[JPL] Stephen Colbert disses John Zorn

DPolletta at aol.com DPolletta at aol.com
Tue Sep 26 09:00:58 EDT 2006

In a message dated 9/25/2006 3:33:22 PM Eastern Daylight Time, 
ehines at message.nmc.edu writes:
I've always had the distinct impression that Zorn was more or less a
fringe/poser sort of phenomenon--it's a good thing for certain people in
certain circles--e.g. proto-sophisticates in university towns--to SAY
they like. I'm kind of skeptical of his innate appeal to the young.>
I would say that much of his early work left me cold and I really thought he 
was benefited from the downtown NY hype machine that plagues much of the 
experimental scene. (i.e-the cheerleading fan base/press that thinks avant artists 
can do no wrong)  Each John Zorn session was better than the last and all of 
the ones that preceded the current date were also great.  I like Hank Mobley 
but every record he made wasn't great.

However, the Masada Quartet sessions feature legit playing and some very 
interesting tunes.  They also open up jazz to some new sources outside the 
traditional elements up which it draws.   I've never had any bad reaction to any of 
the pieces I've presented on-air.

On the other hand, anyone who has much contact with musically interested
young folks knows fairly well how popular Weather Report is, say. That
trend has peaked, maybe, but I'm afraid those 50-year-old programmers
are a bit more in touch with the tastes of the 20 or so 20-somethings
that pass through our classes and volunteer corps station every year:
seventies fusion and music influenced by seventies fusion are pretty
important to many of them.

Zorn to a few, but not many.>

I guess we have had different experiences.  I have found the interest in 
early 70s fusion tends to be pushed by journalists/radio folks who dug the music 
when they were in college in 1973 and still see it as "new."  I interacted with 
plenty of young people during many years in retail, in addition to radio and 
encountered many more who were into Zorn, Bobby Previte and Wayne Horvitz than 
any who were coming in to buy a record by Al DiMeola or the fourth session by 
Weather Report.   The people who have phoned to ask me about Masada guitars, 
the Bar Kokhba sextet or 50 bday celebration concerts have been from younger 
demo.  I made sure to ask.    Oh well.  Different strokes.

Dan Polletta


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