there's really just cultures and that's what separates or defines
styles. Maybe that's naïve and altruistic, but there was music long before
there was a music business. In fact, wasn't Jazz considered an American
cultural music when it began? 

I have no point - just curiosity. It all seems so over-analyzed nowadays. 


Rick Calic


-----Original Message-----
From: jazzproglist-bounces at jazzweek.com
[mailto:jazzproglist-bounces at jazzweek.com] On Behalf Of Jae Sinnett
Sent: Friday, September 01, 2006 11:25 AM
To: Jazz Programmers Mailing List
Subject: [JPL] Benson, Jarreau...etc


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One of the problems I've noticed with a large part of the jazz community as
we know it - is the level of complacency in how they respond to what's being
promoted as jazz. When the smooth jazz station closed shop here there were a
kzillion letters to the editors to various publications complaining that now
they have no jazz to listen to. I didn't see one from within the "jazz"
community standing up and saying what a minute....we do have jazz on the
radio and I've noticed this in other markets. I've seen stories when writers
get into talking about how much "jazz" Boney James and company are playing
and not one letter to challenge those claims so consequently these
mis-perceptions are perpetuated. Many times...even when the artists aren't
proclaiming to be playing jazz. I would bet Jarreau and Benson aren't going
around talking about how much jazz they are singing or playing now but their
history somehow keeps them there from a media and audience standpoint.
  One of the advantages of being a jazz performer is that you see how the
audience really perceives this music. You get to talk with folk....much more
so than in radio and sadly it's not a pretty picture at times. You see the
problems from a much clearer perspective. Ultimately to me....jazz is
defined by the artists intentions.......that's the first thing I listen for
and it's obvious in the music. Do you want a commercial success or artistic
achievement? Where it becomes murky are in the levels of each. Too often a
little bit of jazz justifys the labeling and this is proven to be what the
masses are more willing to embrace. Simplicity but jazz is structured on
complexity - particularly since the Bop era. The music will tell you and
this is where many folk listening unfortunately could care less or
worse...know the difference. 
  Jae Sinnett
  From the bow of the Ark...YIKES!

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