[spam] RE: [JPL] Hello and a major query

Phillip Greenlief pgsaxo at pacbell.net
Tue Jun 12 20:47:08 EDT 2007

-----Original Message-----
On Behalf Of Jim Wilke
To: Jazz Programmers Mailing List
Subject: Re: [spam] RE: [JPL] Hello and a major query

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I wonder if covers are the best, if most obvious approach.  Perhaps a 
cover tune might momentarily be noticed when tuning across the dial, 
but if they're a Radiohead fan, wouldn't they rather hear Radiohead 
instead of some jazz group messing with it?  If that's the case, 
they'll probably spend their time with a station that plays Radiohead 
or their iPod.

I can't say how it works on radio, but I play in the Lost Trio and we've
recorded lots of the kind of material people have talked about in this
thread: Radiohead, Bjork, Beck, Beatles, PJ Harvey, The Band, Dylan,
Grateful Dead, Hank Williams, REM, Juana Molina, and also film composers
like Nino Rota, Angelo Badalamente, or Giovanni Fusco. When we play that
stuff live, the younger people really acknowledge it with genuine
enthusiasm. We play Strayhorn and Monk and other great composers from
the canon (as well as more contemporary players like Lacy, Dave Douglass
or Tony Malaby), but probably less than we used to do. They know the
melodies, much better than they would know "Isn't it Romantic" (which,
of course, is a great tune!), so it's in their head, it's in their
consciousness, they've probably already decided that they like the song,
so the door to jazz opens pretty quickly for them in that context.

The idea was never to be fashionable, but to play songs that we like. It
turns out we like a lot of different sources. We're also aware that if
you play something that a younger listener knows, you're respecting
their generation while connecting them to traditions from the older
sources. I think it's a way of acknowledging culture and creating new
culture in the process.

The main thing for me is whether or not the song really suits the
group's sound. We have a saxophone-bass-drums trio, so it's a very open
sound already. We can sound more like folk music than a jazz band
sometimes. We're an all acoustic ensemble, which keeps us grounded in
the roots of all of the related music sources we're talking about, so I
think it's easy for us to adapt to a lot of possibilities, it's just
that the listener is going to hear kind of a stripped-down, no-nonsense
realization of whatever song we perform.

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